(Oakton Patch) Greg Greeley grew up in a large family and knew that one day he would want to start his own.
“When I decided to start a family, and began reaching out to adopt, I was a single father,” said Greeley, who moved to Virginia in 1987. He was in the Air Force and stationed at the Pentagon.
As a single, gay man, Greeley faced many challenges before successfully navigating the state’s adoption process.
He started the process in 2001. A year later, after locating a progressive child-placement agency in Virginia, he adopted his first child from Ukraine.
“It was a hard process and I was lucky,” said Greeley, who lives in Arlington and now has a second adopted son from El Salvador. “The first question I asked each agency was, ‘Do you work with single fathers?’ I called a dozen agencies, and only one said yes. It’s amazing to have that many doors shut in your face over and over again. No one asked, ‘Would you be a good father? What is your background?’ None of it was based on any of those things that would be important to determine is this a good placement for a child. It was just ‘No, we don’t work with single fathers.’ “
He continued: “It’s a good thing to make sure that people are good parents. But it’s terrible when people won’t even consider you. They won’t even look at why, they’ll just tell you no.”
The process is about to get much more difficult.
Gov. Bob McDonnell is expected to soon sign a bill that would add a ‘conscience clause’ to state adoption laws that would give private child-placement agencies, even those that receive state funding, the legal right to deny services to prospective parents if they felt the placement would go against their written moral or religious beliefs.
The measure also would prohibit the state from denying grants, contracts or license renewals to agencies that exercise that right.
The bill has drawn sharp criticism from several state legislators, along with gay and lesbian residents and advocates, who view the measure as sanctioning legal discrimination.