It has been almost three weeks since my one year old Yorkshire Terrier was taken from our home. The anguish our family has felt at times has been unbearable. There are many moments when I am wondering how is she doing? Are the individuals who have her taking good care of her? Is she scared? Does she think we abandoned her and have stopped trying to find her? Does she like her new home? Will she ever be returned?
Many would think that she was just a pet but to us she was a member of our family. These feelings made think about how children that are taken from their home must feel? In honor of Foster Care Month I’d like to examine some of these same feelings that youth in the child welfare system experience.
Each year thousands of children are removed from their dwelling by no fault of their own. They are placed in unfamiliar settings with individuals who are strangers to them and forced to adapt the best they can. Most are scared, lonely and feel abandoned, left wondering if they will ever find their way back home. As a Human Services administrator and advocate I have seen this scenario far too many times. As advocates and individuals we have civic duty to make sure that these youth when removed are placed in loving environments that will provide them not only with the love and stability needed, but with the ability to heal and thrive!
There is a great need for homes and yet many loving homes and families are turned away because of their sexual orientation or identification. In 2009, gay and lesbian parents were raising 19% percent of all adopted children in the United States. Despite this fact, there are many States which deprive gay and lesbian individuals the right to provide loving homes to youth who are pulled from their environments and are in need of loving families. There is currently an estimated two million Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals interested in adoption despite the uneven legal landscape which leaves their children without rights and protections extended to heterosexual parents, because state policies and practices prevent them from doing so.