I find it fascinating that humans need love to survive. Do any other species suffer from a host of maladies associated with absolute and total emotional neglect as greatly as we do? I don’t know. But what I do know is that love is not optional. And we, family, must fight against any force, real or imagined, that attempts to extinguish something so vital. When people ignore, spit upon, denigrate and hate us for who we are and who we love, I think about what they are really fighting against–love–and wonder what is wrong with them.
And then I put it in the context of LGBT families who want to share their love by adopting or fostering a child who has no consistent source of love, these roadblocks, in my opinion, become a crime. Today I read with interest Mia Springer’s story on Huffington Post. Mia is a 19-year-old black, college student, who shares what it is like being adopted by two white lesbians*:
“I couldn’t ask for better parents but then again who could when they have given me so much? And the craziest part? They chose me. Yep, picked me out of a group of small children with big, hopeful eyes and white gleaming smiles. They took me into their home and into their hearts, and loved and cherished me, and to this day spoil me beyond compare.”
We don’t know Mia’s entire story as she didn’t tell us how she ended up in the system. However, we do know the stories and unfortunate endings for many of our black children. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services, only 23 percent of black children get adopted compared to 37 percent of white children. What happens to the other 77 percent of black children who remain in the foster care system or who age out of the system? I think anyone who watches the news knows. That’s why I wonder about the sanity of people who fight against the little girl or boy stuck in the foster care system who is most certainly headed for a downward spiral of drug, physical or emotional abuse and most likely a life of crime. That child could have been placed in the home of a black lesbian couple or a black gay couple, a queer family of color or even a white queer family like Mia’s.
After all, we are human beings and without consistent love, support and a permanent home, we are doomed to a life of despair. I think often about little black boys who will grow up to believe that the only thing that makes him a man is holding guns, accomplishing little and intimidating people. These are the true victims of the marriage equality ban. The religious right claim their opposition to gay marriage is all about the children. But how cruel is it to deny children access to parents who have the means and room in their hearts to give them the greatest gift of all–love. Actions against love should be a crime. Our laws are ass backward. And we will/are pay (ing) for this with a generation children who are simply funneled into a broken system.
I’m not naive. I don’t believe that lifting the gay marriage ban nationally will magically flood more LGBT homes with children as not all us have the means or interest in raising children. (As a matter of fact, Census data shows a decline in the percentage of same-sex couples raising children–from 19 percent in 2006 to 16 percent in 2009.) But, I think we can give some of these children who never even had a choice or chance a better lease on life. If we want a better generation of leaders, we have to set an example of what passionate, bold, love looks like by making it real in their everyday lives. Love is bigger than a concept. Bigger than words. We are quicker to believe in real love when we see and hear it and from where I sit/stand, religious right comes from a place that is absolutely devoid of love.
And yes, we have made significant gains in the fight for marriage equality in the past few weeks and that is something to celebrate. However, the following paragraph from Mia’s story really sums up for me the ridiculousness of the slow dismantling of the same-sex marriage ban state by state: “Why should my parents have had to wait until 2014 to get married in the eyes of the law, simply because of the form of their love? People didn’t see the need to understand this type of love and bonding or maybe they weren’t ready to understand. I have been with my family for fifteen years and as far as I can see there is no crime done here, only your average people making more than average lives for themselves. Filling it to the brim with sunlight and the most precious gems life has to offer.”
Are you a black lesbian family with children who would like to share your story here? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will happily share your story!
*According to U.S. Health and Human Services, four out of 10 children are adopted by parents of a different race than themselves.