The following is a Letter to the Editor I wrote that was printed in the St. Petersburg Times on Monday, July 27, 2009. It was in response to a Times Editorial, "Adoption progress, problems" which was printed on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 http://bit.ly/IxwmT.
Subject: Much Work Still to be Done
As a foster adoptive parent and advocate, please accept my gratitude for pointing out that the increase in the number of foster adoptions in Florida, while commendable, does not eliminate the work that is still to be done. Over and over research commissioned locally, at the state level, nationally, and beyond indicates the fundamental need for post adoption support services. However, both DCF and Hillsborough Kids, Inc. continue to allot a miniscule portion of their budgets to providing such services. Further, the supports that do exist are hard to access and generally for limited periods of time only, but anyone who has adopted a former foster child can tell you that the effects of the trauma these children have experienced are likely to resurface throughout their childhood, teen years, and beyond. Learning to work through or manage the often extreme behaviors they understandably exhibit as a result of their past experiences requires far more than love; it requires commitment, perseverance, and dedication on the part of the parents to become knowledgeable of the psychological, neurological, and other “whys” behind their children’s behavior, as well as students of the specific methods that are effective in parenting this population. As your editorial points out, families who adopt foster children are providing an invaluable service to the state. One has to ask why, then, does the state not in turn commit to supporting them with the resources they need in order to be successful?
Regarding ours being the only state in the country to have an outright ban on gay and lesbian adoption I say shame on us, Florida. For the sake of fulfilling our shared responsibility to provide every child with a safe, secure, supportive, and loving home, it is time to insist that political and personal biases be set aside so that all qualified residents, regardless of their sexuality, may finally be extended equal rights to adopt in the state of Florida.