Tag Archives: gay adoption

The Critical Role of the Media in Shaping Attitudes

June 30, 2011

A lot of people in my world – that’s the one in which words like “adoption,” “foster care,” “orphan,” “search and reunion,” and “birth/first parents” are used almost every day – wonder why I talk to journalists so much when so many of them seem to understand so little about the issues we’re most concerned about.

Here’s why I do it: The media play a critical role in every society in huge ways, most pointedly by helping to shape popular attitudes and understandings about a wide, diverse array of topics. That’s true about presidential politics, international affairs, restaurant reviews and, of course, about the issues that profoundly affect the people in my world. Alas, generations of secrecy and stigma relating to those issues (and to the people they affect) have undermined public understanding of them by everyone from policy-makers to members of our own communities to … wait for it … the media.

So the short answer is that I talk to journalists so much because I know from having been one myself for 25 years that, believe it or not – and I know many readers of this blog won’t believe it – most of them really want to get it right and, once educated on a subject, will try hard to do so. The problem is that they, like the rest of the society in which they live and work, are the products of all the secrecy and stigma and shame that pervaded the world of adoption for generations.

Journalists cannot print or air anything unless someone says it to them, so one of my missions – as Executive Director of the Adoption Institute and author of the new edition of Adoption Nation – is to use all those words I mentioned in the first paragraph above, and many others that have become routine parts of my vocabulary, to explain our realities; unravel our mysteries; dispel our myths; shatter our stereotypes; and, as best as I can, promote better attitudes and understandings in the media, through the media and, eventually, to the broad range of readers, viewers and listeners whom they reach.

All of this is a long way of telling you that I’ve had a very busy few weeks talking to reporters, producers and TV/radio hosts. Many of the interviews grew out of promotion for my book, and I make no secret of the fact that I want at least one zillion people to buy it, read it and learn from it. But I promise you that, first and foremost, I enter every interview with my primary role being that of educator, and my goal being to improve life for everyone on the planet we inhabit.

Whew! Now here’s a list of most of the media in which I’ve appeared in the last few weeks:

  • June 10 – F OX News online, discussing the decline in international adoptions and the growth of adoptions from foster care: http://tinyurl.com/FoxNewsPertman.
  • June 7 – ABC affiliate News 10’s Sacramento & Co., talking about Father’s Day, as well as about respecting children’s heritage:  http://tinyurl.com/ABCSacramento.


January 7, 2011: Expert Weighs in on LGBT Adoption: ‘Progress is Substantial’

Editor’s Note: Adam Pertman is Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national nonprofit that is the preeminent research, policy and education organization in its field. He is also the author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America. Pertman sat down with dot429 to discuss LGBT adoption, explaining the progress and the trials and tribulations.

There are claims that gay parents are unfit for parenthood.  What is your response to these claims?

Pertman: Those claims are made by people who are either uninformed or homophobic.

What are the benefits for our country and for society when more LGBT parents adopt?

Pertman: The principle benefits are for children. We often look at this as an adult issue. Of course, all adults should have the same rights, but in terms of benefits, you can have children any way you want, such as by surrogacy or adoption. The fact is, there are lots of lesbian and gay people who want to give homes to children, so the real victims when that isn’t allowed to happen are the kids who wind up in temporary or group care or some other less advantageous situation. Yes, we should be working for equal rights for all, but the bottom line is, we’re here for the kids.

The number of LGBT people adopting is on the rise. What are the statistics?

Continue reading

In Whose Best Interests?

February 9, 2011

The professional consensus in the child-welfare and adoption worlds is that decisions relating to the placement of children into new families should be made, first and foremost, to benefit the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society. You know the mantra: “In the best interests of the child.” Trouble is, too often, it’s lip service paid by sometimes well-intentioned and sometimes less high-minded adults who have other agendas – economic, political, ideological, personal or all of the above. Kids don’t vote, don’t lobby and don’t legislate, so the grownups most often get their way.

All this comes to mind because Arizona’s Senate is considering legislation (SB 1188) that would revise state law to mandate that “ a married man and woman” receive preference in the adoption of children. Individuals would  be permitted to adopt under specific circumstances, for instance if a married couple was unavailable, if the alternative was long-term foster care and – ready for it? – if it served “the best interests of the child.”

Looking at a state that does not have married couples lining up around the block to provide homes for children in need of them (that goes for every state, by the way); in which gays and lesbians are not permitted to marry; in which about one-third of children in foster care, including some with the toughest special needs, are currently being adopted by singles – and in light of research clearly showing that children grow up far better in permanent, loving families regardless of the number or type of parents – I think it’s fair to ask whether the idea here is to engineer a better future for boys and girls, or to conduct some social engineering.