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Cole Parker

Good stuff --

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I am so glad that some people see gay, lesbian, and bi people as good parents. It even happens in my state. It isn't common, but it's there. These may be the kids of parents who divorced. Or these may be kids adopted or fostered, and who need, very much need, a good home. Being an older kid, or disabled, or whatever other factors make a kid "hard to place" means that kid needs a hom, a family, love, friendship.

"Hard to place" -- too often means, "many people are too hard-hearted to want this child." (Note the difference between that and "unwanted," becuase there are people who would want a kid, regardless of whatever he or she has been through.)

LGBT people often know full well what it is like to feel unwanted or rejected by some group of people. This means there is at least one qualification there that gives them something in common, an empathy, with a "hard to place" kid who may feel like he or she has been bypassed a few times too often.

As a teen imagining my future, my expectations and wishes and goals, of course I thought I'd have that wife and kids, dog and cat, home and yard and white picket fence, the ideal family. When it began to dawn on me I was gay, one of the things that discouraged me was that, not only did I not expect a spouse (at the time, I couldn't yet imagine a boyfriend, being one or having one, let alone a partner) but I thought that meant no chance at having children, biological or adopted. In my world-view at the time, and even at college age, I thought there was no way a gay man (or a gay couple or partners) would be allowed to be a parent. Much as the idea of a boyfriend didn't seem possible, so didn't having kids. (The boyfriend issue was negative self-image as much as social pressure or any actual experience.)

It did not occur to me why I was wrong about those assumptions, either. I believed in my heart that because I was gay, that meant being a dad, having a son or daughter, would not be possible. It was a hurtful thing. I loved my family. I wanted to pass on all that love and togetherness and nurturing. -- In that, I was no different than most gay kids who come to the realization that they're gay and therefore, their lives will be affected in ways they did not plan on, couldn't have foreseen. -- And I was, of course, wrong. There are gay parents out there. Their kids are great kids.

My parents considered adoption, sometime after it became clear to them that they weren't going to have the six kids my mom said they'd wanted, only me. Unfortunately, they told me while I was still a kid that they had considreed adoption and didn't. That marked one of the starts of a change in our relationship. Oddly enough, I felt somehow rejected too, that they hadn't further considered adopting a brother or sister. There's more to all that, on both sides, of course, but I always thought what a shame it was that they gave in to doubts and didn't adopt. It could've made a huge difference for all of us, myself, the adopted sibling, and my parents.

As a gay man whose parents and grandparents are now deceased, with no siblings and all other relatives far away, and most friends not nearby, oh, does the idea of family (and friends) hold appeal for me.

Gay folks have one other skill that's very important: They often have to create a support network of friends and "family by choice" or "created family." These are people who make up for the biological family gay people may lack. The ability to discern who is close enough to be family, to choose someone (and have them choose you) as family is a vital skill. (Vital: lively, live-giving.)

That is, too, exactly what an adopted or fostered child needs: Someone, a group of people, who choose him or her as family, one of the deepest connections we humans make to one another.

I wish someone had told me, when I was a boy and a young man coming to grips with being gay, that I did not have to give up on the dream of being and having a husband or partner and having kids to share my life with. It would have made a big difference if I'd understood that, been able to see that was possible instead of impossible.

I think it's one of the things we all still face today, whether first facing that we might not be entirely straight, or whether starting that life on our own. Or even, like me, starting a new stage in life. I am really starting over, almost from scratch, but I am having real trouble letting go and taking that bold leap out into the unknown but intriguing world of new possibilities.

Yes, it's a digression. But I wish happiness and more, belonging and acceptance, by choice, for all those out there who need a family, and that includes those kids needing adoption and fostering, as well as those who simply need a family, a parent, a sibling, a child.

And I really wish some people could get over the idea that being gay is somehow unfit or immoral or...whatever. I am at least as moral and fit as any of the other people out there wandering around being parents and siblings and children of families. I am a lot more celibate / less promiscuous than those opposing think too, but that's really even less of their business than how fit I'd be to be a dad. It wouldn't be their family, their ideals, so...keep your noses out of it, would you? Thanks.

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