Bear with me, this e-mail is kind of long. Something I read today made me very sad. I heard today that a friend had seen a photolisting on AdoptUSkids.org of a 16 year old girl available for adoption who was very clearly a masculine female, quite possibly a butch lesbian (or maybe trans, who knows) and whose caseworker had written a description along the lines of “dresses masculine, but the right family will help her learn how to be more ladylike.” My stomach sunk. The text has since been changed since it was obviously brought to the website’s attention that this was inappropriate and homophobic. However, it is a reminder of the fact that LGBT teens (especially LGBT teens of color) languish in foster care or even in group homes simply because of the lack of LGBT-friendly adoptive homes.
It was brought to my attention that the young person I mentioned above, as well as another masculine 16 year old female, are both looking for adoptive homes. They live in Louisiana and Missouri but can be adopted by folks in pretty much any state. Their situations are different, but they both share the need to find homes that can meet their needs, including (in my opinion) homes that respect and honor their sexual and gender identities/expressions, whatever those may end up being. I looked at these photolistings and imagined myself as a teen in their shoes and really felt moved to try to help these kids find committed, loving families. One writes that for her sweet sixteen she wants a permanent family.
Adopting a teenager waiting in the foster care system who is listed on AdoptUSKids.org can generally be done by someone in any state, as long as they have a homestudy. I know they accept homestudies done by your local foster care agency / CPS, but they may also accept privately completed homestudies (I’m not sure). You can inquire even if you don’t have a homestudy completed yet, though you’re less likely to get a response. You needn’t be financially well-off at all… Generally a teen adoption costs nothing (other than possible travel expenses to meet the child) and will include a monthly subsidy and quite possibly Medicaid for the child. You needn’t be the “normal” age to have a 16 year old (people in their early 20s adopt teens, as do people in their 70s!) These kids need culturally competent, permanent homes and families to help see them into adulthood. I don’t know the details of their cases but I want to help them find homes by getting the word out about their existence to queer and queer-friendly adults who may know someone interested in adopting a “gender variant” kid.
Please pass this on to anyone who might be interested!