Maxi salutes foster parents

Maxi salutes foster parents

Recently I was invited to dinner by two of my very good friends, Peter and Matt. The boys have been together seven years and have had the commitment ceremony. They are my pin-up couple of marital bliss. Dinner plans, as commonly happens in the 21st century, were relayed and confirmed by SMS, so I didn’t actually pick up on the “come after 7pm as the kids go to bed then” line. I just assumed it was a puppy or other pet that needed to be fed and bedded down in the laundry before the main course hit the table.

So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into their home and found two young boys, aged eight and five, preparing for bed.

The eight-year-old was finishing off his homework; then, after a short chat with me, he headed off to bed for a quick story and a good night’s sleep.

The five-year-old was already in bed, but made a point of regularly letting us know he was still there.

Both children were polite, courteous and friendly and I for one was impressed that neither batted an eyelid when it came time to give their daddies a kiss goodnight.

Once they were in dreamland, the questions started. I soon found out that after many months and interviews Peter and Matt had been accepted as foster parents. They are giving the two brothers a home, at least in the short term – though there is the prospect of a long-term placement.

But what really struck me were the looks on Peter and Matt’s faces anytime they spoke about these two gorgeous children. The happiness the brothers had brought into their home was extraordinary.

They were a complete family unit and many times I had to assure them it was fine to talk constantly about the children in an effort to stop them from constantly apologising.

I have never been a clucky person, though I am from a large family and have been surrounded by children for a long time thanks to a bevy of nephews and nieces. But seeing how well this thrown-together family unit interacted really got me thinking – why aren’t more gay and lesbian couples pursuing foster care?

There are so many children out there in need of good, stable homes, you’d think the government would be knocking down our doors.

For our community, having a child is not just about turkey basters, IVF programs and surrogacy agreements. We plan and prepare for the event for years beforehand – both mentally and financially. I know of gay and lesbian families that function considerably better than my traditional family ever did.

These are parents who cherish every single moment with their children not only because of the effort it takes to have them, but because of the joy they bring into the lives of everyone around them.

To all the gay mums and dads out there, I applaud you. And to the powers that be, I say put your own personal bigotries aside and start looking at the needs of the children. Same-sex couples clearly make great parents. It is about time you recognised that.

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