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How many Catholic adoption societies have actually closed down; and how many are now quietly handing children over to gay adoptive parents?

Which formerly Catholic adoption societies have changed their names, accepted the law, and been quietly accepted by their bishops?

By on Thursday, 4 July 2013

Bishop Kieran Conry  (Photo: Mazur)

Bishop Kieran Conry (Photo: Mazur)

What did you think has been going on, since the full implementation of the Labour Government’s legislation making it compulsory for adoption agencies — including Catholic adoption agencies — to place children with gay couples, or at least seriously to consider such adoptions? Cardinal Cormac made it plain that Catholic adoption agencies would have to close if they were not allowed to opt out of the new legislation, and some Catholic charities, like the Catholic Children’s Society, Westminster, and the Catholic Children’s Rescue Society in Salford did indeed decide to close their adoption services. Others agreed to accept the new regulations and cut their ties with the Church: some Catholic bishops, indeed, shamefully encouraged them to do so.

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton argued that his local adoption agency was absolutely right to drop the word “Catholic” from its name in order to survive after the Government legislated for gay adoption. He explained that it was not worth the Church fighting a legal battle it was going to lose. The adoption agency connected to his diocese changed its name to the Cabrini Children’s Society and agreed to comply with the law. “It’s not that Catholics aren’t interested in this any more,” said Bishop Conry. “But we’re not going to have a public fight that we’re possibly going to lose and come out of it with everyone suffering.”

In other words, don’t fight whether you’re right or wrong: simply conform if we’re “possibly going to lose”. Did he tell them that not only were they no longer now a Catholic society, but that they could no longer raise funds from Catholic congregations? Of course not. But that’s what happened in the diocese of Lancaster. As Protect the Pope recounts, Bishop O’Donoghue directed (in line, I innocently supposed, with what all other Catholic bishops were doing), that the Diocese of Lancaster’s adoption agency, Catholic Caring Services, should refuse to co-operate with the new Act by insisting that it could not place children with homosexual couples because it was against the ‘primacy’ of the children’s best interests, and against the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholic Caring Services, however, refused to follow Bishop O’Donoghue’s directive, its board of directors then voted to accept homosexual couples as adopters. Bishop O’Donoghue then informed Catholic Caring Services that it was no longer recognised as an agency of the Diocese of Lancaster, could no longer call itself a Catholic charity, and could not fund-raise in Catholic Schools and Catholic parishes.

Catholic Caring Services was then renamed ‘Caritas Care’ (Bishop Conry-style), and applied for membership of Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN). This, if you had never heard of it (and most people are barely aware of its existence) is, according to its website the official agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for “domestic social action”. They are, they say, a family of social action charities collectively known as the Caritas network. The Caritas network claims to “work for the most vulnerable people of society across England and Wales, providing support for families and children, the elderly, the homeless, refugees, the disabled, and prisoners. The national team of CSAN, based in London, works to strengthen and facilitate the network, conduct policy and advocacy work and use its ‘voice’ at a national level.”

Have you heard its “voice” at a national, or any other level? Me neither. However, CSAN is, I’m sure doing its best; the important thing to note here is that it officially represents the Catholic Bishops’ conference. So, presumably it supports the Catholic bishops, no? So when Catholic Caring Services was renamed “Caritas Care”, and when it then sought membership of CSAN, a body whose membership is confined to Catholic organisations in good standing, it was presumably politely told that they couldn’t join them because their policy was not Catholic and neither were they? Actually NO, it wasn’t told that: it was told, come on in, who cares about Bishop O’Donoghue. (Actually, I made that last bit up, but I bet it’s not far from the truth of what happened).

Let us be clear what happened here. An official agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales deliberately ignored the competent legal authority’s decision to declare that Caritas Care is no longer an agency of the Diocese of Lancaster, and can therefore no longer call itself a ‘Catholic’ charity. This, in Deacon Nick’s words, was “a scandalous disregard of the authority of an ordinary by an episcopal conference”. It also appeared to be a de facto acceptance that Caritas Care, despite handing over children to homosexual adopters, is still a Catholic organisation.

That was a year or so ago; Bishop O’Donoghue retired in 2009. Has CSAN changed in any way since then? I see that Caritas Care is described on the CSAN website simply as “a major charity in the north west of England, whose Catholic roots inform its character and mission”. Hmmm. Nothing there about adoption, I see, nor about this as being still a Catholic organisation: just stuff about its “roots” (which I supposed it had deliberately pulled up). Has there been a change of policy? CSAN itself seems not to be entirely what it was. Since the grim events of Bishop O’Donoghue’s day, an English bishop of similar mind, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, has been appointed to CSAN’s very board of trustees. What does this portend? I don’t know: but I have an ineradicably optimistic temperament. CSAN’s patron is Archbishop Vincent Nichols, I see. Does his agreement to the appointment of Bishop Davies to the CSAN board mean that he is himself undergoing a Ratzingerian policy rethink? I think I must be joking: but wouldn’t it be really good if this were one of those true things spoken in jest? Wishful thinking? Of course it is. All the same, even more impossible things have been known…

  • Joseph

    not sure why “younger ages” are mentioned here.

  • Joseph

    Sorry, Regnerus is quoted again and again because it is the only study that appears to lend support to the desired conclusion. If there were any other studies they would be quoted. Statistically Regnerus seems to be a minority of one.

  • Dave

    Brilliant. Not blessed. A man of shifting allegiances. Perhaps honest at the end, though until the end he was willing to make any recantation that offered him a chance to save his own skin. He sacrificed his soul for protestantism only when accepting the Catholic Church would no longer save his flesh.

  • aaglaas

    Yes… they don’t like that he’s trying to actively follow the teachings of Christ, rather than just adhering to blind tradition or dogma, or that his criticisms touch exactly the self-righteous and judgmental behavior you see coming from certain individuals in here. Here’s an excerpt from a very interesting article on him by ABC that I’ll include a link to below. “During his speech to the cardinal conclave, he warned that, “When the church does not emerge from itself to evangalize, it becomes self-referential and therefore becomes sick.” He warned of “self-referentiality” and “theological narcissism.” He also criticized a “mundane church that lives within itself, of itself and for itself.”

    ‘Pope’s Reform Path: Francis Shakes Up Church Establishment’

    A ‘Sick’ Church of ‘Theological Narcissism’

  • aaglaas

    I completely agree.

  • Julian Lord

    Natural Law is established by Reason not by Revelation

    Natural Law is in fact deduced from Reality, and whether this deduction is provided by Reason or Revelation is quite secondary.

    It is in any case not derived from ideology.

  • Julian Lord

    They have also lost the ex-gay argument

    The reality is that there are many people who may experiment with homosexuality only to abandon it in later life. It is shameful that the rights and freedoms of such people are being trampled upon for purely pro-homosexual ideological “reasons”.

  • Julian Lord

    It would be very interesting to me, and perhaps a few others, to hear what you regard as your sins

    This prurient interest of yours is perfectly horrid.

    Not to mention self-righteous, as the full irony of your statements will most likely have escaped your notice.

  • Julian Lord

    There’s organised intellectual censorship and bullying in a nutshell for you — anyone having actually *read* his study knows full well that the gay lobby has completely distorted and misrepresented his findings as well as having engaged in some utterly foul and loathesome personal attacks against the man himself.

  • $20596475

    Not at all. It was just surprising to hear that you thought had any sins as it is not obvious from your contributions here.

    You are at Premier League level in the self righteousness competition, so I will not even try to compete. I know my limitations.

  • Julian Lord

    The word “self-righteous” is another whose proper definition appears to be absent from your awareness.

    Self-righteousness … is a feeling or display of (usually smug) moral superiority derived from a sense that one’s beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person

    This is an apt characterisation of your typical contributions.

  • whytheworldisending

    The statistics show that practicing homosexuals are much more promiscuous than heterosexuals, that is a much larger proportion are serial fornicators – as you say, they are people not “many adoption agencies would want to place children with.”

    So why the pretence by Cameron and his disciples? Same Sex “Marriage” is in that context a sham. Why the sham? Because they want to offload the 67,000 children in care onto ANYBODY in order to get rid of them to SAVE MONEY.

    That is a scandal that will make Jimmy Saville seem like a saint when the statistics finally come through on the fate of these children. They are of course the children of the poor so to the rich they simply do not count.

    You say “Homosexuality exists in the animal world, so what you are talking of here is not “nature’s role”, but…”

    However, in the animal world, flies eat excrement and bats suck the blood of other animals. Such behaviour is natural for flies and bats. It does not follow that it is natural for humans.

    Homosexuality is unnatural for humans, and at the risk of stating the obvious, like other unnatural behaviours, such as incest for example, it is harmful to the species.

  • whytheworldisending

    They are not my statistics. They are Crime Statistics produced by the the Police in England and Wales, and they show that practicing homosexuals are more likely to rape children.

  • whytheworldisending

    Being in a sexual relationship has in itself no social utility value. Myra Hindley and Ian Brady were “lovers.” What good was that relationship to society? The key is self-denial for love of others as is found in traditional marriage – for the benefit of children. Having a common interest in sexual self-indulgence is just the opposite, and that is what the campaign for homosexual partnerships is about – that and Pride.

  • $24570317

    The questions concern how the raw data is obtained and how results are interpreted. Further, as pointed out elsewhere, there is a continuum of sexual orientation from 100% heterosexual to 100% homosexual.

  • EdinburghEye

    The “New Family Structures Study”, so far the only major study which is asserted to have shown that same-sex parenting is bad for children, was funded by American conservative think-tanks explicitly to “discover” that same-sex parenting is bad for children. If you’re interested in the problematic background to this study, you can read about that here.

    But it’s also worth noting that the published paper which you cited was published prematurely, explicitly so that it would be available to be cited to the Supreme Court in advance of their DOMA decision. The full data set from which the author of the paper says he drew his conclusions is not at present available. None of the independent studies carried out by scientists who were interested in finding facts support this ideological and politically-motivated paper.

    If youi were concerned for the welfare of children, you would not refer to them or their families as “crass” or “evil”. You would want gay parents to be proud of their families, and you would want children of gay parents to be proud of their fathers or their mothers: that is the “gay pride agenda”, and anyone who was prepared to put concern for children ahead of ideology would support it. That instead you unthinkingly throw around insults and abuse about these children and their families is very telling. You don’t care for their welfare.

  • pascal78

    Me too

  • $20596475

    Here are a few other definitions of “self righteous”:-

    “Sanctimoniousness, sententiousness, and holier-than-thou attitudes”.

    “Convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others : narrow-mindedly moralistic”.

    “Confident of one’s own righteousness, especially when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others”.

    Now tell me. Who does that really sound like? Especially the first!

  • aaglaas

    I’m sorry, but you’re completely wrong. It is entirely natural and part of the way God designed our species and many others.

    “One fundamental premise in social debates has been that homosexuality is unnatural. This premise is wrong. Homosexuality is both common and highly essential in the lives of a number of species,” explains Petter Boeckman, who is an academic advisor at the University of Oslo.

    No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual.

    Among giraffes, nine out of ten pairings occur between males.

    Lions practice homosexuality. Male lions often band together with their brothers to lead the pride. To ensure loyalty, they strengthen the bonds by often having sex with each other.

    Homosexuality is also quite common among dolphins and killer whales. The pairing of males and females is fleeting, while between males, a pair can stay together for years.

    Over 1,500 animal species practice homosexuality.

    Homosexuality is quite common in the animal kingdom, especially among herding animals. Many animals solve conflicts by practicing same gender sex.

    The specific pairing of same sex couples had previously been observed in more than 1,000 species including penguins, dolphins and primates.

    However, in the latest study it was found that the phenomenon is not only widespread but part of a necessary biological adaptation for the survival of the species.

    On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, almost a third of the Laysan albatross population is raised by pairs of two females because of the shortage of males. Through these ‘lesbian’ unions, Laysan albatross are flourishing. Their existence had been dwindling before the adaptation was noticed.

    Other species form same-sex bonds for other reasons, they found. Dolphins have been known engage in same-sex interactions to facilitate group bonding while male-male pairings in locusts killed off the weaker males.

    A pair of “gay” penguins recently hatched an egg at a German zoo after being given the egg that had been rejected by its biological parents by keepers.

    Writing in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Dr Nathan Bailey, an evolutionary biologist at California University, said previous studies have failed to consider the evolutionary consequences of homosexuality.

    Homosexual behaviour was often a product of natural selection to further the survival of the species.

    It’s clear same-sex sexual behaviour extends far beyond the well-known examples that dominate both the scientific and popular literature – for example, bonobos, dolphins, and penguins.

    Same-sex behaviours – courtship, mounting or parenting – are traits that have been shaped by natural selection, a basic mechanism of evolution that occurs over successive generations.

  • aaglaas

    It’s too bad all those ‘public’ confessions and begging you do for ‘forgiveness’ from a priest to show how ‘righteous’ you are, but never from your fellow human souls you hurt and sin upon in judgement, never hinders you from learning that the regularity of those sins show that you have a big problem… and that you haven’t yet learned how to stop doing those atrocious sins you ‘publicly’ confess upon.. and thus try not to repeat them endlessly again and again towards other souls as you constantly do on here..

    Since you won’t listen to or believe me unless I share the Biblical Scripture (and even not then since it’s not couched in ‘Catholic’ tradition, but since you say you are ‘Christian’ I’m hoping this penetrates your obtuseness when you ‘publically’ share how much you feel disdain, dislike, and ridicule towards those you feel are ‘heretics’.. ‘Protestants’.. or who don’t agree with your particular beliefs) ..when I say this to you, here is the teaching from Christ that relates to your behavior on this matter as you condemn to Hell all those who dispute your ideas and behaviour of setting yourself upon a throne of righteousness as you belittle and mock almost everyone around you… (Matthew 6:1-5):

    1-“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2- When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3- But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4- Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. 5-“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6-But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”


    (Matthew 7:1-5):

    1-“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2- For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    3- “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4- How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5- You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

  • Joseph

    You don’t seem to realize that sexual indulgence is very easy to find in our society. Why would anyone go to the trouble of getting married if that is all they were looking for? Gay couples (both male and female) that I know and admire have much, much more going on between them than sex –they actually build a life and contribute more happily to society than if they confined themselves to sexual indulgence as so many bachelors do. Meanwhile, it seems to me that your rhetoric about Pride amounts to little more than a way of shouting down those who disagree with you. Not all of us believe that the world is ending; we see signs of progress, greater tolerance and humanity; calling this Pride and Pelagianism is a suicidal strategy.

  • Joseph

    The ex-gay argument is not about people ch.anging sexual practices but changing sexual orientation. People who “experiment” with homosexuality are not homosexual in any strong sense. This sort of bait and switch is a form of the double think that we now see Exodus apologizing for

  • Joseph

    He thrust his arm in the fire to punish it for signing a recantation, and his change of mind was occasioned by the bloodthirsty nature of the sermon before his execution (“Today we kill a good man, but they killed our good men, Fisher and More”); otherwise he would have died a Roman Catholic. More was a zealous executor of those distributing Tyndale’s Bible, one of whom he scoffed at as “the Devil’s stinking martyr”.

  • Julian Lord

    People who “experiment” with homosexuality are not homosexual in any strong sense

    Slippery goalpost-shifting tactics do not constitute refutation of the reality that many people have in fact ceased being homosexuals and become heterosexuals instead ; nor of the fact that the repression of these people and their rights by a vicious pro-homosexual lobby is repulsive and evil.

  • Julian Lord

    Who does that really sound like?


    YOU are the one constantly shoving the “superiority” of your moral notions and rules down people’s throats, constantly deriding the morals and behaviour of others, constantly characterising the actions and wants of others as inferior to the secularist utopianism that you profess.

  • Julian Lord

    No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist

    Demonstrate, then, homosexuality in Black Widow spiders, duck-billed platypuses, coelacanth, dodos, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Aepyornis, tiger mosquitoes, and Smilodon.

    Or would that be beyond your cut’n’paste “skills” ?

  • Julian Lord

    Describing any of these as “Christian” or “Catholic” is OTOH outright mendacious.

  • Julian Lord

    I have posted nothing of any substance concerning your personal morality.

    You continue not to see the sheer irony of these personal accusations that you continually level against me in response to my attacks against the ideas that you propose, and the falsehoods that they are based on.

    I am not responsible for your confusion that attacking your ideas might somehow be a “personal attack” against your moral integrity.

    You’re just engaging in another round of your preposterous special pleading and ad hominem strawman argumentation — which BTW is self-evidently a critique of your methodology NOT of your person.

  • Dave

    St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More were very different men.

    Cranmer was unjustly killed, but he seemed to have renounced the Church at the end nevertheless, and his vacillations were hardly commendable from any perspective. St. Thomas More did call Hytton the ‘”the Devil’s stinking martyr” but was not involved in his execution–he was involved with cases of other heretics of course-but that is not why he is a saint.

  • Mark Nel

    So we just roll over. Wonderful. That is the same as stating we are wrong and they are right. Is that true? Are they right? Were we wrong?

  • Jonathan West

    I’m rather wary of arguments which start with “the statistics show” but don’t go on to actually provide any statistics. It makes me suspect that we have an example of the 72% of statistics that are made up on the spur of the moment.

    Is your problem promiscuity or homosexuality? I think that promiscuity is a valid concern for an adoption agency, which for the welfare of the child has to consider the stability and probable longevity of the relationship between the prospective parents. But there is undoubtedly a range of stability in homosexual relationships as there is in heterosexual relationships. You are trying to use what you believe to be a higher degree of promiscuity among homosexuals to justify eliminating all homosexual couples from consideration for adoption.

    I rather suspect that your real objection is the homosexuality itself, and you are casting about for justifiable pretexts for a course of action that you know would otherwise be illegal and widely regarded by the public as being bigoted.

    Homosexuality is unnatural for humans, and at the risk of stating the
    obvious, like other unnatural behaviours, such as incest for example, it
    is harmful to the species.

    I’m simply not going to bother responding again to you on the “unnatural” label. You have your own definition of “unnatural” and I am not going to bother trading definitions with you.

    But I think that you do need to justify “harmful to the species”. In what way do you think homosexuality is harmful to the species?

  • aaglaas

    Not at all, but facts and secular knowledge tend to fly right over your head, so I’ll leave you to your indoctrination.

  • Julian Lord

    aaglaas : bla-bla-bla-bla

    Translated into ordinary English : “aaglaas can in fact demonstrate no such thing

  • Julian Lord

    we have an example of the 72% of statistics that are made up on the spur of the moment

    Logical paradoxes such as this one constitute neither valid arguments nor evidence.

    You’re simply dismissing his position on the basis of an a priori, aren’t you.

    What’s missing from your own position is the full appreciation of the proper subjection of moral behaviour to the intellect, not the abandonment of the intellect to these or those animal passions and cravings.

    It is “natural”, for example, to desire physical harm or death against a sexual rival ; but self-evidently immoral to submit to such urgings and commit them into actions, and such actions are punished as being crimes.

    It is “natural” for psychotics to run around naked, and to impose their irrational behaviours upon random strangers, but we generally do not allow them to do so in our societies.

    It is “natural” that some people will desire to commit rapes, and self-mutilations, and theft, and physical assault, and mass murder, and cannibalism, and etc & etc & etc — on this fallacious “basis” that what is “natural” is what occurs in nature.

    The so-called “naturality” of homosexual urges is therefore a non-argument, and it remains to be demonstrated why on EARTH society should provide any fiscal and other financial benefits to two people simply on the basis of their sexual behaviour towards each other.

  • aaglaas

    :-)!! Congratulations! You now get a big ol’ gold star to stick upon your forehead so you can look in the mirror and tell yourself what a ‘winner’ you are.

  • fizzypilgrim

    yes I have an account under this name but I do not remember the password.

  • midnightblue

    I absolutely reject your accusation that I do not care for the children. This conversation is over.

  • $20596475

    I see my reply to your previous comment was deleted, though I cannot see why. I will therefore try to deal with the last two.

    I find it hugely ironic that you accuse me of “constantly shoving the “superiority” of your moral notions and rules down people’s throats, constantly deriding the morals and behaviour of others, constantly characterising the actions and wants of others as inferior to the secularist utopianism that you profess.” Why? Because it is a perfectly accurate description of your own approach substituting, of course, “your own version of Catholicism” in the appropriate place.

    Previously you accused me, amongst many other things, of being self righteous, and then you claim that your attacks are about my “ideas” and not me personally. I doubt that you are going to see just how ridiculous such a claim is but there is a clue there. Consider the meaning of the word “self”!

    Many of the things you criticise are not even my ideas! For instance I don’t believe in a “secularist utopianism”. That is a construct entirely of your own and a clear personal attack, no matter how often you deny it.

    Can you not comprehend that making false accusations are personal in nature and not a critique of the methodology. They would only be valid if they were true, but they are not.

    We could both critique some of these false accusations and you might well be surprised at the level of agreement we would find.

    However as it is only your opinion that I use such methodology your attacks remain personal.

    In any case, as this is a Catholic site, what is really under the microscope here isn’t me. It is Catholic ideas.

  • aaglaas

    Add to that “MENDACIOUS, MENDACIOUS, and even more MENDACIOUS” (It’s one of Jabba’s favorite words besides GIGGLE)

  • Andrew rex

    Conry said no such thing and you are intentionally trying to mis-represent him. He said words to the effect that there was a danger of being over-scrupulous and going to confession weekly to confess the same failings over and over again without an attempt to genuinely change and convert your behaviour and attitude – ie confession by itself is not sufficient without conversion. He most certainly didn’t say confession is stupid. I’m sure Pope Francis would agree.

  • kentgeordie

    Catholic Herald, 19 December 2008, page 13:
    Is it a good idea to go to Confession regularly? “No, because my own experience when we had Confession every day at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham was that regular penitents came back with exactly the same words week after week. So there you would say, actually, there is no conversion taking place.”

  • EdinburghEye

    Good to know you reject it: I trust that means you’ll refrain from hurtful, abusive language about the children’s families in future. As a reminder, that was your calling them & their families “crass” and “evil”.

  • Chrismanchester

    At last! The voice of reason. Thank you aaglas!

  • Percy_Fleur

    “Recognise” can be pretty nuanced. If it means “agree with” or “acquiesce in relation to”, then I hope not to do it in relation to a law I consider gravely unjust – conscious, of course, that failing to comply with a law is a non-trivial act.

  • $20596475

    Then we agree.

  • Daveofthenewcity

    Just for the sake a bit of counter balance, I for one am heartened by the fact that so many Catholic adoption agencies have (as I see it) put their commitment to the well-being of children above dogma. And if what you are saying is that Catholic Bishops are effectively condoning this: well done Catholic Bishops too!

  • aaglaas

    :-) Thanks SO much Chris! It’s nice to hear a voice of true Christian good-will on here, when so many others on here seem full of hate and blind dogma. Hoping your summer is going awesomely!

  • Vera

    It really makes me angry when people insist that a child needs to be raised by a married male & female. My own Catholic parents were physically & psychologically abusive and it has taken me a lifetime to overcome my horrendous upbringing. I would much prefer to have had a loving gay couple raise me.