Πέμπτη, 3 Μαΐου 2018

Bill on “Measures promoting Foster Care and Adoption” our Views


Bill on “Measures promoting Foster Care and Adoption” (2nd meeting – hearing of invited representatives of agencies)


STELLA BELIA (Chairwoman of “Ouranio Tokso Families” (Rainbow Families Greece):
We consider this to be a positive step, although we understand it is merely an administrative bill drafted to resolve long-standing problems. We consider that unifying all registries is a very positive step, so that we know who the children are and who the applying foster and adoptive parents are. All this is a positive step and we generally believe this to be a bill in the right direction, in order to resolve problems faced by all those children, including unaccompanied minors.
I believe that such a focus of public consultation on whether same-sex couples should become foster parents, all this fuss in the news about adoption etc, is only unfair to this bill and its intentions. At the same time, this bill is unfair to us, too. We would expect this administration not to tell usyou can also be a-bit-of parents, foster parents and caregivers, but not actual parents”. Once again you consider us to be lesser citizens, and this is a discrimination.
I understand it is not the Minister’s intention to tell us that, and objections would refer to the fact that the Civil Law should change first, but I do not know why this was not done yet. As I have said before in a room like this one, we are not here to take children away from their parents, this is not our aim. We have our own children, and they are discriminated againstthe Ombudsman has referred to this discrimination. Our right to parenthood is not negotiable, we are not infertile or childless, we do have children of our own. Yet, the law deprives these children of certain rights and tomorrow you will have to apologise why children of straight couples have more rights, such as a legal relationship with their second parent.  This bill could have resolved such issues with some corrective actions, but there is the legal paradox (that two persons of the same sex cannot jointly be parents of the same child. We are parents; I have openly said that I have two biological children. Mr Perpatidis has two biological children and a stepchild from his partner, and he will talk in a while. There is a huge paradox that gay men cannot / should not have children, whereas we should let women become moms, if they want to. But men, no, by no means.




ANTONIS PERPATIDIS (Member of Rainbow Families Greece):
Yes, for us visibility is very important, that is for the average person to see that we exist and we are not the monsters that have only one objective, to molest poor little children. I was pleasantly surprised so far by the positive approach of agencies in this room. For us it is important to lift any discrimination against our children and ourselves. Of course, in this discussion one cannot help considering the everyday difficulties we have in comparison to children raised by straight couples. There is this extreme scenario that our children, for some reason whatsoever, are no longer protected by their biological parent, and then what? How will this system work in our case, since there is no provision for what I would call cross-adoption, ie the second (non-biological) parent adoption. Thank you.


(Question by Ms ELISABETH SKOUFA)

[…] I would also like to address a question to Ms Belia from Rainbow Families: what are the forms of families that exist so far in the context of Rainbow Families, and what are the outstanding legal issues not resolved by this bill?


(Question by Ms PARASKEVI / EVI CHRISTOFILOPOULOU)

[…] Finally, a question for Ms. Belia from Rainbow Families: what would you respond to all those talking (both in this room and in civil society) about bullying. What is your Groups picture of this?

STELLA BELIA (Chairwoman of Rainbow Families Greece):
First, I would like to reply to Ms Christofilopoulou. According to our experience as parents – that is what I want everybody to digest, that we already have children that live in this society, although some would resent this – there are more chances for our children to face bullying because they are short or fat or not very competent with sports or for any other reason that triggers bullying, than because they have a lesbian mom. That is my personal experience.

I have two biological children aged 11, since a biological connection is very important to some people. My twins have never been bullied and for their school I am Antonis’ and Yannis’ mom, instead of who I am for others.
Therefore, I think that children take the position they merit on their own, and parents should empower them to deal with anything that may come. I cannot change the mind of others, but I can empower my children so that they can deal with any type of bullying and not let that become a trauma for their development.
So, I believe that bullying could be easily addressed by the State by introducing the idea of diversity in schools, the idea of various forms of families so that nobody is seen as a freak. I work in education myself and I know very simple ways to do that. My colleagues all over Greece have already started introducing this idea and let children know that there is not only one kind of family, with a dad and a mom who are married and live under the same roof, because this is not the full picture. People may evaluate this stereotype as the best possible family, but this is not actually true.
We cannot evaluate a family by the sexual orientation or gender identity of parents and we were glad to hear that even from the representative of the Church – because so far we got only hate speech from that side such as “spit on them, shoot them”.
Therefore, our families do exist, our children are out there, and if you are really that much interested in protecting them (I am happy to see so much interest and I hope it is not out of hypocrisy) do as you do with all children. As I said before, my children are discriminated against, starting with this bill that does not set the conditions for their non-biological parent to have a legal connection with them.

As I have said before, if I should die, I have no idea where my children would go, to whom, be it some orphanage or some blood relative. So, do protect our children, too. It was said, in here and out there as well, that we have an aging population, so my answer to Ms Skoufa is that our families are both original and reconstructed/blended, our children come from previous relationships, heterosexual marriages etc, yet the most common way is through artificial insemination, surrogacy etc and all this is not covered by this bill.
Likewise, lesbian couples in a civil union can no longer proceed with artificial insemination, and this is a legal paradox. Here we are discussing about whether gay men and lesbians could become foster or adoptive parents because until today the law allowed for single persons to become parents and sexual orientation was not a criterion. Hopefully, social workers have never had, so far, to take into account someones sexual orientation or gender identity when carrying out their evaluation for a caregiver, so many people have formed their families through fostering or adoption as single parents.
Now, they are faced with the same problems as Mr Perpatidis and I are faced, being biological parents. One should either see things honestly and move forward living in 2018, or else keep playing hide-and-seek. And tomorrow it will be my children, your children, everyone’s children that will be the judge of what could have been done and what was actually done.


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