January's Robert O'Brien Trophy Winner: Joseph Farah

For the second time in three months, Joseph Farah, owner of the Worldnutdaily, is the winner of the Robert O'Brien Trophy (formerly the Idiot of the Month Award). His latest foray into the world of sheer idiocy is this column, called The Threat to Adoption. Actually, it's not so much the column itself. There is much in it that I agree with. For instance, he says:

Imagine this horror, if you can.

You're a 3½-year-old child.

One day, you are taken away from the only people you have ever known as Mommy and Daddy and told you will now be living with strangers.

It is happening all too often in this country.

It happens when judges playing God take children away from biological parents because they are "unfit." And, increasingly, it happens when judges playing God take children away from perfectly fit adoptive parents and place them with biological parents for no other reason than they have "changed their minds" and now want the children they previously signed away.

I agree with him completely on this. Parenting has very little to do with biology and everything to do with psychology. Once a child has spent an appreciable amount of time in an adoptive family, that becomes the foundation of their emotional security. If someone gives up a child for adoption and that child has bonded with their new parents, the biological parents changing their mind should be totally irrelevant. Only the best interests of the child matter in such cases. Farah is right. So why am I naming him the idiot of the month? Because of the astonishing hypocrisy he shows by "imagining the horror" of children being ripped away from loving parents, yet being all for it if those loving parents happen to be gay.

The Worldnutdaily constantly features the most ridiculous articles hammering gay adoption. They even had one breathlessly titled, Could your kids be given to 'gay' parents?, which had the absurd thesis that state agencies were forcibly taking children away from straight parents for no reason other than to give them to gay parents. Farah is willing to bring out all the emotional guns to convince his readers of the horror of the situation, describing the scene in excruciating detail:

These are heartbreaking scenes, as we witnessed last weekend when 3½-year-old Evan Scott was taken away from the only parents he ever knew - Gene and Dawn Scott, his adoptive family that raised him beginning two days after he was born - and placed with his biological mother, Amanda Hopkins.

"He told me, as I was walking out the door with him, 'Mommy, I'm scared. Mommy, I'm scared,'" Dawn Scott said. "I told him, 'It's going to be OK ... Mommy and Daddy will try to do everything they can to bring you back home. We love you, and you're a good boy. This is not your fault.'"

Before he was handed over, Evan was heard wailing in his home.

And I don't doubt for a moment that this was the case. It breaks my heart too. But where is Farah when a child is taken away from parents merely because they're gay and given to people with no biological connection to them at all? Where was his webrag when the Supreme Court turned down the Lofton case that would have overturned Florida's ban on gay adoption and prevent children from being taken away from the only parents they had ever known? They were busy ranting about the evils of gay adoption, of course. Farah writes:

Whatever happened to the idea that in family court it's the best interests of the child that counts most?

How could it possibly be in the best interests of a child to be stripped from the loving arms of his loving parents?

Yet, he cares not a bit that Florida's ban on gay adoption could very well mean that children who have been placed with gay foster parents could be taken away from the only parents they have ever known. Steve Lofton and Roger Croteau raised 6 foster children from infancy, most of them with special needs, the youngest of which is now 14 years old. They are a happy and well adjusted family by all accounts. Yet the state of Florida is still trying to find another family for Bert, the youngest (Florida law deems him, at 14, "still adoptable" so they continue to search for new parents for him), who has been with this family for his entire life. Where is Farah's outrage that this child could be ripped from the only family he has known for 14 years? It's non-existent. Because those parents are gay, you see, and they don't count because gays are evil and yucky. This is what passes for thinking among the hardcore "Christian" right, and too often what passes for compassion as well.

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Maybe you should make another award. Call it the Joseph Farah award (aka, the homophobe trophy). Yeah, I know, I brought up a similar topic a month or two ago with the frequency of awards, but it'd be funny :)

Great writeup though! Your blog is the first one I've ever regularly read and you never seem to disappoint!

But even worse that Farah's hypocrisy on gay parents is the media hype on this case. According to an interview with the biological father of the child in question, since the child was 6 months old he has had regular visitation with both his biological mother and father (the state grants the biological parents a brief window to "change their minds" and they opted to do so in that window - which was in the child's first year of life, NOT 3 1/2 years later). The child allegedly understands that he had both potential-adoptive parents (the adoption was not completed) and birth parents, so the belief that he was taken from "the only parents he'd ever known," is a stretch. In fact, the father had videotape taken the same day of the child apparently happily joining in a meal with his biological parents.

Farah, and many others, neglect to investigate whether the adoptive parents, who apparently knew the risks when they tried to adopt this child, purposely tried to get the child bonded to them emotionally, and dragged out the case in order to hold onto the child.

Like so many other things, the "truth" in this matter is not nearly as clear as some would make it.