Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oprah covers "Inspiring Households" including male couple with foster and adopted children

Today, Oprah aired a program about “Inspiring Households” and a couple of them certainly attracted attention.

Mark and Andy are a Texas gay male couple that wanted children. The first adoption agency told them that no agency would place a child in a same-sex home, but a second agency accepted them. They took on a series of foster children from a children’s shelter, some of them disabled or autistic. Eventually, they adopted four of the children. They explained on the show that many foster children are not available for adoption, but often are returned to blood relatives. In the video segments, there was snow on the ground, and it was not apparent if they might have gone out of state, or found the children in the higher Panhandle region (Amarillo) where winter snow is frequent.

Earlier Oprah presented a mega-adoption story from North Carolina. Fourteen families adopted a total of 31 children from the same orphanage in Liberia, a country in West Africa. Six of the children were adopted by one “empty nester” couple.

Liberia was settled by freed slaves from the United States starting in 1822, with a republic formed in 1847. Liberia has been torn by civil war in recent years, obscure to Americans but somewhat like the conflict in Sierra Leone reported by Sebastian Junger. The orphanage mentioned in the show was destroyed as a result of this conflict, and over 400 children were left homeless.

The whole experience leading to the adoption started in 2003 when a North Carolina family already with two girls attended a vocal concert given by children from the orphanage. The music activity reminds one of a similar effort with children in Uganda (the documentary movie “War Dance”) and even Venezuela, as recently documented on CBS “60 Minutes” (drama blog July 20).

The families talked about wanting the adopted boys to grow up to be husbands and fathers, which seemed a bit ironic when Oprah’s next segment presented the male couple household from Texas.

The link for the show is here.

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