Foley weighs in on adoption law

WITH some poignant personal reflections, Maryborough MP Chris Foley yesterday joined the debate that has followed Anna Bligh's decision to allow de facto couples to adopt, while ruling out the possibility of same-sex couples adopting in the near future.

Ms Bligh announced new laws allowing same-sex couples to take part in altruistic surrogacy would be in place by the end of the year.

While moving to defend the right of women “to choose their own destiny”, Mr Foley highlighted what he called the tragedy of so many people wanting to adopt and so few babies available for adoption.

“When I was growing up, a very close family that I spent a lot of time with had an adopted daughter. I had no experience of adoption until then. That particular child was greatly loved,” he told the Queensland Parliament.

“She still maintains a wonderful relationship with the family. She has gone on to have children of her own.”

Mr Foley is particularly disturbed by statistics showing that in the 2005-06 year there were only 82 babies available for adoption in Queensland.

“That is not the alarming bit of the statistic. The alarming bit is that there were only eight babies available for general adoption.

“Of that 82, there were eight general adoptions, 13 relative adoptions and 61 - by far the largest - foreign adoptions.

“The thing that really distresses me is that, whilst there were only 90 babies available for adoption ... there were also 10,000 abortions in Queensland last year.”

Mr Foley spotlighted a move away from the traditional family unit as a source of what he called society's woes.

“I am a father of six kids. We still have five with us. We lost a child at three in a road accident. I would do anything for my children; I love them. Every one of us as members of parliament sees the fallout in our offices of dysfunctional family units. We see the poor little kids who get abused and tossed from parent to parent. Often intergenerational inadequacies in parenting get passed down. We have kids raising kids and so forth. It really beggars belief.

“I guess there is a parallel if we look at, say, a mental health unit in an area. If it has 20 beds available it can really only house the 20 people most desperately in need.

“I think what happens is that when we have so few babies available for adoption then the criteria has to be so much tighter. Imagine if there were any number of babies available for adoption. Obviously the criteria in terms of people's suitability to be parents would have to be met but we would not need stupid things like bumping people off an adoption list for being overweight.

“I believe that the more we drift away from traditional family values the more we become like a boat adrift on a sea of ideological relativity.

“Before the mid-1970s unmarried pregnant women were strongly encouraged to release their babies for adoption by infertile married couples.

“A lot of people do not realise that adoptions of Australian children reached a peak of nearly 10,000 in 1971 but declined dramatically shortly afterwards as abortion and government support for single mothers became so readily available."

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