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The Marriage Amendment and Adoption

October 25, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

I'm going to start this letter with a disclaimer: I am 16 years old. I cannot vote, and the reader can take my opinions with a grain of salt if they wish to. With this letter, I am endorsing neither a "Yes" vote nor a "No" vote on the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. I am addressing only the role of adoption in this debate.

I attended the Brown County Free Fair this summer and stopped by the Vote Yes booth. Honestly, I was just curious to what the people operating the booth had to say. As we began our discussion, they quickly brought up the idea and importance of procreation within marriage. I listened to them thoughtfully until they used the phrase "adoption." The people at the Vote Yes booth told me that if a gay or lesbian couple adopted children, it would cause the adopted child to feel confused about where they "belong" and who their biological parents really are.

Unbeknownst to the man and woman to whom I was talking, I am an adopted child, and a living, breathing example. A 16-year-old girl conceived a baby girl in early 1996, and accepted the fact that she couldn't raise her child in her circumstance. I was adopted to a heterosexual couple when I was six weeks old. I am like many adopted people throughout the world in that all I know of my biological parents are their first names.

According to a pamphlet I picked up from the booth entitled "77 Non-Religious Reasons to Support Man/Woman Marriage," children have "the best life chances" when they are raised by their biological parents.

Personally, I think I'm turning out OK. I earn good grades, and I'm a varsity soccer player. I participated in the MSHSL State Speech Tournament last year. I'm also actively involved in drama, and I'm planning on going to college... I wasn't raised by my biological parents.

So when you tell me that I don't have as good of a chance in life because I was conceived out of wedlock and given to a family who wholeheartedly wanted me, it really hurts. And who's to say that an adopted child raised by a homosexual couple doesn't feel the same way I do?

I fully acknowledge that your vote is in no way, shape, or form my business. I trust that the citizens of this state can make well-informed decisions about the world in which we live. All that I'm asking is that the worth of adopted children please be left out of this debate. Don't use us as your argument, your "selling point." We are not commodities. We are people.

Peyton Lewis

New Ulm



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