Monday, April 04, 2011

How Alberta Emerged As A Pioneer In Gay Couples Adopting Children

[Alberta, Canada] Katelyn Kerik grew up in small-town Alberta and now lives in Red Deer. When she was 17, she learned she was pregnant. Soon after, a social worker alerted Kerik to an Alberta-based agency called Adoption Options that encourages so-called open adoption, meaning birth mothers choose adoptive parents and maintain relationships with the baby and its new family. Kerik began to think this could be the answer she was searching for. There were several things the teen was looking for in parents. An artistic and creative environment was at the top of the list. She was also determined to pick educated people who could provide for the child financially. "I wanted people who would raise her with a very open-minded outlook on life," Kerik says. When she came to the file of a couple with all of these qualities, Kerik knew she had found the perfect parents for her baby. That couple was Dennis Garnhum, artistic director of Theatre Calgary, and Bruce Sellery, a journalist and author specializing in financial planning advice.

Today, as Garnhum, 43, and Sellery, 40, watch their adopted one-year-old Abby toddle over to her toys, they recall their adoption application back in 2007. The couple was expecting to have to jump through plenty of hoops to qualify. "Adoption, marriage . These were things that would never be an option to me in my mind growing up," Garnhum says. "I didn't think about it because I knew it would never happen for me." Despite their fears, the couple was pleasantly surprised to find out that gay and lesbian parent placements had been happening in Alberta since at least 1999, seemingly with little fuss or backlash. As more gay couples move toward adoption, Alberta has emerged as a pioneer, thanks to some unlikely, and perhaps unwitting, champions: former Tory premiers Don Getty and Ralph Klein.

Read more at Edmonton Journal