By Jason Brodeur
Today in Florida, more than 600 children woke up without a permanent home to call their own. Sadly, these vulnerable children are revolving through a broken foster system which leaves far too many without hope for a happy life or successful future. Without the endless love of my adoptive parents, I could have been among their ranks. No priority is more personal to me than giving every vulnerable child in Florida a forever home.
That’s why I authored legislation to make Florida the best state for adoptions – particularly adoptions benefiting foster children. State employees who adopt will receive incentives. Adoption costs and “red tape” have been slashed. Funding for adoption centers has been prioritized. The antiquated, inactive and (according to trial and appellate courts) unconstitutional ban on gay adoptions was repealed.
Conversations with my closest friends in the faith community were uncomfortable, occasionally even hostile, over the repeal of this ban. I listened to their concerns and explained how this legislation helped children in need.
But I also recognize that we do no service to these vulnerable children when we remove armies of compassion from the battlefield. We need everyone working together to place children in forever homes. That’s why I also authored religious freedom legislation allowing private adoption organizations to honor their values while matching otherwise unwanted children with loving families.
A new group of critics were ignited – this time on the left. There is a sad irony. In the same breath this group calls for adoptions to be more inviting for gay couples, they want to make the facilitation of adoptions less comfortable for faith-based organizations. Why not welcome anyone who wants to help our most vulnerable children with open arms?
When it comes to helping children, let’s check our rigid ideologies at the door – all of them. Let’s call a temporary “truce” to care for kids who just want a family. I am proudly a conservative Republican, but I wear no jersey when it comes to building a more streamlined, inclusive adoption process for all who can provide care and love.
I thank God every day that Rene and Tim Brodeur decided to bestow more love upon me than I will ever deserve. Love is the fertilizer for strength. Strength is the foundation for meaningful discussion and debate. But today, 600 children don’t care about an ideological debate or political attacks. They just want homes…and love. As an adopted child, I beg you – let’s help them together.
Rep. Jason Brodeur, a Republican from Sanford, represents District 28.