Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Global Gay Adoption Activist Speaks OUT

Produced by Charlotte Robinson




In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson, Host of OUTTAKE VOICES™, talks with Jarko De Witte van Leeuwen, an international LGBT adoption advocate. Jarko lives in the Netherlands with his husband Jos and their 2 adopted children, Arwen and Wolf. Jarko has written a new children’s book “Arwen and her Daddies” that tells their adoption journey. Jarko and Jos were married in 2001, the year when gay marriage was legalized in the Netherlands. After returning from their honeymoon their dream was to a start family. They soon discovered that joint adoption only applied to children born in The Netherlands where very few children are available. In order to adopt jointly internationally Jarko and Jos fought for 7 years to gain joint international adoption rights. Jarko stated, “The law which made this possible only came into effect last year. We're very proud that we have achieved this. Recently it was announced that finally children born in a lesbian marriage will be automatically the juridical children of both women. Up to now, the non-biological mom had to start an adoption procedure to gain legal parenthood, whereas the man in a heterosexual marriage was automatically recognized as the legal father, even if the child was conceived from a sperm donor. This is one of the last inequalities that existed in Dutch legislation.”

When asked what led him to write ‘Arwen and her Daddies’ Jarko explained, “Our daughter Arwen is very fond of books and having stories read to her. In all children’s books that we have read to her, sooner or later a mommy, or a mommy and a daddy, make their appearance. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to read a story to Arwen that features two daddies’. So I started a search only to find very few children’s books featuring two daddies. Initially I had made this book just for Arwen; a single copy for our little girl to explain to her in an age appropriate manner and when the time is appropriate for her - how we became a family. However, other families I spoke with were also interested in having a book about same gender parents and encouraged me to publish for other families to read. They too wanted a book for their children to learn about the wonderfully diverse society that we live in. In addition, my hope is to have the book further communicate to children that it is perfectly okay to be who you are. For these reasons, I decided to publish “Arwen and her Daddies” for a broader audience. I wish you and your kids a lot of fun reading this book!”
More Info : www.feel-good-families.com

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