17,000 kids can’t play your political games

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When my partner and I decided we wanted to become parents, we had no idea the level of complexity and number of challenges that would emerge along the way. After all, we thought, why would anyone want to prevent a child from finding a stable home and a loving family?

As prospective parents, excited by the thought of expanding our family, we were surprised to learn that same-sex couples were considered bottom on the list of homes to be placed with children. We learned that many adoption agencies throughout the state acted on their right to refuse representing same-sex adoptive couples.

After finally locating an agency that treated us with dignity and respect, our dreams came true when we were introduced to two beautiful sisters who would forever change our lives and give us the new title “daddy.” Our mission since has been to raise awareness and get to the real truth of this community need.

ROBERTS: 17,000 reasons why Ducey did the right thing

MONTINI: Ducey takes stand for all adoptions, including same-sex

What often gets lost in the whirlwind of rhetoric are the 17,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system who need and deserve a loving home. This is why Equality Arizona is launching a new effort called Project Jigsaw: Connecting Every Child to a Loving Family.

The recent decision by Gov. Doug Ducey to require state agencies to allow all legally married couples in Arizona, including same-sex couples, to adopt was a huge step in the right direction. As the governor so eloquently stated, “All children deserve a loving home, and under my watch, I’m committed to making sure government encourages that.”

In order to achieve this, Arizonans need to take an “all hands on deck” approach.

First, we need to ensure that all who are involved in the adoption process have access to the resources they need. This means giving parents, providers, educators and others access to helpful information and resources about adoption so the child can succeed

Second, we need to begin educating the public about the importance of adoption and why we should never put up barriers to finding children permanent, loving homes in Arizona.

Finally, Project Jigsaw will connect with elected officials and providers to ensure that Arizona policies align with Gov. Ducey’s vision of a home for every child.

It’s time for all of Arizona’s leaders, regardless of political party, to come together and support loving families of all walks of life. While there are many in this community who can afford to play political games, the 17,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system certainly cannot.

Ultimately, the campaign is about creating an environment where all Arizonans can be lucky enough to experience what my partner and I have: building a loving family for amazing children, who need and deserve it just like every other child.

And though the individual pieces of our family may not be the same as yours, I can assure you the final picture will show the same thing: unconditional love.

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