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Being gay is no bar to successful parenting.

ASUPPOSEDLY devoted father is fighting to win back his baby daughter from two lesbians, it emerged last week.

The 22-month-old child - known only as Baby X - has been fostered by the women since she was taken into council care.

And examining the details of this sorry tale more closely, I know whose side I'm on.

Every child has the right to expect an upbringing filled with love, security and material comfort. Baby X would have been denied all these had she been left with her biological 'family'.

The father was married and having an affair when his mistress, Baby X's mother, became pregnant. The lovers split up before the birth and lost touch before the baby arrived.

Baby X was handed into care at five days old because her mum couldn't cope. Meanwhile, her dad was reunited with his wife and two other sons and 'lost track' of his other family.

Perhaps if he hadn't been careless enough to start another one in the first place none of this would have happened.

His sentiment that 'I have nothing against lesbians generally but they should not be allowed to look after my child' is to say the least, a bit rich. Are we seriously supposed to believe that he, as an irresponsible cheat and philanderer, is more suited to the task?

Baby X has spent all but five days of her life in the care of two adults who, no doubt, love her and are providing for her every need.

The father feels aggrieved at the fact that his child was taken into care and then into the custody of lesbians, without his knowledge.

But how closely did he keep track of his baby?

He describes the lesbians as total strangers - is this not what he chose to be to his own flesh and blood, until it suited him to be otherwise?

Having recently interviewed a lesbian who wants to start a family herself, I have seen the level of commitment and thought that goes into the planning alone.

Planning didn't even come into it for Baby X's father.

And yet gay parents, or prospective gay parents, are made to feel like Martians just for wanting to fulfil their own understandable needs to nurture.

Gay dads Barry Drewitt and Tony Barlow, of Essex, caused a storm when they became the first homosexual couple in Britain to have children by a surrogate mother.

And now they are planning to have more, such is their enthusiasm for fatherhood.

They have more than proved they are fit to be parents. But it's a shame they had to prove anything.

Will a child raised in a gay household be damaged beyond redemption? Children from far more 'conventional' backgrounds, whatever that means, don't always turn out right.

Some, like the Prime Minister's son, get into amusing scrapes. Others, like the Marquess of Bristol, blow pounds 20 million on drugs and die an untimely death.

No parent can ever guarantee that a child will grow up healthy and happy, sane and successful, no matter how well we bring up the little treasures.

All parents can, and must, do is their best.

A bit of love, time and pocket money go a long way.

Walking away from a baby and then declaring an interest as an after-thought is not giving that child the best start in life.

louise_palfreyman

@mrn.co.uk

Does the walkaway dad have any rights in this case? Should lesbians be allowed to adopt children? Have YOUR say by writing to Adoption Debate, Sunday Mercury, Colmore Circus, Birmingham B4 6AX, or send your e-mails to sundaymercury@mrn.co.uk
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Title Annotation:SPORT
Author:Palfreyman, Louise
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2000
Words:605
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