An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

A Child’s Potential: Made for the Common Good Series

In today’s clip, Peter Range discusses the way a child can reach his or her “full potential” in the care of a loving mother and father. He is speaking in a particular way from his experience assisting with the Church’s adoption ministry.

While expressing support and admiration for those generous single persons who feel called to open their homes to children who are in need of adoption, the general preference of the Church for adoptive situations is to entrust a child to a married mother and father, who can supply the kind of home that the child has lost.

Is it just that you need two people? Would two mothers or two fathers be just as good?

Consider your own relationship with your parents, or even with aunts and uncles or nieces or nephews. Our relationships are necessarily conditioned by our physical reality. A hug from your dad is experientially just a different thing from a hug from your mom. The way you relate to others has to do with whether you are a man or a woman—that does not mean simply that you can’t do x, y, or z but rather that when you do x, y, or z, you do those things as a man or as a woman. Therefore, the way you learn about relationships as a child is in large part through watching a man and a woman—your parents—interact every day before your eyes. You also learn as a child that your sister and brother aren’t treated exactly the same way and that Uncle Joe is the one who throws you in the air while Aunt Sally pinches your cheek. It’s just different.

Question: How do you think a child’s ability to reach his or her potential is affected by family structure? Why?

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