My New Friend May Be Adopting For the Wrong Reasons and My Old Friend Is Keeping Me From Her Brother For the Wrong Reasons

Comments

1

So. Much. Drama.

2

she certainly seems to know a lot about Paul and his family, and his family, health, and money issues. And I sincerely doubt that Lynn is filling her in if she's so determined to keep distance between Paul and LW. Both issues reek of LW being a big ole drama queen. Hearing things, or interpreting them in ways that weren't accurate nor intended, and finding it where it isn't, and clearly digging into people's lives of people she says she has no interest in. Danger, Will Robinson!!

3

Any single, 56-year old man looking to adopt a teenage boy would raise my eyebrows, gay or not, so I hope the adoption agency does it’s due diligence. That being said, teenage kids need homes too, and most people want babies rather than grown kids so kudos to anyone who wants to step up to the plate and change a kid’s life for the better. Definitely share your concerns with the adoption agency before it’s too late and let them sort it out. I also hope Gary does his own due diligence and learns about the special challenges adoptive parents face with teenage kids. A heaping helping of patience and love will be required FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. Fingers crossed, wishing the best for all involved.

4

I find this juxtaposition confusing; "I have a good friend 'Lynn,' and "she is STILL upset about this, and has judged me for years because of it."

Good friends let things go. People who decided decades ago that I'm not up to their standards -- they aren't among my friends. So, yes, I'm with Dan in thinking that the LW values Lynn's contacts more than the friendship itself.

My advice would be to stop reaching out to Lynn and build your own authentic friendships with people you like, who don't have a bad history with you, and who aren't primarily in your life for their utility.

5

I am sure the adoption agency will do their job and figure the whole thing out. But maybe someone is pulling this busybodies chain. Getting her all wound up with false gossip for shits and giggles and now she is turning it into FULL on DRAMA. This double story format has to go, dumb and not even related.
Or maybe it is in a "if I accuse someone else of being a pedophile then my past actions with a 16 year old will sound ok, right?!? Twisted but wrong.

Too use an older gay man as an easy target for making your own past transgressions look sort of ok is an asshole move.

Older and Gay does not mean bad adoptive parent.
Maybe stupid fucking "Gaddis Kravitz" here is just being led along the garden path with crumbs of gossip by the gay "friend". Ya sounds risky to imply self pedo gossip but some people live on the edge just to watch some gossip twit be fed juicy trash and run with it.

The other thing here is some older gay men are sincere in their intent in life to help and mentor young people and they do a damn good job all the while taking shit from people that that assume too much. Shocker I know, right! Like who would think an older gay man could be good trusting person.
Maybe understanding the shit some people are put through early in life by bad parenting and UNTRUSTWORTHY ADULTS is what is needed. An older gay man is quite capable of mentoring and parenting a child. To just write off older gay man as bad is the problem.
Adopting is a long process and screening people is part of the job, if the guy survives it all then good on him. But Gaddis will still be the adult that screwed the 16 year old. Using an older gay man trying to adopt a child as something questionable to justify the other half of her story to make her seem honourable does not make her forgiven or make everything ok. She was an adult that fucked a 16 year old. The older gay man has done nothing wrong.

6

LW, you’ve known Gary for three years, a solid time. DoNot go behind his back about your concerns, front Him about them. If his answers still sound dodgy then tell him you are going to contact the agency. If he’s a friend, treat him like one.
Your second question: you just got to suck it up because it’s her bloody house and she doesn’t want you around her brother. He was sixteen and you twenty one. Nasty.
Be thankful she still sees you at all.

7

It seems there are totally benign reasons Gary would choose a teenage boy. Gary is in his 50s, so maybe he figures adopting a baby or small child would be too demanding physically. Perhaps he can’t imagine running after a little boy or girl at age 59. Or doesn’t think it’s fair to a young child that he won’t be as active as a younger man. Or he worries about dying when this person is still relatively young. So adopting an older child makes more sense to him. Having set an age range, perhaps he thinks a 50-something gay man trying to raise a 13 year old girl sounds like a great plot for a sitcom, but not real life. I think a lot of men would feel they don’t have much wisdom or factual knowledge to parent a teenage girl. Sure, if I had any doubts advising the adoption agency would be a good idea, but LW should stick closely to the facts she knows which isn’t much information. And while the idea of Gary flipping through a book of children bothers LW, if that is how the process works, that’s not something Gary has done.

8

Dan, don't make this a latent homophobia thing. If a straight man in his fifties was specifically wanting to adopt a teen girl, that would be red flag city. Really, any person in their fifties attempting to adopt a specific gender of teenager is pretty suspicious. They might have the best of intentions and recognize how hard it is to place teenagers. But aiming for a particular gender makes it seem more like ordering from a menu.

9

@8. TheRob. There are decent and well-informed reasons why Gary might specifically want to adopt a boy. He could have the time, the will and the place in his heart for gay mentoring--caring for a child who has been rejected on account of his sexuality, or who has developed problematic behaviors--stroppiness, disengagement--because others have, ultimately, been homophobic towards him. 'Gary' could be attracted to twinks in their 20s and still have these entirely positive motivations for wanting to adopt.

That said, I would agree with Lava @6 that there would be no harm in her asking Gary--'wait, what did your old boyfriend mean by that remark?'.

@4 Erica has it right. Neither Gary nor Lynn sound that good friends of, or to, the LW. She suspects one of pedophilia. The other isn't open to her getting to know her family. The 'sex with minors' theme apropos Gary could be in her head because of (her take on) Lynn's embargo of Paul's company. All the same, all these embarrassments and second-thoughts mean the LW is too much in her own head. Get out and make more friends, genuine friends! At your age, ar any age! Political organizing, service or volunteering, hobbies, classes, church.... Even dating--no mention in the letter of that.... There are more people in the world than Gary, Lynn and Paul.

10

LW should absolutely contact the adoption agency, and anonymously tell them what she factually knows, as Dan recommended. No one has addressed that she says Gary has hit on her, which seems like a red flag, Gary may be bisexual, but he may also be reaching out for any kind of physical human connection in various unvirtuous ways. If I were the LW, something I would maybe take into consideration might be whether or not Gary has strong connections with family or other friends besides her-- she doesn't actually know him that well, if they only met at work and live states apart. Being older and gay, he may not have any familial connections, but perhaps there are other friends who can vouch for his character. Lastly, I think he is suspect for discriminating against potential adoptees, while I think there is value in gay kids being placed with gay parents, I don't think this guy sounds an ideal foster father.

11

@10/antiserumite: Gary hitting on LW is evidence that he is seeking physical intimacy through “unvirtuous” ways? Even taking LW views at face value, which is suspect, how does expressing interest in a physical relationship with a friend evidence of any bad intent?

12

I see how the two situations are flip sides of the same coin. She is shunning Gary for being a pedo while simultaneously being shunned by Lynn for being a pedo.

I pre-emptively give most LWs the benefit of the doubt, but I really don't like NAP. I suppose it won't hurt for her to place the call, but it seems her "concerns" about Gary are based predominantly in homophobia. As Dan's the gay adoptive parent here, I'll defer to his advice.

As for Lynn, if she's held a grudge against NAP for 30 years for sleeping with her -- kinda creepily younger, but admittedly legal -- brother, why are they still friends? Oh yeah, because Lynn "has a lot of contacts in this area and has been instrumental in my moving here." How self-serving. She and Lynn deserve each other.

13

Sublime @7: Great comment.

To those who say NAP should ask Gary if he is a pedo, what good would this do? Is there any chance whatsoever he'll say "yes, actually I'm looking for a teenage boy to groom until he's old enough to become my lover" even if that's true? He'll say "no, don't be ridiculous" regardless of the truth. And her asking will alienate NAP from Gary, meaning NAP won't be around to observe any future parent-child relationship and look for any warning signs. Although, from what we know of NAP, she may well fabricate "warning signs" that just aren't there. Drama queen indeed.

Antiserumite @10: Again, given the rest of what we know about NAP, I'm inclined to think Gary's "hitting on her" was a cheeky remark that she wilfully misinterpreted to make things All About Her.

14

NAP is likely an alarmist, drama queen, and narcissist, considering she started her letter with one question about something very serious, and then ended with another question which was all about her, within a completely different dynamic. But her inclinations about Gary aren't void, she was emphatic and forthright about his shortcomings.

15

@11 Expressing interest in a physical relationship with a friend is not evidence of bad intent, but it is definitely a changes the dynamic.

16

@11 Expressing interest in a physical relationship with a friend is not evidence of bad intent, but it is definitely changes the dynamic.

17

Also, just noting that Gary did not say he wants to adopt a gay teenage boy, just a teenage boy.

18

@17 I hope he doesn't. I want to be glass half-full on this guy, but I have also known the world. Was going to bring this up earlier, but would it be okay for a 56yo man to be specifically looking for a teenage girl?

19

@14/antiserumite: “she was emphatic and forthright about his shortcomings.” Could you list for us some of Gary’s shortcomings LW identifies?

20

Antiserumite @15/@16: I've had a number of gay male friends over the years, and it's quite common for them to make "flirtatious" comments towards their female friends because it's safe. Everyone knows they're not serious, because that's what gay means. I still think it's far more likely that Gary's comments were playful banter than genuine propositions. However, you're correct that they nevertheless may have changed the dynamic. Regardless of how innocent the remarks were, she now believes that he has a sexual interest in her, which may be colouring her attitude -- otherwise why would she have even mentioned it? But again, I think the red flag is signalling her narcissism rather than any "bad intent" or "unvirtuous ways" on Gary's part.

21

@19 Gary's only long-term partner reacted vehemently against his adoption goals. He hit on his long distance female friend, This is what we know. He lives in a different country, with no discernable connections to his past, or the children he nannied. None of this strikes you as odd?

22

@20 I would like to believe that he's a great guy, associated with this not so great gal, and he just wants to adopt children, and he will do absolutely well by them. But this story, and these people do not add up to a happy ending.

23

Antiserumite @18: Someone else already mentioned this, and I think the difference is obvious. An adult man can relate to a teenage boy and provide mentorship and a male role model for him. So there are completely innocent reasons a single man would prefer to raise a male child. I struggle to think of any innocent reasons a single man would want to have a young girl in his home. Although a gay man wanting to adopt a teen girl might simply signal that he wishes to sidestep the kind of assumptions that are being made here.

24

@23 There are, indeed noble reasons, but can we honestly say that is what is taking place here? A man who, admits to having difficulty connecting with other men like him. A man who seeks the approval of teen-aged boys. Nothing odd about that, if you ignore the obvious.

25

Antiserumite @21: "Gary's only long-term partner" -- Wrong: "Gary let slip he's not talking to ONE OF his former boyfriends." Gary is not some weirdo who's only been in one relationship by his mid-fifties.
"He hit on his long distance female friend." Did he really, or did he just make a cheeky double entendre which an obvious narcissist interpreted as a come-on?
"He lives in a different country" -- so people who choose to spend time living outside the country of their birth are automatically suspect?
"with no discernable connections to his past" -- Again, wrong. He was at least until recently in touch with at least one ex from his past European stint.
"or the children he nannied" -- There's no evidence of this.

So, no. None of Gary's life story strikes me as odd. Not even saying "I've had more fulfilling relationships with kids than I ever did with some insecure, middle-aged gay man" -- how many people have you known who've said things along these lines about their pets?

You admit that NAP is a "not so great gal," so isn't it possible that her perception of Gary is wrong, and he's a decent guy that she can't help but attribute sinister motives to because of her own issues?

If NAP truly is concerned, she should take Dan's advice and notify the agency who can complete a thorough investigation, which they undoubtedly are already doing, particularly since the potential adoptive father is a single man.

26

Antiserumite @24: "There are, indeed noble reasons, but can we honestly say that is what is taking place here?" Can YOU honestly say that it isn't?

27

@25 The ex he still speaks with who admonished him.
As a woman, especially now, there is sensitivity surrounding these types of interactions.
The circumstances, and reasons he left should be scrutinized.
I don't like your pet equivalence, because it rings untrue, Children are not dealt with the same way,
I'm not sure why you're defending this guy so hard? He doesn't ring genuine.

28

Like that you turned me against me though.

29

Antiserumite @27: I'm defending this guy so hard because you've condemned him, based on the evidence of one obviously less-than-credible witness, and deny that there's any possibility his intentions are pure. Is it possible they aren't? Sure, that's why letting the authorities investigate and make a decision based on all of the evidence is a good approach.

I like how pointing out the other side of things is "turning something against you." Sure, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people AREN'T out to get you, but I assure you I am not. I'm not saying just go ahead and put a teenage kid with a man when there may be grounds for concern. I'm just not seeing the grounds you're seeing and I can't jump to the conclusion that he's bad news. It's NAP who doesn't ring genuine; the jury is out on Gary.

30

"Gary said it doesn't work that way, that there are books that adoptive parents get to pick and choose from and he was only interested in a teenage boy. "

Not exactly. I'm not sure if Gary misunderstands the adoption process or NAP misunderstood Gary.

Agencies do a lot of vetting of prospective parents. Some states have one social worker for the parents and one for the children. Others have different systems, but they all boil down to trying to make the best match. The above sentence makes it sound like getting a child is like shopping through the Sears catalog.

Actually, getting a healthy infant is so difficult as to be almost impossible. The younger the children, the more rare and therefore the more difficult to adopt. The older the children and the more handicapped, the easier it is. That still doesn't mean that anyone gets to go shopping to pick up severely needy dependent teenager, but their availability does increase the chances of a single father getting one. (I've used "handicapped" to cover a range of physical and mental conditions children might have from mental illness to trauma survivors to inability ever to walk to need diaper changes, etc.)

If the adoption agency thinks that Gary would make a better life for a particular teenager than what the teenager currently has in foster care, then he'll be cleared to adopt. For that they'll need information. For that reason, Dan's answer is excellent. Give the agency whatever truthful information you have, NOT rumors you've heard or conclusions you've jumped to, and let them to the rest.

31

LW thinks GARY is a pedophile. LYNN thinks LW was a pedophile. Seems to be transferring her own guilt from years ago. Move on. Leave Lynn and her family alone, for once. Let Gary make his own life and trust the professional adoption agency staff to do their job. Get more friends, interests, and a fuller life. Writing to an advice column with enough information for the real people to figure out they are your topic seems pretty passive aggressive. Maybe seek out counseling for your issue?

32

@24/antiserumite: Gary said, "I've had more fulfilling relationships with kids than I ever did with some insecure, middle-aged gay man." But that is not evidence of an inability to connect with gay men.

It seems to me that Gary, as a childless man, has made a decision that being a parent is more important or fulfilling to him than being in an romantic relationship. No one would think it was weird a woman felt a maternal urge and wanted to adopt a child, but a man’s motives for doing the same are suspect. Even BiDanFan, who is sympathetic to Gary, would find a man suspect is he adopted a girl. No one would think the same about a woman, even though there is a long list of 20 and 30 something female teachers who have been caught having sex with male students.

That it seems suspect that a man could want to be a dad and feels that at age 50-something that he has missed out on something important in his life being childless says more about how we view men than about the facts of this situation. That’s just some deep seated sexism around the role of men.

33

Your all too real Kavanough confirmation comparisons aside. Nah, you're cool. Dude should adopt kids, I'm done trying to argue with you. I have lost this argument and more.

34

@32 have at it, but make sure you don't have baggage.

35

@32 sorry, it's weird. I will try to adjust my parameters.

36

Once again, I'm basically horseshoeing with Ms Fan.

First response: Are people taking this seriously as if adoption agencies were falling all over themselves to give older gay men their pick of children?

As far as one can tell, Gary seems a bit of a chain-puller. LW seems to belong to that great number of OS women and straight men who are easily inclined to think gay men are hitting on them. I'd almost like to see them get into some sort of scrape that could only be resolved by their having to marry each other, as I suspect they probably both deserve it.

I'd like a little cross-examination to clarify whether Lynn is stating she doesn't want LW and Paul to cross paths or whether that's just what LW infers.

37

Should this woman contact the proper authorities with her concerns? Sure. Should she get a life of her own? No doubt. What this sounds like to me is a fag hag who is trying to make sure her distant gay friend who "hit" on her, isn't putting his attention on someone other than herself. Children of any age are, after all full time commitments.

38

I am conflicted about Gary because, like Dan, I’ve seen the anti-gay version of the blood libel -that gay men are all pedophiles after your children - too often. But there are two significant red flags about Gary. The most significant is his ex-boyfriend’s immediate, forceful, reflexive concern that Gary’s motive is predatory. The second is his statement that he has better relationships with kid than with men his age. Maybe it was inartfully spoken or misreported by LW, but conflating romantic relationships with parental ones is concerning. They are two different kinds of relationships and not mutually exclusive. Being a parent is hard, and it won’t be the same as being the favored uncle, teacher, nanny or big brothers and sisters volunteer. His reasons for adopting should be “I want to be a dad” and “I want to make a difference in a foster kid’s life, not “I want a good relationship with a teen boy because I don’t like the middle aged men in my dating pool.” There may be a reasonable basis for the preference for teen boys, but there may also be a sinister one. If LW has contact info for the social worker or adoption agency, she should share her concerns and then let the professionals do their jobs. Kids who are waiting to be adopted have already been through significant trauma. A betrayal by an adoptive parent in the form of abuse can be even more devastating to them.

39

Alanmt @30: You have a wee typo there... "conflating romantic relationships with parental ones is concerning. They are two different kinds of relationships and ARE mutually exclusive."

40

Alanmt @38, that is.

41

The fact that the 21/16 sexual connection happened to occur in a state where it was technically legal isn't really the point. The LW seems pretty sure that she didn't violate the campground rule. It isn't clear whether 'Lynn' knows, or cares, otherwise.

I was 'legal' when my picnic table was burned to the ground and my tent shredded. The laws are supposed to be preventive of such things, but they really don't work all that well.

LW may need to recruit the brother, or confront 'Lynn' on her own, to fix the situation. If it can be fixed.

42

I hope I wasn't harsh, Antiserumite @33. It seems clear -- and unfortunate -- that your instincts are going off here due to personal experience, and I'm sorry this situation is triggering for you. I did realise that my comment @29 sounded a bit like a Kavanaugh supporter, but there are big differences here, mainly concerning the credibility of the respective women and the fact that Christine Blasey Ford was discussing things that actually happened to her, whereas NAP is merely speculating. And even if we presume NAP entirely credible, you're seizing on irrelevant information -- his propositioning a consenting adult -- and fabricating things she didn't say to conclude that Gary is definitely an unfit parent. We simply can't conclude that from the information given.

Again, I agree it makes sense to be cautious -- and yes, Sublime @32, it's sad that single men are suspect when women too can be molesters, but hopefully all prospective parents, regardless of gender, are thoroughly vetted. Like Venn says, just the fact of a single gay man applying to become a foster dad should raise an appropriate level of concern at the agency.

Fubar @39: I don't think that was a typo. I read it as "are not mutually exclusive," as in one can be a parent at the same time one has romantic relationships.

43

Almost everyone has more fulfilling relationship with children than they do with potential romantic partners.

44

The LW is unreliable. So let's keep that in mind. The adoption agency told Gary something about the process. He filtered that information through his own desires/intentions/emotions. Then he selectively chose what to tell his drama queen friend about it, including information that shows he might already feel sort of defensive about the situation (the response from his ex). Then the LW considered it in the context of her own accusation, making it all about her as drama queens do, and then added her nosey interpretation. Finally she shared this information, several steps removed from what the agency actually said, with Dan.

So let's back waaayy up and consider what might actually be real.

First off, I wonder if he's actually talking about fostering rather than adopting- by the time we are dealing with older teenagers this is easier and more common. There are loads of things wrong with the foster system. Even people with wonderful intentions can find themselves in impossible situations, but also because they are less strict in some places, yes there's a lot of abuse and less oversight to find it.

Second, if he is talking about adoption, this binder full of teens thing is almost certainly not accurate. There could be some glossy (look how you can transform a life!) brochure designed to tug at the heart strings, but once you get down to actually adopting a child, there aren't binders full of teens to choose from like a dating profile- not how it works unless it's a major shady agency. I don't know how programs work that facilitate open adoption but my guess would be that would be far less common with teens and from what I know about babies, it's usually the other way around with the pregnant woman looking through stats on prospective parents, not vice versa. Again, my guess is he's talking about fostering, where yes he would have more selection possibility if he met the requirements.

Third, if he wants to court a teenager for sexual/romantic reasons, my first guess is there are easier ways to do this with less likelihood of getting into trouble, but then again, I can't actually think of any and since people do abuse minors in their care, I guess it's right to consider this as a motive.

Fourth, set aside the possibility of sexual abuse since we have no evidence anyway and as others have posted, this man could have all sorts of honorable intentions. It concerns me when ANYONE has very specific ideas of what it will be like to adopt/foster any minor. This is extremely common- there are loads of people who get to a certain age (single or married) who find their lives feel empty or that they want some deeper meaning or that they have been lucky and they are ready to "give back", etc. So they fantasize about things like adopting babies from poor countries or fostering teenagers or quitting their jobs and going to work in nonprofits or public schools or join the Peace Corps or whatever. OK so I'm not saying any of those things are wrong and that Gary should do whatever, but he needs to first consider that this need is about HIM - not about the teenager he's trying to adopt. The teenage boy he's trying to adopt (probably foster) is going to come with his own set of needs- probably massive traumas and psychological needs considering the situation he'll be in to need adoption/fostering by a stranger facilitated by a bureaucracy in the first place. What skills/experience does Gary have to deliver? There's a reason the fostering world is a revolving door- your need to give love to a very specific kind of person based on your imaginings of what that will be like has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the actual needs of the real person whose life you will take into your home. Teenagers can be difficult even when they've had loving and secure home lives. An older teen who is in the foster system? He's there for a reason. He doesn't simply just need someone to open their hearts. He'll need more than that. Maybe Gary can provide it- maybe he has some background that makes him capable of doing this in which case, good for him, I hope he spends the rest of his days looking at binders full of teens he can help. I hope this is the part that the LW does not understand- there are people like that in the world, far too few of them. But chances are, Gary is an average person who is lonely and wants to help out, and what he should do is volunteer with at-risk teens and adopt a dog.

Sublime... I don't know why people have to jump to gender switch situations as if we are hypocrites for not evaluating the situations equally between genders when genders do not have equal behaviors associated with them. Some women do sexually abuse teenagers, and if a middle aged woman made comments about flipping through binders of teenage boys to adopt even though her ex has accused her of being sexually interested in them, I do think we would take that possibility as seriously as we are doing here. Still, the inaccurate stereotype is that GAY men are uniquely likely to be predators as compared to straight men. The fact that MEN are far more likely to be sexual predators than women is not a stereotype, it is a fact. It is natural that the situation would raise more alarm bells if it's a man than a woman for the obvious reason that men are far more likely to be sexual predators than are women. And finally, my main concern is that he's being foolish and projecting his own needs for intimacy and meaning onto a teenager (not that he's a predator) and if a single and lonely middle aged woman had a similarly specific desire for adoption (a girl teenager of a particular age), my advice would be exactly the same in that case. And if someone tried to explain it away with ideas about maternal instincts, I'd vomit on their shoes.

45

ME ME ME ME ME!!!!!

46

BTW I'm not being flippant about the advice I'm giving (to Gary) at the end of my post. There is no shortage of teen mentorship programs and nonprofits that are helping all sorts of kids- and he can be as specific as he likes, programs that help homeless gay teens? Programs that help teens who have incarcerated parents? Teens with disabilities, mental or physical? And you can be quite specific there- I'd like to mentor a teen that is really into baseball because I have a seasons pass and experience coaching, OR I'd like to mentor a teen that likes art because I'm an artist myself and can take him to galleries and introduce him to peers, etc.

This is something that a person who decides to give back or thinks he has a knack of mentorship can do before taking the plunge and bringing a kid into his home 24/7 all at once. If it goes well, maybe then start those steps towards fostering and eventual adoption, but if you are talking about later teens, then they will probably be adults before they get that process. You don't just get to meet someone and take them home same day like a puppy. If you are talking about younger teens, then why not take it slow and help out where help is needed and where you are far less likely to fail the child? Then honestly evaluate your abilities and long term commitments.

The reasons are, this sort of thing requires actually living the sort of life that would make a mentorship meaningful- you have to have something to bring to the table, you have to know how to be social with others and build community, you have to truly be willing to give even though it might not be want you want, etc. Most middle aged lonely people who have given up on relationships are not going to have those sorts of skills or they wouldn't be lonely people who have given up on relationships.

Unfortunately, we likewise have a foster system that pays people to step up and open their homes to children with little support- hence the cycle of abuse. There are wonderful foster parents out there, and I don't know regionally how foster systems vary, but I've seen some horror stories from the foster system. I've seen remarkable people too- most are average as in anything.

So my advice to the LW would be to talk to her friend about his motivations for "adopting" and see if he can honestly assess his own abilities and skills- what does he have to offer?- and suggest also that he could instead get involved at a smaller level first- through mentorship or volunteering. Also if his problem is that he's lonely and doesn't get on with people his own age, maybe consider that the problem is HIM and that he should work on fixing that rather than bringing a young person into that situation.

47

@EmmaLiz: “I don't know why people have to jump to gender switch situations as if we are hypocrites for not evaluating the situations equally between genders when genders do not have equal behaviors associated with them.”

I do hope you won’t mind when I use this quote regularly in the future when you’re arguing the opposite.

48

I would like to ask Dan how he and his husband were matched to his adopted son. Did you select him from a particular group or were you matched to him by the agency?

49

I agree, Gary’s words don’t doom him as having suspicious motives. And Fan, great you are defending him except why then suggest the LW goes to the agency? His chances of ever being able to adopt would be curtailed greatly by this action. Check with him first, ie ask the man.
it’s hard to understand how a woman in her fifties is so clueless. Obviously her friend hasn’t let it go and is not going to let it go so respect that. Or risk losing an old friend. The friend is not comfortable with her brother around the LW. And to justify her questionable behaviour with a sixteen yr old boy by saying he pursued her is a red herring. She was the adult.

50

Yes Sportlandia@43. Kids and young adults, are energizing to be around, if they are not damaged.
Maybe LW could point out to Gary that the boy he might adopt may be plagued with emotional and psychological issues. These kids won’t be like his nephews, if he has any or the boys he looked after in France. If she cares about this man cut thru his bull and have a real talk with him.
Or butt out.

51

I hadn’t read your comments first EmmaLiz, and you are saying it too. Talk with Gary. How hard is that. Isn’t that what friends do if they have a concern about each other of such importance. Then thinking to dob him in to the agency, makes me believe the LW’s idea of friendship and mine are different.

52

EmmaLiz @44 "Gary is an average person who is lonely and wants to help out, and what he should do is volunteer with at-risk teens and adopt a dog."

EmmaLiz @46: "Why not take it slow and help out where help is needed and where you are far less likely to fail the child? Then honestly evaluate your abilities and long term commitments... You have to know how to be social with others and build community, you have to truly be willing to give even though it might not be what you want."

That all makes sense to me.

53

48, As you aren't likely to get an answer (Stranger staff rarely wade into the comments), if you really want to know, it's probably all laid out in his book about the topic: The Kid.

54

I don’t know if it’s feasible, but if it is I think the best course of action would be for the LW to speak to the ex who made the pedo comment. Then if he shares troubling information, she should run straight to the adoption agency. But it seems entirely premature and unduly injurious to take these amorphous suspicions to the authorities at this point when it’s has the potential to torpedo her friend’s chances of being a father regardless of validity.

And the allegation itself seems extremely questionable here. If Gary really did want to procure a teen for sex, why would he go around telling people about his ex’s comment? And if the ex knew him to be a pedophile, and was opposed to pedophilia himself (as evidenced by the comment), why would he stay in Gary’s life such that the two of them would be chatting about this years after their breakup? It doesn’t make sense.

55

Eliabun@48~ “...I would like to ask Dan how he and his husband were matched to his adopted son. Did you select him from a particular group or were you matched to him by the agency?...”

Can’t say about Dan, but when we adopted we looked at several agencies, all of which operated in basically the same manor. You could ASK for a certain gender and age range (but would probably get a quicker match if you were open-ended about it). For our second adoption we asked for a girl because we wanted our first daughter to have a sister. You had to complete an extensive home study with several interviews and thorough background checks...including an FBI check. They did the work and then let you know “We have a boy (or girl) for you.” There were no books of kids to look at. I guess theoretically you could reject their choice, but I never heard of that happening. Once we saw that picture of their match, that little baby was “ours” and we were thrilled, never even considering asking for a different option.

56

Not at all Sublime, if you are referring to something that has factual truth and then refer also to the specific incident in discussion. I don't know why you think I argue for women and men being exactly the same (if that's what you are implying)- if anything, the arguments I get into here the most tend to be around the idea that female sexuality can be understood in the same way as male sexuality. What I oppose to is applying generalizations to individuals based on personal experience or stereotypes, not caution in the face of statistical facts nor responses based on the particulars in the letter. Your question is why one might be more suspicious of a man than a woman seeking to adopt a teenager, and my answer (in the general) is that men are far more likely to be sexual predators than women- even accounting for the comparatively small number of women who are sexual predators. Also based upon this, your second assumption is that a woman in the same situation would not be suspect, and I disagree (in the specific)- the suspicion would depend on the circumstances- if a straight middle aged woman who says she has given up on adult relationships and would rather seek the company of teenage boys and that her ex thinks this is offensive since he believes she is attracted to teenage boys- uh, you betcha people would be suspect there. In both cases (the general and the specific) I think it would be unlikely that a person seeking to adopt/foster a teenager to use them sexually would be so open and bold about it, and other motivations (the ones I discussed) are more likely. But it would be stupid to not admit the possibility and proceed with caution.

57

Emma @44/@46: Bravo. I hope Gary is reading these comments. Good point about the difference between fostering and adopting; the letter did say "foster/adopt" and I've just been using "adopt" as shorthand, but these are different things.

Sublime @47: I am SO sick of butthurt men. Y'all got Kavanaugh. You won, we lost. Just like always. What fucking more do you want? [end rant]

Lava @49: "And Fan, great you are defending him except why then suggest the LW goes to the agency?" A very good question. My initial instinct in reading the letter was to pooh-pooh the "concerns" as homophobic stereotyping, nothing more. But Dan -- a gay man who has adopted a child -- advised that NAP should tell the agency what Gary told her, and he's far more expert here than I am, so I'm just agreeing with him. And as I said upthread, I don't think "ask him" is good advice because he's going to deny that he's sexually interested in teenagers, whether he is or not.

StPaul @54: ring ring
"Hello?"
"Hi, you don't know me, but I'm friends with your ex Gary, you know, the one you don't talk to any more. Do you really think he's a pedo? ... Hello? Hello?"
No, I think a better idea would be to pass this info along to the adoption/fostering agency, let them ask Gary about the conversation he had with his ex, and talk to the ex if necessary.

"If Gary really did want to procure a teen for sex, why would he go around telling people about his ex’s comment?" -- Agree entirely. If he were an actual pedo, he wouldn't have shared this comment with NAP. I think it's likelier that Ex disagrees with Gary's plans because he thinks it's a bad idea, either for all the good reasons EmmaLiz laid out, or because he knows Gary would be perceived as a pedo, which at least one of our readers has accepted as a foregone conclusion.

58

M? Paul/Ms Fan - Yes; it would hardly be a double bluff on Gary's part to let a genuine concern of his ex's slip through, as that double bluff wouldn't lead in a false direction (examples to the contrary abound in the works of Dame Agatha). I shall venture a hypothesis that LW had a stereotypical reaction against mannies that Gary noticed, and that he decided to retaliate by playing up on that idea and seeing how far he could get her to take it.

59

@10 antiserumite. The LW interpreted Gary saying that he had had more fulfilling relationships with teens/children than with many adults to imply that he had some dubious sexual interest in these minors ('his words'). Is she likely to be a credible witness? Let's take the remark, 'I've had more fulfilling relationships with dogs than with my bosses at' [this multinational company]. The words of a dog-botherer? No, a self-knowing joke. The LW has abuse on the brain because her other friendship is squeezed or pinched because of something that happened when she was 21. It's not likely she actually believes Gary has any pedophiliac intention.

If she actually does believe this, then she should draw away with him, I guess (or she would do this naturally) and report her suspicions to an adoption agency.

60

Lynn didn't do anything legally wrong but I get her friend being weirded out. 21 and just-turned-16 is a pretty large age gap and I can get that sticking in someone's head.

Just flip the genders and it feels weird. I had two younger sisters and had no issues with them being sexually active (one of them talked to me about it beforehand and the other didn't but certainly could have) so I haven't bought into that protective-older-brother-must-preserve-the-virginity-of-all-female-family-members bullshit that's a tool/vestige of patriarchy. That said, I would've been really weirded out if one of my college buddies had slept with my 16 year old sister. There's just a power dynamic between 21 and 16 that's troublesome since the 16-year-old is still developing a concept of their sexual identity.

LW seems a little bit cray cray, which makes me think the first part is overblown.

61

*LW didn't do anything wrong

62

@25. Bi. We had the same thought re pets.

@38. alanmt. I have had short- and longer-term partners whose lovers of choice have been femme-presenting men--men who look younger than me, though I'm femme enough ... and when I've heard that that's whom they're with, I've said cynically, 'yes, of course...'. The ex's outrage does not mean Gary has pedophiliac leanings. Does NAP seriously entertain this supposition? That is, not as a displacement of her getting the cold shoulder from a supposed friend herself? If she does, she needs to report her suspicions, and one would hope Gary will gracefully go through vetting.

@43. Sportlandia. I do not know whether you are right or not.

@44. EmmaLiz. Yes to all this. I wouldn't think it's a would-be hebephile abuser m.o. to run his mouth at an over-thinker, someone who may find him a creep, at whom he's perhaps made some unsuccessful passes, about his propensities if they're at all serious or if he at all intends to act on them.

63

Dem men lost when KavaNO was confirmed. Anyone who cares about judicial temperament, measure, objectivity, lost. Whatever their political affiliation.

We all lose when we make this a culture war. It's grievously damaging when it becomes male-v-female. The thing about the culture wars is that our side is getting run out of town. Getting a shellacking. The most powerful framing of said wars to the people who matter (the wedge or marginal voters) is 'the-condescending-coastal-types-who-look-down-their-noses-at-you' and 'everyone-else'. Being 'everyone-else' is a lot more important to folks--that is, not being looked down on--than being a woman, being middle-class or of low-income, or being somehow discriminated against or denied equal economic or educational opportunity.

Yet Democrats walk into losing-culture-wars traps again and again. Melania dresses in colonial-type safari gear. Those fools rise to the bait! 'Melania, you look like a white Rhodesian! Melania, we need to talk about your outfit!' No, we don't! Don't you get it's deliberate? It's designed to show you care about something that Middle America has no idea of, and which will make you look like a judgmental, condescending ass? That will have the marginal voter rallying to Mel's side?

64

I feel like at 21 I still find 16yo boys attractive (I was a camp counselor at that age and probably was more flirty than prudent) but wouldn't have fucked one. If the gender of the age gap were reversed would it be creepier?

65

Larry @60/DC270 @64: Actually, if you flip the genders, a 21-year-old man sleeping with a 16-year-old girl feels like the most typical thing in the world. A 21-year-old woman sleeping with a teenage boy is the thing that sounds weird, as most 16-year-old boys are far less physically (or emotionally) mature even than their counterparts, let alone grown women. Why would she have gone there? Obviously, this wasn't any 16-year-old boy; it was her good friend's brother, and she loves drama, so there's the source of the attraction.

66

Just butt out of both scenarios and maintain healthy boundaries. Respect your female friend's boundaries and enjoy her friendship, and resources, within that context. Same for your male friend. Expect to lose his friendship if you involve yourself negatively in his foster/adoption process.

67

I didn't comment on the thing with Lynn because others (and Dan) have said everything perfectly, but since it came up again (with the gender switch reference etc), I'd like to say that generally a relationship between an older teen and a younger adult is different than when it's an older adult. That's why most people support those Romeo and Juliet exemptions for sex offenders- if they are close in age. There isn't a clear line to distinguish what's OK and what's not, though, and in this case, yes it was legal so that's the line we use w/o other info. However that doesn't mean it was OK, and I think most people would agree that 16 and 21 can be fine for some young people and exploitative for other young people. 21 is quite a bit older than 16, you've been through more of the rites of passage. To me, five years older than a high schooler is definitely pushing it- but we don't know the circumstances of the situation and the boy was legal. And while the LW does know the circumstances, she may not perceive them the way the boy did.

As to the possible explanations, the short version is it's none of the LW's business. The longer version is- Only the boy (now man) knows for sure how it all went down. The other people who could have a sense of it also are people close to him, like his wife and sister. And they might also have their own opinions and feelings about it. It could be that it was a big deal to this man, even a source of pain, and his wife and/or sister might know that. It could be no big deal to this man but it is to his wife and/or sister who think it was wrong. Or there could be something private going on in that marriage (they are in a rough spot, living in the sister’s driveway) that has nothing whatsoever to do with the LW and which for reasons the LW does not understand, it is easier for the sister and/or the couple to keep company away from the house and give them space. Or, it could be that the LW is an annoying person and these people don’t really want her in their home. In short, mind your own business and respect the social cues you are picking up on.

The fact that the LW feels like she's being treated as someone who has transgressed with a teenage boy does make me wonder if it's her guilty conscience speaking to her, but she's unreliable so it could just as likely just be her making something all about her.

68

@67 Yeah I agree with that first paragraph. 21 and 16 is not necessarily awful but it's also got some strong potential to be. And I 100% understand why the friend/sister could be very upset by this. Maybe she should have gotten over it since but I don't think we can blame her for thinking "My friend is perhaps not to be trusted to understand boundaries."