Christopher Harris, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist who directs the Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, has had to navigate many institutional prejudices in forming his family, like many LGBTQ parents. The process of adoption brought Harris to three different agencies, since he faced discrimination at the first two agencies. Although he superseded all requirements, with five recommendation letters and additional parenting courses on top of extensive paperwork, Harris often found himself waiting with no word for months to years from agencies where he placed all his resources.
He had attempted to work with several religiously affiliated agencies who received government funds and yet, would fully limit the selection of potential parents, based on personal beliefs. After the final blow, Harris was determined to work with an agency that had the best interest of the child at the center of their practice, and now he is the proud parent of a young daughter. “How people approve or disapprove of potential parents should have nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity,” he said. “But it has everything to do with whether or not a person has the capabilities, heart and love to be a parent.”