If you don’t like (or more specifically, avoid) politics, this is not your post. As queer women, as a family headed by queer women, I believe and experience that our lives are intrinsically political. We don’t get an opt-out unless we’re willing to take things at the status quo. I’m not.
As I said recently, we completed our second parent adoptions (or step-parent, or whatever they’ve decided to call these damned things now) on Friday (for Darwin) and Tuesday (for Linnea). I’ve got a whole host of feelings attending this event, some of them floating around being grateful that they were completed before the Orange Menace takes office in a week and the rest centering squarely on disgust that the system makes this necessary in a situation where our children were planned by us for more than a decade, we have the legal paperwork from our donor releasing any rights or responsibilities, and we have been parenting our children for over two years, and over six months, respectively. Here’s how it all happened.
In November, a pressing need to adopt our own children resulted from the loss of any semblance of safety when we (or Russia? who’s counting?) elected the Orange Menace. Why? Because we don’t know what is going to happen, but all signs point to a white-hot ball of shrieking rage taking center stage. We don’t know exactly what is going to happen, because the Orange Menace is a gas lighter who will say anything that comes into his mind at 3 in the morning in a Twitter rant. His bizarre, abusive behavior will simply be a smokescreen for his staff to duck behind as they carry out the defunding of health insurance that millions now rely on rather than revamping a system that is in its infancy (public option anyone?). I bring these up because they are indicative of our situation. We just don’t know what the next four years are going to bring, but it’s clear that the “us” vs. “them” is merely intensifying. So we self-protect.
We contacted a friend who is a lawyer and to whom we’ve brought this up with in passing before. We heard from other friends that they had people in their lives who wanted to help, to fundraise the cost of their adoptions, and they wanted to include us if we wanted and needed. That overwhelming gesture of solidarity still brings tears to my eyes and a while lot of ‘it’s going to be okay’ even when clearly it’s not, because, as another friend once said, ‘it’s not going to be ok, but it’s going to be ok.’ This, people who do these massive, generous things, make me believe.
We found out quickly that, since there is only one person at DHS in the state who all these adoptions go through, it could take as long as six months to complete. Not ideal with January 20th looming. So we got on it as quickly as we could get together the first $500. Shockingly, while we were still in the Midwest for the holidays, we heard that our lawyer was ready to send the judgements to be signed, about a month after we started the whole process.
On Friday the 6th we got word that our judgement for Darwin had been signed. We found out on Monday that the judge was requesting a waiver for medical information that is required for traditional adoptions. What the heck? Well our lawyer wrote an awesome letter in which she basically told the judge that requiring this information for a queer couple was placing an undue burden on queer families that was not required of straight families in a similar circumstance and to knock it off. Politely. Firmly. And Linnea’s was signed immediately.
So. We have now legally adopted our own children. I’m grateful for the support from our community. I’m relieved that it was completed before the 20th. I’m bitter that it is necessary. I’m furious that this is only one very small fallout from a tragic election result. I’m thrilled that we can get the girls their passports without question and be recognized legally as the parents we have always been.