Gay Adoption or If We Could Just Get Married I Wouldn’t Have this Problem!

Warning – If you’re in a “quit your bitchin’” kind of mood, I would suggest skipping this post. Lots of whining ahead.


It is a beautiful spring day*, my wife is off work and when the boys wake from nap, we’re going…………….

……….to get fingerprinted.


I haven’t had a lot to say about the 2nd parent adoption process here. We are lucky enough both to live in a place where such legal protections are available and to be in the financial position to take advantage of them. Those facts alone were enough to occupy me during our first adoption. I was grateful for our social worker and attorney and even the judge who conducted the hearing. The only anger or sadness I felt was on behalf of all of the families for which this was not possible.

Unfortunately, that was last time.

Yogi’s adoption was conducted as swiftly as possible and I was recognized as one of his legal parents well before his first birthday. Monkey turned one last week and only now are my wife and I forcing ourselves to begin jumping through all of the hoops that will get us a piece of paper that makes official the fact of my status as parent to this child.

While it’s true that our lives are busier now that we have two children, it is not true that this is the reason for all the feet dragging. At least not my feet. If all of this were up to my wife, we would have had this box checked quite some time ago. Unfortunately, it’s not all up to my wife. As the “oh, so you didn’t actually have the baby” part of this duo, I’m an essential part of the process. I’m the adopter. She’s the birth Mother.

So, why the change of heart? I wish I knew. All I can tell you is that when we had our first meeting with the social worker (months and months and months ago) to discuss Monkey’s adoption, I felt none of the “isn’t this lovely?” gratitude that I had felt (with the very same social worker) during the same meeting for Yogi. The pile of papers that we waded through (again) felt less like a path to somewhere I wanted to be than a stack of busy work you might have gotten from a substitute teacher in grade school.

In case you’re not familiar with these hoops, here’s a few highlights.


  • A clean criminal background check (at the federal, state AND local levels),
  • Proof of health and life insurance,
  • Letters attesting to my fitness as a parent from five separate people (three of whom must not be related to me),
  • A clean bill of health and thumbs up from my family physician,
  • Two letters attesting to the health of each of my boys from their pediatrician,
  • A copy of every official government document I have,
  • My wife’s latest tax return,
  • Three lengthy sessions with the social worker,
  • Ridiculous outlays of cash, and
  • A court date

do not a Mama make. Of that, I am quite sure.

What I’m saying is that this time, the whole thing feels less like a blessing than an insult. Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten tired of being grateful for crumbs. It might have been all the recent conversations around gay marriage. As glad as I am that such conversations are happening, the tone and content of the debate has gotten to me. Worn me out frankly. I’m tired of everyone else getting to pontificate on the reality of my family. Bone tired.

As if getting all angsty about marriage and adoption and all the rest weren’t enough, now I’m just pissed that I’m pissed. I mean, I am a loving person, dammit!

Perhaps the example that best captures the off-ness of this situation is my wife (hoping to find some good in the bad and not exactly known for her party enthusiasm) lauding the celebration/ritual potential of Monkey’s adoption:

My Wife: ” Well, you know we could make a day of it, really make things special. A Monkey and Mama day”!

Me: “This is NOT a day I want to celebrate! This is not OUR day and it is certainly not the day that I became his Mother. No, bad idea.”

My Wife: “Yeah,  I see that.”

If you have any extra patience, perhaps you could send some her way. I’m a real delight to live with at the moment.



* It WAS a beautiful Spring day when I started writing this post. 😉

16 thoughts on “Gay Adoption or If We Could Just Get Married I Wouldn’t Have this Problem!

  1. Oh, sing it, sister. I have so so so much to say about this. We have a second parent adoption from Georgia, of all states, for our first born, but here in the Midwest, I cannot get a second parent adoption for our youngest. There are other–really really really really expensive–ways we could jump through that hoop, and my partner (the birth mom of the youngest) left it up to me, and we thought about it. But, really? Nobody has ever questioned her parenthood of the boy, or mine of the girl without getting a stern (and intelligently worded) Eff You Right Off, and we’ve never been asked for proof (not when our son was in the hospital, or by anyone as of yet for our daughter). I think if it was available in our current state, we’d do it, but it just feels wrong wrong wrong to us to use privilege in a way to prove something that already is, when it would be such a huge financial burden, and when it doesn’t prove any relationship anyway. I totally get why you’re doing it, why you find it problematic, and why you’re dragging your feet. (We both wrote letters for a friend in Atlanta, and she told us that, while she was sure they were nice and all, she wasn’t going to read them because, really, fuck having to have them.) Gah. It is so yuck. So, that’s my vent in solidarity.

    • Thanks for the solidarity vent! I like the way you talked it proving something that already is. This is EXACTLY how I feel. These are my children. That is just true. The legal system doesn’t make it so and I hate even the suggestion that it does. Insulting.

  2. It is RIDICULOUS that you (or anyone) has to jump through these hoops to adopt their own children. Reading about this (never mind the gay marriage stuff) gets me so worked up and really it has so little bearing on our day to day lives as a two-mom family in Canada. I won’t say we are privileged, because I simply believe that we are being treated fairly and that shouldn’t be considered a privilege, but I am glad not to have to jump through these hoops. (Except that we might have to to get both our kids U.S. citizenship, but it doesn’t feel right to complain about that right now.)

    • I agree on the idea of privilege. No one should be made to feel lucky for being treated as any other person would be treated. What’s the story with the US citizenship? Are you guys moving?

  3. Really interesting to read about the change of heart since the first one. I’ve only got one at the moment, and I looked at the second parent adoption as an inconvenience (albeit much less intrusive than yours, since I’m in Massachusetts) and unjust, but also as a day where the government affirmed my family and established certain legal protections I was (like you) grateful to have. I can see that being extra ridiculous the second time around because, what? Those past however many years of parenting number one and being a family are somehow invalid now? Like, maybe it was okay when we were just starting out as parents, but somehow it’s back to square one? I never considered that before. Good luck swallowing this pill.

  4. So what happens if you don’t have a clean bill of health or if one of either boys had a serious medical condition? If that could possibly inhibit the adoption taking place then imagine the stress on a family already dealing with health issues. Stuff that! It’s awful and my heart goes out to all you in the US having to deal with BS like that. We are so lucky here in NZ.

    • Yeah! I don’t know what happens. I would imagine you just how to demonstrate how your family is responding to that in a responsible way, but again, it’s a burden that other families don’t have to bear. Grrrrrr

  5. I totally agree! We had to jump through hoops here in Florida where they have only allowed about 200 of them. While i was grateful ours was done, I was just as pissed at you for having to do it in the first place.

  6. That list of requirements makes me sick to my stomach! I’m so sorry you have to go through this to prove you are already someone’s mom! My only hope is that our children’s generation will not face the same burdens.

  7. I’m totally with you on this one. For me, part of what will make it harder with kid #2 is having to explain to kid #1 (who will be 5) what we’re doing. And for a kid who already knows what real adoption is, trying to explain why his mom needs to “adopt” his sibling and needed to “adopt” him will be kind of crazy-making.

    • Oh man. This could not be more true. I didn’t even write about this part bc I don’t know what to say. Yogi is totally into knowing about everything and trying to make sense of this with him has been kind of heartbreaking. I hate it. It feels like planting a seed of doubt in his mind about the truth of our family. And his parents have to be the ones to do it. How messed up is that?!!!

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