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. 😉