May 28th

May 29, 2007

Yesterday was the third anniversary of, as Shirky so eloquently put it, the day The Man said our relationship was cool.

I’m not usually one to put too much stock in the man, and so we usually celebrate our actual wedding anniversary in August, but all the same: this day makes me very happy.

And my boy is 10 months old! Holy.


Overdue

May 23, 2007

Because I’m lazy, this post is, as usual, cross-posted over at Lesbian Family dot Org.

Yesterday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights won a case they took on on behalf of the Butlers, a gay couple who had been denied the right to post their profiles on two different adoption sites (read specifics about their lawsuit against Adoption.com and ParentProfiles.com).

NCLR wrote:

As a result of yesterday’s settlement, Adoption.com and ParentProfiles.com agreed that they must either make their services available to all qualified prospective adoptive parents in California – regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status – or stop profiting from California consumers.

***

Well, it’s about time.

When NSG and I started out on the process to adopt our son, we made the mistake of looking at agencies on-line. We’re children of the 80’s: why wouldn’t we start with the internet? Turns out that a queer couple doing internet research on adoption is like going to Google med school in the middle of the night to look up why your throat is itching – by the time the sun comes up, you’ve not only convinced you’re dying of untreatable throat cancer, but you’ve already contacted 6 internet lawyers about drawing up a new will.

The profiles we saw, with few exceptions, were of couples who seemed to be straight, white, wealthy, church-going, and rich – with lovely lawns and beautiful golden retrievers. We were… well, white. We panicked.

In this vein, we started sending inquiries out at random to agencies that had any profiles posted of families who varied even just a little from the norm. We didn’t find any postings with queer couples in them, or even single people. What we wanted to know was: how would they handle our profile? Since we were planning on an open adoption, we needed to know that an agency would support us – not just tolerate us.

Here is my favorite response (and yes, I saved the email):

Dear Round:

Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, we are a very liberal agency and would be happy to work with you and your partner.

It is our policy that we would have you post your profile as a single woman looking to adopt. If a birthmom were to choose you to parent her child, we would of course encourage you to be honest with her about your sexual orientation and partnership status.

As you know, honesty is extremely important in an open adoption.

Best of luck to you, and please let me know how else I can be of assistance.

Sincerely,

Agency Worker from Giant St*rb*cks-Like Adoption Agency

***

Where do I start? Naah, you can do it better. Have at it, gang.


My bookworm mama heart is oh-so-satisfied

May 21, 2007

Tonight when I put Roo to bed I sat on the floor and we chatted, as we always do, while he played. Usually when it seems time I pick a book and pull him into my lap. Tonight, though, he played for a few minutes, went to the bookcase, and pulled a bunch of books off the shelf. He scattered them, looking through them carefully. Eventually he  pushed one towards me and crawled over and settled himself into my lap.

I LIVE for these moments.


Technically I’m late

May 18, 2007

But since I’m in the Las Vegas airport, it’s only 11 pm and so, even though it’s now May 18th at home, it’s still May 17th here, and so not too late for me to say: Happy anniversary of legal queer marriage.  Yeah!

(It almost makes up for us being nicknamed Massholes. )


Protected: I don’t have time for this

May 14, 2007

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Hair

May 9, 2007

I’m a little mortified. I did Roo’s hair this morning with his fancy hair product, and scrunched it so it was all cute and curly. And then he fell asleep in the car and woke up with what my Dad describes as “hair akimbo.”

NSG took him into the grocery store, and a black woman approached her and, not unkindly, told her he needed product in his hair.

We’re both embarassed. We’re trying. Clearly we’re still learning.

When we started on the path to transracial adoption, knowing that we would most likely adopt a black or biracial black/white child, we talked to a number of our black friends about it. The question we asked – only of those with whom we have real trust, obviously – was: if you had one piece of advice for white parents adopting a black child, what would it be? The answer, unfailingly, was HAIR.

When Roo was about 2 months old we emailed a picture of him to a  bunch of friends. Our friend J., who is black, called us immediately and said: we have to talk. His hair, which we had perceived as baby bedhead, was unacceptable. If she saw us on the street and didn’t know us, she would think we knew nothing about parenting a black child because we didn’t even know how to do his hair.

We were glad she called us out – better a friend than a stranger – and got to work. We’re getting there, and the stuff we put in his hair now is much more expensive than anything either of us has ever put in our own hair (but it has lemongrass in it so I can’t stop smelling his yummy head). Today was bad, even though the woman in the grocery store was nice. I really, really don’t want to be those parents.

I’m in the middle of reading Barbara Katz Rothman’s Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption. One of the things she talks about is how, in the context of a consumer culture, we show value through the kind of money we spend on our children. This goes for pretty much all U.S. parents, regardless of social status – a new outfit for a holiday, karate classes, and so on.

But she makes the case that the way we spend money on our kids is even more loaded when we’re white parents with black children, and again on another level with children who are adopted – since, for a million reasons, we have a cultural perspective that black children are less valuable than white children, and that parents who adopt must be doing so out of generosity and compassion because these children were “unwanted.”

It’s fucked up, right? But I don’t think she’s so off-base. She says that one of the main ways that white parents of black children, and to a lesser extent any adoptive parent, shows the world how much their child really is valued, is through material things like fancy hair products. She has two white children who she gave birth to, and one black child who she adopted. She talks about how her own mother never, ever got on her case about her white children’s appearance, no matter how messy or raggedy they looked, but never let it pass without comment when her adopted daughter was anything less than perfectly groomed because she was scared to death that anyone would ever think the adopted daughter was a charity case. (She doesn’t get into it, but I would think this would also be the case for parents who aren’t automatically seen as being “fit” – like teen moms).

I get what she’s saying. I don’t dress Roo in the morning with the idea that people shouldn’t see him as a charity case, obviously. But of course there’s something reflective on your parenting when your child is neat and clean and in unstained clothing (how the hell does anyone keep their baby’s clothing unstained, by the way?), and then there are all these other layers of being such a conspicuous family.

What do you think?


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May 9, 2007

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