We did it!
Thirteen and a half months after Roo made us a family of three, we’re legal.
After 3 post-placement visits, 3 months of paperwork snafus, and another 3 months of waiting on a slow bureaucracy, we were in the courtroom for about 4 minutes. But it was beautiful. We had fifteen friends and family members there, and the judge and the clerks in the family court loved doing it, according to the lawyer, because they spend the rest of their week presiding over contested divorces and custody cases.
The judge asked us a few random questions, signed whatever was in front of him, and handed the gavel to Roo, instructing him to “make it official, young man.”
Afterwards, down in the clerk’s office, our lawyer checked on the petition she had filed that morning to request a copy of Roo’s original birth certificate. Our agency had told us we had no legal access to it, and the statutes seemed to support that, but the clerk handed it right over. Because of where we live, and because we’re married, we’ll get a birth certificate that lists us both as his moms, but of course it won’t list his first parents. So it felt like a real coup to get the original for him. What dumb luck, right?
Because we’re married, we were able to adopt him together today, which was incredible. This was a legal change, not a functional one, but it’s huge. When we got married we became a legal family with the legal protection provided to very few same-sex couples in this country. This felt like it closed the loop: each of us legally bound to one another.
This is the stuff I didn’t know I could wish for.
ABC – the Access to Birth Certificates Bill – passed in Massachusetts today!
This means adoptees born before 1974 or after January 2008 will have access to their original birth certificates.
I feel really sad for Roo, who doesn’t qualify to get his. We begged our placement agency, to no avail. I am counting the days until finalization (10 and a wake-up, thank you very much), and I won’t pretend I won’t be thrilled to be his legal parents as well as his parent in every other way, but it seems so weird to get a birth certificate with our names on it, as if we gave birth to him and Miranda and Michael never existed.
I can’t imagine not knowing my history, or even knowing it but not having any legal documentation. Who ever thought it was a good idea to erase all of that as if you could join a new family – even if it was on the first day of your life – and move forward as if there never was anything else?
Do you ever have those conversations where you have so many things to say that your brain can’t sort them and so you open your mouth but can’t do anything but stutter because all the different sentences are trying to get out at once?
That’s where this post seems to be going.
Vacation was fantabulous to the nth degree. This was our first actual vacation as a family and it was a blast, and particularly fun since the last time we spent any extended time there NSG and I had only been together 9 or 10 months and were still very much a new couple.
Roo was beside himself at the beach, and we dubbed him the Mayor of Small Beach Town, since we was so social all week that by the end of the week we were walking into stores and restaurants and people were greeting him by name.
Damn, does that kid ever sleep like crap when we’re away from home. We took his mattress and shoved it into the corner of our tiny bedroom and barricaded it with a nightstand so he couldn’t get out. It was safe, but it meant that when he stood up his little face was approximately 11 centimeters from NSG’s face, which he though was very funny, particularly from about 2:30-4 every freakin’ night. And he was up at a quarter to 6 every day, which would have been unredeemably sucky except that it meant that he and I went for a walk on the beach with hardly anyone around (except other parents with toddlers letting their co-parents get a little sleep) every single morning. Copious amounts of sunshine and iced coffee also took the edge off.
It was so much fun to play with my wife on vacation. I know it’s a no-brainer, but relationships are so easy on vacation. We’re both devotees of the bust-your-ass-to-make-it-work school of relationships, but really? Easy is fun.
Our last day there NSG’s mom and stepdad drove out and took Roo to the beach, and we went to a different beach on our own for a date and neither of us had to remove a rock from anyone’s mouth, NOT EVEN ONCE.
So back on Saturday, and then yesterday was the first day of our new family day care. More to come on that, and how incredible it is that NSG is finally, finally her own boss, and I also want to write about my friend-who-isn’t-my-friend moving to Canada and not saying goodbye and how incredibly sad I am about it, and this incredible book I’m reading about SNCC and how inspired I am in a way I haven’t been in probably a decade, and my new fear about being the white parent of a biracial child, and… that should keep me going for a while.
Also, why does anyone care about High School Musical? Can someone please explain the appeal of this? Am I just missing something because I’m neither straight nor 15?
Oh, and: the kid is WALKING. In earnest! We are in so much trouble.