December 18, 2007

I used to work in the pro-choice movement. I loved it, and I’m still proud of the years I spent doing that work professionally and as a volunteer.

When I was on the board of a local abortion fund, raising money to give small grants to women who had chosen to terminate their pregnancy but couldn’t pay for it, we talked all the time about how many women were making enormously meaningful decisions based on having or not having ridiculously small amounts of money – sometimes as little as $50 for a bus ticket to get to a clinic in the next county over or $100 for a half day of childcare. 

The money was what we were focused on, but of course it was just a stand-in for the real issue, which is coercion. A person who has support from partner or family or friends in her decision about what to do about a pregnancy but who has to make that decision based on money has still been coerced by her community’s failure to support her adequately, in whatever way that means (yeah, I’m a socialist).

Some women who we couldn’t help told us that they would have to relinquish their baby because they didn’t have any other options to pay for termination but woudn’t or couldn’t parent. Most of these women we spoke with were very early in their pregnancy, so I couldn’t tell you what they decided to do in the end.  But the idea that the decision was based on something so stupid (though so real) as money was wrenching.

It never occured to me until we started the process to adopt that someday I would look at adoption the same way. Roo’s first family would never have relinquished him if their community had supported them better. It’s so obvious to me what should have been different for them, but it would take a sea change to get that support into place for them and for all the other first parents who relinquished because they didn’t – or felt they didn’t – have the resources (tangible or emotional) to parent.

I’me very proud to be both pro-choice and an adoptive parent. It feels like putting my money where my mouth is, in some ways.  But the more I learn, the more it starts to feel like I’m barely scratching the surface.

Just something I’ve been thinking about.


Protected: Next up

November 14, 2007

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October 18, 2007

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A different spin on it

October 8, 2007

Save the (Celebrity) Children!

African family adopts Britney’s kids.

And so they have circumvented the North American nation’s adoption laws, which impose strict restrictions—including a law forbidding foreigners to remove from the country babies who have at least one legal parent.

The children’s father, Kevin Federline, said, “I am the father of Sean Preston and Jayden James, who have been adopted. I am very happy because, as you can see, there is spiritual poverty in this village, and I know they will be very well looked after in Malawi. Peace out!”

But Mr. and Mrs. M are not content to save just two children. “After learning that there are thousands of biological celebrity ‘orphans’ in Hollywood, it is our wish to open up our hut and help them escape a life of extreme affluence, hardship, and in many cases, Scientology.” And so they will set up a center in Los Angeles to facilitate the adoption of other celebrity children. Numerous couples have already come forward from Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, and other countries that can offer children a better life.

The response has been overwhelming. So far, couples have put in requests to adopt the offspring of O.J. Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Michael Jackson, George and Laura Bush, and Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. Inquiries have also been made about the Culkin kids, as well as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the Olsen twins, who clearly suffer from severe cases of malnutrition.

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September 25, 2007

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Roo makes it official

September 17, 2007

Roo makes it official
Originally uploaded by Roundisfunny1

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.

Too late but not too little

September 6, 2007

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?