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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tentative families


Tentative Families: starting a family through adoption.

As you can see by my distinct lack of posts, we have been pretty busy over the past few weeks. Since our first visit with Elijah, we have been spending more and more time with him and his foster parents while the wheels of bureaucracy slowly turn towards his permanent placement with us, or, as Anna likes to say, his “forever family.” And, to make life even more exciting, my brother and sister in law are doing the same thing with their adoptive child. They may actually have placement before we do, as their court date is this week, so Anna and Elijah will have a new cousin to play with soon. But in the mean time we wait.

Just as we are doing with Eli, my brother and sister in law have to do the same thing with Olivia. She is in foster care to the south of them in Ohio and they visit her regularly. This tentativeness that comes with adoption is something that scares a lot of prospective parents off of the process of family by adoption.

The not knowing, the uncertainty, or the devastating outcome of a birthparent changing their mind were all things that we discussed over a family dinner with my brother as we both began this journey around the same time a few years ago.

My sister in law was very worried about bonding with a child and then losing it after the birth mom changed their mind. And, indeed this did happen to them back in November. I was thrilled to have Obama as a president, but the passing of Proposition 8 in California (and our legal marriage brought into question) and the news that I was no longer an uncle cast a cloud of depression over our family.

There are many uncertainties associated with adoption, private or through foster care, and we were ready to face them. Anna was finally our child on June 6, 2006 (yes that would be 6/6/6 for those who weren’t paying attention), but Anna wasn’t officially mine for another three and half months. That muggy day in September when Tod and I (both) finally became her legal parents was a day that I will always remember. I cried, I sobbed, I gulped for air, and I finally felt like I couldbreathe and she was mine, and no one could change that. If you're in a non-opposite marriage (thanks Former Miss California!) you don't have to worry about this shit. But if you're in a same sex marriage,you better worry. You betcha.

But with Elijah, my level of concern isn’t as high, as we know that this will take some time and that we are dealing with multiple agencies at the state level. So we soldier on and deal with the late night deliveries to the foster parent’s home to the north, because we know that eventually he well be here with us forever.

And we can’t wait.