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Monday, December 24, 2012

A very special holiday message from JH2D, 2012


I had a boyfriend in college named Steve. He was from Texas and was a big ol’ Bubba. Our time together was short, as he was HIV positive. However during this time; I became very close with him and his family. Steve passed away on Christmas Day 1993. As I mention in my book, my first thoughts each Christmas morning are of Stephen and our time together.
Each year I get a card from his mom, this year was no exception. I was home alone recovering from my foot surgery when the mail came the other day. I struggled to pick the mail up off the floor from my wheelchair, and cart it to the dining room table in my lap. I began to open cards and read them while I drank a cup of tea. The card from his mom had this written on the inside:
Dear Family
About two week before Stephen passed away some of my lady friends were in his room visiting. He said “Well ladies, I will soon be driving my ‘heavenly bus in the sky’ and I will be there to pick you up when your time comes around. Don’t be late, because the buses don’t wait for no one!”
After the shooting in Connecticut, I light a candle by Stephen’s picture knowing in my heart he was there to pick up those children and their little spirits and take them to a peaceful place.
What a beautiful family you have. 
All my love.
Rose Mary.
I was stunned by the simple beauty of this short note and sat for a moment with tears running down my face as I remembered Steve and tried to understand the tragedy in Connecticut. We recently attended the annual Christmas in the City Cabaret at the Michigan Theatre here in Jackson. It’s our yearly break from the insanity of the holidays and the craziness the kids bring with the season. The song that stuck with me the most was their rendition of “Let there be peace on Earth” which was dedicated to those that lost their lives that horrible day a few weeks ago. I normally pass on this chestnut of a tune, but for some reason, this year it seemed right to hear.
Light a candle for someone you love today and rekindle their memory during this darkest time of year.
It is my hope that you and yours are well and that you might enjoy the peace that we all need and desire.
Tom, Tod, Anna, and Eli.


Friday, December 21, 2012

It has arrived!


The book, Jesus Has Two Daddies, is now available for pre-order on Amazon and the Kindle/Nook version is available now for download. 

Book Synopsis: As teachers, when Tom Oakley and Tod McMillen first begin to talk about starting a family, they each tried to find as much information as possible, as they wanted to learn about the best way to go about this life changing decision. There was very little information geared towards gay men, so after a few months of searching, a little reading, and legally changing their names to McMillen-Oakley, they felt comfortable diving into the adoption process head first.
They thought they knew everything.
They were wrong.
It is said that love makes a family. But in this case it was a teenage girl with two moms, a couple of lawyers, and just three weeks to get ready that made this particular family. This is the story of how their family was born, first through the private adoption of their daughter, and then expanding it with the adoption of their son from foster care three years later. Their adoption experience challenges the notion of what makes a family and sheds new light on the world of open adoption and LGBT parenting.
While Tom and Tod thought they were just adopting a baby girl, they got much more.
And the kids? 
They got two daddies.




GET IT!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The sycophancy begins

Yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year parents!
Anna has penned her annual list of EVERYTHING that she wants to the man with the bag, apparently, he will need to get a roof rack for his sleigh to get it all here.



We're just going to mail him the Walmart Toy flyer and call it good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tod chimes in. A very special JH2D post


Note: This is a very special guest post from my husband Tod regarding an event that took place after I posted our family picture on Facebook.

Last week I made a crucial mistake, I forgot my past.

I forgot where I came from. 

I left my home town when I graduated high school and never looked back.  Sure, I go home to visit my family, but I never went or will ever go back to who I was when I lived there.  Over the last 26 years I have developed into the person that I am now and I love where I am in life.  I am happily married in 10 states; I have two amazing children, a wonderful home and a career that I enjoy.  Over that time I transitioned from someone that felt he had to hide who he was to be accepted, to someone who has embraced who I was and was willing to take a stand to show others that I am worthy of acceptance, and that if you are unwilling to do so, you are the one that is missing out.  I have come to believe that personal stories and being true to who you are can make a difference.  When someone is faced with prejudice or difficult decisions it is my hope that those who know me will stop and think, "Wow, that is not true, my friend/co-worker/cousin/brother/son is gay he is not like that, or his kids deserve two legal parents, or he and Tom have been together almost 17 years now, they deserve to be legally married and have access to the legal rights that are associated with marriage." 

Last week I made a crucial mistake of challenging the beliefs of someone back home by means of an innocent picture of our family posted on Facebook. This someone had a similar upbringing to mine, but they did not make it out. They did not have the opportunity to learn that anything different from what you have always known is not always wrong.  As a result I was attacked with the very line that epitomizes the life I escaped when I left home: "I don't cram my lifestyle down your throat, so why do you insist on cramming it down mine?"  As gay people, we spend our lives having the heterosexual lifestyle shoved down our throats in every aspect of our lives.  Not too surprisingly our friends quickly rallied around us and showed their support on Facebook.  Some took to the defense and tried to lash back at the person that made the comment while others took the approach of reassuring us that the attack was unjustified and we should just remove the person from our lives. 

Surprisingly enough that is pretty easy to do, I have never met my attacker and in all likelihood the only time I will even be in the same room with him will be at a family funeral where it will be easy to avoid one another's company.  However, it goes beyond that. Despite being from a fairly conservative family and growing up in a conservative area, I was able to come out fairly unscathed.  I was not disowned by my family, I did not lose any close friends, and if anything I have softened the hearts of some people who were greatly tested when it came to practicing unconditional love and paved the way for the next generation of gays or lesbians in my family.  Having those comments posted on Tom's Facebook brought me back to the insecure kid I was before I left home, took me back to the fear and self-doubt that I had escaped.  Over the past week I should have been enjoying the fact the candidate I believe in with my heart and soul won re-election, I should  have been rejoicing in the states that moved our country in the right direction when it comes to marriage equality, I should have been enjoying my daughter's seventh birthday…

But instead I was quietly dwelling on how tired I was, tired of having to defend who I am, tired of having to fight for basic recognition as a person, a husband, a father, and a human being with feelings.  Within the next month or so Tom's book will be published and I will never be able to go back to a life in the closet again.  How we met, how we fell in love, how we built a life together, and how we started our family will be out there for everyone to read.  This does not scare me; rather I face it with great pride in Tom for putting our story in book format, providing the type of resource that we did not have as we created our own family.  Those that want to live their lives in hate will continue to do so and unfortunately there is very little we can do about that.  Thankfully, I am surrounded by an incredible group of people that brought me to the point of forgetting that people filled with that sort of hate were out there in the first place. And those same people will get me back to where I was before I was dismissed as anything less than whom I have become.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Word... to your Mother. A recap on the elections




After a recent dust up on my Facebook page regarding some pictures that I posted of our family, one of my colleagues at the college posted this link http://wordmother.blogspot.com
In the midst of all the vitriol being tossed around under what I thought was a harmless picture; I found great comfort in Erin’s words. Please enjoy, and stop by and tell Erin what you think.

This is Not Politics. This is Everything.
The election is over. And many of my friends have been posting on Facebook about how now we can all just get along again. I too hope that things calm down and that civility can be restored - especially among the people I count as family and as real friends. But I'm also still reeling a little bit from what went on in the last month or two. I know that my candidate won and there were many victories for marriage equality across the nation on Tuesday but all is not won until we can begin to see beyond "political issues" to the human costs involved.

I was vocal about my feeling that a vote for Romney, especially publicly voiced support for him, was an affront to me as a lesbian and to all LGBT people. Many countered this idea with the argument that they couldn't base their vote on a single issue, and I get that. I really do. Besides MR's staunch anti-marriage equality stance, his ignorant statements about not knowing that same sex couples even HAVE families, and his unwillingness to extend gay people (including gay veterans) the right to visit their significant other in the hospital, I had many other reasons to not vote for him. As you can imagine I disagree with him and most republicans on just about every issue from abortion to gun control to education and the environment. Yes, I have very strong opinions on issues like abortion and gun control. And I'm sure you do too. I'm happy to agree to disagree with you about those things. At the end of the day, we just don't see eye to eye on everything, and that's OK. But none of those issues matter in the same way because they are ISSUES. My family and our right to be recognized as belonging to one another is not an ISSUE. And this is not just about gay marriage.
 
I know some of you feel you've been personally hurt financially by Obama's economic policies and maybe you have. As someone who identifies as coming from a working-class background and as someone whose family is currently struggling financially, I empathize with your distress over economic realities. Maybe Obama's economic policies have not been good for you or for me or for the country at large. But they do not deny you your humanity. They do not deny you your human dignities or single you and your family out as being worth less than other people in any way.

If you are a friend or family member--if you love me, care about what happens to me, my partner and our son, or if you claim to love and care about another LGBT person in the world then I don't think it is too much to ask you to try to put yourself in our shoes for a minute:

What if your family were being denied basic things that most people take for granted? What if Obama wanted to pass a law that said you and your family were not entitled to the same things that most other families in America were entitled to? What if he went out of his way to make sure that people like you - (people who were Mormon, or Christian, or disabled, or born with a rare genetic condition) could not visit their husband or wife as they lay dying in a hospital or that people like you could not be granted a proper birth certificate for your child?  I know if these things happened to me personally you would sympathize. I know you would care. I know you would worry for me and pray for me and hope the best for me and my family. And maybe you just didn't/couldn't allow yourself to really consider that these things could become a reality for me and my family. But in many ways, they already are.

I am lucky to live in New York State where Gay marriage is legal - and even luckier to live in NYC where people generally don't bat an eye when they hear my son has two moms or when I refer to myself as a lesbian. But every year when Kelli and I drive to the midwest to visit family, we pass through states where not only is same-sex marriage illegal, gay couples have no rights at all in hospitals, in child custody cases, in hundreds--yes hundreds--of other realms.... We pass through towns where being gay is not only widely considered a sin but also considered revolting. In many parts of the country we are feared and loathed, still, and our New York State marriage license means absolutely nothing, legally.

If on one of these road trips we were to, God forbid, get into a car accident and if one of us were critically injured and had to be rushed to the hospital, fighting for our life, any of those hospitals could deny us the right to even be together in an operating room or to make the medical decisions that a legally recognized spouse would make. If I was dead or in a coma, and our son needed medical treatment the hospital could deny my partner the right to make decisions about his  medical care or even to stay with him in the hospital. Most disturbingly, if I were dead and in a coma and our son was fine, the state could take him away from my partner - the only other parent he has ever known - and place him in foster care. And they would be legally in their right to do so. That thought terrifies me!

So please don't shrug this off as though I'm simply getting huffy over politics. This goes way deeper than that.

To have the person who holds the highest office in this country be so outspoken about thinking that these things are OK would be detrimental to all of us. There is a dangerous logic at work here when you seek to deny a group of people certain rights that are granted to others. If it can happen to one group it can happen to any group. Stripping someone of their rights is the first step towards dehumanizing them--it opens the flood gates for other kinds of discrimination, prejudice, bullying and even violence. And it sends a message to LGBT youth who are probably already struggling with who they are--the message that who they are is less than who everyone else is. This is a struggle that all of us LGBT people have felt at the very core of our being at some point in our lives. When Obama came out in support of marriage equality last spring that helped undo a little bit of the damage that's been done to us since we were children. And it made space for some hope in the lives of many LGBT youth.

I have never unfriended someone on Facebook before. I've made it my policy not to. Generally, I feel like it's my duty to represent myself and my tribe here. I know that there are some LGBT people who disagree with this idea, but I want people to see that my family is just like everyone else's in almost every way - that we are in every way that counts, a family. In short, that we are human. LGBT people whether we are partnered or not, whether we are parents or not deserve to have our humanity affirmed.

If Obama were denying you and your family hundreds of things that my family and the rest of the families in the country were entitled to I would not vote for him. I would never show public support for him and I certainly would never trounce you for asking me not to. I would understand your desire and expectation to have ALL of the good people in your life stand with you.

Please think about this from my perspective--as a parent, as a spouse. What's done is done. The election is over and we cannot unpost what has been posted on Facebook. Yet I still feel the need to explain myself and let you know how deeply hurt I've been by the attitude and the assertions that I have been making much ado about nothing. This is not nothing to me. This is not politics. This is my family, my self. This is everything.
Posted by erin heiser at 6:56 AM 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Facebook page

We have an official Facebook page! Check it out and like us so you can stay updated on the book and when it's coming out.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jesus-has-2-Daddies/422378647808444

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mizz'N My Kidz! Maury Show edition

Yup, this is her, flashing cash from flashing her gash at Doctor Don's
We were watching Eli’s birth mom’s Facebook page around his birthday to see if she had any bon mots to share with the world regarding her amazing parenting skills. Little did we know that we would be walking into a virtual Maury Show on her timeline. She and Eli’s birth dad are fighting as well as his dad’s new “wife” and the mom to Eli’s brother. Yeah, it’s going to be fun to do Eli’s family tree when he gets to school.

Anyway, pull out a tooth, grab some pork rinds and let the weaves start flying.

Bitch Wanna Act Like Shes Soo Fuckin Perfect, HA BITCH GET OVER YOURSELF.!!! THA STUPID BITCH GOES TA CHURCH ONLY TA LEAVE AND START SHIT...YUP SHES A HYPOCRIT... DUMB BITCH
Juss Beat her (Eli’s birthdad’s baby mama) Ass.!! Ha, stupid Hoe* && Juss Fa Tha Record: I DID NOT FIGHT HER OVER HIM (Eli’s dad) HE ISNT SHIT TA ME.!!
Comments from her post, apparently her peeps are grammatically challenged as well:
Omg fa real wow go gurl
u kicked her ass hell yah
And then a hilarious update: She still in tha field lookin for her earrings :) i jumped outta my sisters car while she was driving down Morrell... (This is a street here in Jackson).

A Moment of clarity and compassion:
iDont Even Care AnyMore, iTried My Best Ta Be There For Youh, && Once Again Im Tha One That Got Shit On.!! iLove Tha Fact That My Family Is ALMOST Bakk Ta Tha Way It Was.!! Cant Wait For It Ta Be Normal Again :) Been Spendin Some Time Wit My "Gabba Girl" iLove This Lil Girl :) My Brother Is A Hell Of A Good Daddy.!! iLove Youh James.!!!

And then this: This Bitch Is About Ta Get Straight Smashed.!! Imma Curb Stomp This Hoe.! **Youh A Stoopid Hoe, Youha Youha A Stoopid Hoe** Nasty Trick Bitch.!! Shes Lucky Im Not About Ta DisRespect My Brothers House.!! I Kno Were She Bouts Ta Be At, And If Sue Wants Some Too, She Can Get It Too.!! Nasty Maggot Pussy Bitch.!!!
In a lil better mood... Not much tho... Thinkin bout goin ta tha hospital... Hopefully they will admit me... Soo i dont have ta be home by myself... Its soo depressing.!! I need some new friends...
Why Is It People Can Throw Crack In My Face Like Its Candy, But Tha Drug I DO WANT, People Tell Me Its Bad For Me.?? Guess Ill Juss Become A CRACKHEAD.!! FML

I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that she is probably bipolar at this point, either that or she has some serious anger issues. Regardless, I am making note of all this in case we ever get the “WHY DID YOU ADOPT ME?” from Eli.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Another voice on marriage

Anthony and Erin on their wedding day. Yes, they got married in a corn field.

The debate over gay marriage in North Carolina has sparked a lot of discussion on line and face to face. This vile and divisive amendment has long reaching tentacles that could affect more than just marriage. Tod’s cousin’s daughter’s husband (we’ll need a Mormon to figure out his relation to me) is a pastor and penned an interesting piece on this debate for his blog. http://wordshaveweight.tumblr.com/
While he has grown weary of the chatter on line and politics in general, he falls back on his faith.
While I have grown weary of the chatter on line regarding religion and God’s alleged plan for marriage, I have my tentative faith in the judicial system to make this wrong right.
Please take a moment and read what he has written.

From Anthony:
I’ve wanted to write this post for quite some time. I haven’t found an excuse for doing so, so I’ve just sat on it. Additionally, I am now a pastor, so I know that (against my wishes) my words now mean something that they didn’t used to. But with Kirk Cameron’s comments on Piers Morgan’s show and the insanity of a presidential election season, I just want to throw this out there now. 
Let me be clear on a couple things first:
1. The Bible is my standard for ethics because I believe it is the special revelation of the only true God of the universe. I make no apologies about that, even in regards to an issue like this one that can hurt so many people. 
2. I hate politics. Hate them. If you are a Christian who has politics for a hobby/obsession, bully for you. But I have no taste for the mutual back stabbing, insulting, and refusal to discuss things in an open, honest manner. What’s your political party? Whatever your answer, I likely have very little regard for them. So… just keep that in mind. I’m not part of whatever party you just mentioned. 
That being said….
I think many Christians in America are making a very serious mistake by throwing themselves into the political question of gay marriage. To go even further, I have no problems with legalized gay marriage. I will explain why on two levels: philosophy of government and the Bible.
For one, I think the government is far too involved in the institution of marriage. There has to be some involvement for the purposes of taxes. I understand that. But there is a couple who has asked me to do their wedding. And I have to meet a secular government’s criteria for overseeing their individual choice to marry one another. Is this not bizarre to anyone? Why should a gigantic, faceless, secular organization have any right to tell these two people what kind of credentials the person must have who will help them publicly declare their undying love and commitment to one another? That’s none of the government’s business! The government should not be in charge of marriage. And that includes telling people whom they can marry. 
Frankly, I don’t see how it’s Constitutional (this is our framework for government, remember) for the Federal government to decide that two consenting adults CAN’T do what they want if they aren’t harming anyone else. The fact that people are willing to amend the Constitution on this one issue based on one segment of the population’s ethical convictions is, frankly, alarming to me. What else will they amend into the Constitution? What about when I disagree with those Christians’ ethical decisions (i.e. Prohibition)? When the Hispanic population booms and Roman Catholicism explodes, will you feel good about the amendment for no meat on Fridays?
Or how about this… what about when Christians don’t have enough political power in this country to enforce their morality? What about when the day gets here (and it’s rapidly coming) when Christians are the distinct minority? Are you then so comfortable with a religious group imposing their religious, moral convictions upon the entire nation? Are you going to be such a fan of political religious power when/if Muslims outstrip Christians in America and enforce the ethics dictated by their religion?  Because that’s the precedent you’re setting. 
I am saying that this is unConstitutional. But it is also un-Christian in political philosophy. We don’t live in a theocracy. We don’t live in a Christian world. We live in a world in which Christians cohabitate with non-Christians. And Christians have been in the minority for vast tracts of history. What do you think Christians wanted, in regards to the government? “Just leave us alone and let us have the freedom to do as we feel is right.” But now that Christians are in a theoretical majority, do we treat other people groups as we want to be treated (see: Rule, Golden)? No. We want them to behave as WE want them to behave. It’s just not kind.
But it’s also not Biblical. 
Look, as I said, the Bible is my ethical guide. As such, my belief is that God, as Creator, has the right to define the boundaries of sex and marriage. And God blesses ONE specific scenario for sex: marriage between one man and one woman. That is the only kind of acceptable sexual activity in the God of the Bible’s eyes. So, therefore, it is for me too. God-ordained marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Any kind of sex that is not within those confines is sinful. Heterosexual, homosexual, whatever. None of it is ok. God gets to make the rules and that applies to marriage, too. I have never seen a Biblical argument that even comes close to arguing a compelling case otherwise.
(Note, too, that the Biblical condemnations are against the sexual act, not the attraction. So I find it perfectly believable that people are born homosexual. If Jesus is their king, though, I think that, yes, God would tell them, “You can’t act on what you feel.” Which, let’s be honest, is what God tells all of us all the time on about a million different issues.)
But, see, I believe that because I love Jesus. I trust Him. I can accept His rules because I accept HIM. And because I’ve submitted to God’s wooing, repented of my sin, and identified Jesus as my King, not myself, I’m obligated to His ethical demands. Not only am I obligated to obey, but I’m EMPOWERED to obey. 
Obedience to God never comes before repentance and return to God. Asking someone to behave like a Christian before they are actually a Christian is WRONG. It’s legalism. It makes a mockery of grace and redemption. 
You are asking people who have no regard for Jesus to behave as if they love Him by ignoring feelings and attractions that, for the vast majority of them, are as natural to them as my attraction to my wife is for me. That is incredibly hard-hearted and it defies the radical claims of the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus is that you CAN’T behave well enough to please God. You never can. Jesus doesn’t say, “Get your life straight (pun intended) AND THEN I’ll fix you.”
We’re basically telling people that if they’re living a life defined by their sexuality, the first thing Jesus cares about is their behavior. He does care about my behavior. But what He wants first is for me to trust and love Him. 
This gay marriage crusade is terrible. It’s a political ploy to stir up votes. And Christians walk right into, all the while painting a picture of a Jesus who demands conformity out of an unreformed heart. 
Please. Legalize gay marriage. I don’t care. I won’t stand in the way of you being allowed to marry who you want. But at my church, we will graciously and gently preach that Jesus is better and Jesus’ way is better. I’ll never do a marriage between two people of the same sex, but no one is trying to force me to do that. I’ll teach people that God made them to love Him and live the way He intended. And the Church, if it embraces that call, has an opportunity to demonstrate its nature as salt in the Earth. Contrast. Difference. 
Why are we so afraid of that? Love Jesus. Live under the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the world live as they choose, which we weirdly have no political problem with if it’s heterosexual sexual activity. We don’t need to politically bar people from living in a way that accurately reflects where their heart is (as long as it doesn’t hurt others directly). We need to preach the Gospel with our words and with our lives and appeal to their hearts. We need to WIN their hearts, not legislate their behavior.
We believe Jesus’ way is better because we believe JESUS is better. Isn’t that enough? 
Do we need to legislate that? 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The end of spiritual violence


In the 20 or so years I have been in Jackson, I have worked with the Aware Shelter on many occasions. For those not in the know, it is a shelter for abused women and children. I have had my home on tour twice and have donated my time and talents to support this organization. For me, one of the most chilling aspects of this involvement is hearing the survivor’s stories. Most survivors, at some point in their talk, will utter the words, “I kept thinking it would get better, and the violence would stop.”  For many, the violence escalated and they died. For others, they finally had enough and fled to safety.
While I am not in a violent relationship, I was at one point in my life; I attended church as a gay man.
For years I kept thinking that if I found the right church they would treat me for who I am as a person and wouldn’t pummel my soul with edicts of eternal damnation and hellfire for being gay. While there are no physical signs of spiritual violence, the hurt runs deep into your soul.
We thought that it might get better when we joined the United Methodist church next to us. We knew right on that it was a welcoming church for us a congregation, but we also knew that the UMC as a whole was not as welcoming. Even though they used “Open Doors, Open Hearts, Open Minds” as their motto, there was an asterisk over the minds regarding LGBT members. But we were told that it was going to get better and that in 2008 change would surely come. At the international conference in 2008, the hateful and bigoted language in the UMC book of discipline was reconfirmed. According to the book, homosexuals are “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Just this past week, the UMC met again and once again confirmed this hateful language. To the denomination’s defense, there were many who protested this issue and had hoped to bring about change. It wasn’t enough however.  There is an ironic and delicious side note to go along with this information. The UMC has seen a sharp drop in membership over the past few years. While I would hate to have another empty building in our neighborhood, part of me says “Good riddance!”  
So I am done waiting for my relationship with the church to get better. I am tired of being smacked around and treated like a second class citizen. I have fled to safety in the bliss of atheism. From this day forward my family and I will have nothing to do with organized religion, for I never want my children to feel the sting and pain of this kind of oppression because of whom you are and who you love. This spiritual violence is couched with the coos of “it’s not THIS church that hates you, it’s the BIG church, and we don’t have control over that.”

Bullshit. 

I am done being Tina to the Ike of the church. The loving Jesus Christopher Brown will never punch my spiritual Rihanna again. 

We’re done and the healing has begun.

You can read the book of discipline here: http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1723
You can read more on the membership decline here: http://www.ucmpage.org/articles/rwall.html

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Remembering Virginia


Virginia at the local Breakfast with Santa. Yes, the creature on the right is Anna.

It is with a sad heart that I share the news that Virginia Huntoon passed away yesterday. We do not know the details yet, but we do know that a great person and a shining light in Jackson has left us. Here is a post I did a few years back:
Our friend Virginia from church penned this amazing letter to the editor to our local paper. Virginia is member of the “old guard” here in Jackson, which tends to be rather conservative. I was not, however, surprised to see this letter come from her. She is a great woman, retired teacher, social activist and all around great woman. My grandmother passed back in 99, and although she’ll never be replaced, Virginia certainly does help fill the grandma void.
She spoke to me at church one morning after her husband had passed and wanted to know about our situation. When I explained what we had to do to secure rights to each other in the time of need and to secure our adoption with Anna, she decided to write the letter.
Here is the letter:

Same-sex couples should be allowed to marry

Posted by Jackson Citizen PatriotDescription: t March 23, 2008 08:03AM

Categories: Voice of the PeopleDescription: t

SUMMIT TOWNSHIP — Having recently lost my husband of 66 years, I am acutely aware of the status of marriage in this country. Everyone hopes to find someone to love, and I was one of the lucky ones. I was with him at the end and was consulted on medical decisions. And as a widow, besides a lifetime of fond memories, I receive his pension, Social Security and health care. Sadly, not all couples benefit from this arrangement.
Marriage traditionally has been defined as between a man and a woman. But from an historical perspective, the sanctity of marriage has not always been recognized as it is today. Before the Civil War, slaves could marry, but they couldn’t prevent their loved ones from being sold and sent away at the whim of the plantation owner.
It took another century to give full rights to certain minorities. Since then, when justice was denied, we have revisited those inequities, e.g. Brown v. Board of Education or Title IX. After all, this country was formed with the intent that all citizens are treated equally.
It is time to address same-sex couple discrimination. Some states have rectified this by recognizing gay marriage or civil unions. Unfortunately, this is more than a question of semantics. This union must be a marriage, legally binding and recognized in all states, that extends status and benefits to one’s life partner — something we in the heterosexual community take for granted.
Not only was my marriage not “threatened” by extending this right to same-sex couples, I see it as a validation of the institution of marriage, a sign of monogamy with a binding commitment between two people. It is time to recognize gay rights are human rights, and to extend to all couples this security.
           Virginia Huntoon

I am honored and proud to be her friend and will miss her dearly.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reading is FUNdamental


There is a grass-roots movement here in Jackson to get the library at the Middle School updated and staffed with a librarian. Our friend Heather is in charge of it and has asked people in the community to pose with a sign (made by her daughter Sophie) supporting this initiative.
Of course we agreed, and we posed in our own library at home. It's a guilty pleasure to have a room set aside just for books and other things, but when you live in a big old house, you sometimes have room(s) to spare.
Careful observers may wonder who the third child is in the picture, the one with the skinny green legs. No, we didn't adopt again, it's a sculpture made by one of my former students.
So yeah, what are you supporting these days?
T

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Serendipity Magazine


If you are stopping by because of Serendipity Magazine, let me say welcome! And thanks to Sia for making this happen. If you would, leave a comment and let me know where you are in the world. I know that Sia's efforts reach many people around the globe, so I'd love to know where you all are coming from.

If you didn't come here from Sia's great on line journal, do yourself a favor and check it out here: http://free.yudu.com/item/details/515809/Serendipity-Magazine---Symbols-in-Art---Vol.I-Issue4
My stuff is on page 80.

Thanks!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's on


You may have noticed the lack of posts lately. Things have been nuts with the deluge back in January. I won't lie, it's sometimes easier to post  on the Facebook than it is here. However, I did sign a contract with a publishing firm in Marshall, MI a month ago. The book, Jesus Has 2 Daddies is set to be published some time this year. The company is busily working on formatting and editing the book as well as working a cover and marketing.
WOOT!
Stay tuned for more updates on this.
T

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hippity Hoppity

Easter's on its way.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Under construction

On the afternoon of January 8th, a certain 3 year old in our house flushed an unknown item down our toilet on the second floor. Said item caused much blockage, and the toilet ran, unchecked, for the better part of thirty minutes flooding the bathroom, the kitchen, our first floor bath, and causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Fast forward to last week, and we’re ripping out walls and discovering black mold and all sorts of stuff. Life has NOT been good here in JH2D land. It’s been chaotic and dust-covered. Beer and alcohol consumption is at an all-time high and tempers are flaring.
Soon, however, we will be back to normal, whatever that is, and the posts will resume with some regularity. Right now, it’s all I can do not to run screaming from the house.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The day Madge made us gay

She had come to Indianapolis to feminize, kitsch, and queer the Super Bowl, and by that measure her 12 minutes were a success. Madonna’s genius as an artist has been to remove subtext and eliminate the underground, to put everything out in the open. (I mean, she published a sex book called Sex.) This doesn’t mean she is free of mystery (do you understand “Like a Prayer”?), but, for decades, her entire point is that everything good and important should be mainstream.

No one should hide or be hidden.

There is no shame in whoever you are.

It’s true that this message was more exciting coming from a 33-year-old Madonna than from the current 53-year-old version. But I’d rather get it from her than from, say, the importantly self-important Lady Gaga, Madonna’s most aggressive acolyte. With Gaga, every anthem is a hashtag. With Madonna, the anthems have actually lasted. At the height of her powers, Madonna wouldn’t have been asked to go near the Super Bowl (as Gaga today would never be), but last night was a reminder that she’s far from irrelevant.

She knows that she and football have nothing to do with each other, but her show managed to embrace womanliness and flamboyance in a way that didn’t affront masculinity. Nothing homosexually gay happened on that stage. But it seemed to liberate people who watch sports both casually and obsessively to observe, with what sounded like a degree of amused catharsis, how gay Madonna’s show felt. For a moment, we got a break from “no homo.” Still, you wonder whether Elton John, George Michael, or Adam Lambert performing the same show would have produced the same sense of relief — or just panic.

That’s not Madonna’s barrier to break. That’s the NFL’s.”

Writer Wesley Morris, deciphering Madonna’s halftime show, in Grantland.com

RESPECT!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Adoptive Family Trees: A splintery subject

I found this on this site: http://jimidoodle.blogspot.com/

 We knew it was coming and it finally happened. We had read in many of the adoptive family blogs/journals that the family tree assignment can be dicey for non-traditional families. Monday night, Anna opened her homework folder and spread out the traditional family tree structure on the table and immediately became frustrated that her family didn’t fit into that mold. She said, “I don’t live with my mommy! I live with Daddy and Papa!” She then freaked out when she saw that her mom’s side would have traditional father/mother for the grandparent entries. Since her mom was raised by two women, that model didn’t work either. There were several grunts of frustration and we had to talk her down and assure her that we would work on finding a solution for her to present to her class. It’s funny, as several of her classmates are from non-traditional families as well, so this isn’t an isolated thing in her classroom. Tod did some cut and paste at his school and made a tree specific for Anna. He also drafted this letter to her teacher.

Dear Wendy,

                Anna had several questions about some of the spots on the version of a family tree that you sent home for them to complete with their family.  We have always been very open with Anna about adoption and her biological family, so she was eager to fill out the section about her mother, but even her mother’s family is a non-traditional family.  With adoptions, single parent families, children being raised by grandparents, and family trees reconstructed with divorce and remarriage, many students would struggle completing a traditional family tree, not just with families such as ours.  Thanks to having access to a computer and a copy machine I was able to create a worksheet for Anna to use to represent her family, but not all families have that luxury. 

For your consideration I have included a couple of blank family trees that you may want to consider using in the future.  There are other ways of completing this assignment as well, without the traditional branches.  You could have the student put his or her name in the center of a target and have them work out from the center to represent the adults that serve a parental role and so on as you work out from the center.  Story web format could be used as well. We are not offended, we knew sooner or later this type of assignment would come up, but we also did not want to miss out on the opportunity to make this a teachable moment.

Sincerely,
Tom and Tod. 
We didn’t get angry, we didn’t get upset, we simply showed the teacher that there were other ways to make this project work. It is our hope that she will adopt these changes and consider doing a project that won’t cause stress to kids in non-traditional families. As times change, the family structure is changing as well. Families are blending, families are fracturing. Children are being raised by other family members as divorce is so common place in our society.  And no Rick Santorum, it’s not the evil gay peoples fault.