The Next Frontier

posted by Mel 


I let too much time go by afraid to post, and now there is too much to post, and I am overwhelmed by it.

Someday I will write about how difficult these last couple of weeks have been, how we’ve been dealing with the loss- mostly about how I am dealing with the loss because I’ve been very stuck on my end of it. Vanessa has suffered a huge loss as well, but she has been the rock of Gibraltar while I’ve been dealing—never seeming to even flinch at a sudden sobbing binge. They come on like tornados. Today, though, I’m focusing on what comes next.

We’ve been exploring two options simultaneously—adoption and getting Vanessa pregnant via IUI. I’ve been pretty focused on adoption, since that seemed a surer thing. Meanwhile, Vanessa has been dealing, mostly silently, with an impending identity shift were she to become pregnant. Monday night brought a complete and thorough meltdown in which she proclaimed that she did not want to carry. Pregnancy fucks with her identity too much. I get that. Not getting pregnant seriously fucks with my identity. For insurmountable physical and emotional reasons, I have to deal with that, but there’s no reason she should be pregnant if she doesn’t want to be. I cannot support reproductive freedoms for myself and for other women and withhold that support from my own partner. We will adopt. The end here is to become parents, not martyrs.

So. Adoption. I’ve been researching International for a while now. It’s not easy because there are no options internationally for gay and lesbian U.S. couples wanting to adopt as couples. One parent has to adopt as a single hetero in-country, and a 2nd parent adoption must be completed later in the United States. Most folks who know us know that Vanessa and I really suck at not being lesbians. Despite that hoop, we began talking to an agency and researching the specific region from which we were interested in adopting. Then I joined some international adoption message boards. The judgment I witnessed—not even directed at me (I did not introduce myself or our situation) was incredible.

I know it’s hard for readers of this blog to read, but there are (often extremely religious) folks out there that actually think a prospective single parent or gay or lesbian prospective parents should not be allowed to adopt a child. Others think we just shouldn’t be allowed to adopt a healthy child, but if a child is otherwise unadoptable by a straight Christian family (read: no “perfect” couples are willing to adopt them), then the spinsters and queers should feel free to step up to the plate.

And then there are the “first adopters,” who seem to believe that if a couple is coming to adoption after infertility, they could not possibly have the wherewithal to love a non-bio child. Adoption is, after all, a second choice—a consolation prize. Personally, my second choice would be not to parent. Becoming a parent is my first choice, however we get there.

What I saw, more than anything, was the attitude that those who do not consider themselves Christian need not apply. As a side note, I saw a lot of what I’m tempted to call “kid collecting.” Maybe I’m being a little judgmental here, but has anyone else noticed this syndrome among international adopters? I saw a lot of “We’ve got 4 children—2 from China, 1 from Guatemala, 1 from Vietnam, and we’re waiting to add boy/girl twins from Ethiopia!” Also, some of this, “We’ve got two bio kids, ages 8 and 3. We’re looking for virtual “insert country” twins—one for each of them.” I also saw much lauding of US superiority to every other country.

Try as I might, I cannot see us as members of that community. Not only would it mean going underground from this amazing village we’ve found online out of fear that some bureaucrat who gets paid to spy on lesbians attempting to adopt internationally would find it; it would mean immersing ourselves in a hostile culture during what is already a very stressful time in our lives.

It looks like international is out for us. Even as I hate to limit our options, it feels good to come to some resolution in all of this. Of course, I’m saying that a month before we can get in to a seminar on domestic open adoption. I hope I don’t have to eat my words.



Filed under Adopting

13 responses to “The Next Frontier

  1. So glad to hear from you guys again. Had been wondering/worrying. I totally get the ‘who will carry’ issue as my partner has ZERO interest in being pregnant and I could never ask her to be. I have done some research on adoption, too, and have come to similar conclusions on international. Especially since a lot of countries are closing to single people (the straight ones, too) and that’s how gay couples have to present. I’m sure there are resources in Indianapolis, but if you get frustrated, I’m in Chicago and have already found agencies willing to work with lesbian couples, so let me know if you want resources/suggestions/etc. It’s not so far away and they do work with out of state families. I’m sorry about all the Christian backlash you found. People’s assumptions and hatreds are so mind-boggling to me. (And fill me with rage, but I’m trying to work on that.)

  2. I have been thinking about you two a lot. I am sorry that things are so rough. It is totally unfair. I wish that there was some magic wand that could make pain go away. And some kind of magic slap that would make people not so judgmental.

    Love and hugs

  3. So good to hear from you. I admire you both so much and have kept you in my thoughts.

    The adoption community can be frightening. It just blows my mind that two incredible people that would make excellent parents would be denied the opportunity to raise and care for adopted children. I wish you so much love and luck. Because of people like you, the culture of judgement will change.

    “my second choice would be not to parent. Becoming a parent is my first choice, however we get there” – That totally moved me. Thank you for your honesty and attitude.


  4. Kim

    Oh yes, the “save a child” adopters. When we were considering adopting from China, I had to leave the big China adoptive parent list because of those people. Them, and the “rah rah rah U.S. is AWESOME!” adopters. As if no child could possibly ever have a chance at a good life if they aren’t taken out of the own cultures to live as Midwestern Americans.

    I wish you both the best, with whatever route you choose to follow.

  5. Co

    It’s good to hear from you.

    I am glad you and V. are working through your feelings on this, and being honest about what you do and do not want to do. Not all international adopters are like the people on those message boards, just like not every woman TTCing is like those “baby dust” and “sticky vibe” senders on Fertility Friend. But, I know you’ve researched this and there are probably a number of reasons why you’re negging international adoption right now.

    And yeah, I went to a school with a girl whose family was into “kid collecting” and she wrote this obnoxious essay about how great it was and was shocked when she didn’t win this state contest. I was like… good, because everyone at my Catholic school thought her family was all that and a bag of chips. And I didn’t.

    I am glad you are choosing to parent. You will make wonderful parents.


  6. Melody, Vanessa –

    I’m delurking, just to say this: By considering adoption, I think you would be doing a great thing.

    My mom was shuffled around the U.S. foster system for most of her childhood, and her stories about it aren’t very pleasant. I don’t know much about what it is like now, but I know that in her day the U.S. adoption and foster home system was terribly broken. She tells stories of being used as child labor on farms, and experienced abuse at the hands of some of her fundie foster parents.

    Even if you adopt an infant before they get thrown into the foster system … you are still keeping one kid from growing up in that system, and you are doing a lot of good in the world.

    I admire the strength of your will to hold on in the pursuit of your dreams.

  7. jay

    I too am glad you posted because I’ve been thinking about you both a lot (and I know vee has too). It sucks that you’re in this situation, and it sucks that the international system sucks, but it’s good to see such honesty. I wish I had something useful to say but I don’t… just that I really admire you both. Hugs xx

  8. Lo

    Also glad to hear from you. And glad that you are still on this complicated road to becoming parents. Sounds like you have come to some hard and wise decisions.

    We have at least two friends who have adopted domestically. Of course it’s different state by state but we’d be happy to connect you. Thinking of you much.

  9. docgrumbles

    I am glad you have come to a decision, or at least a better idea of one. I wouldn’t want to join a club that didn’t accept you as YOU ARE.

    You two deserve to be parents in a way that you are both comfortable with.

    I wish you both the best of luck.

  10. I just found you via a comment on another blog and wanted to say that I hope that the adoption journey is easier for you than the TTC one was. We adopted our daughter four years ago through a domestic, open adoption and she definitely lights up our world. I also encourage you to check out my pet project: if/when you feel drawn to go that way. It’s got links to resources including the research done (so far) on openness. 🙂 good luck!

  11. I miss you guys! Well virtually in any case since I see you almost every day 🙂

  12. You are capable of do your audio alone, no need to inquire your friends guide despite the fact that youre working on your beats.

  13. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are incredible! Thanks!

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