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.