this post is going to stray a little from my usual wedding & engagement celebrations… it’s a bit more personal… but something that i really want to share with you all.
so, as many of my longtime readers know, my wife and i have a daughter. and for those of you who don’t, well, now you do. she’s 7 months old and one of the best things that’s ever happened to us. she is absolutely beautiful and incredibly happy. we love her more than anything.
from the day she was born, even though she was physically delivered by my wife, we have both been her mommy.
my name is on her birth certificate, i change her diapers, i feed her bottles, i stay home and care for her two days of the work week, and the three of us live together as a family. however, if we ever leave the state of massachusetts, i am not her mommy in the eyes of the law. if anything ever happened to my wife, i would have no legal say in my daughter’s life decisions. so, to protect ourselves, we began the process of legal adoption. the long, expensive process of legal adoption. so that i would be viewed as her mom in canada, in florida, in texas, or in japan – everywhere. we began the process about 6 months ago by searching out a lawyer in our city who has experience with second-parent adoptions. we had to fill out so much paperwork – affidavits proving that she wasn’t on the missing children list, criminal background checks, and affidavits waiving home studies & interviews. i had to fill out paperwork that included a question that stated: “please describe some of the caretaking or parental duties you perform for the adoptive child on a routine basis, such as changing diapers, arranging day-care, income contributions, reading to child, attending school or extracurricular events, etc.” as though my diaper-changing skills had any effect on my mother-status. but we did it. we completed all the forms, paid all the bills, certified & notarized & signed on the dotted lines.
and today, 6 months later, i adopt my daughter. today, we go to the courthouse with her grandparents & lawyers & cameras, and stand in front of a judge and are declared a “legal family”. it’s a momentous and happy day, but also pretty insignificant in the overall scheme of things. we have always been a family. we were a family the day my wife and i committed ourselves to each other, the day we bought a house, the day we adopted a cat and then a dog and then another dog, the day we ordered sperm online, the day we went to the fertility clinic and one very important little embryo was placed inside my wife, the day i made her chicken soup and crackers to help fight her morning sickness (which was really all-day sickness), the day we put a crib together, the day those contractions started and we didn’t know that it was really real labor, the day our daughter was born and we held her in our arms for the first time, and on and on and on. and today we are a family too, but this time in the eyes of the law.
many people have asked me, “what? why do you have to adopt your daughter?” and i understand. it doesn’t make sense to them. and it doesn’t make sense to me. but until our country decides to change it’s mind about how it views same-sex couples, this is the way we have to work around all of the various restrictions and limitations placed on us. luckily my wife and i live in a state that recognizes our marriage and has courts and judges who are familiar with second-parent adoptions. our adoption, as form-filled and lengthy as it was, was easy compared to what families go through who are living in states where the laws are different. we are lucky. and it shouldn’t be that way. you shouldn’t be able to have certain rights depending on where you live. a family is a family. love is love.
so, in honor of this legal adoption, i’d also like to start a series on this blog called for real equality families. the first family I shared with you this morning – Bonnie and Rachael. I hope that there are more submissions to come. i want to start putting it out there – that not only are same-sex weddings happening, for real, but same-sex families are happening for real too. whether it’s by adoption, known donors, anonymous donors, turkey basters, or my friend’s new product, the semenette, LGBTQ families are out there. we are making families, through both legal paperwork and lots of love.
here is my family:
show me yours.
photos by oldfields photography & personal photos