Family / Kids / Parenting

Legal “We’re going to see a judge, and they’re going to make sure that EVERYBODY knows that Mama is your mom.”

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That’s what we told n, anyway, when we got our court date last week. Which was – eeek – less than a week away. She proceeded to look at us like we had three heads, which, well – why wouldn’t you, when you know that your mama is your mom, and always has been? She went with the flow, though, and was mostly bummed to be missing shabbat celebrations at school.

In an uncharacteristic turn of events, she was really great and relaxed. She may have taken her ponytail out, but she let us exchange the pajama shirt she wanted to wear to court for one that was a bit nicer, so I’ll call that one a draw.

In the end, we (and three other families – one other same-sex couple, a heterosexual couple, and a single mom) were in the courtroom for perhaps 20 minutes. So fast that our friends who got stuck in traffic didn’t even make it. The judge was sweet and enthusiastic, and in addition to taking a picture with us, signed the book we’d made for n with her story in it. The rest of the day was spent playing.

Which is how it should be, really. Because why not drown out that anger that a parent should have to adopt their own child – one that they helped plan for and conceive? One that they were present for at birth, and have been caring for ever since? Because the flip side to that anger is the happiness that now it is legal. And those fears (which we’ve been lucky enough to not have had borne out) regarding somebody challenging J’s parentage can now go away. And should, god forbid, something happen to me, I know that everything is in place for them.

Some day, when she’s older, we’ll explain the adoption to n in more detail. As well as how – despite being angry that it had to happen – we were lucky, because there were so many people living in places where they COULDN’T adopt their children.

And we ARE lucky.

And now we’re legal, too.

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  1. Mazel to the tov! I feel you, the mixed bag of feelings. It’s a privilege that should be a right that is insane to even be disputed, or not equally spread across the 50 states.

    For the folks following along at home, here’s a map of Second-Parent Adoption Laws and the stipulations around them for same-sex couples, from the Movement Advancement Project:

  2. Oh, it is such a double-edge of gratitude and resentment, isn’t it? On the one hand, my wife and I are so grateful that both our names get to be on our daughter’s birth certificate as ‘Parent’ (we live in Oregon). But on the other hand, I resent that all the reasons why I feel grateful… all the stories of the moms I know personally or through history who had to fight to keep their kids when they came out, or who can’t adopt because of their states’ laws. Sometimes I worry that my gratitude is a symptom of fear that I might lose what I have, and I should be more righteously angry and entitled than I am. But, like you, my gratitude always wins out.

  3. MazelTov!! We are so excited for you and a bit jealous too. I so wish we had a chance to have our day in court… we live in VA and regardless of the slogan VA is for Lovers we are not loved here. Some day, this too will change and our son will be granted the same rights as any other baby with loving parents!

    • India – we used to live in VA, but we’re in the DC ‘burbs, so when we decided to get serious about starting a family, we were able to cross state lines. I actually still miss VA a lot, there are so many great things about it. But the laws just don’t let me feel safe, even in the liberal haven of NoVa. A bit safer, now that this is done, but my wife has a lot of health problems, and we’ve got legal paperwork done, but nobody in VA HAS to follow it. What a great feeling.

      I know it’ll change some day, and I am in awe of those folks like you who are able to stick it out in the meantime. 😀

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