Family / Family-building


Nguruka Because I’m lazy, this post is, as usual, cross-posted over at Round is Funny

[Background: When you decide on an open domestic adoption, one of the things you have to do is put together a family album (or profile) that describes who you are, your life, your community, your family, your hopes for any future children, etc. Agencies show these profiles (or make them available electronically) to expectant moms making an adoption plan.]

Yesterday, the National Center for Lesbian Rights won a case they took on on behalf of the Butlers, a gay couple who had been denied the right to post their profiles on two different adoption sites (read specifics about their lawsuit against and

NCLR wrote:

As a result of yesterday’s settlement, and agreed that they must either make their services available to all qualified prospective adoptive parents in California – regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status – or stop profiting from California consumers.


Well, it’s about time.

When NSG and I started out on the process to adopt our son, we made the mistake of looking at agencies on-line. We’re children of the 80’s: why wouldn’t we start with the internet? Turns out that a queer couple doing internet research on adoption is like going to Google med school in the middle of the night to look up why your throat is itching – by the time the sun comes up, you’ve not only convinced you’re dying of untreatable throat cancer, but you’ve already contacted 6 internet lawyers about drawing up a new will.

The profiles we saw, with few exceptions, were of couples who seemed to be straight, white, wealthy, church-going, and rich – with lovely lawns and beautiful golden retrievers. We were… well, white. We panicked.

In this vein, we started sending inquiries out at random to agencies that had any profiles posted of families who varied even just a little from the norm. We didn’t find any postings with queer couples in them, or even single people. What we wanted to know was: how would they handle our profile? Since we were planning on an open adoption, we needed to know that an agency would support us – not just tolerate us.

Here is my favorite response (and yes, I saved the email):

Dear Round:

Thanks for your inquiry. Yes, we are a very liberal agency and would be happy to work with you and your partner.

It is our policy that we would have you post your profile as a single woman looking to adopt. If a birthmom were to choose you to parent her child, we would of course encourage you to be honest with her about your sexual orientation and partnership status.

As you know, honesty is extremely important in an open adoption.

Best of luck to you, and please let me know how else I can be of assistance.


Agency Worker from Giant St*rb*cks-Like Adoption Agency


Where do I start? Naah, you can do it better. Have at it, gang.

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  1. Pingback: Overdue « Round is funny

  2. Wow, the logic of that email is simply stunning. let me read between the lines here…

    “Yes, [for 1954, rural Oklahoma] we are a very liberal agency… If a birthmom were to choose you to parent her child [though why on earth a birthmom would choose a single woman to parent her child is beyond me, but stranger things HAVE happened] we would of course encourage you to be honest with her about your sexual orientation and partnership status. [Though, it’s not like full disclosure is necessary, after all, everyone knows that gay couples are inherently unstable, so it’s likely that by the time the child was actually born you really MIGHT be the single woman that we wish you were.]… as you know, honestly is extremely important in open adoption, [but not as important as being heterosexual, white, married, and suburban; since you fall so far short of these essential qualifications, we suggest you lie your ass off and hope you don’t get caught out if you want any hope of having a child. Or, better yet, why don’t you just go get a high-earning husband and get back with us after the honeymoon.] Best of luck to you…

  3. we (briefly) worked with a “liberal” agency as well, who were okay with the reality of our relationship, until we were talking over the phone about an actual child.

    me: my partner and i…
    them: yes, your roommate and you…
    me: anyway, my partner..
    them: roommate
    me: partner
    them: roommate
    me: no, really. PARTNER
    them: if you would like to continue in this process, you cannot use that word.

    …the adoption didn’t work out, sadly.

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