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Archive for the ‘second parent adoption’ Category

so, here is a primer on our journey as a fambly:  i took part in the second and third blogging for lgbt families day, with great joy and trepidation.  in the former entry, i mused about what it could would maybe possibly be like to be a family, as h and i navigated the murky waters of gay family planning.  our children were hopes then, far away stars.  and if they ever became flesh, would we do right by them?

in my latter contribution, i was on the cusp of motherhood, sixteen days away from giving birth to one judith marguerite.  as i considered the myriad emotions of imminent motherhood, i came to the conclusion that the bigness of it all was universal:  i was about to be a mommy to a newborn, our family was beginning.  we were no different than any other new family.

only, we were.  in the ensuing months, h and i worked with our (wonderful) lawyer to ensure our family’s protection within the great state of texass.  we signed our names to contracts over and over until our wrists hurt.  wills.  medical directives. donor contract.  and then the big one:  adoption.

i will be forever grateful for the existence of second parent adoptions in our particular county.  and i am relieved that, on paper, h is unequivocally our daughter’s mother, even though current law prohibits her name from ever being on jude’s birth certificate.  however, what will forever chafe me is the fact that, as we nested together as a new family–discovering the rhythm of motherhood and babyhood–we were often interrupted by the presence of a social worker.  our social worker is a good woman, and worked as our advocate, but still.  in the middle of such an intimate, sacred season in our lives, we had to spend afternoons answering questions about our deepest and darkest selves.  even as the biological mother, i was not spared the background checks, the questions about my past, my family, my mental health.

several thousand dollars and six months later, we were finally recognized as the family we already are.

i’ll let you in on an insane little secret:  we’re about to do it all over again.  the money, the paperwork, the invasion of privacy, the standing before a judge. all of it.  because these two formerly kidless mamas, who, three years ago, hoped to be parents one day, are about have a second child.

as i round the corner of being a mother for two years now, i return to the overarching theme of so many blogs being written today:  aside from the weird extra steps i’ve taken to ensure the protection of my family, i don’t see myself as any different a mother than my straight counterparts.  my days are full of learning the ways of a mercurial toddler, worrying about whether she’s eating enough veggies, wondering how we’re going to afford to keep her out of public school, and staring slack-jawed as she learns to count and discovers her first sight words.   and we think about her little brother, due in just over three months:  who will he be?  what will he look like?  will he have an easy birth?  what will the relationship look like between brother and sister?

h and i are co-parents and partners and lovers and best friends.  at the end of each small glorious day, we spoon together and confess our squishy-hearted love and mama-bear fear for our children.  we try to recall our life before them, and find ourselves not missing a damn thing but the sleep and maybe some extra time to lounge about lazily.  we’re so very content.  so very blessed.  so very awake to all the life happening in our home.

our contentment, blessing and wakefulness are a force field around our family.  the ugly parts of the world can’t touch us.  we are fambly.  we are whole.

[note:  if you are new to the blogging for lgbt families event, do click on the badge at the top of this post for a list of all entries.  there are so many stories that should be known.  thank you.]

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justice.

this brings tears to my eyes, in a grateful sort of way.

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on friday morning, we shuffled around the house in pajamas, overtired after jude kept us up most of the night. we brewed a large pot of coffee, and threw on some wrinkled business casual wear. i remembered, at the last minute, to brush my hair, and hastily fastened it into ponytail. jude, happily, enjoyed being hoisted into a pair of leggings for the first time. and then we were off! off to the county courthouse downtown for h’s adoption of our daughter.

of course, we were running late. and of course, h’s mum was stopped by security on account of the scissors she had in her purse. inexplicably, the security guard then proceeded to pretend to stab herself repeatedly in the stomach, so as to demonstrate the lethal power of sewing scissors. she fake-stabbed h’s mum too. we were dumbfounded. but late. so we just shrugged and moved on.

we were a grand group in the little courtroom: aside from h, h’s mum, jude, and me, we had other supporters in the forms of uncle g, gabby & pop pop, grandmas m & n, and my friend r, who happened to be in town from LA. h & i were so grateful that the majority of our witnesses were relatives of our donor. isn’t that amazing? m & n are a wonderful older lesbian couple who have lived in small town texas through decades of discrimination. and here they were, bearing witness to the law recognizing h as jude’s legal parent. n said later to h, “we paved the way fr this”. we’re not sure whether she meant her gay rights work, or her long presence in the lives of uncle g’s parents (making them so embracing of our “alternative” family). but in either case, we are grateful.

the adoption itself took about 30 seconds. there was no gavel, no raising of our right hands. none of that pomp. the judge simply cooed at jude and signed a paper. jude got to pick a stuffed animal as a token of her adoption. she chose a beanie koala. next thing we knew, we were posing with our lawyer and the judge, as camera after camera snapped shots.

(below is one captured by my camera, but unfortunately it was way underexposed. and so i went crazy with post-processing exposure. it’s not so flattering of any of us, but there we are: fambly.)

we are fambly.

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little miss propeller hands is totally stoked about being adopted by mama h tomorrow.

judith propeller hands.

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our homestudy went just fine. our social worker is a very nice lady who is obviously excited for us to finalize the adoption. at one point, as we discussed how grateful we feel to be a family, she got a little misty-eyed.

the woman definitely has a knack for pointing out awkward details. upon meeting jude, her first words were, “oh, pimples!” jude’s cheeks had, an hour before, broken out in a little heat rash.

upon meeting our lucy dog, her first words were, “well she’s not underfed, is she?”

…thanks?

so, that’s one more thing out of the way for the second parent adoption. now we just wait for all the background checks to come back, as well as the annoying texas-mandated 6 month waiting period, and jude will have two legal parents by december.

in other news, h and jude have gone out grocery shopping together, leaving my exhausted self with a couple of uninterrupted hours to rest. this is their first solo trip, and i am so excited to have a break from being the boob. in fact, i’m going to nap now…right after i post this photo, as i already miss my little girl’s face:

always with the arm...

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jude is 4 weeks old today!

here she is during bathtime yesterday.

beautiful clean baby.

loves hooded towels and mama.

wish us luck this evening…we have our adoption homevisit…

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in 10 days, it will be safe for sparky to make her appearance as a home-birthed baby. granted, i am fairly confident she will hold out for another few weeks at least, but still. looking at the ever-shortening countdown to her arrival is…overwhelming.

there is so much that i’ve wanted to write about, to process, but the past couple weeks have found my energy sapped. i think about the things i’m thinking about, consider writing them down, and then promptly fall asleep. it’s hard to believe i’ve been on maternity leave for 4 weeks now. i remember the first week or so pretty well. i did a lot of cleaning. and then i lost my ability to sleep at night. i guess this is practice for what my sleeplife is about to become, but sparky does not let me sleep for more than 4-5 hours at a time at best. my hips burn and ache, and the pain radiates down my legs. tylenol doesn’t do shit for this. i’ve been using rescue sleep spray, which doesn’t help much. and my tolerance for benadryl is simply embarrassing anymore.

i get up with h at 5 every morning, and after seeing her off to school, i try to get some sleep. i fall asleep by 9, and usually wake up about 1. if i am lucky, i will have enough energy to do some dishes or leave the house to run an errand, but mostly i lounge. and then h comes home, we head off to bed ridiculously early, and my turbulent night of hip pain begins again.

so this is why i haven’t been writing, or even remotely processing my feelings about sparky’s imminent birth.

i actually slept not-too-fitfully last night, and so, before i fall asleep again, i want to put some thoughts down. wow, i’m tired.

the other day, we received our copy of the adoption petition from our lawyer. sparky is not yet named on it; she is simply “child to be born june 15”. (petition will be amended once she’s born.) naturally, i am named as the biological mother. and even though it is painfully obvious to anyone with eyes that i am very pregnant, seeing those words on paper was a sobering moment for me.

because i don’t feel like a mother yet. (whatever that is supposed to mean.) even now, as she kicks me vigorously, i’m still in a bit of denial that she is a real person in there. and that she is about to come out. of me. soon. and my life as a solitary individual is over. i am forever a mother. there is no undoing this. i’ve had moments like this all along during my pregnancy. after the initial yayayayayayay when i first saw the double pink lines, a wave of panic washed over me. what did i just do? the moment passed. i’m a procrastinator, after all, and had a good 8 months to put off dealing with thoughts like that.

but here i am now, with a nearly ripe, real baby rolling around inside me. and for the first time, i’m actually considering the hard existential question: can i be a mother and be myself too? will i ever awaken from this zombie state of utter exhaustion and recognize the me i’ve always been?

i know i will learn to adjust. i have always adapted to life-shifts, and kept a sense of who i am in the midst of everything. i’ve just never deliberately chosen something THIS big before, this irreversible. i’ve never brought a new human being into existence before.

when i was 3 or 4, i remember watching the big kids walk to school and thinking, “i’ll never be able to go to kindergarten.” and then i somehow did it. when i was 14, i thought, “i’ll never be able to actually get my drivers license. i’ll never learn how to drive.” and i did it. later, i worried about how i’d go to college, live on my own, etc etc. and the heretofore biggest insurmountable obstacle: i’ll never be able to be openly gay, or be in an actual relationship with a woman. impossible. and yet…

when the time is right for me, i simply push past the paralyzing fear, and do what is needed to be done. at this particular moment in my life, i feel myself on that threshold again. only, this is my ultimate fear: i’ll never be a mother. i’ll never get through childbirth. i’ll never be able to raise an actual child. my daughter is about to prove me wrong again. ready or not, she is coming, unstoppable force that she is. (sometimes, her fiery energy is so strong in my belly, that i nearly step aside and confess that i am just the conduit for her to get here.)

there is so much more emotion and fear and excitement churning around in my brain, but my eyes are heavy. more later. if you have read this far, thank you for bearing with my incoherent ramblings. i had to get out of my own head a bit. maybe i will rest better…

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my apologies for the lack of posts recently.  lots of life has come and gone since i last wrote, but mostly i’ve been a very sleepyhead.  take today, for instance.  it is nearly 1:30 pm, and instead of being knee-deep into my monday shift at work, i am snuggled in my bed, sparky rolling underneath my laptop.  i have absolutely zero energy, and i yawn and yawn and fall back to sleep awhile.

however, i do manage to muster enough energy to feel guilty about utilizing any fmla leave i am already approved for.  as i lounge in my jammies on a monday afternoon, i think thoughts of laziness and irresponsibility: a more responsible person would suck it up and just go to work.  granted, i could work today if it were absolutely necessary.  but i have a job-protected out, and i’m so so exhausted, and this third trimester fetus is growing her brain bigger and fattening herself up.  and so i sleep because i can.  remind me to let up on the guilt, will you?   (as midwife michele said on that scary day a few weeks ago: my perspective now needs to shift from being responsible about my joblife to being responsible as a mother.)

anyway.  in the middle of all this sleepiness and guilt, we still managed to have our first meeting with our adoption lawyer last week.  i confess that the whole conversation was surreal to me, as we discussed very scary topics like my death, the demise of h’s and my relationship, the coach demanding custody/rights, etc.  this conversation is necessary, of course, and our lawyer is fantastic with the protections.  before we hired her, i sleuthed around the internet for as much info as i could gather about her.  as it turns out, she is a lgbt adoption rights pioneer, who also happens to be very influential in texas state government.  she is the go-to voice of reason every time gay rights make their way to the news.  she is quite the formidable force here.

and. her fee for the adoption and wills is reasonable,  most of which she puts toward hiring gay rights lobbyists.

also, did i mention that she is a member of the fambly herself? and that she and her partner have two adopted children of their own?

as everything stands now, the adoption should be finalized before the end of the year.  now, to birth the child…

sparky is growing so…big.  her kicks are felt top bottom left right simultaneously now.  i feel her as one body contained the balloon of my uterus, instead of a constant whack-a-mole guessing game sensation.  and the bigger she gets, the more real her impending birth is…in a holy shit kind of way.  in a “there’s really only two ways for her to exit my body” kind of way.  cue the fear.  and the humility.  and the exhalation of panic: we can do this.

and now the fattening fetus is hungry.  for more peanut butter, i suspect…

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so the second i began to write this post, i totally forgot what i wanted to write about.

huh.

well.

the sparkstress is moving higher and higher into her apartment. she is damn near my ribcage now. the kicks are a little less comfortable up there, and my belly is bumping my desk at work. and my abs? soooooooore.

let’s see, what else? oh yeah! h has taken to reading chapters from the pooh books to sparky every night before bed. and as h relays pooh et al’s many adventures, sparky kicks and rolls and thumps. she positively eats up h’s voice so close to my belly.

also, i think we have found our adoption lawyer and we’ll hopefully begin the whole big texan process in the coming few weeks. perhaps on st patty’s day. i will feel so much more at peace once h is sparky’s legal mum.

so that is what’s going on over here. we went to the swedish meatball store that also sells furniture this weekend, and came home with this sofa. win! now to keep the effing dogs off it when we are not home. fail.

finally, here is this week’s belly shot, taken today at 25w3d:

25w3d

and bonus! my oddly-shaped, formerly innie belly button:

state of the bb.

enjoy.

how’s your wednesday?

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