25 January 2009

LGBTQ (Adoptive) Parents

Right now, I’m sitting in the Porter lounge having just doused my pants and laptop with a latte. I think I was a little overly enthused to sip some of my free latte. I’m here catching a flight after having attended a weekend-long conference on post-adoption peer-to-peer supports.

With 28 moms and 2 dads, I was the only queer person in the room. This only reinforced my need for LGBTQ-specific post-adoption supports in my community. All of us had one major life-changing thing in common – we all had at least one adopted child. Despite this, I wasn’t able to connect with any of these people.

In part it could perhaps be because I was an average of 10-20 years younger than all the other parents. The generational gap was evident every time I didn’t get one of their cultural references. Who the heck is Davey Jones and why was running into him at a hotel such a life defining moment for you? (Apparently he was from the Monkees and had a huge teen scream-your-head-off-and-faint following).

It wasn’t a one-sided generation disconnect; it was mutual. Any time I mentioned Facebook they didn’t see the networking potential or the future challenges posed by our kids being able to search for birth parents and relatives.

I’m still flabbergasted by the number of people who assume that birth children are not a possibility for us or that we have not faced an extensive infertility challenge. As far as I know, both wombs are functioning. We just lack the sperm to allow an egg to take up residence there. No matter what Wifey and I do, any child in our home will not be the biological likeness of both our parts. So, why should adoption be any different for us in this respect?

There was even a general disgust in the room of referring to themselves as adoptive parents. Not parents who adopted children. Nor parents with 4 children - 1 adopted and 3 biological.

I love being an adoptive parent and referring to myself as such...if only because I commonly use the specific phrasing to disassociate myself from having had any role in my children’s public display of poor behaviour. Sometimes, I just want to avoid judgmental people who I clearly see thinking “how did such a smart girl get pregnant, not once but twice as a teenager.”

My family is complicated and messy. I’m out. Sometimes more than others. My kids are out and constantly out me. I just spend so much time trying to sort out how my identity puzzle fits for me and has a place in the larger world.

So yeah, I’m going to make me another adoption splinter group and bring together the queers!


Anonymous said...

This was a timely read for me. My partner and I are getting our homestudy filed with our state this week, which means the state will also assign us a local mentor. They got a list of our characteristics to find a good match, but I'm curious what experienced foster/adoptive parents in our county will be involved in an interracial same-sex relationship between a Christian and an atheist.... I feel very lucky to be able to network on blogs and that there's a black man a few streets over from us going through the homestudy process now so we know we'll have a peer (and he had also adopted years ago, a child who's now an adult) but otherwise we're stuck figuring things out piecemeal. I think a lot of queer adoptive parents are probably doing the same thing. Congratulations to you for taking the initiative to organize.

DrSpouse said...

You may find some kindred spirits on the message board at Adoption UK. There is a small board for LGB adopters and I don't know if it's a generational thing or a cultural thing but issues such as Facebook have also been discussed.