Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Atempted Parenting Theft: Throw them out of the community!

I get sick of hearing about gay folks behaving badly when it comes to the well-being of our children. I realize straight people behave badly also, but there is something extra sickening to see a gay person use the anti-gay legal system to steal a parent from a child (or vice versa). At least straight folks have a legal system that helps them end their relationships in a way that limits the harm to children.

Shame on anyone who reads this who has manipulated our anti-gay legal system in an attempt to steal a parent from your child or children, and to take away the parenting rights from a former loved one. I will never stand with someone who does such awful treachery, and I think the entire community should speak out, or at least turn our backs on such people.

I don't care if it is a friend who you want to support in a breakup. You can't support this kind of behavior because it hurts us all and has far-reaching implications. Anytime someone uses anti-gay tactics to harm another, whether child or partner/spouse, it jeopardizes all of our relationships with our children and spouses/partners.

Of course, I will remind you that if gay people were allowed to marry, we wouldn't have such awful behavior because we would have a legal system that would entitle us and our children to certain legal rights. Otherwise, we remain legal strangers to one another. And unfortunately, the legal stranger status sets up the opportunity for gay people with children to be selfish and stupid when they end their relationships.

We fight so hard to get people to recognize our relationships with our partners/spouses and our children. Then, some idiot decides to use the anti-gay system in an attempt to steal another's parenting rights. Whether one is fortunate enough to have legal rights as a parent through adoption, if a person has been taking care of a child, and that child sees the person as a parent, then damn it, we all should see that person as a parent.

I won't go so far as to say we should stone members of the gay community who manipulate the anti-gay system for their own selfish attempt to steal another's parenting rights, but I will say the community should speak out against these folks, and boot them from the community in whatever ways possible.

It's not just the community these selfish people are hurting, it's first and foremost the children. I guess this is the case in many heterosexual divorces, but at least there is a legal system that offers legal protections for the children in these cases.

I am supposed to be nice to all the members of my organization, but don't count on seeing niceness and silence from me if you are trying to manipulate the system to steal another's parenting rights and a child's parent.

It's wrong, and nothing one says or thinks justifies these selfish actions.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Little Einsteins: The Missing Parents

My daughter is almost 2, and a die-hard Little Einstein's fan (no, not Baby Einsteins) on the Disney channel. I can't tell you how many episodes I've watched with her--we actually have it set to Tivo because she doesn't quite understand that the show doesn't just come on whenever she wants. Anyway, I digress.

We are having a Little Einstein's themed birthday party for her next week, which has proven very difficult since they don't make Little Einstein party supplies. I have been amazed that virtually none of my daughter's peers are watching the show. As parents, we think it is great, and actually tolerable to sit through with our little one.

One of the neatest things about the Little Einsteins (besides the music and art) is that there are no parents on the show. I am fairly certain we have seen every single episode, and so far, we haven't seen a single parent. Just 4 friends and a rocket who are very sweet kids.

Why do I care about the no parents? Well, my almost 2 year old picks up everything, and I like the idea of her seeing a show where she doesn't have to see families not like hers. Now, I am quite sure all the kids come from heterosexual families, but my daughter doesn't have to see it or question it.

When we watch Dora or Diego (her other two shows), she will sometimes mimic one of the characters and start saying Poppi or Daddy. We know we can't shelter her from this, but it sure is a weird experience to hear your daighter yelling out daddy when she has none.

So, Bravo to the Little Einstein creators for keeping the show simple, without the parents! Kids are great on their own, and it's nice for our kids to get a break from a very heterosexual world out there.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Missing cheerleaders in the adoption wait process

My family and I just returned from a trip visiting my parents in Florida. We are extremely fortunate in that they absolutely adore our daughter, and are very supportive of our family as a whole. It is so precious to see my parents light up around my daughter, and to see her beam around them. It has brought out a beautiful side of them I had never quite seen before.

We know not every family is so lucky, so we really count our blessings on this one. It is nice to have a supportive family to share your precious child with--though we haven't been successful in getting them to move back up to "freezing Georgia" so we can reap the benefits of a free babysitter!

I bring all this up because I remember the many times my parents would visit while we were in the adoption-wait process. It sometimes hurt, but mostly was very frustrating. My parents really didn't believe we as gay people could adopt a child. Sure celebrities like Rosie O'Donnell could do it, but they didn't think WE could do it. And when we told them a birthmother would actually choose us to raise a child, they really thought we were off our rockers.

They generally weren't blatant about their disbelief, but it would always trickle out over a meal in some little comment they would make. As many people know, the adoption wait process is already very hard for most people. Having loved ones and friends not believe makes it especially hard. Sometimes we need cheerleaders in our life to keep us going, and the adoption wait process is certainly one of those times.

As gay people, the fortunate ones are resourceful and turn to others to get needs met. We were lucky to have a wonderful support group of other gay and straight people going through the adoption process with us. We were each others best support, and every single one of us eventually adopted!

As beautiful as my parent's relationship with our daughter is, there is always this nagging feeling of how my parents didn't believe it would happen for us. Were we not worthy? Would we not make good parents? Or was it just the gay thing?

It was probably the first time my parents didn't believe in me when I said I would accomplish something, which made it especially hard. Over time, I hope I forget their doubt.

Though I am living in an anti-gay world, I have high expectations for my family.

Whether my parents believed it or not, we are worthy, we are good parents, and we would not give up our dream of children simply because we are gay. Apparently, they just needed to see it happen.

I am sure their recollection of the whole experience is totally different now because none of us could imagine a life without Maggie, and I know they get it now.

I have to remember they don't live in a community where gay folks are falling off the trees like where I live. Heck, my mom's PFLAG chapter even meets on the down low in her retirement community!