Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Salon: Why I have to adopt my own son

At Salon, a well-written and compelling look at second parent adoption by one member of a lesbian couple:
I woke up that morning, thoughts racing, at 2:30 and again at 4:30. When I rolled out of bed at 6:00, I'd already been awake for hours, running through various judicial mishaps in my head. I drank less coffee than usual to avoid the jitters. I left for the Cook County courthouse 30 minutes earlier than necessary. Since I've been litigating family law cases for about five years now, I don't usually get this nervous before court. But that morning was different. That morning, I was the litigant.

Luckily, it's nothing serious. In fact, I wanted to file this case. Everyone else is delighted for us, but my wife, Ann, and I are just gritting our teeth until it's over. We can't help worrying that something will go dreadfully wrong, even though we're certain to get what we want in the end. But it's impossible to avoid white-knuckled anxiety when the stakes are so high: I'm petitioning the court to adopt my own son.

In addition to being terrified, I was overwhelmingly annoyed. I shouldn't have to do this. My wife conceived our son, Julian, through artificial insemination by an anonymous sperm donor. If I were a man, I'd be the legal father already. No one would have cross-examined me or performed a DNA test before allowing me to sign the forms for his birth certificate. But I'm not a man, so Ann and I can't get legally married and Julian is not considered my legal son. I have to go through the adoption process as if I were a stepparent, or relative caring for a neglected child. As if I hadn't married his mother almost five years before he was born. As if I hadn't woken in the middle of the night to his tiny feet kicking me from underneath my wife's skin. As if I hadn't been the first one to see his pinched, purple-lipped face emerging into the world, or the one who cut through the gristle of the cord that still bound his bloodstream to my wife's.
The article touches on a few things I've blogged about recently -- Why Second Parent Adoption is a Good Thing and Voiding Adoptions in North Carolina -- if you want to read more!

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