“Yes. Hello, Juan.  I am calling from Baltimore City Department of Social Services,” came the pleasant voice on the other end of the line.  “I have been assigned as your social worker and I need to schedule some time with you.  Now, it needs to be a time when Mr. Brown can be there also.  As you know under Baltimore City regulations we identify you as the primary applicant, but Mr. Brown will be your back-up and co-applicant.”  There was the magical word that we had waited for someone to say—co-applicant.  He is not the person in the background, the furniture in the room, the “back-up.”  He will be the parent equal in everyway to me.  This was the first time that someone from the Baltimore Department of Social Services (BCDSS) recognized Darrow as my partner in this effort to adopt.  She made it clear that they can make this work even if the process is not designed to handle a family with two Dads.  The fact that this was the person that we would have the most interaction with, made me hopeful.  This social worker would be with us throughout the Home Study Process.  She would be asking us questions trying to ascertain our mental state with regards to being foster/adoptive parents.  She would be the one to guide us on getting passed our home inspection.  She would be the one to determine whether this thing would go forward to the next phase or whether it would end. 

 I realized that she not only seemed culturally competent to deal with our type of family, she seemed very professional and experienced.  It seemed as though she was ready to take us through the process.  During our conversation I let her know that we had completed all of the forms we had been given including medical, finger-printing, background check.  Then she said that she would get us signed up for training.  When I told her that we had already completed the training, she was surprised.  She had no idea of who she was dealing with.  If she was ready to take us through this process, then we were ready for the ride.