No, there is no issue with our certification. It has been two weeks since our home study was completed. We are in the waiting stage, hoping for a call from a social worker looking to make a placement. This is about approval–the acceptance we seek from society and from other people. I remember in high school how critical it was to gain acceptance and approval from your peers. But now that I am an adult, it seems like a strange concept. At this stage, who really cares what you think about me, or my partner or our decision to adopt a child? Well, it’s not quite that simple.
In the broader sense the recent decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals means that in the eyes of the law we are not approved as a family. Though the court’s decision has no bearing on our adoption, it does send a signal to same-sex parented households that the State does not approve of us. It certainly gets us no closer to securing the same rights that every other family in this State enjoys. It also sends this message to conservative groups around the country: Maryland is hostile towards same-sex couples and is willing to uphold laws that discriminate against them. It is not surprising, just disappointing.
What happens though, when you find that you don’t get approval from someone who is close to you, like a friend or family member? While we don’t need approval, I hoped to get acceptance and understanding and know that those who love me think that adoption is a good thing and the right thing for me. In the beginning, I never really expected to get such a positive response from everyone, but was pleasantly surprised. I think most of those people who are close to us really believe that we will make good parents in spite of any challenges facing us. Maybe some people felt obliged to respond in a positive way. In one sense their approval has a lot to do with what people think of us. Am I capable of being a Dad? Am I too old? Is it too much, being gay and having a child? Are you afraid that it will have a negative impact on our relationship? Maybe you don’t want to be around children? Are you afraid I will ask you to baby-sit?
It is disappointing to find out that not everyone is thrilled with the notion of us adopting a child. It’s hard to imagine their objections. I examine myself and my relationship and try to envision what it is that people see, what is it that would indicate to them that having a child is a bad decision. But opinions are not necessarily based on anything rational and are not indicative of whether we should adopt children. They matter though, because these are the people who know me and are a part of my life.
We’ve been planning this for years. We waited until we had a house with a yard; until Darrow was done with his master’s degree; until I had the right job; until the timer that had been ticking away went off in my head. We have recognized the big responsibility that we are undertaking. We know that our lives will change in ways we can’t imagine. We realize that our relationships with friends and family will change as a result. There will be new people in our lives and other relationships that will drift away. There may be family members who get closer to us because of the baby and others who become more distant. We are also prepared for this, at least as much as one can be. It’s puzzling though–how could anyone be anything but happy. I’m going to be a Dad.