Mama on a Soapbox
By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
So I may have mentioned this previously, but it annoys the hell out of me that I have to adopt my daughter. Yes, it makes me want to run, kicking and screaming at the top of my lungs, about the unfairness of it all. Well, when it comes right down to it, it pisses me off in a way that I don’t think many things have. Every time I think about when a hetero couple has a baby, the father’s parentage is automatically assumed, solely on the word of the birth mother saying that yes, this dude is the baby daddy. The dude doesn’t have to go through the process of having to adopt the kid, just because he didn’t birth it – so why should I??? Because our relationship and our family is dictated by a government full of assholes who SAY that they want smaller government, yet have to keep their fingers in countless people’s lives, marriages, and families.
It’s very hard to be part of an openly gay marriage, as well as be the non-biological mother to our child, when living in a conservative, Southern state. It’s hard to hear, over and over for years and years, that my marriage isn’t real or legitimate or legal (all three of which it completely IS). It’s hard to know that people look down their noses at us when we’re all together, disgusted by all of our same-sexness. It’s hard to be out in public during the day with the baby, and have people assume that I am her aunt or baby sitter, because I can’t possibly be her mother, given the way that I look. It’s really hard to sit back and watch hypocrites run for office who are SO against marriage equality, yet have in their own history adultery and divorce…multiple times!
In the very near future, I will have to shell out the money for my BFF (aka attorney) to file a petition to the state asking permission to adopt my sweet baby girl. After that, I will have to shell out even more money (of which I will have to put aside, since it’s not just lying around) to a social worker. This is my favorite part. The social worker will come to our house to complete a Home Study – she will examine our home, interrogate me, Erikka, both of us together, and maybe even Noah. She will decide whether or not she thinks that I should be allowed to adopt Harrison. If she says she doesn’t think that I should, then what happens? Well, the adoption won’t happen, but nothing else. I will still continue to live here and always be her mama, but without those legal protections. If she says that she thinks it will be okay, I think we then proceed to going to court to stand before a judge. At that time, then HE or SHE will decide whether or not they think I should be allowed to adopt my own daughter. Here is where it all comes down to it. If the judge says no, that’s it, I’m screwed. IF my adoption request is denied, there is no opportunity to try it again. That’s it. I could get all of the recommendation letters in the world, and if we don’t get the right judge, it could all be for nothing.
And THIS, my friends, is why I am pissed off.
There is no question whatsoever, or at least there shouldn’t be, as to whether this little girl is mine. She has been mine, along with Erikka’s, since the moment that I watched the doctor perform the intra-uterine insemination. Since the moment we laid the cell phone on the bed, speakerphone on, as the nurse told us that the blood test was positive. I went to all of the doctor’s appointments, saw all of the sonograms, shopped, worried over her and Erikka’s health, changed my diet along with Erikka, painted, and helped build her little Dr. Seuss world in her nursery to prepare for her arrival. I got to meet her before anyone else, and I took care of her while her other mommy was recuperating after the birth.
I have bathed her, clothed her, fed her, changed her, sung to her, and rocked her to sleep. Beyond all of these things or none of these things, I have loved her. Because she is MY daughter. I shouldn’t have to prove this, to a social worker or to a judge, just to have the legal protections that I rightfully should.
We need a change in this country, in this state. We need a LOT of change. The government needs to stop being such a puss and make the declaration that they have a hell of a lot more to worry about than same-sex couples marrying or having families. They need to grow a spine and make the decision that they are going to stay out of it, and they are going to cease allowing any of us to vote on anyone else’s equality. Sigh. Sounds good, huh? Too bad it is unlikely to happen.
Soapbox empty now.