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.


  1. says

    Tanya, I couldn’t agree with you more. Was your name on the birth certificate as other mother? Just curious. I am hoping this goes as smooth as it can be even though the whole process makes me want to throw up. It is sooooooooooo wrong. I know women who used their own eggs but housed in a surrogate or their partner and still had to adopt. So very wrong. I could have put anyone down as my kids father and it would have been stamped and sealed and delivered. Again, I will hold all of you in the light until the papers are signed and notarized.

  2. Sara says

    I was in your position 3 years ago when my partner had our daaughter. We are now in the midst of it once again as I’m 27 weeks pregnant with our son. It’s not any easier or less expensive this time around. I agree, it iss the most frusterating thing to endure in what should be such a happy time. We are in WI, there are 2 judges in the STATE that rule in favor consistantly. We have lawyers and case workers 2 hours away and court is 4.5 hours away, just so we have the best chance of being a legally clad family. It’s bullshit.


  3. says

    I have never heard of judges who won’t grant this adoption here in Los Angeles. I thought it was just a pro forma hearing and then the adoption is finished and you all walk out happy. No judge should have the option to deny based on gender, religion etal.

  4. says

    This sucks. I’m sorry that you have to go through this. TX laws suck just as bad as WI it seems. We are going through the same right now. Good luck and keep your chin up!

  5. Theresa says

    Plain and simple, this insanity needs to end. You need to move to Connecticut where the sane people are “running the asylum”. There is a Texas Longhorns fan down the road from my office and another family from Texas almost across the street from them.
    Good luck, and you are in our prayers.

  6. Tanya Dodd-Hise says

    Every time I think about it, it irks me even more. Today I had lunch with my BFF, Kim, and we (along with our other about-to-adopt mom friend) discussed the upcoming adoptions. We had initially thought that we might be able to do the adoption here in Dallas, but it is a crapshoot with which judge we get. The only sure-thing court in Texas for same-sex second-parent adoptions is in San Antonio; so guess where we will have to go. Yeah. Court costs are cheaper than in Dallas, but there is now the expense of traveling the 5+ hours for our hearing. Now I’m even more irked than before. UGH.

    Thanks for all of the support you guys – it is very much appreciated.

  7. says


    That sucks big time. I had never heard of judges not granting this automatically. On what grounds do they use? Can’t be gender or it would be discrimination, I would think. But clearly this is so wrong.

  8. Tanya Dodd-Hise says

    No it is very much up to the discretion of the judge. If it is against their personal beliefs, then they won’t do it and nobody can really make them. We know which counties not to even bother to try it in, and the same with things like name changes. I went to Dallas county (even though I live in a farther north, more conservative county) to change my name, because I knew that the chances were better there. Ridiculously wrong.

  9. says

    This can’t be legal. They have taken an oath. Oh I forgot you are in Texas. Don’t understand how they can get away with this shit.

  10. Kellin says

    Tanya, I love you lots and I’m sorry you have to go thru this process. I have seen that you are so much happier with your life. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help out!

  11. Diana says

    Love the pictures! Well at least you have the chance to adopt her, it means a lot. Here in Italy my partner won’t be allowed to adopt any children we’ll have together. We even had to go to Scotland just to register a civil partnership! Let’s make things change for all of us, all over the world.

  12. says

    I am sorry for what you have to go through. The laws in TX very much mirror the laws in WI where my partner and I live. We had to go through this same thing when OUR daughter was born and will be doing the same with OUR son who will arrive early this May. It is ridiculous and, unfortunately, it is legal for judges to deny us our rights just because. Keep your chin up, girl. Soon, or someday, WI and TX will be the next CA.

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