By Jason Holling
About two weeks ago, Justin and I had the chance to help with a postcard campaign in an attempt to get a bill out of the Nebraska State Judiciary Committee that supported the need to allow second parent adoption by two unmarried qualified adults in Nebraska. We collected post cards and helped people find their senator to write to at tables in our church at the morning and evening services. At the end of the day, our 150 postcards were pulled together with thousands of other voices from around the city. That Friday, the group that helped organize the postcard campaign took the postcards to Lincoln to deliver to the senators.
But like any other Friday, I had meetings and was unable to attend the event in Lincoln, NE to deliver the postcards. So I was excited when I found out my meetings were cancelled which would allow me to attend the event. But I remember thinking when I went to bed the night before, “oh well, they have it handled, I don’t need to go in the morning”. In the morning, as I showered for work, I had second thoughts. What would our child say years down the road when only one parent was recognized by our state as the legal parent? What would our child say to me when the parent not recognized legally tried to take them to the hospital in the event of emergency and they were turned away for healthcare because they were not a legal parent on paper? Could I arrive at the hospital in a panic to find them waiting in the emergency room unable to enter because their dad was not permitted to make medical decisions? How could I look at them and explain to them I had a meeting and two busy years ago to speak up and help change the law.
Or what, God forbid, would I tell them years from now if something happened where one of us passed away in an accident and the certainty of them staying with their living dad was in jeopardy because only one of us were recognized as the legal parent? Would I be able to tell them because one of their dads had to go to work 10 years ago and not take time out of his day that he could no longer stay with the surviving dad? Both dads shared in all the joys of watching them grow up, raising them, and reading to them before bed equally. But now that equally part is seen differently — now the state is allowed to tell our child that one of their dads didn’t mean as much and is not legally recognized as a parent because second parent adoption was not moved forward in Nebraska.
What would I say in any of these situations? That I stood back and thought someone else would get involved and change things that infringe on equality in our home state? I pride ourselves on figuring out this winding path of LGBT adoption in our state along with other brave people. That we don’t know what hurdle is waiting for us on the next leg of our journey – but we are not afraid to keep going until we held them safely in our arms. We want our child to be a voice of change and stand up years from now to challenge what’s not working. We already wrote a letter to our child in the baby book about our dreams for them while we wait for the day we hold our child in our arms. One of the lines that was special in that letter we wrote was, “May you always have faith in yourself and know you can do anything you set your mind to. God has sent you here for a purpose…. pursue it and don’t just exist. Be the change in this world your dads hope for.”
So while I was not comfortable being on camera, I still made my voice heard. And people heard it. I got emails, texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages. But best of all we now have a chapter to tell our wonderful birth mother in our adoption story. We now have a chapter to share with our child in our adoption story. A chapter that hopefully they read years from now and see that their dads stood up and loved them. We hope our child creates many chapters like this of their own for years to come. And we hope that they write pieces of the chapter where their dads left off — a world where there is equality for other LGBT parents that provide safe, loving, compassion-filled homes full of dreams and hopes for their children.
If you would like to see the video of Jason’s interview from channel 8 in Lincoln (KLKN) , click here
Also, we are an approved family with Independent Adoption Center. Visit our profile and Dear Birthmother Letter