By: Henry Amador
I am happy to say that as I write this articles my husband and I have completed the required classes in the MAPP program, Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting for North Carolina.
We received a lovely certificate as our class mates cheered as each of our family names were called.
I am also happy to say that ALL three of the same-gender families that started the program were among the recipients of the coveted certificate.
So what does that mean?
Do we now get down to the business of meeting children and growing our families?
Well……. not exactly.
We can’t forget the process and we all know that anything State related is indeed a process.
Now we move on to the check list.
This list includes the following and I am sure I am leaving quite a few things out:
Home studies and home visits by our case worker, during which time our homes and our hearts are, hopefully, deemed fit for parenting.
Fire Inspections, working fire alarms and extinguishers, fire escape plans drawn out and placed prominently in the home, a list of all emergency numbers at hand, working home phone and things like that.
Our family history report, a 30 page document that each of us has to complete that covers our financials, our medical history, medical clearances (even for our three year old), personal references, our childhood stories, our expectations for our family, what we are looking for in a child, how we feel our dynamics will change, what we love and hate about our marriages, our spouses, our children, big stuff, heavy stuff.
Our Backgrounds, FBI clearances, Civil clearances, fingerprints and all.
We have to supply our dog’s vaccination records.
We have to have “the room” prepared for the expected bundle, yes, furniture and all.
Per the State since we are open to the idea of siblings we had to purchase two twin beds and two dressers, we have to have a crib at the ready and the appropriate number of bed rails at hand.
This was difficult because having no idea of what might be coming our way, age, gender, etc, its hard to outfit that little strangers room.
We are open to newborn all the way up to about six years of age so all the above variations would make us ready in an instant.
We have to create a “Family Book” a storybook.
Photos of who we are, how we live, how we vacation, who surrounds us by way of family and friends. This book is presented to children (and to the State) to look through as a way of getting to know us more intimately.
Once all this is submitted it will have to be approved by the State, then and only then will we be able to be placed with a child.
That will come with it’s own set of policies and procedures.
For example once the agency matches us with a child or children we have to meet, we have to get to know one another, we have to “date” for lack of better words to be sure the fit is right.
The last thing the State wants is for a family to change their minds and yes, sadly, some do.
Going through the MAPP class this second time was as enlightening and interesting as it was the first time.
The class does offer great insight on parenting, not only for child going through the system but just children in general.
How they tic, how life affects them, how the things adults do and say can live with them for years, or forever.
While going through MAPP I read an interesting article about the newest numbers that tell us how many children are being raised by LGBTQ couples and individuals.
It says that Same-sex couples were raising an estimated 200,000 children under the age of 18, of whom 30,000 are being raised by married same-sex parents. LGBTQ individuals who are not part of a couple are raising between 1.2 and 2 million children-a wide variable due to range in estimates of adults who identify as LGBTQ.
Those number are staggering and sitting there in class with all these awesome families, nearly half of which identify as LGBTQ was eye opening.
Just imagine as Marriage Equality and Adoption Laws change.
Just imagine the sheer numbers of LGBTQ families that will continue to grow.
Just imagine the amount of children that will find their forever homes, just imagine.
At our final class we were requested to bring our families in to celebrate graduation with us.
Of the remaining seven families that are going on to become parents, three of us were gay or lesbian.
Of the remaining seven families only two were already parents and both those families were same-sexed.
I think that speaks volumes to our strength, to our numbers, to our existence and to the fact that gay and lesbian parents are multiplying..quickly.
Stay tuned for the next round as Joel, Ben and I look forward to meeting the next member(s) of our family.