TNF: Tell me about your family.
Jaime: Arianna and myself were married on November 27th of this year. I have a son with my ex-partner which whom I share joint custody with. Jaidin is 2 ½ and was born with down syndrome. She was the birth mother but I have legally adopted him and I am on his birth certificate. Arianna has taken over the role as stepparent but she doesn’t look at him as her stepchild; they love each other the same.
TNF: How did you meet your Arianna?
Jaime: Not many people know this, but we actually met on Instagram. It happened by accident really. Neither one was out looking for the other, we just happened to fall into the lives of each other. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and I couldn’t be more thankful for social media lol.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families?
Jaime: No, we don’t feel different from other families. We aren’t different. We share the same love and bond as any family does. We face discrimination at times but we try not to let it bother us. We get the usual stares but we have become used to it. We figure people are just curious about our family; we are two lesbians with tattoos, raising a child, and the child has down syndrome. That intrigues people; it is not something that you see on a daily basis.
TNF: Where do you live? Is it tough being a gay couple where you live?
Jaime: We live in Chester, Maryland; we are on an Island surrounded by water and super nice people. We thought that moving to a small island, kind of in the middle of nowhere, that we would have issues but everyone has been so nice and accepting.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
Jaime: It feels amazing having a family, having something to work harder for, to fight for. We are so happy with our family and cannot wait to add more little ones.
TNF: Have the current changes in marriage laws had any affect on you?
Jaime: The laws have had a positive impact on us because we are now allowed to be married in Maryland. We can live the same way a straight married couple will live. Not to mention, that it makes having kids a lot easier!
Thank you Jaime and Arianna for sharing your story with us. Congratulations on your recent marriage!
By Brandy Black
Our daughter is in Kindergarten now. The immense change that has already transpired this year blows my mind, our conversations have evolved in ways I’ve always dreamed of and I’m so proud of the girl she has become. I worry, everyone knows this, about protecting my kids from the evils and misunderstandings of the world. I would do anything to ensure that none of my children feel hurt or pain even though I know this too is one of life’s little gifts.
I do know, however that life will be a bit more complicated for my children because of the parents they have. Even though the country is changing rapidly and laws are slowly embracing LGBT families, we are not safe from bullying and discrimination. My wife and I are lucky to live in a city that is rather accepting of a two mom family and we rarely face outward discrimination but there will always be an opportunity to educate those around us. I correct people daily that make the assumption that I have a husband or my children have a daddy. I don’t mind this, it is understandable that they jump to that conclusion, I often wonder if I inadvertently do the same. But what I am most grateful for is those around us that are thoughtful and understanding of families like mine.
I went to our first parent/teacher conference for grammar school. Our 5-year-old has two teachers. Both teachers referenced me as Mama and Susan as Mom, they had taken the time to get it right, to know that those words have significant meaning. Susan could not be with me (thank god for the voice memo app on my iphone so that I could record it) and my daughter’s teacher seamlessly referenced her in conversation as my wife. I volunteer at school once a week and one day in class the teacher was talking to the children about their parents and she said “Mommies and Daddies or Moms and Mamas” and I actually laughed, which I realize wasn’t the best reaction especially considering how happy it made me but I was genuinely surprised. All of these simple choices in wording can make a family feel like they have made the right choice in schools, friends, colleagues etc. It is the simple use of parent/parents in place of Mommy or Daddy that are inclusive rather than exclusive.
Our school has a dance coming up called the Daughters’ Dance. This is inclusive rather than the exclusive title it had in previous years “Father Daughter Dance.” I was told that a child with heterosexual parents had a best friend that had two moms and she felt that Father Daughter Dance did not fairly represent her BFF’s family, she petitioned to the school to have the name changed. And so they did. From what I understand it wasn’t that they were trying to be exclusive it simply hadn’t occurred to them. These things are simple, and sometimes take a little thought that perhaps not all parents are the same, perhaps there is only one parent in the family. It has been a work in progress but awareness and understanding makes all the difference in the world.
I realize living in a big city like Los Angeles can make life much easier for two moms than raising a family in a rural part of the United States, I know that there are families that struggle to be understood by those around them. I spent quite a bit of time with the Executive Director of Family Equality talking about the laws that need to change, the support that is lacking for the LGBT community and the challenges that we face but I don’t want to forget to celebrate the wins that happen every day. The teachers, friends, doctors, colleagues, and even strangers that make my day by bending down to my daughter and saying “You’re a pretty lucky kid to have two moms.” It’s not that my kids are any luckier than anyone else, it’s that they are just as lucky.
By – Trey Darnell
It is now past midnight, and we have crossed into Arkansas. My excitement, or lack thereof, for The Help has not changed. I find myself constantly checking the CD info display. Disc 5 Track 13. Sigh! We can barely hold our eyes open and decide to stop in Little Rock for a brief nap and a refreshing shower. The plan was to hit the road with an early start to Abilene, Texas. As my dad would say, “bright-eyed and bushy tailed.”
Matthew falls asleep before his head even comes close to hitting the pillow. I find myself watching the multiple LED lights flashing on the two smoke detectors in the hotel room. Why do they need two smoke detectors in a hotel room? I try covering my head to block out the light. As I lay there trying to breathe with my head covered, I catch myself wondering if I can still see the obnoxious flashes. I can.
6am. After what seemed like an eternity, the alarm sounds, and it is time to start the day. Excitement and nerves were overpowering as we were anxious to meet the new baby girl. We started the day with 500 miles to go, and I immediately wonder if Matthew has forgotten about The Help. No luck! Disc 6.
Arkadelphia…Texarkana…Dallas…Abilene. 8 hours later we can see Abilene Regional Medical Center. So close but the wait continues. We had just missed a four-car accident. The road is blocked, and all traffic has stopped.
Room 3107. How hard can it be to find room 3107? We press “3″ and the elevator doors close. The doors open and we enter what feels like a ghost town. It almost felt like a scene from The Walking Dead. Where are the walkers? Is this a dream? We press “1″and the elevator doors close.
We violate the guy code and ask for directions. Down the hall, after the cafeteria turn right and continue forward to the two sets of elevators with the baby picture on them. Since we are gay, we say forward rather than straight. We press “3″ and the doors close. The elevator makes the worst sound, and we can see where someone scribbled, “Help Me” in the film on the elevator door. Oh my!
The dreaded hospital experience has started. For those of you that have adopted or are in the process of adopting, are well aware of this unpredictable part of the journey. I have to admit that we were very worried about what we would encounter during the hospital stay. A same-sex couple adopting in Texas doesn’t sound positive.
Walking down the hall to Mercy’s room, we were anxiously greeted by many of the nursing staff. They were eager to give us our armband that would allow us unrestricted access to the baby. They tried to contain their excitement while asking us about our drive from Tennessee. I refrained from mentioning The Help. One of the nurses finally apologized and stated that we probably wanted to meet the little girl. We did! As we walk quickly down the hall, in my mind it was the slow animated run to Chariots of Fire playing in the background, Dylan’s mom appeared in the hallway. Her smile immediately put us at ease.
We walked into the room and see Mercy sitting on the bed with Skeeter. Wait a second. Skeeter is from The Help. Mercy is holding the smallest little human I have ever seen, sweet little Harper. We immediately hugged Mercy and everyone in the room before we laid our eyes on the new baby for the first time. It is hard to explain the emotion or the feeling of that moment. I can only think of one word to describe it. Lovely!
As the next several hours passed. We were able to feed, diaper, cuddle and kiss everyone in the room. Mercy had been cleared for discharge that afternoon, but Harper was going to stay the night so the staff could monitor her temperature. The hospital gave Matthew and I our very own room so we could have our first night together with Harper as a new family. They even asked if we were going to snuggle in the bed. Reminder we are in Texas.
It didn’t take long for our protective instincts to kick in. You might be thinking for the baby, but it was actually for Harper’s mom. Mercy was ready to be discharged, and she requested some time alone with the baby. With the constant visitors, she had not had the chance to have any mother and daughter time. Everything was moving in a positive direction until the nurse shift change. Within fewer than ten minutes, everything quickly turned to chaos.
The night shift nurse entered the room and asked who had the car seat. She then said she needed it at that moment. A few minutes later, the baby was being wheeled out of the hospital room for a two-hour car seat test. We pleaded with the nurse asking for her to delay doing the check until later that night. Matthew chases the nurse down the hall to explain the circumstances. No luck. Emotions had reached the breaking point. The lack of sleep accompanied by the magnitude of the adoption plan were not the best combination. Mercy was discharged without having what she really needed, alone time with her baby.
Just a few minutes past midnight, the nurse brought Harper into our room following her successful car seat test. Matthew sat straight up in the bed and said, “About what happened earlier tonight” and I said ” Oh #%*@!” The nurse was apologetic and explained the circumstances. Matthew quickly let her know that she was telling the wrong person.
Mercy decided to get a good night sleep and visit the next day. We offered her our room for a chance for her to spend some alone time with the baby. It was our goal to make sure that she had everything that she wanted or needed while in the hospital. She was our main concern at this moment.
Matthew and I decided to get some fresh air and something good to eat that hopefully did not require ordering from the vehicle. You can never go wrong with Panda Express. I think the nerves made my appetite a little less than stellar. There had been a constant knot in my stomach since receiving the text message a day earlier saying Mercy was headed to the hospital. Less than two hours later, we received a text message saying we could come back. Disc 8 Track 7. Ugh. This book is never going to end.
After arriving back at the hospital, we get the good news that Miss Harper was being discharged. We decided to let Mercy pick the outfit that she was going to wear out of the hospital. Mercy carefully evaluated all of the options and made her selection. What a relief. She chose the outfit we wanted her to wear. Another indication that we were a good match.
We, as Harper’s posse, made our way out of the hospital with bags, blankets, pillows, diapers, formula and a car seat. The nurse made sure Harper was buckled into her car seat and secured into the vehicle. We hug everyone and quickly make plans for dinner later that evening. As we begin driving toward the hotel, we get a Facebook message from my mom asking which one of us sat in the backseat. Wait. What? We both were in the front. I can’t believe we missed this monumental right of passage. Disc 9 Track 4. Ugh!
To be continued…
By: Rob Watson
“Necessity is the mother of invention” goes the old saying. When there is a problem or an issue in play, a creative solution is often about to be realized. This point is nowhere more valid than in the area of LGBT couples having children and starting families.
According to a recent study by Cambridge University, the ease by which a couple can procreate seems to dictate the primary avenue by which they pursue the creation of family. Heterosexuals who often have to guard against unwanted pregnancy choose a wanted pregnancy as their primary route to familyhood. Lesbian couples do not have to fear unwanted pregnancies, but if they can solicit a sperm donor, an apparently readily achievable task in many cases, they too initiate pregnancy. Gay men have a tougher challenge, as a participating womb and body for nine months—to say nothing of labor and health risks—are far more difficult and costly resources than male reproductive material. Therefore, according to the study, they pick foster care or adoption as their likely method.
I am frequently called upon to recount the choices I made in creating my family. The last such conversation took place at a kids’ party attended by many of my son’s schoolmates. One of the fathers was chatting me up, knowing I was a gay dad, and his curiosity was apparently killing him. I graciously volunteered that the boys had been adopted through the local foster care program.
“Oh, cool,” he said. “I assume there was a screening process.”
“Oh, absolutely,” I responded. “They did a complete background check on me. It was very thorough.” A strange look crossed his face.
“No . . . I didn’t mean on you. I meant on the children. To make sure there were no mental issues or drug exposure.”
My eyebrow raised slightly, and even though I caught his drift, I proudly proclaimed, “No, they don’t screen out children . . . and my boys both had drug exposure. That was not a problem.” At that point, it became obvious that the man was interested only in the parenting of “perfect” children, and he did a quick mumble and moved on to the hors d’oeuvres table.
It left me wondering, who out there will step up for the “nonperfect” kids, kids already created and in need now? Who will be the parents of the kids who got dealt a raw deal at birth and are facing major challenges before their lives have even begun?
It has been suggested to me that LGBT parents would be the perfect class to do this. We, who get to really think out the process by which we are going to become parents, have the opportunity to step up. We can help not only ourselves, but these kids who are in need. We can influence the world, which is currently too eager to discard these kids and ultimately turn them in to serious drags on society as adults. Should this be a mandate for us?
Certainly, parents such as Clint and Bryan, who saved ten kids, are among the most moral on the planet. I dearly wish and pray that it was easy for us all to do what they have done. Unfortunately, it is not.
Like the deep longings that drive us to fall in love and partner, the longings to be a parent are equally complex. Those longings are not often driven by selfless altruistic motivations and energies. If they were, the people who would be loved, pursued, and married most would be the saintly, good, honest, and upstanding—regardless of their physical appearance. Gyms would not turn out the most likely to be sought after. Sadly, that is not the case, and the great love stories do not end with the hero taking up into his arms the person he most admires but to whom he does not feel physically attracted.
Parenting is similar. Some people need to see traces of their biological family in their children’s faces. Some need the comfort that a biologically made child cannot be taken away. Some do not have the stomach to navigate the foster care and adoption systems, neither of which was designed to be parent friendly.
Like romantic relationships, no matter what the motivation or catalyst that creates the bond, the real morality occurs in the development, and sustainability, of the relationship itself. Parenting is a tough gig. It is not easy to be ready and present for another human being’s needs day in and day out, for decades. It is about selflessness and the pursuit of unconditional love. The desire to be a good parent is in itself moral. Take the example of Markus K, who acted as a sperm donor for many lesbian families. He may not have done a thing to ease the pain and loneliness of the world’s orphans, and he added to the earth’s seven billion population with kids he will not be involved in raising. What he has done, however, is to forgo any intimate long-term relationship for himself in order to visit and be there for any of his progeny who may be interested in seeing him. Even through his brand of parenting, he has achieved selflessness.
So, if you want to have children and want to do it in the most moral way, find out which method is the one to which you can fully commit yourself. Find the one that inspires you to be the most diligent and dedicated parent possible. Find the one that makes you a better person. You will then have done the “moral” thing.
And if you want to be a real hero, go the extra mile. Help answer the question my friend at the party left me with: Who will adopt the millions of orphans worldwide who are already here, not perfect, and need us? Who will take that into account in their family planning? Who will make the process easier and readily available for LGBT families and inspire the foster care/adoption path? Who will make a real difference?
I hope it is me. I hope it is you, too.
We could be weeks or merely days away from making the trip from Johnson City, Tennessee to Abilene, Texas for the birth of Baby T-Rex. The distance between these two cities is 1,128 miles and when you are on “baby time”, there are no easy planning and travel solutions. Blogs, books, lists, parenting forums and workshops do not prepare you for getting a phone call saying the expecting mom is at the hospital with contractions, and you are over a thousand miles away.
Thursday afternoon, we received a phone call signaling labor could be imminent. It seemed as if clothes, baby clothes, diapers, cameras and cats were flying in every direction. The car was packed full with what felt like half our house and a car seat securely in place. Everything was happening extremely quickly. Anxiety and excitement was in complete control.
As we entered the last five weeks of pregnancy, Matthew and I had worked through options that were available that would allow us to get to the hospital as quick as possible. We had tentative travel plans that would put us into Abilene a week before the due date. If the baby decided to make an appearance sooner? There was an alternative plan in place for that. One of us would be on the first available flight, and the other would drive. A plan for the cats, mowing the lawn and anything else we could think of had been thought of. We would have everything packed and ready to go in a moments notice, well we would in mid-August. We were behind the curve.
This past Thursday, travel by air wasn’t an option, so we both buckled in and began the 17-hour drive to Texas. We received text updates throughout the evening. An extreme effort was being made to make it there as quick as possible. I would swear that the odometer was not working correctly. The miles were slowly ticking off. Our late night turned into the early morning. As we reached Memphis, Tennessee we decided to stop and get some needed sleep.
As the sun rose on a hot and humid Friday morning in west Tennessee, we all had experienced a false alarm. The expecting mom had what was referenced as a stalled labor and received medication designed to stop contractions. Everyone was grateful that she was resting comfortably and getting some much needed sleep. Matthew and I took a deep breath, smiled, and buckled in for our trip home.
After arriving back in Johnson City and unpacking the car, we began to make lists of things that we needed and created a staging area in our guest room for everything that will make the trip with us. Bags and containers were unpacked and repacked more efficiently. The false alarm was a little drill that we were able to learn from. Without question, it was an exhausting 24 hours, but we were able to make sure that we are better prepared for the next call. Matthew and I are ready to leave at any given moment.
34 weeks! Everyone says we are in the home stretch. Time seems to be disappearing fast as we get closer and closer to the due date. Preparations are definitely in full swing. Matthew and I are attempting to be prepared as possible. Is that even possible? We have found ourselves asking tons of questions to friends that are already parents. The three most common questions have been, what bottle, diaper and formula? Selecting the best is a high priority for the both of us. We found out extremely quickly that tommee tippee was the right bottle for us.
As we began to assemble the nursery and prepare our house and lives to welcome a newborn, we thoroughly reviewed every possible product. Whether it was through Consumer Reports or customer reviews on a particular store’s website, we wanted to make sure we were happy with the choices we made. While reviewing specific products to use as parents, we also looked at the company that makes the product as a whole. It is highly important to both of us to seek out companies that support our community as well as share in the joy of adoption and same-sex parenting. Mayborn Group, the parent company of tommee tippee, is one of those companies. I shared on our twitter feed that “we are a tommee tippee family.” We received a short letter and package from Mayborn and tommee tippee. It was short, sweet and left a strong impact on the both of us.
It is exciting that they are following our journey to parenthood!
While we are just over a month a way from hopefully becoming dads, we are clearly practicing (playing) with all of our tommee tippee products. It is possible that all of our bottles have been sterilized two or three times each. We both enjoy our Keurig that we received as a Christmas gift last year and while visiting a Babies-R-Us we were shocked there is a similar product for baby formula made by tommee tippee. The excitement was instant and became a must have. While we call it the baby Keurig, its official name is the tommee tippee closer to nature perfect bottle prep. I love it! I am without doubt acting like a kid in the candy store.
If you read our very first blog you know that we decided to start the adoption process while on an Ikea trip in Charlotte, North Carolina. Our journey will reach the one-year mark in just a few short weeks. At the start of the adoption journey, we were particularly worried as to what reaction we might receive from everyone. So often we had heard what a traditional family should “look” like. Looking back over the past year, we are humbled by the encouragement we have received from our family, friends and even our community. In the beginning, we were reluctant to share so much about ourselves in this process but the friendships that we have built since then and the words of support we have received were worth taking the leap.
The journey to parenthood is different for every person and every couple. Each adoption journey is unique in itself. We both try to educate family, friends and followers about open adoption. Our message is a positive one about becoming dads. Next week I am enrolled and excited to participate in a new parenting class. Diaper changing, burping, swaddling and bottle-feeding are just a few of the topics. I even can’t wait to tell them that we are a “tommee tippee family.” We are surely on the fast track to become The Next Family in September.
By – Trey Darnell
Eight weeks to go. Eight weeks still seems like an eternity and relatively quick at the same time. We are busy preparing in all ways possible. Most of the preparation legwork has been making sure that our home is prepared and stocked for the first months of parenthood. Working out the logistics for our next journey to Texas for the birth of Baby T-Rex and the return trip home. With the preparation for a new addition to the family, we are also working hard to spend quality time together and enjoy the foundation we have already built as a couple. Vacation time!
Matthew and I loaded up the car and drove to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with another couple to enjoy three days of fun and sun and celebrate pre-parenthood. Is pre-parenthood a word? The experience was as exhilarating as a childhood summer vacation. This mini-vacation was filled with roller coasters, water rides, go-karts, pancakes, laughing and ice cream. The trip even had educational value. We learned the difference between jam and jelly and how to cook fondue style. Matthew and I enjoyed that quality “couple” time and welcomed the excitement that continues to grow for parenthood.
Like most vacations, this trip lacked the dreaded sadness that usually comes with the end of a vacation. The typical feeling of “back to reality.” Why this time? Maybe because we were only 100 miles away from home or the trip was only three days. I believe that we both were excited of what was ahead. On our drive home, we knew that we were three days closer to becoming dads.
Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be marking off the remaining tasks and items that we need to finish prior to Baby T-Rex making her appearance. The list started out extremely long but now there are only a few things left to be completed. I am going to finish reading “On Becoming Baby Wise” as we are contemplating using this method or at least a hybrid version when it comes to feeding, sleeping and play time. Any time we go to the store, we purchase diapers. Between diapers and clothes, space in the nursery closet is dwindling.
Time to get back to the preparations. Thanks for letting us share our adoption story with you. Eight weeks to go! Here is a photo of Matthew from this past weekend. He just finished wakeboarding and made it look very easy. The photo is mere seconds before he said, “My cell phone was in my pocket.” Sigh!
By Brandy Black
When I was pregnant with twins, several of my friends told me that they hoped we were having at least one boy so we could experience both genders. I didn’t really get why they kept telling me that boys are so different. Once I found out I was having a son I wondered what life would be like for him being surrounded by girls, 2 moms and 2 sisters is quite a lot to handle. I wondered if he would be attracted to boy things with all these females around him. Is it learned or do boys just like trucks and cars and all boy things?
Now that my son is 18 months old, I understand why all my girlfriends desperately wanted to me to experience having a son. He is very different. He hugs, like a little monkey, holding tight and I can feel that I genuinely calm him when I’m near. He is interested in all things that move, trucks, cars, balls, and trains. He bangs his toys against windows, doors and his sister’s head. When he’s done with his bottle he passionately throws it to the floor and then says “uh-oh.”
He is protective of his twin sister and she remains his best friend. He calls everything Bella. He walks around the house saying “Bel-la, Belllla, BELLA.” He won’t stop hitting his her, he doesn’t listen, he runs right toward the street and fast. He is all boy.
He is mellow compared to his vivacious sisters, he comes along for the ride, he smiles and follows them around. He is vulnerable and not afraid to show it. He is cautious and careless all at once. He is a balance to our family and his happiness is infectious. I can tell that he will heal and break my heart as he grows and experiences life.
He lights up a room of strangers and can often be found in the middle of circle of girls. He flirts by fixing his eyes on his prey and coyly turning away and then back again. He once got a woman in her car to stop, roll down her window and say “well hello little guy.”
Our little Penn among a sea of women.
By: Trey Darnell
On Wednesday morning (June 26, 2013) Matthew and I were in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee vacationing with my parents. It was a few minutes before 10 o’clock and everyone was just waking up. We knew that in just a few moments everything could change for us as a couple. Along with thousands of other LGBT individuals throughout the world, we had joined the live chat with SCOTUS Blog
10:02 AM. Everything changed!
The Supreme Court of the United States found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in the case United States v. Windsor. A huge win for marriage equality. The Supreme Court of the United States found that the petitioners of California’s Proposition 8 lacked standing to appeal and allowed the lower court’s ruling to stand. A huge win for marriage equality in California.
Wednesday was a great day for the movement toward marriage equality and a moment that allowed Matthew and I to think further into the future. Living in East Tennessee, we reside in a state that has a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The truth is, we are a long way from seeing marriage equality in the volunteer state.
With these outstanding and unprecedented victories, we have to keep moving forward. There is still a long way to go to reach the finish line. Momentum is on our side. We have to keep having the conversations and educating our families, friends and communities.
I encourage each and every one of you that are reading this blog to take a few moments and email your elected officials both in the Unites States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. Encourage their support for the Respect for Marriage Act. This particular legislation would repeal DOMA in its entirety and allow every marriage, no matter if it is a man and a woman, two women or two men to be seen equally both at a national level and a state level. The Respect of Marriage Act is a monumental piece of legislation. Help encourage its passage.
It is hard to believe the month of June has come to an end so quickly. It seems like yesterday I wrote about the excitement that laid ahead for June. I feel we both used the cases involving DOMA and Prop 8 to take our focus off of the wait for Baby T-Rex to arrive. It seems that we went from 20 weeks to 30 weeks so fast. It is hard to believe that parenthood is quickly approaching.
Paperblog voted Matt & Trey Adopt as one of the Top 10 Adoption Twitter Feeds to follow.
Over the past couple of weeks, our focus along with many other LGBTQ individuals has been at the Supreme Court of the United States. As a collective group, we are awaiting decisions on two different cases. One case involves California’s Proposition 8 and the second involves the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act known as DOMA. These two cases are front and center in the movement for equality and the very apparent shift in public opinion.
Since the beginning of June, I have caught myself reading live updates via the SCOTUS Blog on each and every opinion day. If you aren’t familiar with the use of SCOTUS, it stands for Supreme Court of the United States. I consistently set a reminder on my phone to make the loudest possible noise to remind myself to join the 15,000+ other individuals that watch for instant updates. The SCOTUS Blog has a representative (Lyle) in the Supreme Court press-room providing information as it happens. Every time there is an update in the “chat window” you hear a specific sound. When I hear this sound, it seems as if I begin to hold my breath.
I am writing this blog on Monday June 17, 2013. Today is my birthday, my 34th birthday. For the first part of the year, I was telling everyone it would be my 33rd. It was either Matthew growing tired of telling everyone that I actually would be turning 34 or I finally accepted the fact and started welcoming the idea of 34. I think one thing that has made adding another year to my age easier is the quirky fact that my father was 34 when I entered the world and made him a father. That day was Father’s Day (June 17th) in 1979. Want another fun fact? Matthew is the same age as his father was when he was born. This September we will become fathers at the same age as our fathers became fathers for the first time. Can you say that three times fast?
This morning at 10:00, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hand down opinions on cases from this term. I am multitasking and trying not to miss any updates. It is currently 9:56 EDT and there are only a couple of minutes left before the information starts coming in from today’s proceedings. The landscape of marriage equality and the lives of so many could change within the next few moments. Just heard the sound of an update, and I immediately caught my breath. It’s Lyle from the SCOTUS Blog, and he is providing information on the first opinion. I am going to pause writing and take in the moment and watch and hope for what today might bring.
Today wasn’t the day. We now focus on the next scheduled decision day which is this Thursday. There isn’t any insight on when we might get a ruling. Most experts point to the end of the current term, which is the end of June. If it isn’t this Thursday, we will wait for Monday and possibly the following Thursday to find out the Supreme Court’s opinion(s) on Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop 8) and United States v Windsor (DOMA). We are so close.
June is National Pride Month and there are pride events going on every weekend throughout the United States. Seeing the news and images from these different events reminds me of my first pride experience. It was last October when we were beginning our adoption journey to become dads. Matthew and I had just travelled to Atlanta to meet with our adoption agency and had no clue that Atlanta Pride was happening the same weekend. You can click here to read about that journey. I am amazed how much progress Matthew and I have seen in just a few short months. This progress would not have been possible if it were not for the LGBTQ individuals that educated and pushed the need for equality in the past five decades.
When mentioning those that have paved the way, I have to mention one particular individual. Matthew’s Uncle Dan. He epitomizes all that one would desire or need in a role model. Dan has spent a majority of his life working towards equality in our community and does not shy away from an opportunity to educate about the lack of equality.
In 2008, I can honestly say I was clueless about the Stonewall Riots or the equality movement in general. I didn’t even know that some of it revolved around Judy Garland. Uncle Dan, as I now call him, eagerly and eloquently shared his story and the history I felt embarrassed not to know. During a longer than the usual car ride from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, he opened the door to things I hadn’t really thought of and things I hadn’t even noticed. It was obvious that this community has come a long way but still has a long way to go. Oh, I also got to see a burning RV.
Dan and his husband Josh were present and wed the first day California granted same-sex marriages. That was five years ago today, June 17, 2008 (my birthday by the way). They have travelled across the United States showing their support by getting married again and again in each of the states as they legalized same-sex marriage. Dan and Josh demonstrated by saying “I Do” over and over that we are getting closer and closer to being able to say “I Do” just once and it counts 50 times. Dan and Josh thank you for making this moment in history possible. As silly as it sounds, if it wasn’t for couples like you, I wouldn’t be getting excited to watch the SCOTUS Blog and patiently (not really) wait for decisions on marriage equality.