A statement was made to me recently which implied that adoption wasn’t a valid way of creating a family. A unique way…just not a real way. While trying not to regurgitate all over the other person, I want to make it clear that whether or not a gay or straight couple adopts a child, or someone that is single, please keep in mind that we’re bringing another member into the extended family and into our circle of friends.
More than anything I want our child to be welcomed with open arms by their new family and our circle of friends. It troubles me when (while granted only on 2 occasions) someone speaks of our “soon-to-be” child differently than those trying to get pregnant with their own flesh and blood. Or those that are already currently pregnant. I am not saying this only because it slightly hurts my feelings. I say it mostly because it seems that they are already putting our child into a different (lesser) category. Is my new family not worth celebrating, too? Whatever you’ve done for other family members when they added to their families–whether it’s hosting a shower, knitting a blanket, offering meals, or even just calling to check in along the way–do it for adopting parents just as you would for birthing parents.
Now I am about to contradict myself…Adoption is indeed different. But one must remember that we’re going through a unique process. Understand that adoption doesn’t parallel the pregnancy/birth process, so our reactions and emotions along the way won’t always be the same. Adoption often brings up a lot of conflicting emotions. There is immense joy in adopting, but also sadness, stress and uncertainty. On top of the usual adjustments to parenthood, we’re also working out what it means to be an adoptive family in a non-adoption world…and to boot (in our circumstance) a non-traditional form. I want to make it clear that having people simply acknowledge the emotional complexity without the judgment means so much.
Growing up gay seems to excuse others to treat and see the things you do differently. Those whom are gay can understand that. I told a coworker of mine the other day that my partner and I are adopting a baby and her response was “Oh my god, that is adorable! You guys are super cute!.” I felt like responding: “I said a BABY! Not a PUPPY!”. Would she tell a heterosexual couple how cute they were if they were pregnant?
I promise not to let anyone treat our child differently (as well as my partner and I in the role of parents) simply because we couldn’t conceive in the “normal” sense of the word. Simply because we had to drive out of state to pick up our child. This baby will add something to the family tree, or amongst our friends and their children, equally. No one person should be treated differently simply because they are adopted, not adopted, handicapped, black, white, etc.