I am a planner. I always have Plans B and C in my back pocket. Now that we are on plan C (a third sperm donor, Femera, and HCG trigger) with only 3 attempts remaining, I can’t help but think ahead to Plan D. We’ve ruled out IVF for a number of reasons, chief among them is the expense. The idea of using a known donor is still circulating, but it brings with it a host of issues that range from minor (e.g. how do I ask for a friend’s or friend of friend’s sperm?) to major (the potential for the donor to change his mind and want to be our child’s legal parent). The only other path to parenthood is adoption, and it’s something I’ve thought a lot about. Until now, I have not looked into it very seriously because it seemed prohibitive for gay couples. Today I decided to contact a large adoption agency in the area, just to see if adoption is a serious contender for Plan D. I wrote and explained that R and I are interested in understanding what the agency’s criteria are for adoptive parents, and I said that we’d be open to considering either sex, any race, and a child with minor medical issues. Here is what I heard back (emphasis mine):
We have often worked with unmarried couples. Unfortunately, the international countries we work with will not accept a home study of a same-sex couple.
Your family may adopt from our US KIDS program. Have you considered adopting from the US foster care system? We work with public agencies throughout the country to find families for U.S. foster children. In our experience, social workers tend to select unmarried couples for a placement of an older child, usually 7 years old and older. Kids in U.S. foster care have all been affected by neglect and/or abuse and were removed from their biological families and placed in foster homes. These kids have particular immediate and long-term needs. In order to adopt such a child, families should know about these needs and be willing to address them. All families who adopt through the US Kids program are required to complete foster and adoptive parent training. After completing their homestudy, families usually receive information about a child in about one to 18 months, depending on their child request. The more open the family is on such things as: gender, race, age, legal risk, medical needs and some background issues, the more quickly they may be selected for a child. Generally, families travel to pick up their child immediately upon being selected for placement.
Maybe I’m feeling overly sensitive today, but this reads like a rejection letter. It basically says that because we are a two mom household, we are not qualified to care for an orphaned, relinquished, or neglected infant, toddler, or young child. We are, however, eligible for consideration for an older child who is more difficult to place due to age, medical issues, or psychological problems. Maybe it should be enough for me that we’re eligible to adopt someone, but it isn’t. I am so tired of being told (however subtly or kindly) that I’m less than worthy of the privileges that straight folks have. And it adds insult to injury to think that straight folks have produced children that they do not want, cannot care for, or neglect and abuse, but gay folks aren’t worthy of providing them with permanent loving homes. Really? Really? Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler need to make a skit about this…