Did you know that the "Leave No Child Behind" act includes a mandatory requirement that public schools allow the military into their grounds to recruit kids? Did you know that juniors in high school can now join the Marines, attend bootcamp the summer before their senior year and, if they turn 18 before graduating, they can leave school to go straight into active duty?
Check out this website where you can "opt" your kid out of Pentagon lists of students to recruit into the military.
Once again, Sarah V. keeps us on our toes here at Peter's Cross Station. She says I would love to hear your comments on how making an adoption decision that feels ethical differs from the "rescue a child" feeling. And since this same topic got raised recently at Boomerific--albeit far less politely and more anonymously--it seems the right moment to add my two cents.
As I told Sarah personally via an email about this, rescuing a child just never really crossed our minds when we were making adoption decisions. To the contrary, our decisions were mostly made out of a desire to avoid ethical entanglements we didn't want to deal with in favor of ones we found more workable.
This is something I find myself telling people a lot: our family-building decisions aren't better or worse than anyone else's, they are just the ones we could personally live with best. So we put a lot of thought into what we felt comfortable doing and what we didn't feel comfortable doing. But our thought is not universal. Our decisions aren't the ones that would be best for you, or your uncle's dentist's dog's veterinarian. They are the ones that seemed best for us.
Our process went a bit like this:
We wanted a baby.
We didn't want to have anonymity of people involved in that baby's existence, so anonymous sperm donors were out. I felt pretty strongly that I didn't want us to have different biological relationships to our child (my partner, who would have been the adoptive, non-bio parent didn't care) so known donors were out; pregnancy was out.
I had sort of always wanted to either foster, adopt or both anyway, and so had my partner. So we then had to decide how to go about those decisions. For a minute, we thought about adopting a toddler. But then we decided to go ahead and try for a baby first. We knew that international adoptions are not available to open and out gay couples and since we live in a state that is gay family-friendly, we wanted to take advantage of that and be completely out for our entire adoption process. So we decided on a domestic infant adoption. I did some research and found a couple of agencies in our state that had experience doing infant adoptions to gay parents (our agency does quite a few of these all over the country in fact). Of those two agencies, one looked better than the other for a number of reasons that must have been pretty shallow, because I can't remember them now. The better-looking agency exclusively placed African American and biracial (defined by the agency as African American + any other race) babies, so that's how we came to choose a domestic, transracial adoption.
But we still had a choice. We could have decided we weren't up for a transracial adoption. But for the reasons I've given elsewhere, we decided we were. One of the things that made us more comfortable about it was not just our own sense of commitment to antiracist politics but also our commitment to an open adoption. Like I said, we didn't want anonymity and open adoption seemed like a perfect way to keep the adoption as relational as possible while also giving our child black family members--her own birth family members. To me, open adoption feels a bit like baby Moses getting "nursed" by his birth mother while being raised as the princess's son. With a little luck and a lot of work, it could give a child the best of both family experiences.
Again, I say these decisions were the best ones for us. They are not The Best Decisions. Why didn't we want anonymity? Because we didn't want it. Our kid someday yelling "I wanna find my dad! I bet he's much cooler than you dumb lesbians!" wasn't one of the sticky things we felt okay dealing with. Race? The possibilty that someday our kid would yell "you dumb white lesbians aren't my real parents and you'll never understand me!" is a sticky thing we feel okay dealing with. Why? The vagaries of unique individual experience and psyche, and that is really all.
But it never occurred to us that we were rescuing anyone. The fact is, if Nat had not gone to us, she might have gone to mopsa and her lovely partner or another worthy couple or single parent. There are plenty of families waiting at our agency. Nat didn't need us, per se. She and Mama Rose reached out for some help, but they wouldn't have gone without it if we hadn't been waiting. Someone else would have done it. Lucky, lucky, lucky us. We got just what we always wanted without even knowing it.
In case ya'll have been wondering why I haven't posted anything yet about this topic it's because I am literally filled with dread and paralysed with fear about it. I do know that whatever happens, Nat is getting a gift ACLU membership from me for her first birthday next spring.
Nat was about to outgrow this dress, so we used the third wedding of our summer as an excuse to put her in it.
Of course, I just stuck her in the wrap and she slept through the whole thing and all anyone could see was her little feet with their little sandals dangling out the sides. But we decided it's the pictures that count.
Pay no attention to the crazy woman with bad hair making ridiculous noises. The baby is giggling, and if the baby's giggling doesn't melt your heart, you are obviously living in the ninth circle of hell and don't deserve to hear baby giggles anyway...