I never did tell you folks about the passport office.
I was all terrified of the passport process. I really, really want a passport for Nat, not just so we can take her to Vancouver and the UK (and maybe Turkey) but because it is a photo id. See, none of the three people in our legal family share a last name and the parents and child don't share a race, and the parents have no legal marriage status. But once we have a photo id for Nat we can cobble together our photo id's, Nat's photo id, Nat's birth certificate, our adoption decree and...voila! Proof that we all belong to each other for sure. So Nat can't get snatched by crazy Oklahomans claiming we aren't really her parents or whatall.
So my strong desire for that passport--the final piece of our legal family puzzle--put me in the vulnerable position of worrying that we might have trouble. I went into the office all sweaty-palmed and anxious. Cole stood in a line to mail a package (it was at our regional post office) and I stood in the passport line with Nat who, as usual, made eyes at everyone in the place, cooing and grinning and for the first time declaring "Cole Mom!" in full (rather than just "Co!") when she saw Cole across the room.
When Cole finished her thing and joined us, I took the application and filled it out. I had entirely forgotten that other queer parents had already warned us that for the State Department, you have to be "mother" and "father" regardless of gender. Being the femme that I am, and respecting Cole's butch self, I plopped myself onto the mommy line and her onto the daddy line and in we went to see a lady about a photo id.
The woman said "I need both the mother's and the father's id." "It's two moms" I said, all smooth-like "and here are our id's, our adoption decree, the birth certificate and the photos," dumping it all in a pile on her desk (while Cole sat herself down, cool as a cucumber and not remotely worried, in a comfy office chair). Passport lady didn't bat an eye. But she called Nat "Natasha" (as people who don't know her--and her grandmothers--do) and of course, Nat didn't answer to that, so my heart was all thumpy until Nat finally looked up at her and declared "Mow!" when she spotted the stuffed cat on the woman's desk.
It was all roses and sunshine and all was right with the passport world, as the woman took all our forms and papers and whatnot and started to stick them into a folder to send off to the State Department. I know they have to take your birth certificate and all. And I've done it three times and yes, I've always gotten my birth certificate back (if you've ever had a problem with that DO NOT tell me, please), but it is never easy, and as hard-won as that birth certificate--with both our names as coparents--was, it was hard to let her have it. But I did screw up the courage to ask, pretty please, if we could hold onto the adoption decree. She checked to make sure and then she gave it back.
All in all, it was more or less painless. It was only after the fact that I realized the DOS never had to think we were lesbians at all, as my name is gender-flexible, but alas, Cole's (never to be revealed here) first name is not. I ought to have put myself as the daddy and her as the mommy.
But oh well.
So now I'm holding my breath until the passport and the birth certificate arrive as promised.