Hey folks, Peter's Cross Station is moving. For the continuing (if less frequent) adventures of the LilySea Clan, point your browsers to Peterscrossstation.wordpress.com . All the archives are there too. So if you came to explore our past, we're still an open book.
Why are people afraid of the Internet? As far as I can tell, the Internet is a place where, if you can read and if you can write, you can vet people pre-meeting and know how cool they are going to be in advance. Or at least get a good clue in the right direction (I, for example, am cooler in real life, which I'm sure my virtual-turned-literal friends can vouch for).
Anyway, all this is just to say that my latest Internet meet-up has been a stunning success. Some of you might remember Sster, who hasn't blogged in a while. Well, I'm here to report that she's fandabulous, just like you suspected she was. Her kid is cute, her husband is sweet and her kitchen is a den of delights.
All this could just be a ploy to gain our trust before the axe comes out, but I'm doubting it.
What if the first thing you found when you started thinking about adoption had been Dawn's blog? Pretty great place to get the low-down on the reality of adoption, hmm?
The Bump, most mainstream of all streams has a nomination for This Woman's Work to win Best Adoption Blog on their site. Please go vote for Dawn. Just think about the power being made available here, to shift the conventional wisdom about adoption.
I blogged about this at Strollerderby and I mentioned it on Facebook, but I have more to say about it.
These lesbians and lesbian exes and ex-lesbians and what-have-you are getting me down today. The story is: Once upon a time two women fell in love and got together in Seattle. There they settled down, feathered a nest and each gave birth to a baby, each of whom was adopted, in turn by the nonbiological second mom. Happy-happy, joy-joy.
Then the family moved to Florida and all hell broke loose. Moms split up, agreeing to coparent amicably, until Mom A falls in love with a fundamentalist Christian man, gets engaged, repudiates her lesbo history and refuses to let Mom B have any more visitation with Mom A's bio child.
Mom B sues for custody (of her nonbio, but fully legally adopted child) and the court overturns the adoption (made in another state, mind you) on the grounds that Florida doesn't grant adoption to gay people. Mom B appeals and the appeals court rules in her favor, saying Florida, whether it grants gay adoptions or not, must recognize adoptions made in other states under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Now, Mom A has appealed to the Florida Supreme Court (no word on whether they are taking the case yet).
Here are some points:
1. If Florida upholds its right to willy-nilly reverse adoptions made in other states, um, whoa, Bessie! What does that mean for any adoptive family, not just queer ones? You may think that you are safe because Florida doesn't ban you from adopting at the moment, but this kind of precedent sure opens a can of worms to allow Florida to decide it doesn't like you either and will dissolve your relationship to your child while on vacation at Disney. Florida, by all accounts is Crazy State. You never know what it's going to do next.
2. Mom A is a jerk, obviously. But not just because she is keeping her bio kid from its (don't know the genders here) second mom. She is, one must assume, also repudiating her own parenthood of Mom B's bio kid, in spite of having adopted the kid legally in Washington. Now that's major jerkness, right there.
3. We need federal laws governing this stuff, not state ones. I know that's a long shot, but if states are going to go ignoring the full faith and credit clause, and if the U.S. Congress is going to support them in that with laws like the DOMA, which allows marriages to be dissolved when crossing state lines (also in glaring contradiction to full faith and credit, among other things), then states need to simmer down and let the feds take over family law in these broad areas of marriage and adoption. You can't just dissolve legal familial bonds when a family arrives in your state. That is dangerous on a zillion levels. Certainly, most clearly in the case of a child whose parent can just renounce her responsibility to provide for and nurture that child as a parent who took on these responsibilities legally--and for life--in another state.
4. I have been reading all this adoption stuff (new books from conference) about the various ways that a loss as devastating as an entire family will mess with the developmental tasks at every stage of a child's life. Whether adopted at birth or after five years of foster care, kids still sustain a loss at the outset of adoption that adds challenges to growing up healthy, happy and whole. It can be done of course, I'm not suggesting otherwise. I'm simply saying that it adds challenges and makes life more difficult. Why any parent in her right mind would create this situation for a child by taking that child from a (perfectly healthy, non-abusive) second parent is beyond me. Why orchestrate a loss for your child when you could have prevented it?
I know, people are nutso when they break up. Ex-gay fundie converts even more so, I am sure. Much as I wish it were not true, lesbians are just normal human beings like everyone else and no better behaved in a breakup than straight, legally married people who might just as readily swipe the kids if it were so easily done, given no legal protection for the ex's relationship with them.
And because lesbians (and gay men and you know, everyone) are human, we need laws to protect our children when breakups happen. I know some people pull off voluntary coparenting with integrity. But some don't. And some really, really don't. So we need a blanket of second-parent adoption that covers all children and protects their connections to their parents.
In fact, I think de facto parents should have legal standing, whether adoptive or not. They should have automatic rights to visitation unless a court decides it is not in the child's best interest. Overall, I am tired of this stuff being put under the heading of "gay rights" because it is really about children's rights. Kids don't get to choose who their parents are. Like it or not, queers have been having children from time immemorial and will continue to do so. Protect those kids not by prohibiting them from having legal ties to their parents, but by mandating their parents support them and give them access to all other parents, whether they are born again or not.
Really, what kid would Jesus abandon?
Same-sex marriage would help--if the moms had married in this particular case--by providing same-sex divorce and thus putting the visitation and custody stuff in the hands of a court. But plenty of straight people don't bother/have their reasons not to marry the second parent of their child (biological and otherwise--look at Brangelina), so marriage really isn't the issue here. The issue is kids' rights to their parents--as defined by the kids. Children will develop connections to people whether the adults in their lives necessarily want them to or not. Step-parents, boyfriends, grandmothers who babysit every day--kids will define their primary caregivers in ways we might not. Those relationships deserve at least a glance by a court before being severed at the whim of one legal parent.
Meanwhile, this case is simple enough--the adoption was actually legal. Mom A needs to present her bio kid for visitation with Mom B and cut a check for her share of Mom B's bio kid's support. Case closed.
Need to vent a little here in personal space. So I wrote this thing (you might have seen it) at Strollerderby about questioning the appropriateness of pirates as a theme of children's play. Mainly, it was supposed to be kind of funny, like "huh, yeah, never thought about it, but how DO you explain a plank to a 3-year old?" (I told my kids their Little People Pirate Ship plank was a diving board.)
Anyhow, now a few commenters are convinced my children are micro-managed and having their creativity and learning opportunities cramped debilitatingly.
It really never ceases to amaze me how much assumption people can load onto the smallest pieces of information. In another recent post, a woman said she was terribly worried about the children of anyone claiming to love their spouse more than said children and accused such people of having a sick "codependent" relationship. You know, just in general. Without knowing anything more than a silly comment on a blog about "love" which can interpreted in about a thousand different ways by a thousand different people.
For the record, my kids own about 300 books, buckets of blocks, a basket full of dress-up clothes (some girlie, some decidedly NOT girlie), baskets of dolls and stuffed animals, tea sets and play food, cars, trucks (and yes, even a pirate ship), a dollhouse and tons of furniture and dollhouse people, a miniature piano that has two and a half octaves of real keys, several drums and bells and other rhythm instruments, a real ukulele, blankets they use to build forts, a closet full of art supplies, more balls than I can count, scooters, tricycles, and yes, even videos (gasp!). Plus more free-play time than any kids their age I know.
I hardly think I'm cramping their style by thinking twice about certain toys or books or videos. I mean, ALL parents choose what they let their kids play with to at least some extent, right? (If they don't what's up with that?) My kids are still too little for peer influences, so I'm not exactly fighting them over their true passions. They don't even know pirates exist (in spite of the Little People). They don't miss them any more than they miss Hannah Montana, whom I sincerely hope they never discover (yeah, yeah, wishful thinking, I know).
I hardly deserve a single remaining reader, as negligent as I've been of this blog since I started the Strollerderby gig. And don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the job and the chance to make some money doing something I kind of do anyway, but I do miss the self-selecting nature of personal blog readers here at Peter's Cross Station.
Thanks too, for being so supportive of my work over there. I truly appreciate it.
As both an appreciative gesture for readers and a pay-it-forward gesture based on having received gifts and hand-me-downs from readers, I'd like to give some stuff away.
I have three Foogo sippy cups that my kids have outgrown. They are a little faded around the edges, but really, they are quite durable and should last twenty more years. Mostly. Selina chewed up the spouts, so you'll have to get some replacements for those, which you can get here. So it isn't like a bright and shiny new thing, but given that these cups are $15 new and last forever, it's not a terrible deal. If you'd like to be in a drawing to receive them, leave a comment below noting so, and I'll do a random draw and send them to the winner.
If you don't need or want any sippy cups, leave a comment below and note that you'd like $40 of credit at my jewelry site and I'll do a separate random draw for that.
You can be in both drawings if you like, but if the same person happens to win both, I'll redraw so two different people will get something.
Sorry I can't give everybody a car. But really, I do truly appreciate you!