I still had more to write about last night, but my blogging muscles were weakened and sore and so I went to bed instead. I’ll give the adoption-related bit first because it’s easy, then talk about one more wrinkle in the church story.
Our homestudy still hasn’t been approved, a month after it was filed. We’re not sending out our old study with Adopt America Network now because we’re afraid we’d immediately be disregarded since the homestudy they have has expired. We got a letter from the state agency yesterday and I was excited, assuming it was our homestudy approval notice. Nope.
Apparently we were turned down as a potential adoptive home for Jay. That’s good, because we decided back after Thanksgiving that we should go forward with Rowan and that we didn’t want to be considered for Jay. Jay sounds in certain ways like Linda B’s Andrew; Jay’s diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (and Lee and I figured under the right circumstances where having two moms would be a plus there we could deal with it) and he has some severe delays, but unlike how I think of Andrew he’s also angry and violent and diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Because his violence had been increasing rather than decreasing lately as he gets nearer the time for discharge from his RTC, we decided it didn’t sound like a good fit. But apparently his worker never got that information.
The good news is that the reason we were rejected is that they’ve apparently found a family for Jay. I know we have to be realistic about the problems we can handle, so it’s always encouraging to see evidence of families who can handle different things from what we can. (I initially wrote “more” but I remember how Elizabeth was so adamant about certain parts of Rowan’s history that would have caused some experienced parents to avoid him, whereas they weren’t a problem for us.) Jay’s biological brother — separated for adoption purposes — is one of Rowan’s best friends, and he’s supposed to be on track to be adopted by a former foster family. I hope that’s also working out.
At any rate, in the year our homestudy has been active, within our state we were accepted for Ezra and decided we wouldn’t be able to parent him. He’s now on the adoption track with the woman who’s been his foster mother for the last four or so years. We were rejected for Mychael with no explanation given, though we’ve heard from the grapevine that a worker’s homophobia was a factor. Now we’ve been rejected for Jay because there was a better fit, and since we don’t think we were a good fit (since, for instance, we want a kid we hope can be safe with animals) we agree that we wouldn’t have been the right choice. And then there’s Rowan, who was old enough to say he didn’t want to be adopted by us and we respect that and support him as we can.
Both Rowan and Ezra are in care through our region, though both are in placements hours away. For both of those processes, we had workers advocating for us and things went fairly smoothly. For both Mychael and Jay, the process of evaluating us took a long time, probably months in Jay’s case since we’d asked to be removed before the beginning of December. The rejection letter is just a form with one box checked and that’s all the information we get. Right now, Elizabeth was planning to get back to me a week ago about two brothers I’d asked about, but she probably hasn’t been able to get in touch with their worker yet since that’s what was slowing her down before. The last set of brothers I asked about changed workers three times in the month she spent trying to get information and we eventually gave up since no one would return her calls or even ones from the state-level adoption coordinator. They’re still on the photolisting. I guess we’re seeing patterns here now.
One thing that didn’t make it into my church discussions but that I wanted to add was that our church is an independent church founded by the pastor, but the pastor’s wife is (going to be? I don’t know the timeline) ordained in a common liberal denomination. The church community has spent the last year discussing whether to go ahead and join that denomination, though they would be able to also remain part of the confederation of LGBT-friendly black churches they’re in now, or whether to stay independent. Being part of a denomination would mean having the resources of that denomination, perhaps being able to worship in one of the churches that’s pretty much empty now as believers age, having more programs for the kids and a nationwide support network. I think that the connection is going to happen and it will probably happen soon.
On the other hand, that denomination — at least around here — is mostly the domain of liberalish white people. I was at the local church of that denomination in our town Friday night for a steel drum band concert, which was fun, but Lee doesn’t have much patience for their slow, liturgy-heavy Sunday services even though she adores their gay minister. The River City denominational community is mostly (though not entirely!) like that church, not like the one we attend where the music is lively and people speak in tongues and worship loudly and individually. Finding a balance that will let the church transition into denominational membership without losing its spirit is something that the pastor has been working on the whole time I’ve known her, and perhaps because Lee and I come from backgrounds different from most of the congregation it’s something she’s talked to us about often.
So when I realized at least one person in the congregation thinks I’m a demonic force, I worried that what I’d done had been inappropriate because it was going to poison the church against white liberals, as if I had an obligation to be a model minority to keep from being an example of what folly it would be to get involved with people like me. I do know that my being white and more educated (not to mention nerdy!) than the church norm is something I’m aware of, just as I’m aware that my atheism and my childhood Catholic religious education
are both pretty far removed from the experiences of many of the churchgoers when it comes to what constitutes worship and religiosity.
Honestly, if the email forward had been a joke saying you know how white people be (as Lee often does joke to me in private) I probably wouldn’t have responded as I did. It’s still a stupid email forward, but I can understand why these women could want to blow off steam about living under white privilege and I doubt I’d have spoken up. While I’m one of a tiny number of white people within the congregation, I still benefit from white privilege and they’re still facing prejudice and minority status in plenty of other aspects of their lives, whereas this is not the norm for me. I’ve never felt any judgment or tension about my race from anyone except the other two white regulars, one of whom seemed really over-friendly (and I can understand she was trying to make me feel welcome, probably, or assuming I felt out of my element and would need extra support) and one who seemed to avoid me (but who seems to be a prickly person anyway and has gotten more friendly as we’ve stayed longer).
Anyway, these are all things that are banging around in my head as I look at our lives. I don’t know if I’m not blogging as regularly because of twitter or if it just doesn’t feel like anything major or coherent enough to warrant a blog post is going on, but this is what I’ve been up to mentally at least.
Oh, and I think today’s the day to change my biographical information here to let on that I’m in my 30s and to note the death of Thing Two. Thing One had his appointment with the vet yesterday and while the vet agreed with my aunt (who’s also a vet) that it’s usually goods for housecats to have cat friends who live with them, she wouldn’t necessarily push it in our case if Thing One seems happy. He is happy, though that may just be the pheromones in the little diffuser that have totally changed his personality. At any rate, he’s sitting on my lap purring loudly right now as he tries to fall asleep, so I take that as a good sign while we take our time to figure out what’s best for him.