I’ve had a lot banging around in my head lately and haven’t managed to make any of it cohere into a major post, so bits and pieces will end up here.
Lee and I have had a few more disagreements lately about whether “things happen for a reason,” though I think to some extent this is just becoming code for all our differences in attitude and belief. At any rate, there’s not a whole lot happening per se in our lives right now, but there are potentials. And there are reasons, though maybe not A Reason.
We haven’t heard any more about Eddie and don’t know whether a meeting about us was held last week or not. Our AAN worker is trying to get information, but neither she nor his recruiting worker (through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids) have been able to get any answers from the team involved. I’m choosing not to take this as a dismissal or a negative sign, but it’s not as encouraging as when messages were being relayed to us regularly.
Lee leaves tomorrow for the West coast, where she’ll be at her great-aunt’s funeral. (She says cousin; the relationship is complicated even without the intrafamily adoption, but the details don’t much matter and are pseudonymized anyway.) She’ll be doing a reading at the funeral service Saturday but on Sunday will get to go to our church’s mother church, where the founder of our church network presides.
I’ll be on funeral duty Saturday, too, as our neighbor who had been in a hospice program for the last few months and dying by degrees for long before that finally did die on Mothers’ Day. I went over to the house where she’d lived with her daughter and son-in-law and their daughter (whose birthday will also be Saturday) and brought a plant for their lovely garden and then Lee showed up and the four or us sat around all evening talking. This memorial service should be very upbeat, as this was a woman who inspired everyone she met and used the time when she knew she was dying to make sure all of us knew how much she loved us.
That neighbor’s name was Leah, the same as Lee’s birthmom. It’s Eddie’s birthmom’s name too. I’m not saying that’s true For A Reason, but it’s true and it’s a connection Lee feels strongly. For the first time ever, she called her mother Leah on Mothers’ Day, said “I love you!” and everything, meant it. She ended up calling back a day later to check that everything was okay where Leah lives in Tornado Alley. Lee partly credits our neighbor Leah for redeeming the name for her, making it easy to have a Leah she could love until she was able to actually love her own Leah and mean that.
Lee says I’m the one who broke down the barriers she’d put up to keep herself separated from her birthmother Leah. She still thinks her adoptive mother, her mom, would have been appalled and offended by this offering of love at Mothers’ Day. I want to believe that’s not the case, that by the time her son Richie (Lee’s biodad) got near the end of his life and his behaviors had escalated to the point where he put one of his own siblings in danger, she’d have realized that he wasn’t always the good guy. Lee’s convinced not, though, and I don’t get to write the story of her experience or her adoption. I’ve already maybe pushed her more than I should have, though it’s had some good results and she understands things differently than she ever did before.
This was another Mothers’ Day when Lee’s youngest bio-half-sibling Shasta didn’t see her 12-year-old daughter Kara, who’s in Shasta’s mother’s custody. Shasta is more and more convinced that things in that household are not going to improve and that her daughter is going to end up in foster care. If that happens, Shasta’s going to make sure the social workers hear ASAP that she has a sister who has an active foster home, which by state policy should push us to the top of the list as a resource for Kara even though we’re not living in-state. And then Shasta will comply with her case plan and be able to regain custody of Kara. Or that’s the hope, at least. Many things could go wrong with that plan but many things are already going wrong in Kara’s current placement and she deserves better. She and Lee have been chatting on facebook and she really does seem like a great kid.
Our worry, though, is that if we’re selected for Eddie, we won’t want to just say that we give up any interest in Kara. It would be way less than ideal to be transitioning a permanent child into our home at the same time we might be bringing Kara in temporarily while Shasta gets her rights back, but we don’t want to drop our willingness to do either thing just because the other might happen. But we have a two-bedroom house right now, so the worst-case scenario is that Lee and I would have to sleep on a fold-out couch in the living room while the two kids would have the two bedrooms upstairs. This is actually doable and would let us keep tabs on them pretty well thanks to the creaky floors, but all of this is way off in potential futures and so I’m not going to be worried about it. Yet.
And much of what’s been muddling me is related to what’s in John Raible’s recent presentation on adoption by LGBT folks. We’re already a visible family by nature of being an interracial same-sex couple, as far as I know the only one in town. Any child in our home will be parented transracially by at least one of us, will thus be extra visible as “other” for that reason. I have absolutely no qualms about bringing Kara into that situation — she’s had to live with other relatives and if she has to live with Aunt Lee and Aunt Lee’s partner Thorn, so be it — and she’d actually be living in a family with someone else who’s black instead of with her one white grandparent. But to put that on another child is difficult, which is why I’m glad it sounds like Eddie would have some say if it got to that point. I think our visibility as gay was one thing that made Rowan uneasy with us (though, as in many things, he was of two minds about it) and I’m glad he, too, had the right to say that we weren’t what he wanted.
Anyway, I’m thinking again about all these things. I’ll be going to church on my own on Sunday, probably, and I’ll be comfortable there even if I am the only atheist and maybe the only white person there. I’ve put in a lot of work not to be accepted but just to do what I felt I could do to be helpful (being there every first Friday of the month to help serve food to people who need a meal, showing up reliably to tutor the kids) and kept on coming. I want to write more about this, and maybe I will after Sunday. For now, though, these are enough snippets and I’d rather be with my partner before she leaves than writing all these things online.