[Um, and no, that’s not me pictured above, not even a youthful me X years ago. Of the many “two kinds of people in this world,” there are those who would consider jumping over a hurdle, and those who would say Aw hell and scramble underneath it. Count me in the latter camp.]
Yesterday we had the social worker home visit, step # umpteen in the zillion-step, byzantine process of my becoming legal parent to the child whom I nurtured, in utero, helped catch, upon birth, and have diapered and bathed and fed and sung to and read to and listened to and slung on my hip and paraded on my shoulders and even quit my family un-friendly job for, lo these past two years. Yes, much to say about the whole business, but for the moment, suffice to say that it was positively icky to feel simultaneously nervous and enraged about a stranger’s coming to judge my parental fitness.
On the bright side, the stranger who came to visit was the best possible kind: a pro-Buddhist, feminist gal who recognized a ton of books on my bookshelf as reminiscent of her own. She did not tally the electric outlet socket covers, nor did she rummage in the closets searching for the steak knife juggling kits (wheew! I didn’t bury them very far back in there!). She did joke, at one point, about the mean social worker visit depicted on “The L-Word.” And get this: instead of presuming that, as lesbos, we would of course watch the show (as we would of course have also committed to memory the entire Melissa Ethridge oevre, etc.), she asked first. And then filled us in when we had to admit that we’re too cheap for Showtime.
For all us non-bio parents who are coupled up with bio-parents, the whole step-parent adoption odyssey is a bitter pill to swallow. Yet I’d wager most of us feel split right down the middle: irritated as f*ck that we have to do it at all, yet at the same time appreciative that we can do it at all, since our sisters and brothers in Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin, to my knowledge, explicitly can’t. My intel on this: the NGLTF map of what states permit second-parent adoption, and to what degrees. (opens PDF)
I know I’m fortunate. For the kindly social worker visit and more. Just three months after the lil’ monkey was born, I’d have enjoyed the expanded Domestic Partner benefit of presumptive parenthood in my home state. But I’ll still adopt kid #2. Redundant and repetitive? Paranoid? Yep, youbetcha. I’m with Abby Hoffman: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
[Update: check out the comments for some factoid revisions from sisters in Colorado and Utah.]