"I am not sure at this point whether she is open to a gay family or not."
Those were the words doused on us like cold water in a frigid storm during our first lead on a prospective newborn to adopt.
I tell my friends that adoption is not for the faint of heart. As someone who might be thinking about taking the adoption journey, you’ll no doubt immerse yourself in tons of classes, read all there is to read, and talk to lots of people.
All resources will tell you to prepare as best you can through your research, paperwork, and family support system. But these traditional resources will not prepare gay people to deal with homophobia. I can tell you from our personal experience that nothing quite prepares you for reading that a birth mother is not open to having you adopt her child simply because you are gay. I wish I had been forewarned.
I've always been a fairly open person. For the most part, I consider my husband and I to be a fairly traditional couple. We live in a large city that mostly embraces us. We never feel like we should look sideways while walking down the street together.
The weird thing about the adoption process is you are on full public display for the world. Your life becomes a commodity for a potential expectant mother to consider. In every day life I’d potentially confront someone being homophobic, intolerant, or prejudiced. While searching for an expectant mother, this type of direct confrontation is unwise.
When confronted with someone saying "I am not sure at this point whether she is open to a gay family or not," it does not help to bust out your rainbow flag and Harvey Milk quotes. You can still send your materials and hope they will reconsider. But in the end, I think it’s best to simply thank the person on the other end of the computer screen or phone call and move on.
To these people, I really want to say, "We are a family, like ANY other, and we could provide an amazing home to her child if we had a chance to talk to her." But I end up saying "Thank you so much for considering sharing our information with her, and we wish her nothing but the best."
How do we handle these situations as they arise? I’ll talk more about our strategies and coping mechanisms in an upcoming post. But I think the most important thing is to not become jaded. It’s easy to feel personally attacked. It reminds me of that old saying, “What someone else thinks about you is none of your business.”
A wonderful and brave birth mother is out there who will appreciate and accept us for us.