Gay Dad Life

Tot Locked and Loaded

This is the 13th article in Jason P’s series about Foster-Adopt. To read the first in the series, click here.

Between the time we completed our first three-hour home study interview as a couple and our individual interviews with the social worker, we began to modify our home to meet foster certification requirements.

I’ll be honest – the very first time I heard that we would be required to “lock” any cabinets or drawers which contained medicine, knives, chemicals and/or alcohol, I had this vision of having gigantic, over-sized master locks securing all of our cabinets and wondered how in the world this environment could ever allow a child to feel comfortable in our home, much-less, part of our family. This isn't an exaggeration - I seriously envisioned large silver and black dial-turning master locks securing our steak knives.

“Your Honor, please let this serve as evidence that never in my life had I ever imagined having children.”

Thankfully, a classmate asked if we were allowed to use Tot Loks, the infamous magnetic locking system that can be turned on and off, works wonders, but is a horrible, pain-in-the-ass to install.  And so I ordered them –  lots of them.

Wanting to ensure that no one would ever doubt our level of caution, I went Tot Lok-crazy and against Eric’s better judgment, I had them installed on nearly every cabinet in our home. From the laundry room to the kitchen to the wet bar, our home became one giant magnetic locking system. We were now officially prepared for either the worst natural disaster known to man or a child (or an invasion by wild orangutans who would be horribly frustrated by their inability to access our Benadryl or Drano or wine... or pretty much anything else in our house).

With our new first-aid kit fully loaded, our fire extinguishers on standby, our refrigerator lock box for medicine that must be kept cold tucked away nicely in the meat drawer and our bathroom lockbox for meds orangutan-proofed behind the Tot Locking system, we cruised through our individual interviews.

The series of questions in the one-on-one setting seemed more like an interrogation, which felt entirely appropriate at this point. The focus was now on discovering who we really we. What made us tick? Who made us hurt? What life-events turned us into the people we are today?

Going into this process I had thought that one of my biggest attributes was going to be that I had lost both of my parents by the time I was 32. I thought this would help me relate and understand and that this would be a valuable tool for me to help a child suffering loss. But what I found instead was that this experience was actually a concern.

The social worker asked me how I coped, how I grieved and if I was still grieving? "How did you deal with your loss," she prodded. Would I reflect any issues I might still have about losing my parents on to my child? Ah, another one of those unexpected but perfectly clear reminders that this isn’t about you - it's about the child.

Next came questions about Eric - a test of sorts. How well did I really know him? What was his family was like? His temperament? His emotional state? What drugs has he done? How much did he drink? What happens when …

Knowing that they would match my answers against his about himself, I began to worry that we might get some of these answers wrong. Was there something I didn’t know? Was there anything he forgot to tell me or that he needed to tell me but didn’t? After so many years together, did we really even know each other? What if the social worker saw something that we did’t?

Anxiety once again reared its ugly head. Were we really doing this? Was this the right thing? Or should we stop and just say it wasn’t for us? We expected that after a while this feeling of anxiousness would fade, but instead we reached the most unexpected point - the part where the hurt set in.

To read Jason P’s next post in the series, click here.

+ Photo credit: flickr, Rain0975, 20120127-IMG_2188

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad Wonders: What Will the 'Roaring Twenties' Bring?

Jim Joseph says he's looking forward to "moving forward in 2020" and in the decade to come!

The Roaring Twenties are upon us, and with the new decade comes great anticipation.

I remember as a kid that whenever a new decade came, it felt like "out with the old and in with the new." It seemed like pop culture and the way of doing things suddenly shifted. Witness 1979 into 1980 and the dawn of a new era in music, fashion, entertainment, and culture. Same with 1989 into 1990. Bam!

As I got older and started my own journey of growth, I started tracking decades by the milestones I had hit during each of the ten-year increments.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Tell Us Their Parenting Goals for 2020

Some are hoping to expand their families — others are hoping to keep the members they already have alive!

We asked our community on Instagram what their parenting goals were for 2020. Here are some of their responses.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

10 Ways Gay Dads Inspired Us in 2019

No two gay parents have the same family creation story, but they still have one thing in common — they inspire us.

Every week, we bring you the stories of gay men and their families. While no two of these stories are the same, one thing they have in common is this — they inspire us. Check out 10 (out of the MANY!) ways gay dads moved us in 2019!

Keep reading...

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse