Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Family Pride

I forgot to write this, but Jamie was asked to do a "guest blogger" piece on the Family Pride website (their Director Jennifer and much of their staff was on the cruise and did several workshops).

I also wrote a response, below. But better for you all to visit the Family Pride blog and read it yourself.

I am so proud of this blog piece.

I am the “other cancer mom”. I wanted to add a few things from my perspective. Other than our door which announced to any and all (on the ninth deck, at any rate), our status as women with cancer, I made a decision on this cruise to be “cancer free”, meaning not to bring it up with anyone who did not already know. That was a wonderful break from what has been over a year and a half of having cancer kind of take over my (our) lives.

I also want to congratulate Jennifer and Family Pride for the workshops and for their work in general. I just finished reading the lead article in last Sunday’s NY Times Magazine on donor eggs and the ethical issues that are prompted by this type of decision. After reading it, I just might write my first ever letter to the editor. What it comes down to, really, is that Love Makes a Family….and the other issues, to tell or not to tell, really surprised me. Our community has been dealing with all sorts of reproductive issues for decades. We get to deal with the meaty stuff, the “who is the mother” part in areas that simply reject second parent adoption or with people who won’t accept it. How can someone even consider that concealing the truth might be “better” for their child? Oh, and did I mention that most or all of the people in the article are heterosexual, so they don’t have to deal with what the legal system in our country thinks about their family. They assume, and rightly so, that the child they bear with donor eggs will have all the legal rights of any other child. Of course they do.

Telling the truth about our lives, being out and public and pro-active and assertive with schools, camps, doctors, therapists, just about everyone, is, in my opinion, the only way to make our lives real. I would never consider lying to our daughter about her origins. She is adopted from Eastern Europe and has known this since she was not quite three. You answer questions with honestly and make the answers age appropriate.

She tends to be kind of invisible as an adoptee, since she is not part of a transracial adoption. As an older mom, I am sometimes (all too often!) asked if she is my grandchild. She doesn’t look anything like me, if anything, she more resembles Jamie. But the important thing is that she knows her story. And that she has two moms. She knows that you don’t have to look like your parent(s) to be part of a family. The first week I moved to North Carolina, while opening my bank account, she “outed” me to the bank teller by simply stating “I have two moms…and a bug bite”. She tells everyone that she has two moms. I dread the day someone tells her that having two moms is bad.

Our children are loved beyond measure. On the cruise, I was moved sometimes to tears, just watching gay dads with their babies. I guess I am kind of used to the moms, but seeing so many dads was joyful. I want Sofie to grow up in a world that celebrates family and love. Family Pride will help us get there.


mamah (hannah) said...

Hi Debra,

Glad to hear that you Jamie and Sofie had a great cruise. I am sorry to hear your not-so-great, but could be worse CT news. Your blog was linked in a KIN-related email from a while back and I periodically check in to see how you're doing. As you may remember, I went through the cancer thing w/my best friend, and I feel for you and the family and send good thoughts out into the universe for you. Anyway, I am actually barging in to post here b/c I can't seem to find your email address and in the link to Jamie's post about your story, she says that she does not have parental rights to Sofie. Did you know that Durham judges are doing second-parent adoptions? I am getting ready to go into private practice and would be happy to help you all with this (no charge), or if you prefer, to refer you to someone else who is handling them. I just wanted to make sure you all knew about this. Best wishes w/the new treatment! I'll see you around soon - you are one of the people in Durham I always run into.

Take care,


p.s. my twins are from donor egg and they will certainly know it!

mamah (hannah) said...

p.p.s. my email is: shdemeritt at earthlink dot net