Times they are a-changin’! Here in Pennsylvania, where my partner and I live, there are several law suits currently fighting for marriage equality. And times need to change in order to make filing taxes easier for families like ours. However, since they haven’t changed yet, we are just a family in our hearts, but not on paper.

This was a special year. It was the first year we were placed with two foster kids. Lots of memories were made. First our home was alive with the pitter patter of four little paws, and then suddenly it was abuzz with four more paws…ahem…20 more toes. Two more little souls.

When filing our taxes, it would work out best financially when one of us claimed the two kiddos on their taxes (because we weren’t married). One would file Head of Household claiming both of the kids and one would file single with no dependents. This should be reason for a happy dance, no?

But what of the one who didn’t have any kids listed on his return?

That was me.

To not have kids, at least on paper, on my Federal income taxes, hit me hard. Maybe harder than it should have. It was just paper after all.

It came in flashes.

The Home Study. The clearances. The 12 weeks of Foster/Adoption Pre-Service Training.  The interview at the County. The driving hours to go and visit them after we were selected and before they came to live with us. The rearrangement of our home (removing the guest room and office) to make separate rooms for the kiddos. The cooking. The cleaning. Parent/Teacher meetings. Picking up from AfterCare. Cinderella’s surprise birthday party visit to our home. Elf On The Shelf. Surprise trip to Broadway to see ANNIE. The tooth fairy. The hugs. The laughter. The stress. The magic.

Family on paper

I have a friend who says “you can only be upset about this for 24 hours,” so with that in mind, my thoughts took a turn.

WE are parents. That all can’t be contained on paper. Not in a tax return, but somehow, on paper I wasn’t anything.

My family is everything to me. To us.

But it’s just paper.

We can’t wait to adopt these kids. I can’t wait until my partner and I can be married. I can’t wait until I can change my last name to his. To theirs. So we are all the same.

On paper.