“YAY! Great! You made a decision! Now you only have about 10,000 more to make!”
Now that you’ve made the bold decision to have children (congratulations!), you will quickly discover your new-found responsibility to make well-thought-out decisions with limited facts and complicated information has only just begun.
Having thought through and discussed the many equally amazing, valid, noble, worthy and complicated ways to become parents, we decided that foster-adopt was the one that best suited us and yet reaching this life-changing decision meant only one thing: we had yet another decision to make – would we proceed with a foster family and adoption agency or simply work directly with the county?
As anyone who has been through this process will tell you, there are pros and cons to both options. The main factor to be aware of is that if you decide to work with an agency, you will have additional “people” entering your lives (and your home): not only will you have the county social workers (sometimes a few) but you will also have social workers from the agency involved following your placement (sometimes a few). For some people, proceeding with an agency can feel like adding more cooks to the kitchen while for others, that added layer an agency offers provides an extra safety net, which in the world of foster care, isn’t always a bad thing.
As a same-sex couple, we felt it was important to work with an organization – and hopefully an ally – that had a history of dealing with lesbian and gay parenting rather than facing the county alone. Thankfully, in my initial days of research, I found an agency that looked promising and even as I tried and tried and tried and tried to find something better, I kept coming back to that one website. And so when the time finally arrived, we made the call.
We were excited to sign up for the January 2013 orientation and instantly began wondering who else would be there. I mean, who could possibly want to do this besides us? We certainly hadn’t met anyone. We anticipated being the only same-sex couple in the room, the modern example of a new kind of family – a novelty of sorts – and would pride ourselves on that status. We were also pretty sure that we’d be the youngest couple in the room, since we yet to meet (or hear of) anyone else who had gone through the process. Or maybe, we’d be the only ones even there…
But much to our surprise, not only was the classroom nearly full, but we weren’t even the only same-sex couple there – or the youngest for that matter! The room was filled with a variety of people from all walks of life: single straight women, a single gay man, older gay and straight couples, younger gay and straight couples, bi-racial couples, and even a stereotypical flashy gay couple straight from last week’s circuit party (with their Porsche key chain laid out on the table for all to see…seriously). In fact, the orientation was so lesbian and gay-friendly that the straight folks seemed to huddle in the back row.
As a biracial couple ourselves, we are proud of our differences and the diversity of our friends so stumbling into this room filled with an eclectic mix of people made us feel right at home. We were already intrigued by this adventure and one thing was for sure: we couldn’t wait to find out more.