When my partner and I decided to adopt a baby, our hearts raced at the thought of becoming parents. Our friends had always told us we’d be great dads, so we decided to take the plunge. After all, our five-year old labrador seemed to be thriving. How different could it be?
After attending the first orientation meeting at the adoption agency, our hearts slowed at the thought of the long journey ahead: the seminars, the background checks, the financial commitment and the social worker home visits.
But most disconcerting were the stories about what to expect when others saw two guys with a baby. Be prepared to be confronted by a variety of reactions, people said. At the top of the list was: “Where’s his mommy?” Do we respond? Why do these people feel they have they right to even ask? We were warned about people who approach and say that a child won’t be emotionally stable if raised in a same-sex family — they need a male and female influence in their lives. We have plenty of female friends and family around all the time, doesn’t that count? And for the record, we have the feminine and nurturing touch in spades in addition to knowing how to use a baseball glove. Worst of all would be the non-verbal interactions, they said: the evil eye cast your way by those who feel same-sex parents are an abomination and the pitying look given your child for the unhappy life before him.
On January 16th, 2009, our son was born and we became proud and joyful parents. We enjoyed the same adrenalin rush, moments of firsts and hearts overflowing with love that all new parents experience. But lurking on the fringe were those ominous warnings.
We braced for the onslaught.
But the onslaught never came. From Sonoma to Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay to Walnut Creek, our family has enjoyed all of the beautiful things there are to explore throughout the Bay Area and we’ve been met with adoring looks from strangers, kind words about our parenting skills and comments about how gleefully happy our son is.
So from two grateful dads and their son: thank you, thank you, Bay Area, for continuing to be the warm, embracing and inclusive place for which you’re known.
With a Perspective, I’m Danny Kraus.