Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tar Heeled

I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the great state of North Carolina for narrowly preventing itself from being wiped off the map in a fit of biblical justice by today voting to ban same sex marriage.  By amending their constitution to define marriage as "one man one woman" they have successfully avoided God's wrath.  Hurricane season is due to start in a few months and would have been a convenient excuse for a good Ol' Testament ass whoopin'.  “Marriage remains an essential social institution which unites men and women to provide for the reproduction of the human race and to provide mothers and fathers for children," Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council smirked said.  Noting that children are never born to unmarried partners and without marriage they wouldn't have mothers or fathers, North Carolina voters have ensured the survival of the Human Race.
FRC Spokesmen Peter Sprigg (l) and Tony Perkins (r).
North Carolina has always followed biblical principles since being admitted to the Union in 1789 and settling into present day 1952.  Building a solid foundation using bible approved slave labor, the state is home to many historic sites such as Kitty Hawk where the Wright brothers made the first airplane flight.  They were proud of North Carolina right up until its citizens burned them as witches.  And who can forget their brave struggle for liberty and free labor in the War of Northern Aggression?

Raleigh, circa 1820.
This new amendment has far reaching effects.  By making marriage the only legal relationship qualifier in the state, it strips domestic partnerships from gay and straight couples alike.  Melissa and Libby are two moms in a domestic partnership with a 5 year old daughter.  The girl is covered under Libby's health insurance, but since she can not legally adopt her and that partnership is now void, that child may no longer be covered.  Many other families ("families" as the FRC calls them, always using scary quotes) will now be in a similar bind.  Besides the fact that current adoption laws in many states prevent a significant number of children from finding loving homes, marriage inequality ensures they are not adequately protected in numerous ways.  (I'll post about our recent failed second adoption soon.  I've been quiet about it but I'm ready now.)  But the main thing is discrimination apparently keeps Jesus happy.  As Pat Robertson rightly pointed out to the city of Orlando, uppity homosexuals mocking God by going to Disney World during Gay Pride is flirting with disaster:

"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate -- this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor."

Imagine a place where men prance through the streets in tights and people in outlandish costumes flaunt garish makeup.  And that's Disney before the gays even get there!  If a city can be destroyed by one day of Gay Pride, think of what would happen if the gays got married!

Notorious gay marrying dinosaurs meet their doom.
Now, sidestepping the fact that God is a single father who runs a successful publishing company (#1 best seller of all time whoot whoot!), he still makes time to get into politics.  And that's why we love America, because even though we have a constitution that never mentions marriage or gays at all, we always have the bible to fill in the gaps.  Tonight North Carolina makes us proud to live in a country where all men are created equal (wink wink) and the ancient Israelites would be happy to call home.

Dyke free since 2012!

*If I didn't write this post, I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.  Writing is a good outlet for anger, and I'm so stinking mad right now I had to have a release.  Yeah, it's a bit snarky.  All I know is we have a little girl who deserves to be as protected by her government as the kids next door, and right now she isn't.  We may both be her legal parents, but our family falls short legally in too many other ways to make us comfortable.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Oh Gurl...

Sean Harris, Sr. Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C.:

"So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.

Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign [sic] her in. And you say, 'Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'"

Well he has a point about one thing.  If you let your son run around in a dress as a child, there's no telling what kind of horrible future may be in store for him.

Work the runway sweetie...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Day We Met You

As parents, we all have fond memories of the day our children were born.  But many adoptive parents have a second memory to cherish--the day they met their children.  Adoptive families are created in many ways, but for us and for the community of friends we have, open agency adoption was the method we used.  We were chosen to be Sabrina's parents by her birth mother K. about 6 weeks before she was born.  As we created our plan for her birth and contact beyond, K. offered to bring us into the delivery room with her to experience the event and to be the first to hold her.  (I can't say enough the respect, admiration, and love we have for this amazing woman.  She gave us something no one else on the planet could have, and did so with love for Sabrina at the forefront of her decision.)  Timing, never one of Sabrina's strong points, was not on our side as we got the call that "It's time!" two days early at 9 PM and we couldn't leave until the next morning.  Even if we left for L.A. immediately, the entire thing was over in about 2 hours anyway, so there's no way we would have made it.  Add to that our nightmare drive and we didn't get to the hospital until that afternoon.
So we met our girl when she was about 18 hours old on April 19th, 2009.  Today is our "3rd Anniversary" of becoming a family.  Our relationship with K. is still very strong (she loved yesterday's bouncy house video) and though she will always have that sadness inside her, she tells us it's balanced by the happiness she has for us and Sabrina.  Adoption is joyful, sad, fulfilling, and bittersweet all at the same time.  Adoptive parents and birth parents both experience the full gambit of these emotions at one point or another.  Today we concentrate on joy, and are grateful for K. and for those who helped us along the way.  Today reminds us of how lucky we are.

(The fact that I'm typing this as our carpets and furniture are being professionally cleaned reminds us that we also adopted messiness, but hey, you get the whole package.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Whine Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese--corporate
mascot and anti-Christ finalist
As a gay man, I'm used to seeing things taken from gay culture and going mainstream when deemed cool and nonthreatening enough to do so by straight people.  The phrase "Drama Queen" comes to mind.  Techno music used to be fun to dance to until straight people discovered it and started playing it at basketball games.  Clay Aiken.  But I'm starting to realize it works both ways.  As a parent, I'm pulled relentlessly towards the mainstream on a regular basis.  Sometimes it's cool, sometimes depressing, and sometimes horrifying.  I had such an experience last week, when invited to a parental ritual straight people have been going to for years: a child's birthday party in a pizza encrusted level of Hell known as Chuck E. Cheese.

Sabrina and I attended this event on our own; Gregg stayed home as he was not feeling well.  I found out later it was because he was invited to Chuck E. Cheese.  I'd been to Peter Piper Pizza before, where kids run around eating pizza and playing rigged games with tokens in exchange for tickets redeemable for toys that fall apart on the way home.  Moderately tolerable, I figured this couldn't be much different.  Walking in, the first thought that entered my head was "You're gonna need a bigger boat..."

Hardened pizza crusts littered the floor.  Children of all sizes were running around seemingly unsupervised, spreading multicolored snot from their fingers on every available surface.  A dull hum of ever present noise spiked by random screams and laughter filled the air.  Technically a restaurant, I didn't smell any food.  Just the scents of sweaty children and despair. The atmosphere was a combination of Walmart and a crowded Motor Vehicle Department.  Looking down, my worst fears were realized:  Sabrina was smiling from ear to ear.

In the middle of the "restaurant" was a giant plastic Habitrail suspended from the ceiling and meeting the ground with slides and climbing tubes.  "Daddy Sabrina goes on the slide," she said as she began tugging me toward it. 
"Not yet Sabrina, first we have to find Aaron and tell him Happy Birthday".
Here begins the first minor meltdown.  Telling her she could go on the slide after we saw Aaron fell on deaf ears.  She continued to scream for the slide until she saw the rocket ship ride.
"Rocket!  Rocket!"
I already regretted this and we hadn't even been there for three minutes yet.

We found Aaron's mother, apologized for our screaming fit (although we did blend in with the rest of the action), took our cup of tokens, and headed out into the fray.  Since the rocket ride was the most recent outrage, we headed there first.  Finally, smiles as I buckled her in, I gave a hearty "Here we go!", plunked in the token, and watched as nothing happened.  Great.  OK, I added another.  Blast Off!  Or not.  Still nothing.  I wasn't wasting another one, so I played up the virtues of the slide to keep the protest to a minimum as I unbuckled her.  As we walked to the slide she shot daggers at me while we watched some future astronaut blast off in the now working rocket ride.

Sabrina climbed up into the giant tubes with gusto.  Looking up at the maze hanging from the ceiling, I realized I could soon be squeezing my ass through it as I hunted for a screaming child lost in its recesses.  As I looked through one of the maze's few plastic window panels I saw a little girl on the other side licking it.  Mental note: See if Dr. Allen can be convinced to administer a shot for plague, or at the least, cooties.

After twenty minutes of breathing what I assumed was a mist of germ infested air inside the giant tubes and sliding down the dingy slide, it was time to sit down to eat.  The menu consisted of slabs of "pizza" and fried happy hour food that looked like it was past its sell date but still edible due to being encased in a thick shell of fry batter and oil.  I opted for what they were calling the Salad Bar.  Knowing that many kids won't eat their green vegetables, Chuck E. Cheese's ingenious solution was to serve only yellow and white vegetables, like broccoli and lettuce.  (Yes, you read that correctly.)  There were some rubbery carrot sticks you could tie into pretzel shapes, and a giant bin of crushed hard boiled eggs.  I didn't get any of those as the person in front of me covered some lettuce with heaping ladles of egg, topped off with rivers of thousand island dressing.  Too much for Rachel Ray, but not quite up to Paula Dean standards.  I decided to skip lunch.

Back at the table, Chuck E. Cheese was making his grand entrance.  This is birthday served assembly line style, as Chuck entertains six parties at a time, all crammed into the same area.  He was surrounded by teen aged workers who clearly didn't want to be there.  The only one smiling was the pre-recorded video host, who prattled on about how all children love Mr. Cheese for his cool dancing moves and mostly flea free mouse attire.  Mr. Cheese must have taken a hit of d-CON before he came out because he seemed pretty stiff, offering jerky, uncoordinated twitches they said was "dancing".  The kids ate this stuff up.  My dull headache was spreading behind my eyes.

After a middle aged man dressed in carnival attire who looked remarkably like John Wayne Gacy plopped some more ice cream down in front of us, we pretty much knew it was time to go.  Aaron opened his gifts, the kids all clapped, and Chuck went back to his lair.  Soon after, a teen aged kid with dark circles under his eyes and exhibiting jerky uncoordinated twitches came out.  I dragged Sabrina, now screaming for another rocket ride, out into the sunlight.  "Daddy, can we go see Chuck E. Cheese again?" after she calmed down.

"Maybe another time, sweetie."  Another time indeed.  I'm not sure how another visit with "Chuck E." could be more horrifying.

The original Chucky pales in comparison.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Defy Gravity

Last week was Gregg's birthday, and I was actually able to keep his present a secret at least until a few hours before I gave it to him.  He's a big fan of the Wicked books which tell the behind the scenes story of the witches of Oz.  So we got my sister to baby sit our own little munchkin and went out to dinner and to see Wicked the Musical, which was playing it's national tour in Tempe.  If you've seen it, you know how wonderful it is, and if you haven't, well, get on your broom and get to the theatre before someone drops a house on you.  We had a great time, and believe it or not it was the first night we'd gone out together without Sabrina since she was born.

Wicked focuses on Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and tells her origin story and the story of Oz from her point of view.  I won't be giving anything away when I say there comes a point in the play where she has to make a life changing decision right after she gets bitten by a radioactive spider realizes her power and becomes "The Witch".  She has to choose between compromising her principles and doing what's expected of her or following her instincts and doing what she feels is right regardless of the consequences.  This happens at the Act 1 finale where she sings "Defying Gravity".  The song comes as she gets her broom and learns to fly, but is also a metaphor for her taking her leap of faith and steping off into the unknown with only her determination and morals to lift her up.  It's a very inspirational scene.

I've been thinking of about this all week.  How have I tried to "defy gravity" in my life?  I guess by living an openly gay life, by taking a risk and moving to L.A. for a few years, maybe even by becoming a parent.  More importantly, I want Sabrina and our future child to "defy gravity" in their lives.  As a parent, it might not be an easy thing to support.  Perhaps I'll be at odds with their ideas.  Maybe I'll want to protect them and keep them safe.  Who knows.  But I want to think that when the time comes for my kids to make their own decisions I'll be there to support them even if I'm not necessarily in agreement.  I know how we're raising them.  I know the values we're imparting to them.  I know we'll encourage them to dream big.  When they come to me and tell me what their dreams are, I hope I'll have the courage to look them in the eye and say "Go--follow your dreams.  And defy gravity".

Monday, February 20, 2012

Looking Before We Leap

We're close to being live on Project Baby, The Sequel.  Our letter is in the final proofing stage, and I'm pretty sure by the end of this week we'll be ready to go for the marketing stage.  I find myself once again looking at the landscape of America, and thinking...
  1. Where will the baby winds blow this time?  In what part of the country will our little Finster be born?
  2. Will we be able to adopt this baby?  The culture wars are heating up again and the Republican candidates are ramping up the anti gay marriage and adoption rhetoric. Rick Santorum hates gay people so much wears sweater vests in public.  It burns our eyes!
Point 2 requires extra consideration.  We live in Arizona, where the Tea Party and the Mormon Church have collided in the perfect storm of buffoonery, mean spirits, and sanctimonious bull shit.  Joint gay adoption is about as realistic here as Gov. Jan Brewer completing a grammatically correct full sentence.  Not going to happen.  With Sabrina's adoption, since she was born in California, we were able to finalize there and adopt jointly.  (California is full of everything Arizona hates, like college professors and Europeans.)  But we may not be so lucky this time around.  We've decided that legally, we have to be equal to our two children.  So we've decided to rule out any state that will not allow us to adopt jointly.  That narrows the list to about ten states and the District of Columbia.  It's pretty sad we have to cut our own home state off the list.  We understand that may extend our wait for a child by a considerable amount, but we're not willing to have two children with different legal status.  We'll see in the end how long the waiting game takes.  This is just another example of why adoption and marriage law should be standard across the country.  Hopefully, that day will come soon.

Also, Rick Santorum.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Once Again I Give You...

The new and improved GreggAndBobby.com!

Well we're almost there.  Our new "Dear Birth Mother" letter has been approved, as has our website.  I still have to create a secondary website that is part of our agency's main site, but I should have that done this weekend.  A Facebook page will be made as well, but that will come soon.  I've ordered a proof of the letter on card stock and had it sent to Los Angeles for the agency's review.  Once approved (again) I'll get the OK to order the bulk 300 or so copies.  So we should be live and marketable for our second adoptionwithin the next 2 weeks or so.  Finally!

Please take a look at our new site and feel free to leave some comments for me.  I've changed the link on the right side of the page to direct to our new letter or you can view that on Gregg and Bobby as well.  I'm looking forward to the wait and all the emotional baggage that comes with it.  Will it be a short, smooth 3 week ride as with Sabrina?  A year in the making?  A match with a drama queen who takes us on a roller coaster?  Who knows, but whatever it is, we'll see it through.

At least since this week the Catholic Church is reminding everyone that Jesus hates birth control, nine months from now the cabbage patch may be full...

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Coming Together

Our birth mother letter PDF has been sent off to the adoption agency, all our paper work is finished.  With any luck, we'll be on the books for marketing and ready for the pitter patter of little feet in a week or so.  And by pitter patter I mean waiting.  But a good kind of waiting.

We've decided to lose our guest room and turn it into Sabrina's new room.  Her current room will be the nursery.  So there's some work to do with painting and redecorating, not to mention figuring out what to do with the guest room furniture.  Sabrina's room is still the neutral green color we painted it before she was born, so besides a little sprucing up it won't be too hard.  To help ease the transition, we're going to let her help paint (Lord help us) and set it up.  The last thing we'll do is have her carry the letters of her name out of her room and re-hang them over her new bed.  Hopefully that will give her some ownership.

Now to send some good vibes, a reading from the gospel of Dr. Suess, The Cat in the Hat, page 8, as told by the fish, who, we're constantly told, does not like the cat:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year and New Family 2012!

Happy 2012 Everyone!  Or, based on your belief system, make the most of the 11 1/2 months you have left before the world explodes or vaporizes or whatever fun ending the Mayans had in store for us.  (If the Mayans were so smart, where the hell are they today?)

For us, we're hoping 2012 will be the year we complete our family and adopt our second child.  For those of you who are waiting, especially for your first, take heart.  You spent 2011 doing all the mundane, taxing, mind numbing work you needed to do to get this far.  This year, you're past that, and 2012 will be a year of anticipation and change.  The ride of adoption isn't always a smooth one, but the beginning of a new year holds so much promise.  Right now, there may be a little life developing and growing that is destined to land in your hearts.  That's what I like to think; that somewhere an unborn heart beats, a future uncertain, a decision to be made.  Someone is agonizing at the beginning of this year, but will be relieved and at peace by year's end.  A child will land where he or she should be, and a family will be made or completed.  That's what I'm thinking of right now.  We don't know what promise this year holds for any of us, but for a spirit yet to be born, we're waiting for you.

A joyous and happy new year to all my followers.