Adopting our own DNA

Adopting our own DNA

Posted by Chantelle Graham, CoFounder and CEO of Accelerate Motion on Feb 15th 2014

It’s crazy the way things work out. Well, I guess it’s not ‘crazy’ because it’s working out exactly how it’s supposed to, but sometimes it feels a bit crazy since I’m still getting used to this whole ‘you create your own reality’ thing. I’ve just finished Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I read this book because it was recommended by Jen Sincero in her book You Are a Badass, which was recommended by one of my trusted advisors - more on that in another blog post. I read - i.e. listened to on Audible - You Are a Badass two and a half times. After listening to it once, I listened back to important chapters that were impactful for me, then I decided to just listen to the entire thing again - hence the two and a half. I digress; back to the craziness that is our life currently.

For those of you who don’t know - because I haven’t written my blog post on Reciprocal IVF yet - Courtney and I decided to build our family by implanting the other person’s embryo into our womb so that each child would be genetically linked to one of us and biologically linked to the other. Science is cool. However, the law is different in every state and considering you can put whatever name you want on a birth certificate - yes, you could say Elvis is the father on you kid’s birth certificate - that document doesn’t hold much weight in the courts. In an effort to protect Maiori from any unfortunate circumstances in the next 18 years of her life, Courtney and I had to go through “Second Parent Adoption”. This means that we had to hire a lawyer (bye bye $5,000), have a social worker complete a home study (bye bye $900) which involves an inspection of your home and an interview with all kinds of invasive and prodding questions about your family, childhood, marriage, and intentions and expectations around be parents so that the social worker can deem us ‘fit to be parents’ - all to support our desire to both be recognized by the law as Maiori’s rightful parents. As if that’s not bad enough, once our lawyer was done with all of her administrative work to get our case ready for presentation to the judge and actually presenting our case to the judge on our behalf, we had to drive our little family of 3 down to San Antonio and meet with our lawyer and the judge to get our adoption approved. The approval only came after being asked why I thought Courtney would make a good mother to Maiori and what it would mean to Maiori if Courtney were deemed her mother. I am sure there were supposed to be more questions, but after breaking down to tears answering the second question, telling them that Maiori deserves for both of her parents to be recognized as her parents just like any other kid, the judge said that was enough, and signed our adoption papers.

It doesn’t seem right that although Maiori is biologically Courtney’s child, and although we made a choice to be parents under our federally recognized union of marriage, we had to pay all this money and go through this invasive process just to protect our child and Courtney’s rights to her. In a heterosecual marriage, the husband is automatically deemed legal parent to any child born within the marriage, even if the baby has no genetic link to him. If that’s not discrimination against LGBT families, I don’t know what is.

The only positive part of this whole adoption journey has been our very sweet and empathetic lawyer who has dedicated her life to helping families like ours protect their children from these antiquated laws, and the incredibly kind Judge Canales who has made a name for himself as the most LGBT friendly judge in Texas. I shudder to think of alternative outcomes should we have been less fortunate with who we found to represent us and to approve our order.

So glad this is over…. For now. We are hoping to change the laws before our next child comes along, because at that point, Maiori will be 2 years old and she will be questioned intensely by a social worker to ensure her moms are ‘fit parents’. Things need to change before that imprints some kind of idea in her mind that her family is less than or deserves examination and judgement by our legal system, which is supposed to protect us.