Posted by: chicagoshells | March 22, 2013

The strangeness of the “official”

Last week, in a courtroom downtown, my son became mine.  I’m talking legally, of course, because he’s been mine since he was born…conceived, even.  I helped create him.  I watched him come into the world. Because we live in a “good” state, my name even went right on his birth certificate.  But now, even if we travel to a “bad” state, no one can question that he is mine and I am his.

I’m talking, of course, about my second parent adoption of Mulberry.  It became final on March 11.  What were we doing when it happened?  Trouble is back to work, so I was home alone with Mulberry.  Maybe I was feeding him.  Or changing his diaper.  Or cuddling him, or soothing him, or playing with him.  Any of the things a parent does.

I don’t know, because we weren’t there at the moment my son became mine.  In our county, we only have to appear once, the day the petition to adopt is filed.  Then they set a date– usually a month later– when it’ll become official.  And no one except our lawyer had to be there at that time.  At that time, the judge who met us the month before for– literally– less than two minutes looked over the report from Mulberry’s guardian ad litem– who never met him or me or Trouble, but who apprently gets a say whether we get to be a family– and signed my parenthood of Mulberry into legality.  Then our lawyer sent us that paper, and that’s it.

It’s so…nothing.  It’s so bizarre.  Don’t get me wrong…I know that it’s better this way.  It’s better that we don’t have to endure a homestudy, don’t have to prove to some social worker that our smoke detector has batteries (um…shh, but it doesn’t) and assure him or her that we’ll pad the edges of our dangerous coffee table once Mulberry starts crawling.  We’re lucky that here, it’s simply routine, a matter of procedure, nothing to stress about.  I’m grateful for that.  But it does feel odd that such a hugely important thing as the way my relationship to my son is understood by the government could be accomplished without us even being there.  Almost like…if it’s considered such a non-event, so unimportant, than why do we have to go through it at all?  Why pay hundreds of dollars so someone with no ability to judge us can judge something that shouldn’t even need to be judged?

Don’t misunderstand…there was never a question of completing this adoption.  I want Mulberry’s and my relationship protected no matter where we travel, no matter what happens to me or Trouble or our relationship.  There was never any doubt that we would do it.  I’m not sure why I feel like I’m somehow…missing something.  I guess I just thought that, since we do have to jump through these hoops, there should be more…fanfare, perhaps, once we’d officially jumped through them.  I don’t know.  It’s just so incredibly odd to feel, at the same time, both resentful of having to do something at all AND resentful that it wasn’t a bigger “deal.”  Strange.



  1. It was weird for us, too. I’m glad to have the extra piece of paper, but it felt strange to celebrate an event that was as unfair as it was exciting. In any case, glad to hear it is done for you guys and that you can go back to doing all of the normal parenting stuff with one less thing to check off your list!


    I am not messing with you. Do it.

    Congratulations on the adoption, and also, yes, I get it. Although we did have to jump through hoops, we always knew they were just hoops; second parent adoptions are essentially always granted in our jurisdiction. That should have made me glad, but instead it pissed me off — so all that time, trouble, and money was just another gay tax?

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