Our adoption process was through our local county’s foster care system. My partner and I met about 6 years ago and she was already in the process of adopting a medically fragile 2.5 year old boy. There were many barriers to that adoption process because that particular county (Los Angeles) tends to drag their feet. We did not encounter any barriers due to being a same sex couple, however, the judge did ask us at the adoption hearing if we were sisters. Fast forward to today, we have now adopted three boys through the foster care system. We were lucky enough to have positive experiences with the county in regards to us being a same sex couple. We even had the option of writing parent or mother on the birth certificates. One of our boys has a horrific story and I feel that most of the social workers we encountered thanked us for providing a loving home for him to thrive in. We were considered a top ranking foster home and thankfully our non-traditional family did not prevent us from getting placements. Another factor to look at as well is that we are not legally married yet. The plan was in 2020, but Covid happened so plans were put off.
To be quite honest, much of the negative experiences we have had are from our religious family members. They feel that these boys are being harmed because of our family dynamic. They believe that boys need a father and we are doing a disservice to them. Raising boys who have experienced trauma has its own challenges and we have sacrificed much for their benefit but they look at it as though their struggles are a result of our “sin.”
We have also been faced with issues due to our eldest son being African American. He has many behavioral challenges and we have had people whom we deeply respect tell us that it’s because he needs a black man in his life. Nobody can look at the fact that he had 4 foster placements before the age of 3 or that he was a drug exposed premature baby as reasons for his struggles. We have given him access to more services than I am sure many people would have fought for.
So why did we choose adoption? Well, neither one of us had ever dated a woman before. We met at work and simply put, fell in love. My partner was already on the path to adoption so it just sort of fit. I am a Forensic Pediatric therapist so I work daily with kids who have been victims of a crime. She is a Pediatric ICU nurse and sees some of the worst child abuse cases. Together we have a passion to advocate for the underserved. As we have settled in to having three boys, there has been lots of talk about completing our family with a biological child which is still yet to be decided.
An example of foster care done right. We have an open (not legally but our choice) adoption with our youngest son’s mother. He is now 17-months old. We have had him since he was 4-months old. We remain in loose communication with his biological mother. His biological mother proudly confesses that her son does not need a dad and has three moms! If a mother who struggles with substance abuse and other hardships can recognize our family, we do not see how professional, logically minded people cannot.
Thanks for hearing a glimpse of our story!