By: Rosy Barren
We went to the adoption fair today and it was incredibly depressing. We were handed bags to “collect our brochures” upon arrival. We also were given a raffle ticket to sign and put in the fish bowl- my wife joked “will we win a baby?” No one laughed except me. We should have known right then that we were up for a very serious, important, sad day. We sat in the “gay friendly” church at the not-so-gay –friendly adoption fair in folding chairs that were shoved closely together so that each straight, white couple (except my wife and me) could feel each other’s breath get heavy each time they reminded us to “resolve” that the possibility of getting pregnant was over. I refused to cry when the opening speakers repeatedly reminded us that just because we are at an adoption fair doesn’t mean we will surprisingly get pregnant. They told us that all those stories you hear about the couple that stopped trying and began the adoption process and then all of a sudden got pregnant, didn’t exist. They are few and far between and we as a group of sad, desperate individuals (they didn’t say that part) must RESOLVE to a new approach.
We heard a beautiful speech from an articulate, well-adjusted teenager explaining her experience having been adopted and recently meeting her biological mom. I wondered if the tall, striking teenager felt awkward with every couple in the room analyzing her, thinking to one’s self “well she turned out OK, she doesn’t seem angry or bitter.” I could feel these comments as she spoke and could hear them in the hum of conversation as we clapped and awaited the next speaker.
At break time, we were advised to peruse each table so that we could figure out which option might be best for us- private adoption, international, domestic, foster-adopt. It felt strange wandering aimlessly, clueless and sad with my canvas bag draped on my arm. My wife went one way and I the other to maximize our 15 minutes of time. I stepped up to the foster-adopt table –I don’t know why –I hadn’t considered being a foster parent before, and had no idea what it entailed. There was a friendly sense of desperation- a frenzy of fliers and questions when I approached the table. I flipped through the grey-blue dull paper wondering if I could be that person on the cover. The idea of having a baby in my arms to care for and love seemed so much more real in the moment. I had a glimmer of hope, perhaps a step toward resolution. I looked around for my wife and saw that people surrounded all of the other tables and I was the only one considering foster-adopt.
When the bell rang we were on to the international adoption course in the main room. We sat in the back. The first speaker began by talking about the many restrictions among international adoption, first being size- yes if you are very overweight, you will not be able to adopt a child in most international countries and if you are gay, well, you mustn’t let anyone know this or you simply won’t be able to adopt internationally. This is when we politely exited out the back into the garden. I can’t imagine starting my family with a lie. We sat at the round table staring at one another. Tired.
“What are you two doing out here?” a woman with a thick southern accent said from behind.
“Oh, we’re gay and can’t adopt internationally, so really no point in listening” my wife said.
“What about you?” I said
“I’m from a private adoption agency. We don’t really accept gay clients either, mainly because our moms are young and from rural areas and don’t really accept the gay life style. I’m not really supposed to say that though. We actually did represent one gay couple. We told them ‘no’ and they called back and said ‘yes, you will put us in your catalog or we will sue you’ and so we did. You know.”
“And did they get a baby?” my wife asked
“Yes, actually pretty quickly. They were a good-looking couple with a lot of money. See, we are funded by a major church and they don’t condone us working with gay couples but (pause)…”
(she looks us both up and down)
“You know, you guys are pretty good-looking. Send in some pictures; maybe we would work with you. Here’s my card.”
With that it was time for our exit. We will never call her. We did, however, decide that we should send her bondage pictures with whips and chains just to see how they might respond.