Eighth list of ten: High and low points hit in one day (Adoption Day)

one hundred stones
Original photo credit: The Windgrove Center, Tasmania, AU.

In celebration of the 100th post, part eight in a ten-part series.

[Key: lil' monkey/ kid #1 = 2.3 yr old daughter; lil' peanut/ kid #2 = 3 week old son]

As proof that a static state of happiness is a mirage, but then again so is a static state of misery, we oftentimes experience peaks of both in the same day. Sometimes in the same moment. As illustration of the relentless coexistence of misery and joy, behold

Ten high and low points conspiring to fill one day — yesterday — to the brim:

1. Low point: Slept fewer hours the night before than we had in the lil’ peanut’s young life, it seemed. Many of the hours I was awake I spent hacking and coughing up half a lung from the never-ending bronchial scourge that took hold before kid #2′s birth sent us into the Year of Sleep Deprivation. I am resigned to the possibility now that the hack may not leave me ’til the little guy takes his first steps. I wouldn’t be complaining about the sleep deprivation except for it was going to be a big day, as noted in Item #5.

2. Low point: Stepped, half asleep and barefoot, into dog pee in the kiddle’s room. The poor geriatric is on diuretic medication for a heart condition, bless her loyal canine soul. She managed to sneak in and relieve herself on the rug sometime between when I last took her outside, at 3:30am (it’s only fair, what with the diuretics), and when I got my arse out of bed at 7:00am.

3. Low point: The dog managed to foil us yet again when we tried to smuggle one of her twice-daily pills into yet another Trojan Horse delivery mechanism. We have tried: cheese (hard, soft, cream, Camembert, etc.), salami, even potato salad. She is a frickin’ Borg. She figures us out faster than we can come up with alternatives. A given med-smuggling food works for one, maybe two repetitions, after which point she gingerly takes it in her mouth, walks out of the kitchen, and patooi’s it out somewhere in the house, usually on a rug. We are now rotating randomly through leftovers and hope the variety there will work as a suitable cover.

4. High point: Sleep deprivation (see Item #1) had pumped such a fog around the beloved that she managed to think, for a moment, that a squeaking sound she heard (it was from a game the lil’ monkey was playing), coupled with the fluttering of something in her peripheral vision (it was a dried eucalyptus sprig, falling from a nearby shelf), was actually a bat. A BAT, people! Okay, so they are common in the Midwest, whence she came. But never once in her decade of living in these parts has she clapped her eyes on one indoors, hell, even outdoors. It was nothing but a sleep deprivation-induced hallucination, and the shriek she let out, coupled with her swatting away at nothing in particular, provided first me, then a moment later her, a great deal of relief from Items 1 through 3 above.

5. Low point: Late in the morning the lil’ peanut projectile-vomited most of the high-quality mama milk he’d just ingested. All over the beloved’s sweater. Which wouldn’t have been such a problem, except that it was the third time he’d done it that morning (previous targets: first the couch, then the cat, who’ll likely never lounge so close again). Why cry over hurled milk? Because we were all stressed out trying to leave the house TO GO TO COURT FOR MY OFFICIAL ADOPTION HEARING FOR HIS OLDER SISTER.

6. A high and a low and a high point again: At the courthouse, we packed the lobby with a dozen loving family members, blood and chosen and extended, plus a handful of friends (that would be a high point). My dear old friend, who launched the final chapter of our baby journey by suggesting we borrow a cup of her husband’s sperm, held the lil’ quilt-bundled peanut and was getting a contact baby high from sniffing his scalp (another high point).

Then the clerk comes out and asks whether we have forms number 215, 225, and 230. All we knew about was form number 200 (which we’d already sent in, along with several pints of blood and pounds of flesh). We had asked two or three learned sources just what we needed to bring to the court (the person on the phone from the court, plus an attorney friend, plus the person at the adoption agency whom we contracted for the social worker home visit). Not a one mentioned forms number 215, 225, and 230. Where was our lawyer, you might ask? That is another story entirely, but suffice to say the lawyer was more helpful absent than present. For illustration, see visual aid below:


[A nod to K. Vonnegut and his depiction of a certain bodily orifice in Breakfast of Champions. Get yours direct from the artist here (scroll just a bit for the famous *)!]

We finally got the court date on our own, after giving the lawyer the heave-ho. But there, finally in the hallway outside the courtroom, utterly bamboozled by the sudden need for forms 215, 225, and 230, we felt like the whole adoption was going to be sucked down the drain. Until the clerk procured copies of the three forms we could fill out on the spot (which we promptly did, snivelling and whimpering with gratitude).

It boggles my mind how anyone can keep their sanity and patience through an adoption of a kid not already cheering them up by being in their custody, much less in their country. I am certain that the rigamarole we did for a “second parent adoption” was a tenth, at most, of what folks do for regular in-country ones. And a hundredth that for international ones. (Not sure? Check out the To Do list of Adoption Steps in Artificially Sweetened’s right-hand link column.) I bow down to you all, sisters and brothers, and wish you godspeed.

7. High point: The judge, while shuffling through all the papers on his desk, asked (rhetorically) whether the “putative father” has signed away his rights and so forth, to which I was to answer “Yes.” Which I did. But it also happens that said putative personage, whom we lovingly refer to as our Donor Chum, was among the retinue, and seconded my response by dropping his camera from his face for a moment, smiling and waving to the judge and going, “Yep.” Then back he went to the work of documenting the happy event.

8. High point: Being declared by the judge to be my daughter’s lawful parent, which relationship no one can tear asunder. The assembled broke out into applause, and I stifled a tear and hugged the bejezus out of the lil’ monkey, who’d been on my lap the whole time. I referred to her as “Legal Daughter” the whole rest of the day, much like Bette Davis refers to her man as “Groom,” following their marriage, in the last scenes of All About Eve.

9. High point: After we all left the courtroom, most of us who could stay on adjourned to a nearby coffee shop, which was deserted before we came in and had just enough tables to enable us all to encamp there. Not long into the festivities, we broke out into song (to the tune of “For S/he’s a jolly good fellow.” Only the words went, “For she’s now your legal daughter/ for she’s now your legal daughter/ for she’s your now legal daughter…” — and at this point, we all revv up the volume — “which nobody can deny!”

10. High point: Though he slept through the entirety of the day’s proceedings, the lil’ peanut was not going to let the day pass without comment. After we’d gotten home, his big sister “kissey-kissey-kissed” him for the umpteen-gazillionth time. But yesterday evening, for the first time in his life (moved by a person, and not his bowels), after she kissed him, he smiled. A huge, toothless, There may be bad times, but lordy are the good times good kinda smile.

19 Responses to Eighth list of ten: High and low points hit in one day (Adoption Day)

  1. FemiKnitMafia February 11, 2007 at #

    CONGRATULATIONS!! From one 2nd-parent to another, I know exactly the joy that standing in front of that judge and signing papers brings. In fact, I’m tearing up a bit after reading about your day. Lordy are the good times good.

  2. LesbianDad February 11, 2007 at #

    Thank you, FKM. :D (to indicate toothless grin).

  3. annz February 11, 2007 at #

    It was fantastic to be an observer (I stifled a tear too) – it was beautiful event to witness. Sorry about the dog pee and the projectile vomitting though – that’s a bummer of a way to start what must have ended up as a beautiful day! Congrats to you , Baba, and all the rest of the gang!

  4. virgotex February 11, 2007 at #

    Stifling ceased to work somewhere in the middle of number 6.

    The laughter/heartstring tugging is what did it. A deadly one-two punch.

    Congratulations.

  5. IrreverendAmy February 11, 2007 at #

    Congratulations!!!

  6. virgotex February 12, 2007 at #

    Baba, I linked to you in a post at http://www.first-draft.com.

    Hope you don’t mind.

  7. LesbianDad February 12, 2007 at #

    Thank you, annz, and virgotex, and Irreverend Amy. Everyone whom I talk to about this who’s gone through it herself felt the same odd mixture of relief/gratitude, yet also irritation/indignation. A f*ck you very much kind of a situation, about which I wrote in October of last year. Heavy sigh.

    Virgotex, I’m honored to have the day’s adoption drama serve as illustration of the need for lgbt family rights. Thank you.

  8. LookyDaddy February 12, 2007 at #

    Congratulations! But please, in future, do not link to site where I can buy hand signed Vonnegut a-hole prints for $100. I don’t have $100, I don’t know where I’d hang it, but I MUST HAVE IT!

  9. Liza February 12, 2007 at #

    *sniffle* Congratulations Baba & Legal Daughter!

    I am all moved and awed by the highs and lows of your crazy day. So sorry to hear that your lawyer was such a problem. (Ours was also more absent than present, but at least we liked her associate.)

    Are you ready for round 2, Legal Son?

  10. LesbianDad February 12, 2007 at #

    LD, I know what you mean! I wander around our apartment looking for unclaimed wall space, and wistfully go back to the credit union statements looking for an unclaimed C-note.

    And thank you, Liza. The lawyer is going to be reported to the Better Business Bureau as soon as we’re past the lil’ peanut’s first hundred days and can tend to secondary and tertiary concerns. Readying ourselves for Round 2, Legal Son, is definitely a primary concern, though. A coda of grace to the huge day was my sister’s oldest friend (and my surrogate older sister) offering her legal expertise, pro bono, for Round 2. (!) Now that’s a hetero ally for you. As soon as we’re done dusting ourselves off I’d like to write a little something about what to look out for (#1: huckster ignorami!!).

  11. Trista February 12, 2007 at #

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  12. LesbianDad February 12, 2007 at #

    THANK YOU TRISTA!!!

  13. heidib February 12, 2007 at #

    Hi there! I have been a reader (and voter!) for your site ever since reading the Confessions… book several months ago, but have finally registered to say a quick congratulations! I will always remember our 2nd parent adoption day as a tiring, but oh-so-beautiful day shared with family and friends. Fortunately, the joy and gratitude felt on adoption day, overshadows the general indignation for a little while. We are thankful that it is even possible in our state (PA). The judge was a sweet elderly man, and our lawyer was wonderful, so we have no complaints in that regard.

    We are the proud mamas to 17 month old GBB triplets. As the full-time stay-at-home non-bio “Mutti”, I have really enjoyed your writing and your perspective, so thank you thank you. And, again, congratulations!

  14. marypierce13 February 13, 2007 at #

    Congratulations! I was so relieved when our second parent adoption went through. Until then, I had horrible visions of my imminent death. And then the bad part, my sweet wife ending up in a long court battle with my family over our son. Glad its over. Congratulations once again.

  15. IrreverendAmy February 13, 2007 at #

    odd mixture of relief/gratitude, yet also irritation/indignation. A f*ck you very much kind of a situation

    I hear you. We are in CA too. We went through a sperm bank, so all we ought to have to do is call our lawyer with the birth certificate info, which my dw plans to do from the hospital. And we don’t have any evil biological grandparents/aunts/etc. lurking in the background, waiting for me to be picked off so they can swoop in and steal our baby from her non-bio mother. But I still have that “this baby doesn’t travel out of the state ’til we are both her legal parents everywhere” grimness. And it infuriates me that my sweetheart has to adopt her own daughter, when any man in her situation would be Legal Dad from day one.

  16. ShirleyMalmborg February 16, 2007 at #

    OK so I loved this post so much for the obvious reasons. And congratulations on being the legally legal Baba of Little Mac.

    BUT…I laughed my ass off at the thing about the Bozzer whacking away at an invisible bat. Crying with laughter, because I can see this in my minds eye and it’s just so her, even without any sleep deprivation.

    Recall this to her, on a trip to see one of the Beyonder’s plays in Chicago, said Bozzer locked us out of our rental car once on the way there and once on the way back. Ask her if she remembers that. Hee hee.

    Love you guys from afar.

  17. Nenya February 18, 2007 at #

    I promised myself I would register here when your son was finally born, but having been offline for the last few weeks, it seems appropriate to comment on this post instead. You’re a really neat writer and I wish you and your family all the best! Congratulations on Legal Daughter status! :D (And please be informed that “waiting for the bus” has entered the argot of several people here to describe waiting for love. It is most appropriate!)

  18. Tamara Granger February 21, 2011 at #

    You almost made me cry….what a wonderful moment it must have been your beloved, lilmonkey,lilpeanut and you… it sucks that you have to go through all of that legal crap when you are in all the possible ways that matter a parent…we are family

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Flash: Coontz on marriage at the NYT op-ed page at LesbianDad - November 26, 2007

    [...] Once before when I mentioned my own adoption process (long-since finished with kid#1 — yahoo! — but just in its rosy-fingered dawn for kid#2), I appreciated the schooling and sharing from folks in the comments. My legal know-how is next to zip, and the law, of course, varies widely from state to state. I am grateful for corrections or additions and, as ever, for your thoughts. [...]

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