There are so many points in my life where there’ve been these big deciding things. Forks in the road. Places where things could have gone so differently. Sometimes I’ve known about them, sometimes I haven’t… Random shit like, as a teen I’d go to London with one of my very few friends. We’d often go to this cafe, which, it turns out is a couple of streets away from the gender clinic I ended up going to when I came out.
I literally walked out of the underground station and thought – huh, I used to come here. I *literally* walked past it. If I’d’ve seen the sign there’s a non-zero possibility I’d’ve called them because I knew there was something not right in my gender identity – I just wasn’t ready to accept it – and so “oh I’ll go talk to someone about it” would have been a reasonable thought. I could have ended up coming out at 16, not at 20. Which for the 1990s would have been pretty fucking early*.
There’s the moment my awesome and lovely friend Kate K offered me an interview at Acorn in Cambridge, an out that would have got me out of the abusive relationship I was wandering into (maybe she knew, I was too blind to notice) *and* would probably mean I stayed in IT, and didn’t move into healthcare.
Or the day I decided it would be good to meet some random person off the internet at a bar in London. One of the absolute best decisions of my life.
Anyway, sometimes I look back and think how life would have been different if I hadn’t done the thing. Or if it would have ended up the same anyway…
But right now we’re facing down a decision. We’ve been looking at adoption for a long time. We’ve been trying to adopt now for a couple of years without any real traction. Part of this is we’re both deeply non-social people. Socialising is really tiring for me, and my work sucks pretty much all the energy I have for it – and so really I want to just hide when I get home. Also… we’ve had this little thing called COVID which has been ongoing (and is still killing or sickening a lot of people), so even more than normal we’ve not been socialising.
Added to that the more we’ve both learned about adoption, the more uncomfortable we’ve both become with the whole *shudder* adoption industry. It’s just awful. And supporting that is… difficult to navigate with any form of ethical comfort. We found an LGBTQIA friendly adoption consultant, who…hasn’t really met what we were expecting to happen. As in, the vast majority of potential matches are from people in Florida – a state it’s not legal for me to exist in. So, uh, that doesn’t really work for adopting.
So then we (well, Kathryn) found a couple of adoption agencies. One of them, PACT, sounds ideal…they’re super queer friendly and focus on adopting POC into families of colour. Which sounds perfect, except they’ve had one “Asian / Indigenous / Other” adoption basically since they were founded.
And then there’s OA&FS, which sounds great but is…very, very expensive (as in, nearly all our savings), and that timeline is LONG. Now, if it weren’t for the prospect of the
GOP Nazis being elected at the next election cycle – i.e. November next year, and then the very likely probability of me being made illegal, having my healthcare removed, and then fucking thrown in a prison for the crime of existing by a bunch of dime-store-fascists, then I’d be fine with a long time line. It would actually be okay.
But now we’re facing down this choice. Do we throw our lot in with OA&FS, and hope that we can get through their process, and matched, and have everything squared away by November next year (which seems…unlikely, since they say their typical time for waiting once you’re in their adoption pool is 18 months). Do we take a punt on the Nazis not being elected (Kathryn has more hope than me on that front). Or do we try and up our game with the private adoption (which has a whole other ethical unpleasantness – I mean, I just…everything I hear tells me it’s super important people get real counseling before they make an adoption plan. That they should have life-long support available. That you, as an adoptive parent should have life-long support available).
Or do we accept that parenting isn’t going to be something that happens for us. And I hate that option. I mean, I can see a life. I can see a perfectly good life. But will I always be wondering “what if”. Particularly, if the Nazi’s don’t get in next election – then will I be devastated to know that we could have stayed, we could have ended up matching.
But then there’s no guarantee anyway. OA&FS said that the last lesbian couple they had waited much more than the average – but also, the average is skewed by the fact they only effectively had one.
I just don’t know even how *I* feel. Let alone what I want to do. We’re going to sit down and chat – actually, we’re going to go for a drive and chat this weekend. A chat to work out what the hell we want to do…effectively with the rest of our lives.
It’s incredibly intense. I have no idea what the right answer is, or if there’s even a right answer.
*We don’t talk about that I asked my mum when I was 4. And they constantly had problems with me pilfering my sister’s stuff… and the stuff my grandparents brought for my sister to try on from their charity shop… I mean, *we* do, but it’s not useful to talk about it. It was the 80’s the doctors would probably have tortured me like the GOP is torturing trans kids now.