On Thursday night, Carla and I attended our first support group. We are lucky enough to live fairly close to one of Chicago's gay and lesbian centers. The Center on Halsted has been a great resource for me in the past and once again has proven to have exactly what I needed. In one of the many emails I receive from the center, I saw that a new support group was beginning for gay and lesbian couples considering adoption or in the adoption process. After making a phone call, Carla and I were all signed up.
Now normally, this is the type of thing that would make both Carla and I incredibly nervous. We don't love having to be social with people we don't know and we are particularly skilled at meeting new people (I believe I have mentioned this before). But something was different this time. We both said that neither one of us felt in the least bit nervous. We decided that we had been through enough situations at this point where we were talking about our adoption process with total strangers that it didn't really phase us anymore. So off we went, excited about the opportunity to connect with other gay couples dealing with adoption.
We were of course early and when we reached the room where the group was meeting, the lights were off and we wondered if we were in the right place. After a trip back downstairs and then back upstairs again we found the women who would be leading our group. For a while we were the only couple there, so we chatted with the facilitators of the group. A few moments after the meeting was supposed to begin, a second couple walked in. And so the group would consist of just us and this other couple. The facilitators told us that the following week they knew of at least two other couples who would be there, but we began with just the four of us.
While I won't bore you with all the details we discussed, I would like to at least say that I loved being there. Carla and I both said that we loved having a place where we could just talk about what we were going through. This process has become so consuming and yet, I often struggle to find the right time to talk about it with those around me. It just never seems to be the right time. It was nice to have a place where that was what we HAD to talk about. It was our purpose for being there. I also loved having a place to focus on issues specifically connected to being a gay or lesbian couple going through the adoption process. Our agency has been wonderful and while they have offered us a huge amount of support, it was nice to be at a place that is specifically geared toward gay and lesbian couples.
We both left feeling really good about the group and about the opportunity to be a part of it. While we are hoping for more couples next time, even just having the few of us sitting around the room was an incredible experience and one I am very thankful for. It makes me feel thankful for living so close to the Center on Halsted and it makes me feel for the people who don't have the luxury to go through a process like this without the support that we have found. I know that not every city has a gay and lesbian center and I know that not every state is as accommodating towards gay and lesbian couples who want to adopt a child. We are lucky. Though we will certainly face our share of challenges, we live in a place where we are well protected by the law and well supported by our community. But not for a second do I forget that there are so many gay and lesbian couples who don't have that on their side and I just hope for a day when no one has to worry that because they live in the wrong state, things are going to be harder for them. I hope changes. I hope that we won't be considered lucky one day just because we are treating like everyone else around us.