Yesterday Carla and I were back at The Cradle for a workshop all about legal issues for same-sex couples. The presenter was a woman who is a lawyer who specialized in adoption and specifically in gay and lesbian adoptions. She was fascinating. The first part of the workshop was really just about the legal process of adoption in general. In Illinois, there is no difference in what we will go through as a lesbian couple and what any straight couple would go through. The more she talked, the more we realized just how lucky we are to live in Illinois. In many states, one person would have to do the adopting and the other person would then have to do a second-parent adoption. In other states, both of our names wouldn't be able to be on the reissued birth certificate. In many states, I believe she said it was 35 states, there is an amendment to the state constitution or some other law that makes it impossible for gay marriage or even civil unions to be allowed in that state. Again, we felt very lucky to be living here in Illinois.
The second part of the workshop was about the Civil Union bill and what protections it gives us and what it doesn't give us. It was nice to hear from a lawyer, definitively, that our marriage license from Vermont is all that we will ever need to be considered to be in a Civil Union here in Illinois. Carla and I realized that we were one of the first gay couples that the Cradle required to have a civil union before they would consider us for adoption. Their view is that they wouldn't adopt to a straight couple who wasn't married and therefore, to keep things equal, they will not adopt to gay couples without a civil union. It is certainly an interesting time.
After the workshop, Carla and I decided it was really time to sit down and work on our Dear Birthmother letter. We decided to start with the long profile which is supposed to show who we are and the things about our lives that will make us a great choice for a birthmother to choose. It was one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to write. But we did it! We now have a first draft of our text. We even have pictures picked out to go along with what we have written. Now we just have to find a way to put it all together so that is looks engaging, eye-catching, easy to read, and filled with love. Not an easy task.
It feels good to be getting more things done. We did so much about a month ago and then really put adoption things on the back burner for a while as other things in our lives needed to get done. But with this seminar and the first draft of our profile done, I feel like we are back into things. We sent an email to our adoption counselor yesterday to try and schedule our individual interviews, which is the next meeting we have to have with her. Hopefully we will hear back soon and get those scheduled. Until then, we will continue to put together our letters and check more things off of our checklists.