Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Today was a good, good day.

Today the Supreme Court of the United States overturned DOMA and allowed gay and lesbian couples in California to resume the marriages that had been stopped by Proposition 8.  This was a big deal.  A really big deal.  Not only was DOMA overturned, but it was overturned BECAUSE the Supreme Court said that it denied United States citizens equal protection and was therefore unconstitutional.  With this one decision, our federal government is no longer able to define marriage between one man and one woman.  And now, those lucky gay and married couples who live in states where gay marriage is legal, will be treated EXACTLY the same as any other married couple.  And no, that is not all of us, we don't all live in states where gay marriage is legal, at least not yet, but this is still a huge and monumental ruling.  I truly believe that here in Illinois, this decision will give our state legislators the motivation that they need to pass the marriage equality bill in the Fall.

And I truly believe that these decisions today showed those who continue to hold on to bigotry and intolerance that they are quickly loosing ground and they will no longer be able to claim that our love somehow hurts their lives.  These decisions today showed those who want to stop us from being a family like any other family that they are not going to win, we are not going away, and they are not going to be able to stop our children from believing that their families are every bit as good as any one else's.  These decisions today showed gay kids who are feeling alone and scared that they are not, in fact, alone and that the majority of this country stands with them and beside them and will support them in being who they are.  These decisions today showed all of us that there is hope and that thought we will continue to face setbacks, things ARE changing and things ARE getting better and there are so many good things to hold on.  These were big decisions.

Carla and I were able to watch the coverage of the rulings together.  We were watching Rachel Maddow speak and saw her get interrupted in order for the reporter (I can't even remember his name) to reveal what the ruling was in the DOMA case.  And we heard him say the words, "DOMA has been overturned." And it took a minute to sink in.  It seemed so improbable.  It was all we could have hoped for, but it seemed so unreal.  And as the truth set in, we both just started to cry.  I was so so very thankful that we were able to hear those words together.  It was so important that we were here at home, together as a family, hearing history being made.  Oh and Millie? She slept right through it all.

I immediately went to Facebook to share my excitement with the virtual world.  And within seconds, people responded.  I could not believe how many posts quickly sprung up rejoicing in the Supreme Court's decision.  These are people whose lives are not directly affected by these rulings and they were so so overjoyed.  They now know that live in a more fair and more just country and their excitement over that fact, again, brought me to tears.  Throughout the day, more and more posts popped up, all in support of the decisions made and all expressing beliefs that these decisions made our country a better place for everyone.  Now, I am not naive enough to think that unsupportive posts were not written today in equal measure, I am just thankful that I am not friends with the people who write them.  All I felt today was loved and supported and so so very happy.

And while the legal decisions made today are incredibly important and I am incredibly thankful for them, I am equally thankful for the day to day support that I get from the people in my life.  I am thankful for my family who has never, for one small second, made me feel like I had to choose between their love and my ability to be out.  I am thankful for my dear, dear friends who have loved me the same before I came out and after I came out.  I am thankful for the school district that I work in for never once making me feel like I should not share who I am or who my family is with my students. I am thankful for my students' parents who have only ever cared that I loved there kids and never about who I loved outside of being a teacher.  And I am thankful for my students who have never seen me as anything other than their fifth grade teacher and allowing me to share my life with them without any judgement or discomfort.  This kind of support matters to me and to my family just as much, if not more, than the support that we received from our government today.  Because legal standing and equal rights are important, but they will never be a substitute for unconditional love from the people in your life.

Tonight, I thought a lot about how I was ending this historic day.  As one-half of a lesbian, married couple, as one of Millie's two moms, as an elementary school teacher who is out to her community, as a person living my full and honest truth, I ended my night just like many of you.  I drove home from my parents' house, where I had spent the day with my family, I put Millie in her pajamas, I put her to sleep (well, I attempted to pull her to sleep while she had plans of staying up to celebrate) and then I came downstairs to watch t.v. with my wife and my dog.  That was my night.  And thanks to the events of today, that boring (and incredibly wonderful) life that is so much like everyone else's will truly be just like everyone else's.

Monday, June 24, 2013


I have never loved the Pride Parade here in Chicago.  There are way too many people in way too small of a space.  It is usually really hot.  People are usually really drunk.  And overall, I usually find myself totally overwhelmed and hoping that it all ends quickly.

On the other hand, I have always LOVED Pride Fest.  Pride Fest is much more my pace.  There are fewer people, especially in the early hours of the day, and there is festival food and space to move around and even a pet parade.  These are all things that I am fully supportive of.

I have never enjoyed Pride Fest as much as I did this past weekend.  Not only did we attend Pride Fest for the first time as a family of three, but we also attended with my sister, her husband, and our nephew.   The day was hot and exhausting and completely wonderful. As we walked through the festival, I found myself feeling so so full of pride.

I am so proud of the family that Carla and I are building.  I am proud of the love that we all have for each other and the way that we are building our family and forging a path for ourselves through this life.  I am proud of the mom that I am becoming and so proud of the mom that Carla is showing herself to be.  I am proud of our little Millie.  She is quirky and smart and loves people and is so so happy.  I am proud of the person that she is already becoming and I feel like she was always meant to be our daughter.  I am proud of our family.

And I am so proud of the family that surrounds us.  Knowing that my sister and her husband were excited to bring their son to Pride Fest fills my heart with so much pride.  Knowing that we are so supported by our family and knowing that our nephew is being raised to be proud of his family too, fills my heart with such joy.  I feel proud and I feel so so lucky.

I recently read that there are people who are upset by Gay Pride activities.  There are people who question why there is no Straight Pride.  Why there is no parade celebrating those who are straight.  It struck me as odd.  I suppose I see where people might be coming from, but the truth seems to me to be that there is not a real need for a Straight Pride.  Straight people don't have to prove that they aren't scared to be themselves, even if people have a problem with it.  Families with a mom and dad don't need to feel the relief of being in a place where they know for sure they won't be judged and no one will comment about the kind of family that they are.  Kids with straight parents don't need to go to a special place just to feel like everyone else.  These are things that Pride events give to us.  There are the things that we look forward to.

And here is to hoping that one day Pride Fest and the Pride Parade will be nothing more than a chance to celebrate. Here's to hoping that one day, we won't need a special setting to feel accepted without doubt or to feel as if we can be ourselves without worry.  Here's to hoping that the Supreme Court of this country will come back this week with rulings on the DOMA and Prop 8 cases that will help to make our family every single bit as equal as anyone else's.  Here is to hoping that one day Gay Pride events will make as much sense as Straight Pride events and that we will just be able to celebrate a general pride in being the exact people that we are.

Until then, my family will take our Gay Pride and we will celebrate it in any way we can.  So, here's a small look into our day of Pride...
Millie took her first train ride to Pride Fest

Carla, sleeping Millie, my sister, my brother-in-law and my nephew all showing off their Pride

Carla, Millie and our nephew

Carla and Millie attempting to cool off with a festive beverage

Our first Pride as a family of three

Our nephew was so full of pride, and so hot, and so tired

Everyone was just a bit exhausted on our way home
Our nephew took the opportunity of the train ride to take a nap
My wonderful sister, full of pride

Monday, June 17, 2013

Suddenly Sentimental

I have never been a sentimental person.  I have a habit of shoving things in drawers and then when the drawers get too full, I dump them all out and throw them away.  I have never really worried about what was in the drawers, it has always just been easier to throw it all away.  I am sure there is some metaphor here in how my handling of things in drawers mirrors the way I have often dealt with my own emotions, but that is a topic for another post.

The point it, I have developed a sense of sentimentality.

The other day I was going through boxes of clothes that Millie has outgrown in order to pass them along to my best friend who is now days away from having a baby girl of her own.  There were a lot of clothes.  Apparently, Millie has four times the amount of clothes after five months of being alive than either of her mommies will ever own.  Anyway, I was going through each box and deciding what to pass along and what was better off just being sold at the garage sale Carla and I will soon be participating in. And amidst the many many onesies and pants, I came across the outfit that Millie wore when we brought her home.

And I just couldn't let it go.

For the first time in my life, I really knew and understood what it meant to be connected to an object in such a strong way that the thought of getting rid of it was just too much.  This tiny tiny outfit with silly dogs wearing skirts on the onesie felt like the most important thing at that moment and there was just no way I could give it away.

When Carla came home from work that night, I told her what I had saved from the many boxes of clothes and she was truly surprised that I had felt sentimental about the outfit.  She said that she had thought about saving it, but figured I would say we should give it away.  I was surprised myself.  I know people always say that having a baby changes you, I just never really believed it before. And now I see it, I really see it.  This little one is changing me and I am more than okay with that.

And in honor of sentimentality, I will end with a picture of Millie on the day we brought her home, in the outfit that brought about this whole thing,  and one from today where she is attempting to feed herself.

The day we brought her home.

Don't worry, Mommy, I can do this on my own. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Each month, we print off pictures of Millie, write the dates they were taken on the back, and put them inside of a card for Millie's birthparents.  Each month, we write an update to her birthparents to try to let them know what is going on in Millie's life and then we send the whole thing off.  And each month, I worry so much about whether or not we sent the right pictures, whether or not we wrote the right information, whether or not we are able to give them some small amount of peace that Millie is doing well and growing up healthy and happy.

As I have mentioned before, I purposely don't write much about Millie's birthparents on this blog.  I have too much respect for them and for their story to attempt to tell any of it as my own.  I would never want to give away information that is private to them and I would never want to assume to know in any way what this journey has been like and is like for them.  But, I have been thinking about them a lot lately and I thought this would be a good place to try and put some of those thoughts down.

Since we brought Millie home, we have been telling her the story of her birth family and of her first month of life before she was with us.  We have told her how much love her birth parents have for her and how she will always be a part of two families, our family and her birth family.  Since we brought Millie home, we have made sure to keep her birth family at the forefront of our hearts and minds and to make sure that we always make them a part of our life and a part of Millie's life.  Carla and I are so committed to making sure that Millie knows who she came from, who her first family was and that her birth family will always be a part of who she is.

I know that as Millie grows up we will continue to tell her all that we know about her birthparents.  I also know that as Millie grows up there will be difficult questions and ones that we might not even be able to answer for her.  I know that there will be uncomfortable moments and moments when both Millie and we will have to wrestle with difficult emotions. And I also know that any difficult moments will still be infinitely better than if we attempted to keep any information from her or lie to her about her own life and her own story.  I have confidence that Millie will be able to deal with the tough stuff because we will raise her to know who she is and to be proud of who she is and I believe that this is what makes a person strong.

And while I know that we will do everything that we can to keep Millie's birthparents a part of her life and a part of her story, we also know that we have no control over how they choose or how they are able to be a part of her life.  We have not heard from Millie's birthparents in a while.  I will not even begin to try and claim to know why we haven't heard from them.  All I can say is that I know they have their reasons.  Though we haven't heard from them, we continue to make contact.  We continue to send texts and send pictures and send written updates.  And we will continue to do these things until they ask us not to.

We want to make sure that they know that our door is always open for them.  We want to make sure that they know that we understand if they can't text us back right now or write us back right now.  We want to make sure that they know that we understand if they can't meet up with us right now or see Millie right now.  And, we also want them to know that if and when they ARE ready, we will be there too.  There will always be space for them in our family, just as we know there will always be space for Millie in their family, even if that space is not physical.

This open adoption stuff is not easy.  It is not all laid out in a way that is easy to follow.  We are creating our own path every day and we are creating our own relationships every day.  I am sure that we have made and will continue to make mistakes.  And I also know that our hearts are open and that we truly believe in what we are trying to do and I believe that will make up for all the missteps that we might take along the way.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Catching Up...

Hello summer!

The school year officially ended on Wednesday and I am now in the blissful first few days of summer vacation.  It's been quite a while since I last wrote and I blame that all on the end of the school year craziness.  Oh and I blame a little of it on Mille :)

Anyway, to start off our summer break, Millie came down with some sort of illness that has had her with a fever for the past three days.  I actually got a phone call from day care to tell me that she was sick on the very last day of the school year, with one hour and twenty minutes left to go before the end of the school day.  I was just about to walk into the gym to hand out certificates to my fifth graders when I got the voicemail. Luckily, Carla was able to leave work and pick up the little one.  I am thankful in all kinds of ways that she was able to go because I couldn't really figure out a way to get out of the last hour and a half of the school year.  Since we got her home, she has been pretty miserable as we wait out this fever and congestion.  The doctor said it was all viral, so there is nothing much we can do.  I hate when she is sick. It is the saddest thing.  Her fever has gone down a bit today, so hopefully this is all on its way out.

Speaking of the end of the school year.  This one was an emotional one.  There was something so special about the group of fifth graders who just left our classroom.  They were an amazing bunch of kids and when I think back on the story of bringing Millie home, those 21 kiddos and their families are all going to be a part of that story.  Millie will be hearing about them for years to come.  The end of the school year is always a bit emotional, but this year was exceptional.  I think all of us knew that something special happened this year.  The kids knew it, the other teachers who work in my room knew it, and I knew it.  There was so much love in that classroom and it was sad to see it end.  I am so proud of those kids and all that they learned this year and they will always always hold a very special place in my heart and in the heart of my family.

In baby news, Millie is amazing.  She is now five months old and she is developing this adorable and quirky personality.  She laughs and squeals at pictures on the ways, she smiles when we sing to her, she is sitting up and grabbing things on her own and she is even starting to get frustrated when she can't do all the things that she wants to be able to do.  It is amazing to watch it all develop.  I love her so much and am in awe of the little person that she is becoming.

In other news, Chicago is finally starting to understand that it is summer.  There has been so much rain and cold weather that any nice day that comes along is cause for celebration.  Yesterday was gorgeous and today looks to be wonderful as well.  It has been so much fun to be outside with Millie now that the weather is getting better.  She absolutely loves it outside and our goal for the summer is to take her camping at least once.  Even when she is in her worst of moods, she perks up as soon as she is outside. It is one of the parts of the summer that I am most looking forward.

The other major excitement about summer is that Carla and I will finally both have days off on the same day.  Since I went back to work, Carla has taken Thursday and Friday off and I am off on the weekends.  This has been so nice because it has allowed us to have Millie in daycare for only three days a week and then she is with one of us for the other four days.  It has been a wonderful arrangement but has had its challenges as well.  It has been really hard to not have days together as a family.  We have had a few random days off together, but they are usually when we have a big event to attend.  We are both really looking forward to having two days off together as a family every week.  There is so much that we look forward to doing altogether and now we will actually have the time to do it.

Well, I apologize that this hasn't been much of an update at all.  I guess there is just too much that happens in the span of a few weeks that it is hard to remember it all.  There are bigger things that I would like to write about (same-sex marriage bill in Illinois, upcoming Supreme Court decisions, Millie's birth family, and being able to share our adoption story with other families considering adoption), but Millie is way too close to the end of her nap to dig into any of those right now.  But mostly, we are all doing well (aside from the lingering small illness Millie is dealing with). We are falling more in love with Millie every single day and now that school is out, I will be better about updating more frequently.  I will end with pictures because there is nothing I love more than sharing pictures of our little one!

Millie and my dad having some quality one on one time. 

Millie falling asleep on my sister during our Mothers' Day celebration

Millie falling asleep on Carla during the second half of our Mothers' Day celebration

Just Millie before bed time

Millie's first trip to the Farmers' Market

Millie and Frankie

Millie's current favorite toy

Millie was borrowing her cousin's Nemo chair during his second birthday party

Millie and Me on a family walk

More Millie and Frankie bonding time

Millie and Mama

Millie and Carla came to school for a most lovely baby shower with the staff
At Home Depot trying to get what we need for our yard work

Millie in my mother's garden

Hanging out at home

Millie's first encounter with grass

Millie in the rocking chair my mom made for her

Happy Millie!

Millie's cousin giving her a thorough exam

Millie was really enjoying her meal of squash!

Trying out her walker