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On Friday, January 18th, my husband's second parent adoption of our son Joshua became official, at least here in Colorado. We were the first couple here in ultra-conservative Colorado Springs in El Paso county (home of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, New Life Church, and former pastor Ted Haggard) to utilize the second parent adoption law, according to the judge.
It's a relief.
In a matter of weeks, we'll have a birth certificate with two dads listed as the parents. Everything's nice and legal now.
Our adoption journey started about two and a half years ago. We began the journey thinking that only I would be the legal parent, but halfway through our journey, the democratically controlled Colorado legislature and governor signed off on a great piece of legislation that allows second parent adoption by anyone as long as they have the primary parent's permission and have the traditional home study & background checks.
Second parent adoption was really designed so that anyone could utilize the law without the expensive use of an attorney. We had to push to get answers, but we were able to find all the forms online, and utilized numerous helpful people at the courts to get this done ourselves. Particularly helpful was the Arapahoe County Courthouse website with all the necessary forms and the courthouse telephone helplines for both Arapahoe County and El Paso County.
To those of you in Colorado, this law really is not only gay-friendly, but represents a giant leap towards equality for our comunity and our families.
For those of you in other states, this Colorado law really could be used as a template to gaining parental rights elsewhere. Talk to your gay friendly and family friendly legistators... ya gotta start somewhere.
For all of you who are gay and thinking about adoption as a way to start a family, there are so many resources out there that will help you make your dream come true; this website is a great place to start. Adoption is a crazy adventure, but the bottom line is that if you want a family, you can have a family. There's no reason to believe that being gay will deny you that basic facet of human life.
As for AJ, Joshua, and me, even though we've been a family all along, it's really nice to have those papers making it all legal. There are too many "what-ifs" in life to put your family at risk. AJ and I know that a family is created by love, not legal paperwork. But the reality is that without that paperwork, there would always have been that possibility of "what-if" hanging over our shoulders. The fact that we don't have to worry about that anymore is a relief.
And I'm not gonna lie... the fact that we were the first ones here in our socially conservative Colorado Springs to be gay daddies legally feels nice. No matter how many protestations Focus on the Family has to say, we're right here as your next door neighbors. Do you think we should take James Dobson a cassarole??
I had the opportunity to speak last year at the local PFLAG chapter here in Colorado Springs. We had a great discussion on gay families, and it occurs to me now that all things change, and that's a good thing. Maybe our adoption story might help others, and that's why I have written on this blog, shared it with my students, and given talks when I was invited.
Good luck to all of you out there!