To follow our adoption journey click HERE.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
So we are officially pregnant you guys. Well, at least on paper that is because, you know, we have certain "reproductive issues". Yesterday we had our panel interview which concluded the screening phase of our adoption process. It’s been four months since we started the process and we have been emotionally and psychologically poked and prodded more times than your average alien abductees. But now that it is all over I can honestly say that we feel relieved and that it was worth the effort. We have now been screened and found to be fit and proper adoptive parents. In other words we will be able to keep a baby alive and be able to provide a safe and loving home. Now the only thing that is left is that wait for “the call” that will forever change our lives.
I must admit that hubby and I were rather nervous prior to our panel interview yesterday. I mean, it is the last hurdle of the screening phase and the point where you will know if you have successfully made it through the screening or not. Even though we did know that we would pass, human nature can be a bit of bitch and self-doubt kept on creeping into the backs of our minds. So when we arrived for our panel we were slightly anxious. I more so because I suffer from “foot-in-mouth disease” and sometimes my filter for socially acceptable conversation is broken. Hubby also says that I sometimes lack tact, but I prefer to see it as being direct and honest. We agree to disagree on this but I digress…
Our panel interview lasted just under two hours and everything was covered again. We discussed the whole adoption process, our motivation for adopting, our support structure, our marriage, interracial adoption and its challenges and also what we look for in a child. We were asked during our home visit, by our social worker, to cut out pictures of babies that we thought were cute. It felt like were busy shopping for a baby out of a catalog which we both had a problem with. It seemed rather superficial and neither one of us were terribly comfortable with the idea. But after coming to realize that our social worker merely needed to get a better idea as to what our vision of our child is we complied. Sort of.
The most challenging part of our panel was the part where we had to specify what we were comfortable with, or like I like to call it – our shopping list. We agreed that we want to adopt an interracial child; that we have no preference as to the complexion of the child’s skin, type of hair or sex of the child. We are willing to adopt a baby that was conceived by means of rape (which is rather controversial), was abandoned and babies that the mothers decided to put up for adoption. Naturally we want to have a healthy child but also specified that the child should be disability free. What health issues concern we agreed that we would be willing to adopt a baby that is HIV exposed (the birthmother is HIV+ but the baby doesn’t have HIV) and babies whose mothers may have taken drugs or abused alcohol prior to finding out they were pregnant.
Having to go through the checklist of what we do and do not want when it comes to our potential child is a very difficult and deeply personal thing. We spent many nights talking about it and painstakingly weighed up all the different options. We decided not to focus on the outwardly appearance of the child, because that does not really matter. We also decided to include rape, even though it is a horrible crime, but why should the child be punished for it. The most difficult part of this choice is the fact that we will never be able to tell the child the true narrative of his/her conception.
Also at the panel we handed in our adoption book that has been finished for three months now. Yes, we are overachievers like that. Our book will now be put into circulation for potential birthmothers to choose from. Compiling the book was rather complicated: It is the first and only impression potential birth mothers will have of us and the book should be an accurate reflection of who we are. There was also the balancing act between how many photos, and which photos, to include and how much or how little to write. In the end I think we found the perfect balance and that the book will give a potential birthmother a good idea of who we are. I also believe that things work out the way it is supposed to.
When the panel interview was concluded and we were told that we were now paper pregnant it was a huge relief. It meant that we had done everything we could do and that it was now out of our hands. It is now time to let go and let God. The next time we will hear from our social worker will be when our baby is there. It could be two weeks, two months or at the very worst case scenario two years. No matter how long it may take, the fact is that we are going to have a baby. I also believe that the right baby will come to us at the right time. Now the only thing we can do is be patient. Something I am terrible at.
Till next time.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Do you have a straight girlfriend? Do you suspect her boyfriend is gay? Well if you do then show her this video. It will clear things right up. It's a public service I'm providing with the help of Davey Wavey and Tyran Southern. You should thank us, really.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Last night I watched an investigative journalism program doing a piece on adoption obstacles in South Africa. They featured a South African couple who wanted to adopt a boy and a doctor from the United Kingdom who, after many years of struggle, managed to adopt her HIV+ daughter whom she had fostered. Both stories were heartbreaking and only one had a happy ending. Being in the process of adopting ourselves these two stories touched both my and hubby’s hearts. Perhaps it was because it is a little too close to home or because we could so deeply empathize with both. Either way both stories just brought the message home, once again, that adoption is not easy. There are no short cuts. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and not everybody is up for the challenge.
Next week hubby and I will be completing the screening phase of the adoption process. This phase ends with a panel interview. It’s hard to believe that we have been in this process now for four months. It feels like it has been years. Luckily, this is the last part where the adoption agency and our social worker decide on our suitability to become adoptive parents. Thus far everything went well and I am really pleased with how PROCARE has treated us. I am also sure the panel interview will just be a formality. I am fully expecting to he asked some difficult questions during the panel interview but I think we are prepared and ready for it. After the panel it is the long wait for “the call” informing us that there is a baby and that the placement is to be made.
During the last couple of months the adoption process has caused hubby and I to do some serious introspection about ourselves, our families, our marriage, our careers and our ability to be parents. It is amazing how far we have come in the last fifteen years and how much we have grown individually and as a couple. We have weathered a couple of storms, went through highs and lows and always emerged from difficult times stronger and more connected to each other. Through the adoption journey we also found that we have grown even closer to each other and as we stand on the verge of a new chapter in our lives we do so with excitement and also some nervousness.
To be completely honest, there are some days that we do feel the tingling of cold feet. We do get days when we ask ourselves if we are doing the right thing, if we will be able to cope. There are days when the gravity and the enormity of the responsibility of raising a child sink in. Fortunately, the days when we doubt ourselves and have little miniature nervous meltdowns are outweighed by our intense excitement and readiness to take this next step together. However, there are also days when little things really upset me and one such thing happened on Friday.
As many of you already know we are busy with an interracial adoption. Put bluntly, our child will not be white. Living in a country with a history of racism this seems to not sit well with some sectors of our society. There are still loads of ignorant people out there, black and white, who do not want to see couples with children outside their own racial group. On Friday one such asshole posted a statement on the Facebook fan page of the program we watched last night. The ignoramus posted a response to a woman’s comment who wrote that she had adopted two daughters and that they are colored. He asked her why she adopted two monkeys (amongst other rather nasty and racist things) and needless to say I lost my shit! Just as I was about to respond to him with a fiercely worded response the administrators of that page deleted his racist, boorish and ignorant statements.
Being a gay couple we do realize that we already face some prejudice because of it. Throw in a gay couple with a child and the prejudice increases. Add to that an interracial child and you have a recipe for a lot of potential prejudice and discrimination. For some reason some people cannot look past the color of people’s skin and I say the hell with them! If they want to live in the dark ages it is their choice but they should leave the rest of us who embrace diversity alone. My only concern with adopting an interracial child is that one day, while out in public, some person will come up to us and say something racist and that our child will be old enough to understand it. Knowing us, we in all probability would have prepared our child for such an event but what really pisses me off is the fact that we would even have to do so.
Luckily none of our friends who have adopted interracial children had any racist comments directed at their children. However, the comments and questions that were raised had an underhanded racist tone connected to them and were directed at our friends. The question they are most frequently asked when they are out alone in public with their child is if their partner is black. Isn’t it odd how perfect strangers feel entitled to ask you such inappropriate questions? I decided that if I am ever asked this question that I will respond with a very confident “Yes. My HUSBAND is black. What race is your spouse and children?”
For those of us with certain reproductive challenges who want to have children adoption and/or surrogacy are the only options. My husband and I chose adoption because there are many children in South Africa who need and deserve a loving home. Sure adoption is not the easiest process. Sure it is not something that happens overnight. Sure there is red tape, bureaucracy and the whole process seems rather daunting and invasive. But once you understand that all this is done to ensure that the child is protected, the child’s best interest is taken into account and that the child is placed in a safe and loving home, the red tape, invasiveness and bureaucracy seem less intimidating and are indeed necessary.
When it comes to adopting an interracial child you are also faced with a whole new set of challenges, but a child remains a child no matter what the color is of their skin. After all children are not born racist; they are taught this from their parents. In conclusion, what last night’s program clearly showed is that if you decided you want to adopt you need to make use of a reputable and accredited adoption agency, make sure their social workers are dedicated and passionate about their work and accept that the whole process is a journey and that it takes time. We are lucky that we found just such an agency in PROCARE and that the adoption horror stories that we saw last night is sure not to happen to us. My heart would just not be able to take it!
(To read about our adoption journey click HERE)
Till next time.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In January 2014 my blog will turn five years old. In blogging years that is like fifteen human years. When I started blogging there were many blogs that I read and enjoyed, but as the years gone by many of them simply ceased to exist. From the pool of blogs that I enjoyed reading only a handful are still active. Many bloggers simply grew bored with their blogs or moved on to newer better things or died. But I am still here. Why? Well, I am not sure. Blogging is a lot of work and updating my blog’s social media presence is a seven day a week job. It’s not like you get days off and, even worse, it’s not like you get paid to do it either (or at least I don’t). So I am left wondering, why do I do it and should I not just quit while I am ahead?
Many people think that blogging is easy. I mean, you just scribble a few thoughts down, try not to murder the English language with shitty grammar et voila – you have a blog post! Well it’s not. Many weeks I would message my friend and fellow blogger GeeGee with the words “What the fuck must I blog about this week?” She will attest to this. Yet, every week I manage cough up 900 to 1200 words, even though it’s seldom very cerebral and most certainly won’t cause you to have an epiphany about your own life. But people seem to enjoy it. I am not really sure how I do it, it just happens albeit sometimes forcibly and accompanied by an army of four letter words that I always have to edit out. You know, because you can’t curse like a sailor if you are about to become a dad.
Through the last few years I also made some “enemies” and I have received my fair share of hate mail. Luckily I’ve not receive any dead animal parts via FedEx or any credible death threats. Yet. Even though I am sure in some people’s minds they have thought about ways they’d like to permanently remove me from society. Fortunately for me I have grown use to hate mail and it doesn’t really affect me anymore. You can only be told that you are going to hell so many times before it completely loses its impact. I have also found that even within the LGBT community there are many folks who dislike me personally and my blog. Perhaps it’s because they envy what I have; a stable marriage of fifteen years, a career, a mildly successful blog and the fact that my husband and I are about to adopt a child. Who knows and who cares. We are all bitches sometimes.
Initially when I started my blog I wasn’t quite sure what it should be and I must admit that in the beginning I really sucked at it. But, as I continued I found my voice and my blog started to evolve into what it is today. Every time I hear or read about the plight of my LGBT brothers and sisters, how they are being oppressed and discriminated against, both locally and abroad, a little part of me dies. It saddens me and I have found that the only way to make it better is to write about it here on my blog. I am under no illusion that there are better forms of activism and of having your voice heard, but this is what I am most comfortable with. It is what it is and I won’t apologize for it. Being somewhat of a misguided optimist I also don’t like dwelling on negativity and firmly believe to look at the brighter side of life - hence my sometimes warped sense humor.
I firmly believe that if you cannot laugh at yourself you have not had enough therapy. Life can suck sometimes and the only way I get through those days that are just determined to be filled with assholes is by laughing. You’d be surprised how a sense of humor can get you through the toughest times. Well, humor and medication that is. They make a fabulous combination. Even at times when I am depressed and wallowing in self-pity I manage to find something to giggle about. And if I can’t then there are antidepressants. Coincidentally, the antidepressant I am on now is making me fat and it puts me in an impossible position: Do I stop taking them and have a Sylvia Plath moment or do I remain on them and become chubby(er)? I mean even my cat is making fun of my weight on her fan page because she to can be an asshole! And she is way more famous than I am on Facebook. But I digress...
You guys I have been blogging for a fucking long time and many weeks I thought about quitting my blog. I have even spoken to friends about it and their opinions have been varied. Some say yes quit and others say don’t. But in the end the final decision lies with me. So why do I still continue? Well the answer is simple – because you are still reading it. Some of you have been here since my blog was started, some of you left and came back and some of you are new. As long as there still is an audience for my blog I will continue write. I can’t promise that I won’t use shitty grammar, the odd F-word and I can’t promise that each week you will get Pulitzer Prize worthy mind meanderings to consume. But what I can promise you is this - each week when you return I will still be here. And to all my haters I have only one thing to say to you – suck it bitches!
Till next time.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Pets are like family members. Or at least they are to us. We share our homes with them and our lives. Most times we also share our hearts with them. I mean how can you not? They stay with us through the good times and the bad. They see us at our best and at our worst. Through all this they stay loyal to us and never judge us (or at least not often that is).
I believe that if you have animals you have a great responsibility towards them. After all, they did not choose to live with you, most time we choose them. As such we have a responsibility to them to make sure that they are safe and that their physical, mental and emotional needs are taken care of. So what happens when one of your animals grow old and sick? What happens when one of your furry family member’s cycle of life creeps closer to its end? What do you do? This is what hubby and I had to face this week and sometimes it is heartbreaking.
You see Mizou, one of our oldest cats and matriarch of the house, who just celebrated her fifteen birthday in September with her sister has lately been having some medical issues. A couple of months ago we noticed that her eye sight was failing. She also developed incontinence and you could see that her body was growing old. Fifteen is old for a cat, even though some cats can live well into their early twenties. However with each breed it is different. Not worrying too much about some of her symptoms, due to her advanced age, hubby and I decided to monitor her and if it got worse to take her to the vet for checkups. And she did get worse.
About a month ago we noticed that she had what looked like blood in her one eye and the vet told us that she suffered from glaucoma and hypertension. All of which were directly related to her age. It was sad to hear that the vet could not really do anything for her affected eye and that she had gone blind in that eye due to the optic nerve being damaged. The vet also indicated that she only had about 20% vision left in the other eye and that, in all likelihood, she would eventually lose her vision completely. But we did not expect it to happen so soon.
When I got back from work on Monday I heard Mizou meowing in the back garden. I called out for her but she did not come to me as she normally does. Eventually I made my way to her and I found her standing in the backyard looking completely lost. It was clear that she was disorientated and did not exactly know where she was. I picked her up and immediately noticed that the eye which had the last 20% vision left had also now gone blind. I felt immense sadness for her and gave her a reassuring hug and told her that everything will be ok. “So what if you are blind now, it’s not the end of the world. You still have many years left in you and we will make the best of it” I told her and she gave me a soft purr and a meow as if she understood what I had said.
I was told that we should go about our lives as we had done before and not to change anything. Mizou will adjust to her blindness but it will take some time. She will learn to make her way through the house based on her other senses and memory. The only thing that we must not do is move furniture around or change where we feed her. We should also move one of the litter boxes inside the house as she will struggle getting in and out of windows. Watching her slowly move through the house, occasionally bumping into things is rather sad to watch. We are not allowed to help her too much as she will have to learn to get around on her own. Sometimes this is difficult and I literally have to stop myself.
It was advised that we voice train her and she picked this up right away. Being guided by our voices seems to come naturally to her. The other cats have not really noticed that Mizou has gone blind and they appear to be somewhat confused about what is going on with her. The bunnies on the other hand were the first to pick up that Mizou is blind. They no longer try and chase her and they are much gentler when they are around her than they were before.
My only concern with Mizou and her disability is how she will cope outside. On Friday evening she almost walked straight into the pool and that was when she had 20% vision left. Now that she is completely blind the garden poses quite a few risks for her, the pool and the pool net being just one of them. Also, when our adoption is finalized and we finally have a baby in the house this will also have an impact on her: the pool will be covered with a net which could make it impossible for her to get out of the pool if she falls in being blind; and a baby won’t understand what blindness is and Mizou could accidentally get injured. I guess there are a lot of “what ifs” here but I am sure that we will cope.
Good friends of ours also went through a traumatic event on Monday. Their dog also went blind a couple of months ago due to a medical condition. On Monday his condition deteriorated to the point where the vet told them there was nothing more that could be done for him and that it is recommended that he be euthanized. This is the most awful news a vet can ever give you. But it was what was best for him and they had to say goodbye. I am fortunate that I have never had to euthanize any of my animals and I dread the day that I will be told it is our last option. I’d rather pay a shit load of money on medical expenses in order to make sure my animals get the best medical attention there is and euthanasia is only the last resort. But sometimes we must make hard decisions and what is best is not always easy to do.
Our cat has gone blind, has no bladder control and is old. I guess this is what happens when you get old – you pee yourself and walk into things. She has been in our lives for the last fifteen years and she loves us unconditionally as we do her. I don’t know how many years she will still be with us but as longs as she is here I am going to make sure that her retirement is as comfortable as possible. Just because she is blind and possibly may need a kitty diaper doesn’t mean that she cannot enjoy life. I hope that one day when hubby and I are in the retirement home we will be afforded the same courtesy. Wouldn’t you?
Till next time.