Friday, March 27, 2009

"Our Lawyer"

Last Friday, we had a visit with "our lawyer" (it feels so strange to be people who say "our lawyer") regarding co-parent adoption. We're legally married here in MA, which will give Gail parental rights at birth provided we remain in this state, but conventional wisdom says it is still wise to part with our roughly $2000 (and yes, I know some people do it themselves for free, we are not those people) and go ahead and do the adoption. That way we're protected when we travel, and both have parental rights in the whole country (and presumably internationally, though I don't know the legal intricacies there), not just in our little gay legal sweetspot here in the northeast.

I know this whole process really rankles lots of folks, but we found it relatively painless last time (less giving up the money), and aren't the sort to get upset about this sort of thing, especially when we know how few rights some of our friends in less friendly states have. Now, don't get me started on Federal DOMA and how much it messes up our taxes, but the adoption we can handle. It helps that we live in a state where we don't have to deal with home studies or waiting periods (provided the proper affidavits saying the proper things are included...this is why we pay the lawyer do it), or rely on luck to have our case assigned to the "right" judge. It turns out the process also comes with a fun perk.

We get to ask our friends and family to write letters about what great people and parents we are to be included with the materials that go to the judge. It's like asking for letters of recommendation for college, but then getting to read all of them. The letters from last time were such sweet tear-jerkers, they made it into Leigh's half-complete baby book (and plenty of stuff has not made it in...yet).

It is more jobs added to the (seemingly infinite) to-do list, but something about going to the lawyer gave both a kick-in-the-pants. There really is going to be a baby. As we left the office, Gail turned to me and said, "Last time, when we went to the lawyer, that meant the baby was almost here...Oh! the baby is almost here!" We now seem to actually be making some progress on that list. It helps that, for now, us grown-ups are relatively germ-free, spring seems to be peeking around the corner, and Leigh is sometimes even taking her nap.


nutella said...

I agree that it's a PITA to have to go through all this adoption stuff, but I feel so lucky that we have it as a right at all.

And yes, your baby is almost here!

Gail said...

Now, nutella, you guys really have a baby that's almost here. I think I'm excited for all of us, but personally I wouldn't mind another 5 months or so to prepare (Lyn might object, however...)

giggleblue said...

ah, the legal fire hoops. our lawyer called us yesterday regarding some of these very same things. we need to pay him a visit next week. it's always best to CYA when it comes to these legal matters. i hope the gay rights issues don't continue to be drowned out by the state of the economy....

Jo Anna Guerra said...

You're absolutely right to be doing it, whatever the cost. The risk is too great to leave it to chance. I still lecture friends DAILY to get it done -- one way or another -- because it doesn't really matter where you live, there are other ways, other avenues, other documents that can help, so yes, a lawyer at this time is your best friend.

Our twins were born in Seattle. I carried, so 6 months after they were born, Amy adopted. And the best part. THE BEST PART. Is that we had their birth certificates changed to say Mother and Second Mother, and we're both listed.

For those first 6 months before Amy had adopted them, I had to carry around with me whenever we went over into Canada or Mexico an affidavit from the sperm bank stating that the children were the product of an anonymous donor who had waived his parenting rights.

Now, it's just us. The 4 of us. All legal and tied up in a bow. :)