Monthly Archives: October 2011

“Hell Found Me”….a story

I just came across this story that I wrote a few months ago – and today was the first time I had read it since I wrote it.  I was entering a writing contest (for which I never heard back…lol), and it had to be a fictional story that began and ended with the words “Hell found me.”  As I went back and read the story today, alot of the information is very real and true in today’s world.  Check it out and let me know what you think – I’m curious.  Do you think that legislation like I wrote about could ever be passed in this state, or this country, in regards to same-sex families?  How close is this story to fiction, or to reality, in your opinion?

Hell found me.

I had been living here for most of my adult life, the deep South.  Most of the time my life was my own, and I kept to myself with it.  It was bad enough to be a Democratic woman living in a very red, conservative, Republican region; but it was compounded on a daily basis to be a married lesbian in a state that had declared war on the LGBT community some time ago.  The first step had been when lawmakers created a Constitutional amendment for the state which proclaimed that marriage was now and forever to be an institution to be entered into solely between a man and a woman.  Many states had adopted this position, while those of us who were truly affected by it would fight like hell to have it reversed and declared to be the unconstitutional dribble that it was.

Soon after the state constitutional amendments were made, radical conservative groups began the next step in their deep hatred for same sex couples – they wanted to criminalize not only any persons who went ahead and got married anyway, but also those who performed the ceremonies.  These folks wanted participants to be deemed criminals, punishable with jail time.  When this legislation was first rumored, I thought that there was no way it could ever happen, and I wasn’t going to worry (considering I had gotten married to my wife in Connecticut, where it was legal).  Even when I tried not to think about it, I would still think and worry about it.  Legislation, as ridiculous as it is, was slowly going in the way of the right-wing conservatives, and soon there was discussion that they also wanted to make sure that same-sex couples not only could not marry, but also could not raise children.  Children from previous heterosexual relationships were to be taken from their same-sex parent and custody automatically granted to the remaining heterosexual parent; children who had been adopted by a same-sex family were to be taken from the home and placed into foster care or handed over to a family member who the local officials deemed suitable.  Same-sex couples who had undertaken conception through means of artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization would be charged with violating the new “family code,” and their child would be taken at birth and placed into foster care.  It no longer mattered that we had spent countless hours campaigning and protesting for equality, fighting and screaming for not only our rights but for those of our children.  The voting was over and the argument for inequality had triumphed.  What did this mean for me, for my wife, for my boys, and for the future of our unborn child that my wife now carried within her womb?  Every day was a waiting game, waiting to be discovered like a family during World War II hiding from the Nazis in war-torn Germany.

Today was my day to be discovered.

Hell found me.

A knock came on the door at approximately 10 AM.  An officer stood at the door on my tidy front porch, with the welcome sign to his left, and a glass storm door separating us.  He held in his hands a wad of papers, and verified my name before he proceeded to tell me how things were about to go.  “Ms. Clark?”  “Yes, that’s me,” I said.  “Can you verify your full name please?”  “Well,” I said, “perhaps.  But not before I get you to show some identification as to who YOU are.”  He soon flashed his badge and I.D., and then proceeded.  “We have gotten reports that the occupants of this home are engaged in a same-sex relationship and that there are children in the home, so we were required by law to come and investigate to assure that you are complying with the laws of this state regarding morality in these types of situations.”  I was dumbfounded, perplexed.  “So you’re telling me that my nosy neighbors turned me in for being a lesbian?” I asked.  “Ma’am,” said the officer, “I can’t divulge as to where our information came from, but I need for you to verify – confirm or deny – that you are engaged in a same-sex relationship, and/or if there are any children living in this domicile.”  I stood there for several moments, what seemed like hours, with my mouth hanging open a little bit.  Oh my God.  It had really come to this.  I was here, faced with a situation that I never in my wildest dreams thought would ever occur.  Thoughts were racing through my frantic mind – do I lie on myself, on my wife, on our family, just to be able to close this door and watch this officer walk back to his squad car and drive away from my home?  Or do I stand there, tell the truth – tell MY truth – and face whatever consequences that the laws of this god-forsaken state throw at me?

Hell found me.

I only hesitated for a moment.  Then the words flew out of my mouth.  “Yes, I am married.  My wife’s name is Erikka.  My two sons are Nick and Noah.  We have a baby on the way, due in November.  Are you married?  Have YOU ever had anyone come to your house and violate YOUR privacy, like you are doing to ME right now??  Do you think that YOU have any more of a right to be married than I do?”  He stood speechless, stunned at the bold answers that had come hurtling towards him, leaving him not a breath with which to answer.  After the responses sank in, he finally found his voice, and it was as if I had not spoken anything other than “yes” “married” and “wife.”  He cleared his throat and said, “Ms. Clark, I am sure that you are aware of the laws and statutes of the state in regards to same-sex marriage and children.  You are obviously willingly and knowingly participating in said acts of unlawfulness, and I am going to have to take you in and charge you with separate violations.  Are any children in the home at this time?”  My anger was building, and it took every ounce of self-restraint to contain it.  “NO, there are no children home right now.  He is in school.  And if you’re going to make me come with you, then I will need to make a call to arrange for his care after school.  I am not asking to do this either.  Wait right here.”  I turned around, closed the door, and calmly walked into the bedroom to call a friend to take care of Noah until Erikka could get to him.  Once I had secured these arrangements, I walked back towards the front door.  This was it.  This was where I put my money where my mouth was – this was where all of our protesting, shouting, and fighting for equality would all come into play.  Were we really willing to do whatever we had to for our civil rights, for our equality, as well as for every other person’s in this state – in this country for that matter???  Was I really willing to face jail time for simply admitting that yes, I love this person, deeply and madly, and I don’t give a damn if the conservatives in my state say that I can?  The time was here.  The time was now.  I was ready.

I walked back to the front door, went out onto the porch, closed it behind me and locked it before turning to face the officer.  “I will come with you, but you should know that my attorney will be called, as well as every equality and civil rights group that I have contact with – and there are many.  The media will also be contacted – news, print, online.  Until we are all equal, none of us are, and I will expose any attack against my family – and I WILL name names.”  He made me turn around, told me that I needed to just come along quietly and make this easier on everyone, including myself.  He obviously did not know who he was arresting that day.

My mother had been telling me, from the time that I came out as a lesbian, that I was going to hell.  Maybe she was right.  I was being arrested for speaking truthfully about my marriage and my family.

Hell found me.

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Being the Baby Daddy

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (10/19/2011):

I decided yesterday that I need to send my boys’ father a thank-you card.  No, seriously.  As I was fighting with the stroller construction, and attaching carseat bases into our vehicles, kicking and cussing them all, it struck me that this was a pain in the ass!  I stepped back, after practically throwing the stroller across the driveway, sweating and frustrated, and realized that, while I had all of this same equipment when Noah was a baby, I NEVER once had to put any of it together.  I took off my sweaty Texas Rangers baseball hat and scratched my head, and thought about all of the baby crap that I had previously owned.  We had a decent crib that magically appeared in our bedroom at the time, and brought the baby home to it.  We had a car seat with base installed in my SUV, and all I had to do was click the infant seat into it and go.  We had strollers – yes, multiple (we wore about three out), and I never once had to put one together; didn’t they just come that way??  We had a high chair that matched our whole set of baby gear, and it also magically appeared in our kitchen when the time came to start giving him food.  I DID, back then, learn how to (often) put together and tear down our Pack n’ Plays. We had FOUR of those – one for home, one for the nanny, one at my mother’s, and one in the car.  Yeah, it was a little overkill, but we had one that matched our set and the rest that I found cheap at consignment stores.  But I digress.  My point is that we had all of the baby gear that we needed, and I never had to put any of it together.

This time around?  Oh dear God the baby stuff.  The carseat base in MY Jeep was pretty straightforward and easy.  When I got into Erikka’s SUV to install, however, that was another story.  Hers is much newer than mine, and the seatbelt system is much more complicated.  The stroller was easy, to be quite honest.  I was just hot and thought it would be easier than it actually was – I just don’t have a lot of patience.  I am looking at a baby swing that is in the box, knowing that I will have to put it together, and soon.  When we took the crib and dresser out of their boxes to put them together, my eyes just about popped out of my head, and I very happily handed over the screw gun to the friends who came over to help.  There were a LOT of pieces, to say the least.  I was perfectly content to supervise, hand pieces or screwdrivers to the assemblers, and then swoop in at the end for a picture next to the finished product (and claim the credit for the beautiful construction).

Preparing for a baby

So yeah, I want to send a thank-you card to the guy who did all of that for me before.  I am once again seeing a glimpse into an involved father’s life, or perhaps that of other non-biological moms-to-be.  I really, really appreciate the fact that there are those out there who not only don’t mind putting all of the crap together, but actually enjoy doing it, too.  I am most definitely NOT handy, but my girly wife is!  But at this stage in the game, it is becoming more and more difficult for her to get around comfortably, much less sit (or stand) and spend loads of time putting more stuff together.  At least if our baby girl decides to come early – she is supposed to come on 11/1/11 – then I know that we can go to the hospital in MY vehicle, and we’ll be good to go for bringing the baby home in a properly installed carseat.  Next step?  Getting that d*&% base installed into Erikka’s SUV and getting the swing put together.  Maybe tomorrow…

Who Our Family Really Is…

So today I went to my mother’s to pickup Noah, since he had stayed there last night and gone to church with her this morning.  We were sitting and chatting, and I try to keep her updated on all of the baby news whenever I talk to her, just so she knows that it REALLY IS going to happen and that it isn’t going away.  Since the moment that I told her that we were pregnant, she has given several mixed messages to us in regards to the birth of our baby.  From the beginning, my mother has made it very clear that, in HER eyes, this is NOT my baby, but rather Erikka’s.  The first time we had a conversation about it went like this:

Me:  “Oh mom, don’t be all weird about it.  This could be my girl!  I could finally get a baby girl!”

Mom:  “But it won’t be YOUR girl.  It will be Erikka’s.”  <lips purse up – no more talking about it>

Me:  “Oh no, we are NOT going to play this game mother.  This is MY baby, just as much as it is Erikka’s baby.  I will be doing a second parent adoption, so yes, she will legally be mine as well.  But we’re NOT going to do THIS.”

And that was the end of that conversation.

So as the pregnancy has progressed, my mother has seemingly come around a bit, and it has actually given me some hope that maybe the tide is turning and things are finally changing for the better between me and a tiny fraction of my family.  She and her sister attended one of our baby showers, which just about made me fall out in shock and awe!  I was thrilled to have her there, even though it was a little tense knowing that she felt awkward being there as well.  She has handmade baby blankets for our baby girl, and presented us with one of them at this shower, along with so many adorable little outfits for her -a gift that seemed to show that she cared and was slightly excited.  And the fact that she has taken the time to make these blankets, spending hours at a time working on them, would say to most people that she MUST care, right?  It’s like she wants to be excited about a new baby granddaughter, but refuses to let herself be for fear that it might contradict the rigid religious doctrine that she clings to so fiercely – one that doesn’t seem to include acceptance.

Today I asked her if she was going to be at the hospital for the birth, which is now fifteen days away.  She replied, quite matter-of-factly, “I haven’t planned on it.  I have to work.”  And that was that.  End of conversation.  It hit me when I got home later that I felt REALLY stupid for allowing myself to feel hopeful when it came to her acceptance of my wife & I, and now our daughter who will soon join us.  Now I look at it and have to tell myself that it may never happen.  I will continue to try and not let it bother me.  But this day, the birth of my only daughter (probably), will come and go without any of my family there….just like my wedding day did.  Most of the time I don’t let it get to me; but it’s on special and important days like those that it’s hard to feel like an orphan.

Fortunately, we have a very large and loving support system of friends, Erikka’s family, and the family that we have created for ourselves.  I know that this is more than enough for me, and I am blessed beyond measure to have each person in my life who loves and supports me and my family without condition or condemnation.  These will be the people who will be with us to welcome our daughter into the world.  These will be the people who will celebrate with us, cry with us, and love her as they have us.  And our children will know, always and forever, who their “family” really is.

What if Your Child Turns Out GAY??

As seen this week on TheNextFamily.com (10/12/11):

What if your child turns out gay?                                 

For some reason, this is one of those questions that I have been asked multiple times. I’m not sure why, except for no other reason than the fact that I turned out gay?  I have thought it to myself many times over the years, ever since Nicholas was young and then again after Noah came along.  So now that Erikka and I have our own little gaybie on the way, the question has come up again.

Really?  People have to actually think about this, putting hard thought and emotion into their answer?  My reaction is usually, “So what if they do?  I guess I’ll march in a parade with them!”  I mean, this is really a ridiculous question, but I guess for many it is a game changer.  There are a lot of anti-gay conservatives who have produced a lot of gay children over many, many years, and I think that for them, their child’s sexuality somehow reflects back to them.  What’s THAT about?

I used to worry that if one of my boys grew up and announced that they liked other boys, or that they knew all along that they were gay, then somehow I will be blamed for it.  It’s irrational and totally unrealistic thinking, but in the world that I sometimes collide with, it could totally happen.  But oh my God, what IF??  Um, nothing.

People have again asked me what I will think or do if this baby girl grows up and “decides” that she is a lesbian.  Really?  I won’t think anything different – nothing different than how much I love her and how proud I will always be that she is my daughter.  And what will I do?  I will continue to love and support her as always!  How can any parent think or do anything besides that?  I mean, I KNOW it is a reality that not all parents would react like we would, if it were the case.  My own family is a prime example of how a parent can lose sight of their unconditional love for their own child, and get caught up with religion over relationship.

There have been times over the years that I have watched my boys and wondered if they would grow up and be gay.  My oldest didn’t seem interested in girls as a young boy, wasn’t into sports very much (except when I made him), and really enjoyed taking dance classes when he was about ten.  But those things do not decide or define how his future with a woman (or man) will go.  When he hit high school, he became more social and most definitely was clearly a boy who liked girls.  And the youngest has had very similar traits as his brother, but there is no way of knowing – he isn’t even a fully formed person yet!  So I’m not going to stress and worry, when there is just no need.  If our daughter grows up and tells us that she likes women, it won’t phase us one bit.  We can’t “teach” any of our children to be gay – and let’s think about it, don’t a good majority of us, gay/lesbian people, come from heterosexual parents?  They apparently didn’t “teach” us to be straight, no more than our children learn how not to be.

We anxiously await her arrival – only three weeks now.  She is developing perfectly, and is fully formed and very healthy.  No matter what her future sexuality grows into – a LONG time into the future – the fact will never change that she has two mommies and a sea of friends, family, and aunties who will love her for HER, no matter who she loves!

The Non-Bio Mom Nesting Crazy

As seen last week on TheNextFamily.com (9/28/11):

Do dads and/or non-biological moms get the nesting hormones that many pregnant women get right before they get ready to deliver?  What about adoptive parents who await the birth of their child from a surrogate or birth mother?  I don’t know about scientific evidence that can answer these questions, but I do believe that the answer is YES (at least for THIS non-biological adoptive mom).

We are now five weeks out, if she makes it that long.  Over the past two days, I went into overwhelmed panic mode, out of the blue.  I looked around our house and freaked out, deciding that all of the laundry must get done and put away.  Now granted, I have let the dirty towels and sheets pile up, but simply because that is the laundry that I hate doing the most.  So I spent a day doing just clothes, then started a second day of clothes laundry while I loaded up my Jeep with sheets and towels and took them to a laundromat to do all at once.  One would think that it would have helped my anxiety to get so much accomplished in such a short time, but no.  Once I came home, I took another look around and started thinking of all that needed to be done:  dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, putting TONS of baby things away yet again (because we had another shower this past weekend), sweeping, mopping, vacuuming.  My chest started getting tighter and I thought I was going to have a panic attack.  By the time Erikka got home, I had a killer headache and was still trying to figure out how to get more done.  She made me sit and told me to breathe.  My response?  “There’s not much time left!  And we can’t bring a BABY home to a nasty house!”  I seriously needed to take a moment.   

But it got me to wondering if dads or other non-bio moms get like this.  I don’t recall my boys’ dads getting too uptight about much of anything just before the babies’ arrivals.  They always seemed so laid back about everything, and up until yesterday I thought that I was pretty much the same way.  But I find myself worrying about the state of cleanliness at our house all the time now – and trust me, I HATE cleaning.  I worry about every pain that my wife gets.  She has gotten a few small contractions here and there, and I worry about those, too (given that she is not supposed to have any labor whatsoever).  I know for sure that I am this baby girl’s mama, because I already worry about her all the time!