Tag Archives: gay dads

Workplace Landmines

The bad thing about arranging to take Family Medical Leave is that my co-workers had to know about why I wasn’t going to be around.  I didn’t have to say anything to everyone myself; a few people knew and the news spread.  I can’t be mad about that, and I’m not mad about it.  People were naturally excited and happy for us, and as far as we knew on Thursday, the placement was a definite go.

Now that it’s the first week of classes and we’re back to work, people are noticing I’m not gone.  People are asking why I’m here.  I just say, “I had a reason to take the leave, and then I didn’t.”  That is the truth.  I had a reason and then I didn’t.  Those words mask the heartache and heartbreak, though.  I just told a co-worker the reason why it didn’t happen – from out of left field, a family member of the child’s stepped up and was awarded the placement.  Saying those words to her almost made me lose my composure.  I felt my knees buckle like they did at the beach Sunday.  Only this time I wasn’t saying goodbye to Mariah.  I was mourning Mariah.

These workplace landmines are pocketknives stabbing me in the heart.  I want to turn my office lights off and lay on the floor in darkness.  I’m still marveling at how much love I felt for this child I didn’t know and hadn’t met.  She changed my life without ever having entered it physically.

I am not the same person I was a week ago.

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The License Finally Arrived

We’ve been awaiting the license’s arrival for months, alternating between anticipation and disappointment with nearly every visit to the mailbox.  We had grown used to the idea of it not coming, and in fact, had really let it fall off our radar screens.  We assumed it was languishing, dusty and neglected, in the DHS offices of our state’s capital, victim of short-staffing and overwhelming work loads.

I did not think the license would arrive in the unassuming white envelope.  The only thing that made it stand out to me at all was the Department of Human Services return address.  I can’t say I felt excited when I realized that our official provisional license was inside.  I had just come home from a long day at work, and my focus was on heating up leftover risotto for dinner.

When I got inside, I put the rice in the microwave, then opened the envelope and unfolded the document on the counter.  I took a picture of it, and texted it to my partner.  We’re one step closer to being daddies.

 

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Home Study Complete

Our home study was completed yesterday morning, and went to our social worker’s supervisor.  After that, off to Lansing for approval.  Then official license.  Then another wait for the phone calls to begin.  One wait ends only to see another begins, and while I know that is the way of life, it’s rather tiring.

We began this process in June and I’m surprised at how long it’s taken to get as far as we have.  However, I am pleased we are as far as along as we now are.

When I read the email the home study was complete, I can’t say I felt elation.  I felt exhaustion.  I felt so much tension leave my body and mind.  Finally, I thought.  Finally.  I’ve definitely scaled back my expectations and reigned in my emotions.  I indulged too far into the anticipation and preparations.  Knitting the blanket, shopping for the nursery, buying clothes and shoes, buying bottles and diapers… Naming her… All of that helped me feel connected to what we were doing, but it also made it that much harder to bear when events evolved so slowly.

The last few weeks were anything but relaxing.  My partner and I had ourselves psyched up for a very unrealistic timeline; we were definitely hoping for a Christmas “miracle” placement, a chance to become a family during a special time of the year.  I’ve also been craving for something that will allow me not to define myself through my work so much.  That’s been weighing on me, too, knowing that I’m not happy being such a workaholic, that there’s so much more for me to give of myself in a different aspect.  But my focus has been solidly on my work this past week, and has been a great distraction from not having a child yet, and helped temper the two additional rounds of questions we had to answer before the home study was completed.

So another hurdle jumped.  I see more ahead and am conserving my energy, which I should have done all along.

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Spinning Our Home Study Wheels

Today was the day I was convinced our official foster care license would arrive in the mail.  It didn’t.

All along I assumed our completed home study was in Lansing, being processed.  It wasn’t.

I assumed our social worker had completed the home study.  She hasn’t.

We both received email from her asking for more information and clarification to the questions we’ve already answered.  I had to go further in depth into my father’s abusiveness, and one of my ex’s abusiveness.  That was a treat.  Hopefully, I gave enough detail and explanation this time so we’re not held up any longer.  Dan had to write more about his abusive step-father.  Both of us have that in our pasts.  Is that going to disqualify us somehow?  Hold us up somehow?  Make them question our abilities somehow?  I can’t believe that would happen, but you never know.  Still, I’d rather be honest about my past than lie about it.  It’s happened, I’ve worked hard to process and deal with it all, I’m different than what I grew up with.  I am not my father, although sometimes I wonder if something is laying dormant.  Seems like I’d know that by now.

At any rate, we’re no farther ahead in the game than we were on the day of the home inspection.  My partner says I’m too trusting, that I’m quick to believe what people tell me.  He’s right.  In my mind, and his mind, we would already be fathers.  We’d already have our child.  Now I feel like I need to focus on something else.  I’ve been half-hearted in focusing on work because I’ve held out hope we’d have a child coming very soon.  Now I see I should have thrown myself back into work, defaulted to workaholic mode.

So I’m in here writing about my disappointment while my partner is reading a book I bought today called Gay Dads by David Strah.  I’ll read it when he’s done with it.  Maybe reading about the stories of men who have come before us will help us cope better, will help us gave a different understanding and perspective.

Will help us stop fantasizing so much and start living our lives again.

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