By this time next year I will be a parent.
It’s been a long time coming. My spouse and I had been trying to get pregnant for over a year. For us, it isn’t as simple as a romantic interlude or two, and nine months later, voila! a bundle of joy.
As a Queer couple, there’s a lot more planning that goes into it: sperm donors, fertility drugs, testing, inseminations, and disappointment. We found out in February that our chances would be very slim that we would be able to get pregnant.
We had discussed very early on in our relationship that it was absolutely imperative that we have kids. In fact it was only two weeks into dating that we talked about having children. She told me right away that she saw kids in her future, and if that was something I wasn’t interested in that I had better tell her immediately. My response was, “Yesterday.” I wanted little ones just as much as she did.
We waited until the time seemed right to start a family, and receiving news of our infertility was nothing less than devastating. Should we have started trying earlier? Should we just give up? What the hell were we going to do? Our lives were already turned upside down, as we had recently moved from Phoenix to LA, and I had begun transitioning from female to male after many, many years of struggling.
After tears, heavy arguments, tears, and more tears, we decided to revisit becoming foster parents. It wasn’t our first choice but not having children was never an option for us. Foster to adopt is risky business. It’s an emotional obstacle course. You nurture and love a child, stay in constant contact with social workers, take the child to and from visits with their biological family, and bond with the kid, and in the end, they could be taken away, and you’ll never see them again.
We thought, what other choice do we have? Through foster-adopt, we can grow our family and give a kid that was never given a chance to begin with a great home where they can thrive and enjoy being a little kid.
We decided to jump in head first and started the process to become licensed foster parents. It had only been about a week since we received the unhappy news, but we were in a place where we were needing to take some kind of action. We got ourselves fingerprinted, submitted to background checks, and attended the required classes. After which, we’re totally invested in the foster care program, kids need a home and we need kids.
We’re preparing to start the interview process, or as it’s known in the biz, a “home study.” That is where a social worker comes to your home and observes you in your own habitat. They ask in-depth questions about your own childhood, your relationship with your significant other, and your philosophies on parenting.
This really got me thinking. I know that I have the most incredible spouse, and my marriage is solid as a rock, but what do I think about my own childhood? What are my philosophies on parenting? Why do I want to be a parent?
My childhood wasn’t perfect. As a child of divorce, I had a lot of difficult times growing up, but, luckily I always had my father.
When I was young, we did everything together. He coached my sports teams. He took me to the sand dunes to ride quads and dirt bikes. We went camping. I “helped” him in the garage by handing him the tools he needed to fix a carburetor, or to build a table. We were always a team.
Watching my dad move through the world taught me what it meant to be a good man; he was honorable, responsible, sensitive, and caring. He worked hard, working second shift at times, always making sure he made dinner for me so we could eat together every night. In very difficult situations he’s always made sacrifices. Without any complaint, he ate ketchup on saltine crackers when money was tight. He drove a motorhome to work because he had no other means of transportation after his divorce from his second wife (and all of the complications that divorce brings).
You know when people say “I’ll never do to my kids what my parents did to me…”? I’ve thought that a million times before, but I also know that overall, my dad did a good job raising me. He did a great job at passing on the importance of ethics, values, and integrity. I want to make sure that I push my kids, just like my dad did, to do their absolute best in everything they do, and be genuine while doing it. I could always count on my dad for encouragement and love. I want to be able to provide that to my kids to make them feel important and valued.
People ask me why I want to be a parent. That’s always a tough question because usually the answer is that you want to be a parent in order to pass on your genes or to have a legacy. That isn’t the case for me. While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I want to be a parent, the first reason I can think of is that I want to raise a good citizen. Children that come from the foster care system are already at a disadvantage. Some are born with addictions to drugs, some have been so abused that they cannot form bonds with other people, and some take on all of the responsibilities of being a parent themselves, and are not given a “real” childhood. I want to raise a little one to grow up to be a well-rounded, empowered adult. An adult that stands up for not only what they believe in, but for their fellow human beings.
The second reason: the really cute little kid stuff. AND THE TOYS! I would be a huge liar if I didn’t mention how excited I am to buy little tiny outfits and awesome toys!
I know that I won’t be a perfect parent. I also know that my spouse and I have so much love to give that whatever little one ends up in our house is going to have the greatest childhood we can provide and a framework to give them the best possible start in life.
I just hope that I can be as good of a parent and spouse as my dad was and still is today.
—Photo credit: puuikibeach/Flickr