SOS has this elective class in school in which the kids, guided by teachers, debate various subjects, ranging from what are effective recycling methods to whether adoption records should be sealed.
Adoption. Yes, Our lives. It had to come up. I didn’t think it was going to be age 10.5. And for a debating class, no less.
SOS has always known that a sperm donor helped us have him. There was never a time he didn’t know that. He has also always known that POB is his biological mother, but somehow he always thought (however irrationally) that he was connected to me in some way that was in addition to nurture. Until today.
So we brought out the old records. Together, we read through the information we had on the donor — his medical history, his academic achievements, his personal statement about funny things that happened to him and his hopes and dreams for his own children. POB described his voice.
We showed SOS the petition for adoption and report by the social worker which was submitted to the Court, as required by law. I didn’t tell SOS this, but the social worker interviewed me for 4.5 hours and made me cry. She asked about my recently dead mother and other pressure points in my life. At the end, she asked how would I deal with having a straight son. I was so emotionally and mentally exhausted that I responded honestly, “It happens in the best of families. And I understand attraction to women, so I would be totally good with it.” The social worker was stunned and I thought, “oh, no, I have blown it now.”
Luckily, the social worker’s report was strongly in favor of the adoption. The judge who originally contorted New York law to allow same-sex couple adoption was the judge who heard SOS’s petition and, as her last act before retiring, she so-ordered our joint adoption of SOS. We told him that this was a big deal to have this judge approve his adoption. He asked to feel the official seal on the certified copy of the order.
SOS told me earlier in the day, in anticipation of this afternoon’s discussion, that I am just as much his mom as POB. I think he was scared and, yet, he was trying to protect me. But new information can change things.
At the end of the discussion, SOS was concerned because he finally realized that it is “only” nurture that connects him and me and that 50% of him is the donor’s genes. So we talked about the power of nurture, love and commitment. I told him that before I adopted him, I could have walked away, without legal liability for his well-being. But I took on that responsibility and I can never undo that. I chose to be responsible for him. That had some resonance, but I could hear the wheels of his brain turning about the donor’s genes.
“Dude, this is not the only conversation we are going to have about this. You may need to seek out the donor. It is ok. I am ok. You are my baby. Ok?”
“Ok, [Blogger], I love you.”
“I love you, too, buddy. More than you will ever know.”
And so ended the first episode of “The Questions”.