“It was pizza and gelato night. We look forward to special nights like these. What family doesn’t?
We were getting out of the car as I opened the back door to get my youngest daughter out. I unbuckled her car seat and took her into my arms and then stood up on the sidewalk. A woman stood there and watched behind me, staring freakishly. I turned around and smiled to let her see I knew she was there.
She asked, ‘Is that your baby?’
‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘She is my daughter.’
‘But she’s black,’ She replied sarcastically.
‘How did you get her?’ She asked insistently.
I responded, ‘We adopted her.’
Just as I said that, Douglas came around the car with our oldest daughter. She looked over and saw him. Her eyes bulged.
‘By two men!?!’ She was obviously disgusted and out of line.
‘Yes. We are husbands,’ I said respectfully.
Her mouth dropped and she responded, ‘So, they let two MEN adopt children!?! They let children go to just anyone!?’
At this point, I knew we needed to be far away from this lady. I had entertained this conversation for too long. I had no idea it was going to go in this direction. People in New Orleans are very welcoming for the most part. I was shocked and angry.
We hastily walked away from her, but not before she yelled behind us, ‘How they gonna let a black baby be adopted by two men… by two WHITE MEN?!’
We walked away as fast as our feet could take us.
Our oldest started her barrage of questions. We turned the corner and I told Douglas I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the car parked beside her. I went back to move the car.
As walked up, she was in the middle of getting a pen and paper out of her bag, obviously to leave us a note of some sort. She then looked up and said, ‘I’m still just standing here in shock. But, don’t worry, I ain’t messin’ with ya’ car.’
I got in my car and drove away as she was left standing there with a pen in one hand and a piece of paper in the other.
Situations like that do not happen often, but when they do it allows me to see there is still work to be done. There will always be people who disagree and are, at times, out of line and rude. It is in those moments we do not let ourselves sink to their level of desperation to get our point across. Especially when children are present.
We love our babies just as any other family does. We would do anything in this world to keep them safe and protect them from the anger we unfortunately see in our divided country.
I would lie if I said it didn’t affect me. The truth is, it absolutely does. And sadly, probably more than it actually should. You see, we built this life for our babies, which is often better than what I had growing up in my typical, straight household. My father was trash and abusive. He beat my mother and some of those terrifying memories still stay with me. So yes, it hurts when hateful, cold people tell me I shouldn’t be able to create a better life than what my own father provided.
The older I get, the easier it is for me to see how sad individuals must be in their own life to be blinded by anger so easily. They miss out on all the opportunities to grow and shed away the cold, brittle edges of their past and become a more warm, rounded and accepting person.
About 130,000 children are adopted each year in our country. There are somewhere around 2 million couples waiting for their opportunities to create their own families through adoption. We planned, we prayed, we learned, we hoped, we dreamed, we cried, we anguished, and sometimes, we failed. But you know what?
We got up. We tried again because were determined.
We were eager and we knew in our heart our family’s journey was written in the stars.
And, at the end of the grueling process, we did cry again. But, this time, it was while we were holding our newborn baby.
Everything we went through before brought us to this very moment. Now, we could begin our lives. So, we smiled. We laughed. We hugged. We prayed. We remembered.
And in the end, it was worth every single tear we’d ever shed.
Adoption is one way you can change someone’s life forever. In many counties and cultures, adoption is still looked down upon.
In our country, some still think gay couples shouldn’t be able to create a family, whether it is through adoption, surrogacy, or fostering.
As long as there is this frame of mind, there is still work to be done, friends.
If you know of someone who has adopted or wants to, remember the pain I spoke of. Understand it doesn’t require DNA to create unconditional love and trust.
If you see a gay couple with children, take a moment and allow yourself to see the love radiating from them, rather than their differences. See their struggle and respect the rocky road they walked on to get to where they are today.
We are only given this life for a short amount of time. It is our jobs to embrace each other for the beautiful diverseness we exude.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erik Alexander. You can follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook, and their website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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