History Parts 6 and 7 of 8: Heading Home and Practice

Heading Home

By Scot, (a father, husband and gay Utahn)

History, Part 6 of 8
We had both always wanted to be fathers. I think we both actually always knew we would be, but for the first half of our union, all that seemed impossible.We were living in California, and assumed we would never return to “backwards”, “repressive” Utah. This was a very odd, somewhat difficult, though important time in our lives. We were away from the familiar, and away from family. I was stressed with graduate school and he with work, but it was during this time we really refined our marriage. Also, during this time I’d go months without ever realizing we were “gay” (the sort with social consequences :-)), such was the climate where we lived.I had just finished up a MS, and was thinking of going on with a PhD there. But, at some point, we looked up and saw what was once hard to imagine had become commonplace–gay couples were raising children everywhere. The scales were tipped. A severe case of nesting hit us both, realizing a destiny implied to be near impossible was always there, waiting for us to be ready.And we were urgently ready.Suddenly, our great place in California, 10 minuets from the beach, didn’t look so hot. We knew we’d want our family around, want our children to grow up with their grandparents and their 35 cousins (Weare from LDS families :-)).Suddenly Utah wasn’t “backwards”, it was the place holding all our fond memories of childhood. Utah seemed family friendly again (and, despite the politics, Utahns are largely so, even towards our family). It’s where we knew we should raise our children, and in a matter of weeks we sold our house and headed home.

But it turned out we jumped the gun. We moved back too soon. We were “gay” again, reminded repeatedly by the local politics that we were less than them. Gay rights became far more important, and I regret we had neglected it for years.

We first planed to adopt. But we got to Utah just after a law passed making it impossible for “unmarried” (gay) couples in Utah to do just that. There are so many children in need of homes that they could not stop single people from adopting, and the law stops no single gay man or woman from adopting and many do.

It does keep many Utah children from having two legally responsible parents. It does make it so they can’t get on one of their parent’s health insurance or a claim to other legal benefits, from Social Security to military benefits. It does allow one parent to just up and leave, devastating the child, but with no legal consequence, no child support, despite their promises or their actual role in the child’s life.

That’s the majority of the Utah legislature for ya. They are so worried about “the children” (an imaginary world ideal of theirs) that they’re willing to attack the legal abilities of real children and families. They work tirelessly to keep gays as irresponsible as possible, and keep our children’s homes at a disadvantage (it makes sense to them). At least some irony can be found in the fact that they aren’t near successful, Utah being in the top 3 of US states in the percentage of gay headed homes that are also raising children.

Okay, that was an angry tangent, fueled by the difficulties I see in the many families we know. Clearly Utah, while “we love thee” for many reasons, we still have our arguments :-). Take 5…



History, Part 7 of 8

Another break. Some things just demand reverence and caution, but I’ll get to it.Anyway, a quick anecdote on the way:While we were working at becoming parents, we decided we wanted to be as ready as possible when the time came. We read all the typical books (and all the research we could find on our family type), but the most helpful thing we did was take care of our friend’s baby during the day. R quit his job and became a full time baby sitter, and, at the time, I was working out of the home most of the day.We learned how to change diapers (how not to change diapers), how to get him down for a nap, how to make a baby laugh, all the jobs and tricks. After a couple months we felt like pros.It was about then when a close friend of mine and his wife came into town, showing some friends of theirs from France around the US. These Frenchmen were a bit surprised a home like ours existed in Utah, and asked about “our baby”. I told them no, we weren’t parents yet, but in jest I told them that he was, instead, our practice baby.After lunch they all headed off to Arches. As they drove away they were conversing in French, seemingly debating, and finally, switching back to English, one asked my friend, “Must all Americans have a practice baby, or only gay Americans?”Not a bad idea, eh? We could all use a little practice, some of us more than others ;-).

But I am left wondering on the particulars of the government program these Frenchmen had envisioned, a program handing out “practice babies” to expectant couples. Where do practice babies come from? Where do they go, once the to-be parents are “trained” to the point of being entrusted with a “real” baby?

The French must have an odd view of the US :-).

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