South Dakota

South Dakota recently passed legislation that allows adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQIA couples. It passed, 43-20-7.

I know there are people in the world today who have very different opinions about the community than I do, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to share with you my feelings and opinions about the bill that SD has passed.


 

I talked with my sister about this and she said, “I wish this was something no one had to feel any way about because I wish it wasn’t a thing that happened.” And that’s how I feel about it too. But as a birthmom, maybe I have stronger feelings than someone who doesn’t know the adoption process or have any connection to it.

I feel that adoption should be available to anyone who wants to expand their family that way, LGBTQIA couples included. I honestly don’t understand why people would say that they’re not worthy of being able to adopt. It pains me to think that. LGBTQIA couples can be amazing parents, just like heterosexual couples.

Why are they different? To me, they’re not.

When I chose the family to place my daughter, I felt it that they were right. It wouldn’t have happened with the agency we used, but if the family I fell for had been part of the LGBTQIA community, it wouldn’t have mattered. At all. I knew they were right because I just felt it in my heart and my gut.

But South Dakota passing this bill that legally allows discrimination against these couples is preventing prospective birthmoms from having that same moment when looking through profiles as they just connect and know they’re right. It’s forcing couples to go through lawyers, which can be more expensive and take more time and effort.

I have a good friend, Courtney of Living Queer, who is part of the LGBTQIA community, so I asked them a few questions.

Q: As part of the LGBTQIA community, would you and your partner consider adoption?
       A: Yes we would

Q: Because you can technically pass as female, would you make it known to the agency that you are an LGBTQIA couple or would you fear discrimination and not tell?
       A: I honestly would probably fear discrimination and not tell unless I had continued my transition and couldn’t pass anymore


 

In doing more research, I’ve discovered that other states (Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia) have similar bills that allow discrimination without fear of retribution. I wasn’t aware of this, and it bothers me. I live in one of those states.

It will also allow agencies to discriminate against single and divorced people, couples who engage in premarital sex, interfaith couples, and anyone else whose behavior or identity violates an agency’s “religious belief or moral conviction.”

Sen. Alan Solano is a Republican from Rapid City. He wrote the bill with help from a staff member of Catholic Social Services. They are an agency who will only place infants with couples who are opposite sex, married at least two years, and unable to conceive children on their own, among other requirements.


 

I don’t know why I thought that this was something new, or that similar things hadn’t already happened in other states, but even days/weeks later, it makes me upset. I hate the idea that there are couples out there who are being denied the chance to adopt. There are so many couples (straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, of differing faiths, it doesn’t matter) who are wanting to adopt, but there are these rules that are preventing them from doing so with certain agencies.

And yes, I understand that there are other ways to adopt than private agencies. But that could require going through the state foster system, and that can cause more stress than necessary.

Yes, every child deserves a loving home, but some couples just don’t have it in them to handle the foster system. Especially if the child is older and can go back to their case worker and say they don’t like the family they’re with. That may be something the couple isn’t emotionally ready to face.

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I Don’t Know How

A wonderful friend of mine wrote this one night while struggling to deal with her daughter who was having a meltdown. It is exactly the way I picture myself when I have kids in the future.

Sometimes,

I just don’t know how to console you,

Reassure you that you have validity,

Not get impatient or angry when you disobey me,

Or allow you the amount of independence you claim you have.

Sometimes,

When your sweet little self

Shows her grown up attitude

I feel….

Defeated.

Small.
Inconsolable.
Panicked.

Like whatever comes out of my mouth is a bargaining chip

Or as if I said the most awkward thing one could say to a child.

Sometimes…

When we are not listening to one another,

My heart swells and fills with anxiety, and I can’t hear what you need.

My eyes cloud over and I get stuck in a foggy loop of emotions and tears. My voice raises and you cry harder.

Sometimes…

I feel incapable of saying what you want to hear,

Or finding a happy medium.

I dislike being cross and upset

But with you, most especially.

As you grow and become your own person, I see more and more of myself behind your eyes.

I want to give you the world,

Hear you giggle,

Watch you paint your universe in color.

But I am not a teacher like your daddy.

The ability to calm and sooth you is not inherent for me when I am upset.

For that, sweet child of mine, I must confess, troubles me deeply.

But we never go to bed angry,

And we will always talk it out until we are comfortable again.

This is my promise to you sweet girl.

I hope you understand.

I just want what’s best for you

Even if my version of that is not what others have in mind.

It’ll be you and me kid,

And we are going to rule the world!

Here’s a few pictures of my friend and her daughter:

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Side-by-side comparison of mother and daughter at around age 3

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