Sunday, November 28, 2010

"The best thanksgiving ever"

That's how the story ends.

Wait until you hear how it begins....

S and I spend Thanksgiving with her family every year. S's family consists of 3 women, all of whom can safely be called senior citizens. They are all 3 lovely people who do their best to love their family. They are all 3 lovely people who have spent their entire lives in very small towns in the south - and have the fears and beliefs to match.

S + coming out = very hard for them
S + dating a real live woman = super duper hard for them
S + marrying me = inconceivable and they asked us not to send the invitation and to never mention it again

(side note: I'm always welcome at family functions, as long as we never disturb the Kate & Allie version of us they have in their minds)

Thanksgiving dinner
S: "We wanted to wait to tell you in person that we are very excited because we are adopting a baby!"

Crickets, crickets, crickets.
Smiles fade.
Eyes get wide.

S's mama: a very pained, "Well, I'm OK with it, I guess."

Which soon deteriorated into, "It's going to be a white baby, right?"
And things spiraled into horribly worse from there....
It was bad.
It was offensive.
Hurtful things were said.
There was yelling.
And crying.
And admonishments to never bring the baby to the house, "because I just can't accept it."


The drive home
We left Saturday morning. S so hurt. And me so hurting for her and so angry that a family could say the things they did. We processed for hours (as our people do). And we reconfirmed our commitment to each other to build the kind of family that we believe in, even at the cost of pissing off our families of origin.

And then the phone calls started. Guilty and even (once) apologetic. S's family trying to make amends as we drove the 7 hours home. And right before she hung up, on that last phone call, S's mama said, with deep sincerity, "that was the best thanksgiving ever."


  1. Hi, my name is Chandra... my partner and I have a ttc blog as well at I've been following your story for about a month and thought I should probably introduce myself and say... this is one of the best stories I have ever heard. I'm from Oklahoma and come from a southern baptist family (complete with preachers and missionaries)so to hear that your family was able to get past this and work toward acceptance is amazing. I'm very happy for you. Sorry to ramble. Hello! -Chandra

  2. Oh my god, how awful. Chandra's comment makes me feel like I missed something but it seems like they're not actually accepting this, correct? Despite their apologetic comments. I have religious homophobia issues in my family as well, and it's impossibly hard. I'm glad you're finding a way to move forward, despite the lack of support.

  3. wow. i'm so sorry that you guys had to go through this.

    this is the kind of situation i want to avoid by not telling my parents i'm pregnant in person. it's my biological child, so i know it will be different, but that adds other levels of complications for my folks.

    i'm glad they apologized. i hope they meant it. it would be a step in the right direction...

  4. yowch. I am so sorry J. Yeah, families - they can be a real @#$#. This reminds me of my mom's "best Xmas ever" comment after the dinner we faked it through....3 weeks after our twin daughters died. Really?? Really?!?

    I think the phone call is worth something (I hope) not as much as the tears that were caused at dinner, but maybe its a start?

  5. I definitely don't mean to negate any of the really horrible feelings you had to experience through this. I know that whole scenerio was worst case status. You come to expect that sort of treatment from politicians and hateful people out in the world, but not your own family. It must be really devastating to experience that.
    What I meant was, I guess, that it was really good that they realized how terrible that was and tried to do something about it. It's a small step (especially after such a huge blow out/freak out) but it seems like a step nonetheless. A very important, much needed step.
    I'm sorry if I interpreted anything wrong or made it sound like they weren't totally out of line. Eeks! Nice introduction, huh?

  6. No worries, Chandra. I knew what you meant :) I was going to add a big ol' WTF at then of that post, but that seemed harsh. They are still S's family. I'm hoping the phone calls really were scinere, too, not just compartmentalizing. Either way, it opened our eyes, and quashed any dreams of moving-near-family. In fact, I'm about ready to bust out of here and move all the way West!

  7. Oh I wish you would, we could use some buddies around here in a similar boat! Eugene's okay, right? ;) I don't blame you for wanting to run far away, that's how I got to the West too.

  8. Whew! That must have been one hard dinner to sit through. I'm glad that the coming around has already started, and that they'll manage to get over their prejudices (and apologize over and over again) by the time they meet the baby.

  9. that sounds awful, but the guilt makes me a bit hopeful for the future. i hope this is the one horrible holiday you had to get through so they'll GET IT at future ones. ugh.

  10. Oh my! I'd probably have freaked out on them. when I told my parents we were considering adoption and race wasn't an issue for us, they kind of panicked. I was expecting it and squashed any further discussion about our desires. Hopefully her family will change their tunes (seriously) once a child is coming into your home.

  11. Oh, dear. Isn't it amazing that people who share DNA can see the world and an experience so differently?

    Good luck to you and S with the family behind you and the family in front of you.