Hey Mommy. Oh! And You, Too, Mommy.

Saturday night we were enjoying a nice meal at a favorite standard restaurant.  Our booth was perfectly situated by the hostess desk.  Our son, Micah, has always been one to flirt with the young lady who works it.

gay-dad-mommy“Mommy,” as he looks over our booth straight at her.  She looks stunned.  We kinda shrug it off, since he pronounces his own name as “mō’ mee.”  Upon the second, third and fourth “mommy,” we realize he isn’t saying his name, he is indeed calling her mommy.

As we exited, she had big tears in her eyes saying, “Since I can’t have children, that meant so much to me.”  We honestly felt awkward.

Fast forward, we’re in Park City, Utah on vacation.  Low and behold, multiple women are addressed as mommy by Micah.  They all smile at us two obviously gay dads, and we remain awkwardly perplexed.

This lead us to discuss what is potentially happening.  If your kid, toddler, son or daughter is calling every woman they see Mommy, think about these.

He’s in search of his mother since he has two dads.  

I have to admit this was the first thing that entered my mind.  I had to ask myself, is my two-year-old on a quest to ask around for his mother already?  Knowing my child like no one else, I can honestly say he his not on such a quest.

He’s feeling a need for a mother figure and is reaching out.

This one can’t be possible the case.  Micah has several women in his life who he interacts with daily and weekly on a deep level.  The two he clings to the most in this realm are two dear friends, Crystal and Alexandra.  We’ve got that one covered.

He’s generalized the word mommy to all women.

He calls every animal with feathers “chick,” meaning chicken.  He calls many older women “Mammaw,” the name for his paternal grandmother.  Perhaps he’s defined the word mommy as a general term for all females.  

In all the scenarios, only time can tell once he can tell us what he means.  For now, all we can do is allow him to refer to places, peoples and things in his understanding and help him understand the correct terminology for all things in our vocabulary.  All we can do is not allow this “mommy phase” make us feel like we aren’t nurturing him the way he needs to be nurtured.

Of course, now, that I finish writing these thoughts, I decide to seek the most well-known counselor to us all, “Dr. Google.”  Upon searching, I see that few, if any, writings on this issue from a gay father / gay dad point of view exist.  However, you will find multiple results on straight couples and biological mothers having the same scenario play out in their worlds.

Ultimately, I think it’s safe to say, we’re not alone.  This isn’t a gay dad issue.  This isn’t a loss of motherhood issue.  It’s a toddler learning vocabulary, and that’s ok, mommy and all.

 

 

The Top 4 Worst Things You Can Ask An Adoptive Parent

gay-parent-stupid-questionsAfter we welcomed our son into our home via adoption, we entered a limbo time.  While we had full custody and the parental rights had been surrendered, there are all kinds of insecurities you face when you are alone with your thoughts.  Once the adoptions were final, I was amazed that love truly makes you a paranoid freak.

Is he breathing?  Will that person touching him after they smoked a cigarette give him cancer?  What if I drop him?  What if someone else drops him?  What if I’m driving in the car and his carseat cushion expands like a roasted marshmallow and and encompasses him into a smothering abyss?  Crazy thoughts, I tell ya!

While the paranoia subsides, there are still things I’m shocked people ask adoptive (especially gay adoptive) parents.  Some of the questions/comments enflame the paranoia while others are just stupid.  Here are a few of my biggest head-scratchers.

1.  ”What if his mom changes her mind?”  Or other variations like, “Can she take him back” or “What happens if she shows up and wants him?”

Does the answer to the question truly help you sleep better at night?  We just bumped into each other at the grocery store, and I see you maybe once every two years.  Obviously, we aren’t close enough for you to even know I adopted, so why would this knowledge even matter to you?  This question’s answer is exactly what every adoptive parent fears most in the deepest, darkest recesses of our minds.  While our adoptions are ironclad, we can’t help but worry.  Your question puts us in the worst defensive mode we have, saying, “Oh, no that can’t happen,” and then you continue to delve deeper.  Please, just shut up.  Really.

2.  ”Where did he come from?”  Or “Where did you get him?”

Your question’s phrasing makes me want to answer, “Oh, we got him over in the tire department at Kmart.”  He’s not an item you just go pick up somewhere.  His origin isn’t as important as the love we have for him as our own.  Sure, it’s ok to ask, “So, tell me the story of how you all became a family?”  This type of question tells adoptive parents you care more than just what country or state he’s from, plus, we love to tell this story over and over.

3.  ”What is he?”

Yes, we have heard this rude question.  Many adoptive parents have children of a different pigment or culture.  If a child looks Hispanic or African American, then assume he is and leave it there.  What he is, is our son.  We forget he has curly hair and dark skin.  What he is, is a tiny, important human.

4.  ”How much did you pay for him?”

I can’t even explain or try to help anyone understand how stupid this question is.  If you don’t get why this one is out of line, perhaps you shouldn’t speak.

Now candidly, we know gay parents are a rarity in today’s world and no one should be afraid to discovery more.  Many of us would love help build a bridge and help you become more understanding of our challenges and needs.  When trying to strike up a conversation, consider some of these questions instead.

  • Tell me about how you were able to connect with your child?
  • At what point did he enter your family?
  • What was the process like?
  • So, tell me the story of how you all became a family?

At the end of it all however, the very best thing you can say to any adoptive parent is…

“Wow, you guys look just alike,” even if we know you’re lying :)

 After writing this post, it was shared in several spaces.  Other adoptive parents weighed in with horrible questions that deserve an addition to the list.

“Did she use drugs when she was pregnant with him?”

“Was he a crack baby?”

“Are you going to tell her she’s adopted?”

“Are your children siblings?”

“Is that your grandchild?”

For the surrogate father or mothers, “Which one of you is the real dad/mom?”

Tufts University Gay Dads Study

Please take the following survey.  It takes as little as 5 minutes or as much as 35 based on how much narrative you give.  No narrative required.  Please cite, Nashville Gay Parents as your source.  http://www.lives-of-fathers.org/