Last Wednesday, the US House Appropriations Committee added an amendment to a government funding bill that would allow child welfare agencies to discriminate against potential adoptive parents based on the agencies religious belief. The bill was designed to specifically target the LGBTQ community, although the vague wording means that single parents, atheists, people who have been divorced, people of the wrong faith, and basically everyone else could be targeted by this. This piece of news jumped out from all the other insanity and immediately forced me to rethink my life plan.
I have always known that having children was what I wanted in life. I feel very drawn to have a family of my own. I have been careful my whole life so that my family is planned for exactly when I am ready and capable. The House Appropriations Committee has now decided that I am tainted and unqualified to have the family that I have yearned for since I was a child, and now, I mourn for the family I will never get to call my own.
You may be thinking to yourself, well, this is a bi female writer, she should just have her own biological children if she wants a family so bad! While technically, I could birth my own children, it is something I have been adamantly against for myself for many years and I decided long ago that was not how my story would play out. I have fought over this possibility for a decade at least, and time and time again I know the guilt I would feel around having my own biological children.
You may be wondering, why is she so against birthing her own family if it's something she so desperately wants? Because my genes are not something I am willing to pass down to another human, simply for the sake of having a family. My genes are incredibly problematic and would, without a doubt, create a very difficult life for the children I would have.
I'm not willing to risk my children having schizophrenia or epilepsy. I've struggled with my own epilepsy long enough to know it is not something I would want another person to have to endure, especially not for my own selfish desires. I have watched my brother's life spiral out of control and I see how unable he is to have any semblance to a normal life due to his schizophrenia, and it is not something I am willing to chance.
This is why I was completely set and guilt-free about adopting or fostering my own children one day. If the kids I took in already had these setbacks, then I would be prepared to assist them. They would already be stuck on this planet with their ailments and I will be in the ideal position to help. Creating more children with these issues is simply unnecessary.
I have been going back and forth for years about whether I want to foster, adopt, or potentially both. No matter which option, I always knew that I would be building my own family with children in need of a home. As a kid who had several adopted families growing up in lieu of my broken home, I know that any child I took in would be a child who I would love unconditionally as my own.
For years, I have been breaking my back to fight for this future of mine that I have imagined and dreamed of. I have spent my nights studying ferociously so that I could graduate from college and be educated (with a degree to back it) enough to impress an agency, and to be the brilliant mother my children could come to with questions on their homework. I have worked myself raw so that my entire adult life, I have been completely financially stable and independent so that I could continue to build my nest egg of savings so that when I was ready for my family, I would be able to pursue this expensive need weighing on my heart. Part of the reason I chose my major for college, sociology, was so I could properly understand my children and whatever background they may face.
Now, I'm left here mourning the family I may never have. I may never get to come home from work to a room full of glowing faces asking me about my day. I may never get to experience the joy and pride in teaching my child to ride a bike. I may never spend a night holding my child close and comforting them as they fear a monster hiding under their bed. I may never get to soothe the broken heart of my child's first relationship ending. I may never get to stand behind my child making goofy faces as they are being punished by my partner. I may never get to pay for a wedding to welcome another person into my family as my own. I may never get to tell someone that I will always love, support, and accept them exactly as they are. I may never have my own family.
This idea that I have based my life around is now just a small possibility that may easily be denied once I am ready to pursue it. Maybe there are some loopholes I can find to sneak my family into existence. Maybe I'll have to stalk the high schools for pregnant teenagers not wanting to keep their baby, or get a house near a fire station baby abandonment and convince them to let me take one. Maybe I'll marry a man and lie about my very existence just to be seen as someone who is worthy of being a mother.
I am not the only one in mourning right now, seeing politicians actively trying to deny children loving homes should have us all mourning.
We should be mourning, it is disgusting that anyone would put their bigoted agenda ahead of the needs of children, but now is also the time to fight back. We need to keep this amendment out of the final bill. Now is not the time to assume that this will just take care of itself, ten states have already passed similar bills. Now is the time to take a stand. Now is the time to get involved.
Call you representatives, put pressure on your government, countless organizations including the ACLU and Lambda Legal are fighting this on both the state and federal level, do your research, and educate others. We cannot let this amendment become law.
I don't know what will happen in the end, I know that my vision for the future is under threat and more importantly my heart breaks for the children who are seeking families that will potentially be denied the opportunity to have one. I feel this aching and it reminds me of the strength that I still hold. I will use this fire of rage and betrayal to fight harder for my family, to prove that I deserve the family I have always dreamed of.