November 2013 Page 3
during Thanksgiving or Christmas? Don’t you think I’d still want someplace where I felt I belonged?”
We completed the required six-week parenting course, our home passed the safety inspection, we got certified in CPR and first aid, and miraculously we passed our FBI background check. I
was worried. I mean, it’s not like I’ve robbed a bunch of liquor stores, but I have a past and it’s
colorful. We became certified foster-adopt parents and our social worker told us about Zion. The minute
we saw his picture we knew he was our kid. There’s no rational explanation for how we knew.
Staring at his picture felt like falling into the future. Cherubic and cheeky, he looked directly into the camera, confident and mischievous. As if he were about to impart a delicious secret we were dying to hear.
At 5 years old, a child’s chance of being placed drops drastically. These disma
l odds also apply to siblings, children of color, and self-identified LGBT youth. None of that occurred to my
husband and me when we saw Zion’s picture. We just knew that this kid, described to us as
creative, affectionate, expressive, resilient, and spirited, was ours, and we had to meet him immediately. We agreed to meet him and then, one day, later we were told that we were out of the picture.
A relative stepped forward and volunteered to be Zion’s legal guardian. Thanksgiving sucked
that year. Christmas was mournful. In January our social worker presented us with another potential case, which we both turned
down. We just didn’t feel the same way about this kid that we did about Zion. Our social worker said, “Let me check on Zion’s situation. I’ll call you back in 10 minutes.” She called back 10 minutes later, breathless, “The placement with Zion’s relative has been a complete disaster.
You have to come pick him up tonight at 6."
And that’s how we became dads. We picked him up, took him home, and nine m
onths later he was legally ours.
Three years later, Zion is a class clown who loves sports and science. He’s spoiled by an army
of extended family, drag aunties, gay uncles, lesbian aunties, and transgender showgirls. It takes a Village People. Culturall
y, he’s a fascinating jumble of fabulousness. He’s a fearless athlete who likes pretty
girls and show tunes. He can swing a bat and do a Carol Channing impersonation. He drives me
nuts, but I light up whenever he walks into a room. I just can’t believe he’
People often remark, “He’s so lucky.” I know they mean well, but it always feels like a slight against him. The truth is we’re lucky. There’s nothing I can give my child that compares to all he’s given me. Being a parent requires so much kindness,
patience, and understanding, and I
don’t possess any of those qualities. Being a parent is my last chance to become a better
person. Fingers crossed.
I’ll be speaking about foster adoption in Chicago (November 18), Los Angeles (November 20),
Kansas City (November 21), New York (December 3), and San Francisco (December 5) this holiday season on behalf of RaiseAChild.US. RaiseAChild.US is a nonprofit organization that