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Nov 2013 PFLAG Newsletter

Nov 2013 PFLAG Newsletter

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Published by Julie Christiano
Monthly LGBT news, human interest articles, and meeting information
Monthly LGBT news, human interest articles, and meeting information

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Published by: Julie Christiano on Nov 08, 2013
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November 2013
Buffalo / Niagara
PO Box 617 Buffalo, NY 14207 716-883-0384 info@pflagbuffalo.org www.pflagbuffalo.org www.facebook.com/pflag.niagara
We meet because we have learned that someone very close to us is Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgendered. We try to help one another deal with this information in a positive manner. Although we do not agree at all times, we try to be understanding. We offer help to those who seek it, but do not force ourselves on others. We strive to maintain anonymity while sharing on a level that is comfortable for all of us. We encourage all to attend meetings for their own benefit as well as that of the group. It is our hope that when each of us reaches a point of understanding and acceptance, we realize that this is when others need us the most.
Monthly Meeting Schedule
Sunday, November 17, 2013
4:30 PM Kenilworth United Church of Christ 45 Dalton Drive - Tonawanda, NY 14223 Special guests Jill A Apa and Eric C. Naegely from the law firm of Damon & Morey will discuss the ramifications of the Windsor decision (overturning of DOMA). As always, newcomers will be offered the alternative of meeting privately with a PFLAG parent. The church is located two blocks west of Niagara Falls Boulevard at the corner of Decatur Rd and Dalton Dr. Decatur runs off of Niagara Falls Boulevard about 0.8 miles south of Sheridan Drive and about 0.8 miles north of Kenmore Ave. Our monthly meetings are in the library, which is near the parking lot entrance. The facility is handicap accessible. SAVE THE DATE
Sunday, December 8, 2013
2:30 pm
Brian and Ann Carrier’s home
 127 Wyeth Drive
 Getzville, NY Our December meeting will be the annual holiday party hosted by board members Brian and Ann Carrier. Kindly RSVP by
December 1, 2013 
 by calling the Helpline at 883-0384.
New Parents Meetings
are scheduled as needed at a location convenient to those involved. These self-help one-on-one meetings deal with the concerns of parents and family members who have recently learned that a loved one is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender.
Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Buffalo/Niagara, is a non-profit, all volunteer, community-based organization not affiliated with any ethnic, religious, economic, or political group. Membership is open to all. PFLAG membership lists are kept confidential and mailings are sent in plain envelopes.
Page 2 PFLAG Buffalo/Niagara
screening October 20, 2013 at the Central Library with our new friends from PFLAG Toronto- President Irene Miller and husband Gary (far right).
Op-ed: Alec Mapa Explains The Joys of Being an Adoptive Parent
By Alec Mapa, The Advocate
Happy National Adoption Month! At our home, the month is not a traditional gay holiday time like How-can-I-turn-my underpants-into-a-costume? Halloween or Hi-Mom-and-Dad, this is my
 “roommate” Thanksgiving, but it’s a big gay deal around our house. In November of 2009,
during National Adoption Month, our social worker showed my husband and me a picture of a 5-year-old African-American boy in foster care. The boy who would become our son. We had thought long and hard about all the ways we could become parents and decided that adopting through foster care was the best and most desirable option. We briefly considered surrogacy, but everyone in my family is a chemically depressed, tortured genius of some kind. Unleashing that kind of DNA just seemed unnecessarily cruel and expensive. I asked my
husband if he wanted to make anyone pregnant. His breezy reply: “Nah, I’d rather keep trying with you for free.” 
 During a fact-finding seminar we learned these grim statistics: At any one given time there are nearly 400,000 kids in foster care. One hundred thousand of them will not be reunited with their parents and are up for adoption. Today. Sixty-five percent of foster kids who age out of the system, emancipate with no place to live. Fifty-one percent are unemployed. Fewer than three percent go to college. Forty percent of people living in homeless shelters are former
foster children, and a monstrously disproportionate percentage of our nation’s prison
population is made up of former foster youth. All because some kid, through no fault of their own, had no place to land. During a foster-adopt seminar we heard about an 18-year-old girl, a straight-A student on her way to college and about to age out of the system. She still wanted to be adopted. When asked
why, she said, “I’m going off to college. Don’t you think I’d still want a family to go home to
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’ 
s ours.
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

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