Friday, March 7, 2008
In Which I Regale You With Stories of India
India was a trip. I went because I'm a world traveler, sweethearts. I went to tear up some stuff. Also to visit my dad, who is a nurse there.
But seriously, I stayed out of trouble and chilled out a bunch. I visited many a tomb, and paid some respect to the big dude himself, Guatama Buddha. I left him some rupees in a gesture of thanks.
I felt a universe away from New York. First of all, Indians are way calmer than New Yorkers. I loved the calm. When I flew back to NYC I realized how calm I felt and was sort of startled by the feeling. What's this strange sensation? Or rather, lack of sensation? I am somehow devoid of that clenching tightness in my gut... Dear god what's wrong with me??
I tried to keep it that way, but the calmness slipped away, like I knew it would. Nothing is permanent.
E didn't join me, for a few reasons. So I went with my brother, which was rad. He's a good travel partner. Except for when he woke me on the flight home, harshing my Ambien-fueled mellow. I forgave him though, because he is hilarious and obliged when I demanded that he entertain me.
One of my favorite pasttimes while traveling abroad is observing how non-Americans parent their kids. Indian people loooooooove their kids. Like, a lot. I never saw so much kissing and squeezing and ruffling of small heads.
Because so many people don't have money, and the traffic congestion is indescribable, many families use motorcycles as their primary means of transportation. Mom, dad, baby on board. It's awesome. Baby is usually squished between mom and dad, looking chill.
Now, I imagine if these families had the means, they, too, would drive large safe automobiles with appropriate-facing baby seats in the back. But that's just not possible, so they do what they can to get around.
It gives one a touch of perspective. I have a friend who RENTS A CAR whenever she travels through Manhattan with her baby. She does this because "the subway is too loud for the baby," and "cab drivers are too reckless for a baby."
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for ensuring the safety of your offspring. But so much of this American-style parenting is just self-inflicted nonsense. We buy shit and stress the fuck out and buy shit and coddle and that's what makes us feel like good, responsible parents. I so hope to avoid this when E and I become parents. I cling to that hope.
In other news, I'm trying to figure out how to become a legal parent to Le Fetus once she's no longer a Fetus.
E reminded me the other day that I need to adopt her when she becomes a squirming reality. I was like, "Oh yeah. Adopt my kid. That little thing."
I asked her if I could just go to the hospital dressed as a boy and ask them to list me as "Father" on the birth certificate. She didn't like the idea, so I'm forced to navigate the treacherous waters of second-parent adoption. I have no idea where to begin, of course, so like anyone faced with a large-scale dilemma, I googled that shiz. When how do I adopt my kid and I'm not my child's legal parent, help and finally bullshit bureaucracy second parent adoption yielded nothing save for policy articles and HRC's less than helpful page on state-by-state adoption laws, I started getting annoyed.
1. What up with all the policy pieces on gay parents? The American Academy of Pediatrics published one of the plethora of detailed policy reviews in which the notion that both parents ought to have legal custody of the child they are raising together is heartily endorsed. Indeed. Why thank you, AAP, what wisdom you impart. I mean, hey, I'm glad for the vote of confidence. It's helpful to know that a group of pediatricians agree that I should be legally responsible for my child's care.
(By the way I'm just messing with ya. I'm totally glad they wrote it, because Kansas exists. And Mike Huckabee.)
2. How the fuck do I DO it? This information should be completely accessible - I'm talking detailed instructions, the step by step on how to accomplish the goal of adoption. Instead, I get policy articles and websites telling me YES! CONGRATULATIONS, NEW YORKER, YOU MAY ADOPT YOUR CHILD. Yes, but how?
Anyway, enough bitching. It just feels bizarre to have to adopt my own kid. It is so beyond the scope of my imagination that Americans live without civil rights. And we just suck it right up and do it. I have friends who live in other, scarier states, and tell me how grateful I should be that my state even allows second-parent adoption.
Um, grateful? Should New York get a cookie? In New York, an MSW gets to decide if I can be my kid's legal parent. That makes me feel...less than grateful. But what choice do I have? I will do it and move on, because at least it's not fucking Oklahoma.