I have been to court very few times. I have been to court only for an acting exercise, to interpret, and to deal with a condo issue. None of them have been great experiences. Court is never fun. It's boring. It's stodgy. It's too stoic for me. If they added some music, a disco ball, and maybe a few costume changes for the judge I might be more excited to go. But no -- there is no music, no glittery lights and just a boring black robe for the judges.
This past Tuesday I went to court again. This time it was fun. Well, maybe fun isn't the right word, but I was looking forward to going.
Tuesday was the day that Derek and I appeared before a judge to start our adoption process. We really didn't know what to expect. Here is what happened.
We arrived early and waited for our lawyer. As we were waiting a 50-something lady came up to us in the hallway and asked if we were the people with the name issue. We didn't know what she was talking about at first. She then explained that she was the judge that would be presiding over our case and thought that we were the couple that submitted the paperwork to adopt twins and petitioned that the babies had "Last Name A-Last Name B" and "Last Name B-Last Name A." Apparently there was some confusion over the order of the last names.
When we finally figured out what she was talking about we told her that we were a different couple. Apparently we were the dopplegangers of the other couple who was also a two dad family with twin boys. The judge smiled at our boys and played with them for a minute before heading off to do judge-y stuff during her recess.
Our lawyer showed up a little while later and found out we could go into the play room. As soon as we entered we locked eyes with the "Last Name Mix Up" couple. There were three men with two babies. (I'm guessing the third man was a friend helping with the twins.) You could see the excitement we had meeting another couple in the same situation. We immediately starting talking about our kids, asking how old they were, and where they were in the adoption process. Turns out this couple used a surrogate in Panama. They live in the gay, trendy area of Chicago and seemed shocked when we told them that we might move to the 'burbs to get a house for the kids. It was then that we realized we might have different parenting styles. Still, it was nice to meet them. Living in a big city we assumed it would be easy to meet other same-sex parents but it has proved to be quite a challenge.
After 10-15 minutes we were called in to meet judge Gillis. She asked us a bunch of questions like how long we were together, do we work, who watches the boys while we work, etc. Basically it was just like a conversation to get to know us. She also knew that we were excited that a law legalizing gay marriage passed in the state senate and is making its way through the House. It was nice to have a judge who supports us.
After talking for a few minutes someone was assigned to our case to basically check that Derek is an upstanding citizen. I'm guessing they'll do things like make sure he's not a felon, isn't a deadbeat dad and doesn't own any Justin Bieber CDs. You know...things that could potentially harm the children. In about six weeks the lawyer and the case worker go back to court to announce Derek is an awesome guy and deserves to legally be the dad. The judge will bang her gavel (well...I'm not sure she really does that) and then Aaron and Jeff will officially have two dads. We'll be a family. I can't wait to celebrate.