National Adoption Month: Falyn’s Story
November 18, 2009
“Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Family” is a series of conversations and blog posts celebrating National Adoption Month. This post in the series comes from Falyn, a part time teacher and masters student in early childhood special education. Falyn was adopted by a lesbian couple at the age of 13. I ended up in the system when I was just under 13 years old. My mother had ended her own life after years of depression and paranoid schizophrenia. My father had passed away of natural causes just 11 months prior. I was considered an orphan and had absolutely no family interested in claiming me. At 13 years I was not considered particularly adoptable. I had been neglected my entire life, but I took care of myself well enough to fall under the radar. I found the adult approval I needed by excelling in school. I wasn’t a bad kid, but no one wants a 13 year old. I began the process of getting passed around to places that were willing to temporarily have me. I remember the day my social worker came to my school. I figured I was getting the final news of a group home. This was an option I did not want to consider and still believe things would have gone downhill had I been placed in one. Instead, my caseworker had some good news. There was a family that was willing to meet me and consider a long-term placement. There was a single catch that she was unsure about my reaction towards. The family, which would include an older brother and sister, was headed by a lesbian couple. While my birth parents had their issues, they raised me in the typical hippy fashion to love first and make necessary judgments later. I was definitely more than willing to meet these people. I moved in with Diana and Jeane the day after I finished the seventh grade. As expected, there was an adjustment period for both the family and me. We worked through the bumps until it quickly began to feel like I had lived there my whole life. This is family and I truly believe they saved my life. I am often asked, in many different contexts, what it’s like to have had straight parents for half my childhood and gay parents for the second half. My answer is extremely biased. My straight parents had mental illness and were neglectful. My gay parents are emotionally stable and have provided me far beyond the basic needs. I have a different relationship to having gay parents than my brother and sister, who were without parents their entire lives. I am extremely passionate about the fact that my parents are gay and amazing parents. Nevertheless, there is a so-called coming-out process for the children of gay parents. Obviously, there have been more comfortable situations to bring it up in and less comfortable situations to “out” your family. In many situations, the sexuality of my parents has nothing to do with what I am doing as an individual; just as the height and weight of a child’s parents doesn’t affect everything the child does. I am very open about how I ended up having the parents I have and I tend to start a conversation saying that. I also encourage questions, as most people haven’t directly encountered this sort of family make-up. Overall, my family is almost annoyingly normal. My parents are very much in love. I have siblings that I may or may not be getting along with at any given point in our lives. We take vacation. We would make bad decisions as teenagers and face the consequences. We were guided, but not pushed. We are a typical family. If you are thinking about adopting a child, especially an older child, know that you will be making a huge difference for that child and giving them the chance to have a solid, stable family so they can achieve and succeed in life.
May 17, 2013