adoption

Leelah Alcorn and Too Many Lost Children

January 8, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

leelah alcorn - designerdaddy.com

Two stories. Two lost children.

A girl born in a boy’s body, into a family not willing to see her.

Leelah was born Joshua. By her account (now removed, but not silent) she opened up her deepest, most intimate self to those that brought her into the world – those that protected, clothed and fed her. Yet they only saw a him — the him they created 17 years prior — and would see nothing else. They sent her to counselors who did nothing of the kind; and in spite of that, she still stood by her new self. And since those that made her could not have their boy, they removed all she held dear: her school, her friends, her connections, the things that helped her stand.

So she ran from her 17 years, and she fell and didn’t get back up.

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Designer Daddy’s Top 14 Blog Posts of 2014

January 2, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

DESIGNER DADDY'S TOP 14 BLOG POSTS OF 2014

A lot of people seem to be glad 2014 is behind us — in a hurry to forget all about it. Certainly it had its share of frustration, failure and loss. But there was also plenty of good I want to remember. I interviewed an author I’d grown up reading, wrote some movie-related stuff, shilled for the enemy, won Halloween, defended manliness (for mature audiences only), reviewed some children’s books, gave advice to parents of gay kids, added a buttload of magnets to my fridge, attended a couple of conferences, and helped raise over $35,000 for a dear friend in need.

And somewhere in there, I found time to write other things. Personal, soapboxy, silly and celebratory things. These are my 14 favorite blog posts of 2014, in chronological order.

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Top 10 Unpublished Posts of 2014

December 28, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

Top 10 Unpublished Blog Posts of 2014

Not long ago I was whining to my posse of dad bloggers that I had started writing several different posts, but then abandoned them in frustration and/or from a general lack of inspiration. Many of my fellow writers could relate, but my pal Zach chimed in that I should create a list of my top 10 unpublished blog posts, with a brief description of what they would have been about.

I loved the idea, but being the indecisive, lazy person that I am, took it a step further to make it into a way to avoid having to decide an interactive opportunity for you, dear reader. So… Can you pretty please help me decide which post I should finish next?

Take a moment and read through the headlines and synopses below, then tell me in the comments which one you’d most like to see finished. Or the one you hate least. Or just tell me they all suck and be done with it. The one with the most votes by midnight January 5 (EST) will be completed and published early in the New Year.

Without further ado, meet my unbirthed word babies…
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Conversations With My Son: Anatomy of a Birthmother

September 18, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

conversations with my son - birthmom anatomy

CONVERSATION COLOR CODE:

Daddy  •  Jon  •  Daddy’s Internal Narration

“Hey buddy, come show me your button guy you made at school.”

Jon runs into the kitchen and squats down beside Button “Guy,” who is magnet-ed to the fridge. He starts pointing to buttons, starting with two (a dark red and a blue) clumped in the middle…

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Conversations With My Son: When Will I Get New Parents?

September 5, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

Conversations With My Son: When Will I Get New Parents?

It had been just under a week since we returned from a cross-country trip to visit our son’s birth parents. It had been just two days since our four-and-a-half year old started in his new preschool class. Papa was out of town, so Jon and I were chatting over dinner about this-and-that: who he knew in his class, how awesome his new cubby was, how he’s decided — after a two year break — to take up napping again, because apparently that’s what one does in Room 3.

I was also thinking ahead to the logistics of letting him have some iPad time, a bath and a story all before bed, while still leaving me a pocket of waking minutes to write.

Seemingly out-of-the-blue, my son asks, “When I gonna get new parents?”

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The 7 Queerest Questions I’ve Been Asked as a Gay Dad

August 20, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

7 Queerest Questions I've Been Asked As A Gay Dad - Designer Daddy

I always imagined myself as a father, but I never imagined being asked questions quite like these.

Perhaps you’re wondering why I went with queerest questions — other than the obvious alliteration and overall cleverness, that is. Because while some of the questions are offensive, some are annoying, and some are downright stupid, they’re not all offensive, annoying or stupid. But they are all queer — as in odd, strange, bizarre. Much like the entire experience of parenting.

Now, if we’re done questioning the queerness of my headline… on with the questions!

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Two and a Half Men Gay Plot: A Good Laugh or Just Laughable?

July 18, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

Two and a Half Men Gay Marry and Adopt

It was reported yesterday that network TV’s longest-running sitcom, Two and a Half Men, will work a “gay” marriage and adoption story into it’s final season. Why the big “gay” quote marks? According to CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler, Ashton Kutcher’s character Walden experiences a health scare that causes him to reexamine his playboy lifestyle. This results in him wanting to adopt a child. So far, not so bad.

Here’s where the quote marks come in handy… The adoption process proves too difficult for Walden as a single, straight dude, so he does the only logical thing —  propose to his hetero housemate, Alan (Jon Cryer). This way they can “gay” adopt a child together.

Two and a Half Men is hardly a critical darling — or on the Mensa required watch list — so perhaps this gimmicky plot isn’t too unexpected.

But then Tassler kept talking. When asked if the network was worried about possible backlash from the LGBT community, she replied,

“I think it’s a very positive statement that, you know what, I am going to adopt a child as a gay couple and the reality is, he can do that. And in a universe where at one point you couldn’t do that and now you can do that, I think that’s a much more positive statement that he’s making.”

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Not only is the storyline a rip-off of the poorly-conceived and -received I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, the justification of it is just plain offensive. Tassler and the shows writers and producers seem too ensconced in their Hollywood bubble to understand the reality of “gay adoption” in America. There are still 28 states where same-sex adoption is either unclearly defined or flat-out illegal. And only 16 countries in the entire world allow joint same-sex adoption — fewer than those allowing same-sex marriage.

While the number and acceptance of LGBT parents in the US continues to grow, there is still widespread prejudice towards queer parents in the US and around the world. Whether it’s questions regarding our ability to raise a child without both genders, or our agenda to influence and recruit a new generation of gays, or the ignorance that equates pedophilia with homosexuality, there is still work to be done.

Even if LGBT adoption were completely legal in all 50 states, the premise of Two and a Half Men‘s last grab for ratings is, at best, juvenile. At worst, akin to blackface. To use another Hollywood production for comparison — while some college students of color do benefit from affirmative action, it doesn’t mean it’s funny (or in good taste) to see a white guy pretend to be black in order to get into Harvard.

If Two and a Half Men show runners want to continue with this ridiculous shtick, I’m not going to waste more time and energy protesting (other than continuing to not watch) — so knock yourself out. Perhaps being exploited by a top-ranking TV show is a sign acceptance of “gay adoption” is on the rise. But don’t kid yourself that this is in any way celebrating LGBT adoption or making any kind of positive statement. Other than that it’s positively insulting.

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Are you a fan of this blog? Then why not upgrade to a groupie?!? Like Designer Daddy on Facebook and receive your very own, autographed 8 x 10 glossy of yours truly! Not really, but it will make me very happy.

 

Fridge Wisdom: Same-Sex Marriage Legal in Oregon!

May 19, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

same-sex marriage legal in Oregon

Oregon: Same-sex marriage legalized May 19, 2014. Weddings commenced immediately!

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In addition to keeping George W. Bush in office, the 2004 U.S. election brought about an avalanche of same-sex marriage bans, in the form of amendments to 13 state constitutions. While overall depressing, most of these were not shocking, as they were in predominantly conservative Southern and Midwestern states.

However, one marriage ban took most by surprise — Oregon. Long considered on par with neighboring Washington’s live-and-let-live liberalism, this defeat sat atop a mountain of disappointment as the rottenest cherry on the worst dessert ever.

Fast-forward 10 years (on the tenth anniversary of the first same-sex weddings performed in the U.S., to be exact) and a federal judge has struck down Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban! With apparently no pending appeals or stays on the horizon, marriage licenses began being issued immediately following the announcement.

I grew up a nomadic military brat, never really having a solid answer to the question “Where are you from?” And while I may not remember being born or living in Illinois for the first year and-a-half of my life, I was deeply moved and even proud when my “home state” legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.

My son may have even fewer ties to the state of his birth, as he only “lived” in Oregon for 2 weeks before we brought him home. Yet I am glad to be able to tell him that daddies and papas (and mommies and mamas) can now get married in “Portyand,” just like his Daddy and Papa just did in Maryland! Same-sex marriage legal in Oregon

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Every time a country or US state legalizes same-sex marriage, I post a photo of a magnet from either my fridge or that of a reader. Take a look at some of the previous magnet posts!

Same-sex marriage legal in Oregon.

Do Gay Dads Celebrate Mother’s Day?

May 9, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF

do gay dads celebrate mothers day

Gay men have always had complicated relationships with women. Whether it’s the first girl’s heart we break, the best friend’s boyfriend we steal, or the mothers we disappoint — even without the complexities of a physical relationship (although those do happen from time-to-time), our interaction with the fairer sex can be rather difficult to navigate.

This is particularly true when it comes to gay dads on Mother’s Day.

As one of two fathers of an adopted son, my thoughts about Mother’s Day — and my son’s lack of Mom — have ranged over the years from gut wrenching to indifferent and everything in between. When our infant would make the sound “mama,” we would quickly and (half) jokingly correct him, “No… it’s ‘O-bama!’” Wasn’t there a way we could keep him from ever learning “the M word?”

He came to us through an open adoption, which meant our son would be raised knowing who his birthmother was. It also meant it fell to his Papa and I to communicate with the birthmom several times a year, and even plan annual family visits.

The first couple of visits were some of the most difficult days of my life. Every bit of my insecurity was on the surface, watching and waiting for this woman to do or say something I would take as a sign she hadn’t let go. Or worse yet, that she was somehow planting seeds that would someday cause my son to want her back.

By loving my son and simply being his Dad on a daily/weekly/yearly basis, those fears have dissipated. And while I’m sure there are challenges ahead (my son’s not yet 5), I now stand secure in the fact that I am his parent and nothing can change that. This confidence and security has allowed me to help him know of and celebrate his birthmother in new and ever-evolving ways.

So while she is certainly his biological mother — and we are eternally grateful to her for choosing us as his parents — she is not our son’s “Mother.”

So do we celebrate Mother’s Day? Do any gay fathers celebrate Mother’s Day?

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Designer Daddy’s Greatest Hits of 2013

January 1, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF, MAKING MEMORIES

collage-1

2013 was a pretty monumental year, both personally and blogally(?). So for all of the awesome, new readers I’ve met recently — as well as longtime loyalists — here’s a recap of my favorite posts from the last 12 months!

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