Short Story

30 05 2013

I was asked to give a short statement about why I believe in equality to Fair is Fair Montana. Here is what I wrote:

Grabbe 3 sepia

“For most of my life, I believed that homosexuality was both a choice and a sin. I was raised in a very conservative church and state in the south. About ten years ago, I began to have a switch in my thinking. I realized that what I had always been taught about homosexuality did not mesh with what I was learning to be true in my relationships with gay friends. My faith is very important to me, so I was still confused about how to rectify the scriptures regarding homosexuality. At that point I began my own research of what the bible really says about homosexuality. I was very surprised to find out what I had been taught and had believed most of my life was not even close to the truth. My faith has grown so much through this journey.
As life usually happens, the rug was swept out from under neath me during this process as my own son told us that he is bisexual. I regret that he didn’t feel comfortable coming out earlier due to my own homophobia. He had to carry that burden alone for many years. I am very grateful to be his Mom and to fight along side him for equality. I have three American children who are all proud Montanans. I believe that all three of my children should have the same rights. That is why I speak up for equality in the great state of Montana which I dearly love.”


I am a hypocrite Part II

8 05 2013

This is a harder post to write than the last one. I have felt I should write this one for a while, but keep putting it off. Looks like today is the day to face it. I don’t know how you will feel about me after you read this.

Many years back, before my own son had come out, and while I was still in a place of not understanding same-sex attraction at all, I had a call from a friend. She had spent some time with a mutual friend of ours. During their visit, our friend had opened up and revealed to her that she is bisexual. I can still remember the moment my friend shared this taboo secret with me, my heart skipped a beat, I broke out into a sweat. I went to a really weird place. All of these years later, I really don’t understand my reaction. Maybe now, now that I know so much more about sexuality, I understand it even less. Fear – it was fear that suddenly gripped me.

I wish I knew what I was afraid of. This friend had talked of visiting me, and my mind immediately when to a place of coming up with reasons why the visit would not work. See, this is where I am confused. This is a common reaction with straight people, and I was obviously no exception. Why do we think people who are not straight are sexually different from ourselves. The assumption is often made that they will want to sleep with anyone and everyone. As I sit here and think of all of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who I now call my friends – this assumption is laughable and absurd. Sex is the same for them. It is not what they devote their entire life to, no different from a straight person. Sex is just a part of the equation, not the whole relationship.

I wish I could tell you that I loved my friend the same and began trying to understand what this “bisexual” word meant. I did not. I unfriended her on Facebook, and separated myself from her completely. Yes – I am THAT person. The bigot, the hypocrite, the “better than you” straight person.

Do you believe in Karma? Well, believe it or not. it was about 6 months after this that my own son would come out as bisexual. Who do you think I refriended and went to for advice and help? Yes – my friend who I had turned my back on just a few short months prior to this. You know what my friend did? She forgave me, and loved me anyway. Even though I did not show her unconditional love in my ignorance, she didn’t hesitate to receive me back into her life. We have had several conversations since then, and honestly, as much as I should release myself from the guilt, it still remains. I don’t beat myself up about it everyday – but in some ways I always want to remember. Now, when I am treated badly for taking a stand for LGBTQ friends and family, I remember that was me not too very long ago who was doing the judging. Life has a funny way of coming back around.

I wanted to write this blog because I don’t want to come across as someone who is all loving. I try to be, but I considered myself a loving person back then too. I have come a long way, but I am sure that I still have a ways to go. I have not always been open and accepting of the LGBTQ community. I ask your forgiveness and also ask that you remember this story when someone turns their back on you. It isn’t over until the fat lady sings – and I am singing now baby!!!

I am a hypocrite – Part 1

5 05 2013

I talk about loving our children unconditionally, but I have not totally done it. We had a child, I don’t know if have or had is appropriate here. Anyway, a very long time ago, before we had any children of our own, we met four kids. They actually rented a house across the street from where we lived while I was in college. Their mom was a single mom and had her hands full. Over time, those kids became a staple at our house.

We grew to love all four of them and it was hard not to, they were cute and were a bit like lost puppies. I don’t want to be totally negative here, but their mom was not a very “motivated” person. For instance, it seemed to me that she needed a job that paid better than what she was receiving on welfare, so I helped her do all of the paperwork for college. Drove her to college myself to meet advisors and do applications. She ended up with a free ride – everything paid for, yet dropped out half way through the semester. She wasn’t much into improving her life, so to speak.

So, back to the kids. They often showed up dirty and hungry. Taking baths and eating meals became a pretty regular thing at our house. I was in school full-time and Sean didn’t make a ton of money, so it was interesting feeding all of us sometimes. I can remember making pancakes with water instead of milk, and not getting full sometimes. Once I graduated college we moved, but we still kept in contact with the kids. About once a month two of them would come to stay the weekend with us, they took turns and the system worked pretty well. Things for them had gotten much worse after they didn’t have our house to escape to plus their mom was back into doing drugs. Stopping at the drug store to get the lice kit on our way home became the norm.

One evening we got an abrupt phone call. It was their mom’s sister informing us that their mom was entering rehab the next day. They wanted to know if we would take two of the four kids and it was for an undetermined amount of time. The sister and her family were going to take the other two kids. Sean and I talked about it and called back and said we would. Now, as I type this, I am wondering which two children we were initially taking? It doesn’t really matter because the next day I headed off to work and Sean headed off to pick them up, only when he got there the sister had changed her mind and Sean brought home four kids. So,  here we were, 22 years old with four kids. Those first months were crazy. I don’t even remember them well, but the kids were all going to school and we were working and Sean was also going to school and our lives suddenly changed forever.

True to form, if you have lived very long you know life is not usually what we expect, I found out I was pregnant within a few months of the kids coming to stay with us. We knew that what we did not want for our new baby was to be born into this chaos. After much prayer and discussion, we called the family. We told them that we wanted to keep one of the older girls and they would need to find placement for the others. We had a couple of reasons for this. I don’t want to break some confidence, so just for the sake of a name, let’s call her Cathy. Cathy has cerebral palsy. She was thriving with her new schedule of consistent therapy, something she had never had before, and she was doing very well. Emotionally she seemed the most stable and she had a very sweet spirit about her. Bottom line though, we knew she would be the hardest of the four kids for them to place and we loved her very much.

So, the kids all went to other relatives over the next month and we had Cathy and we were excited to also welcome a new baby into the family. We bought a house, we moved, Sean quit school and went to work full-time, and we were cruising along. I can still remember the day my baby girl was born. I was worried. I don’t know if I verbalized this to anyone, but I held that baby and looked at her and I had so much love in my heart, I worried if I could love Cathy this much? I never wanted to be a mom who favored one child over the other. I had witnessed that in other families and it was not a pretty sight.

What happened that day was amazing though. When Cathy was brought up to see the baby I didn’t know how I would feel, but when she came in and got up in bed with us and held her sister, my heart swelled. I did not love her less. She was mine and I loved her with my entire heart. I was so relieved.

Well, if you have lived very long then you know that life is only smooth for a little while. (notice a theme yet?!) When our baby was about four months old, and we were exhausted and trying to survive two children, one with special needs, I found out I was expecting another bundle of joy! I cried this time. But I got over the shock and fear and life moved forward. The adoption came through and we always joked that we had 3 kids in 2 years. But it wasn’t all fun and games.

As the baby began to get older, Cathy began to lash out at her. I guess it would be normal for a kid who had been through so much to have anger and need to vent, and Lord knows that she had never been taught appropriate ways to cope from her birth mom. She had been in therapy almost from the beginning so we just thought we could work this out. The therapist was baffled though. I now have my suspicions that she had attachment disorder. The symptoms seem to fit, but I am not therapist.

We tried so hard to work it out and figure out how to keep her. After two very serious attempts to kill her younger sister though, we had no choice. We had been told by child protective services that if we had not adopted her then they would step in. Basically, since their job is to protect the children, if we asked them to help, they would take our younger two children away since they were the ones who were in danger. Yep, as usual, the government was no help.

It was truly a God thing, we found a Children’s Home that would take her and they worked on donations, so we could actually afford it. (We had found placements, but most of them were about $600 a day) Cathy lived there for the next six years. We went to visit her every few months and she thrived. She learned spanish and went with groups on mission trips across the border to Mexico and became one of their favorite interpreters.

After many years and several home visits we brought Cathy back home. Things went well for a while and then the anger and out bursts came back. This time she was threatening to kill me as well. It was a tense situation. I won’t go into all of the phone calls and trying to figure this one out, but eventually she ended up going back to her birth mom who had gotten her life together. Eventually all the kids ended up back near or with their mom.

So, this brings us to the beginning again and why I am a hypocrite. I talk about loving our children unconditionally, but I don’t think I did that with Cathy. I tried to love her and maybe the bottom line is that love wasn’t enough. I just could not keep talking about unconditional love on this blog and not come clean about my own truth. There is a woman out in the world today that still has my last name, yet I do not speak to her or about her. It is like she never existed. Yet, she did, and she called me Mom.