Brought to you in partnership with the American Military Partner Association: Connecting, supporting, honoring, and serving the partners and spouses of America’s LGBT servicemembers and veterans – our nation’s “silent heroes.”
Happy Father’s Day. These are the words I’ll finally be able to tell my partner of 10 years and words I’ll get to hear from friends and family. I’m the oldest of three and the last one to finally become a dad. I’ve known I wanted to be a father for a long time, and after meeting my partner, I knew it’s something that could become a reality. A few years ago in my previous assignment, we contemplated the idea of adoption, but DADT kept us from seriously pursuing it. I figured the process would eventually lead me to having to expose it to someone and would lead to an investigation that would lead to being discharged. It was something I wasn’t sure we would be able to do while being in the military. I had learned to accept that while in the military, we couldn’t start a family. As much as we wanted a family, it would be difficult for me to leave the career that I’ve enjoyed. I also didn’t think it was fair to have to quit serving my country so that I could also have a family. So many others are able to have a family and serve, yet I felt this was denied to me because of who I love.
Immediately after the repeal of DADT, the fear of being discharged quickly started to fade. I no longer felt I had to be so cautious with every move I made. I could make decisions in my life without worrying if someone would find out about my family. I finally felt it was the right time for us to begin looking into adoption and soon began the process in our state of California. This process began at the beginning of 2011 and now a year and a half later, we will be receiving a baby girl only a couple of days before Father’s Day and a couple of weeks before my partner’s birthday. What a blessing it is to be so lucky to be able to bring a baby into our lives!
One interesting challenge has been with the Child Development Center (CDC). Soon after finding out that there was a baby matched with us, I submitted an application at the CDC. I originally filled out the application as “single” since I was unsure how to mark it since we are not currently allowed to “marry” (although we are in a domestic partnership). After discussing my hesitation to mark my status as single, I changed my status to “Military/other than DOD spouse” which I was told fits my situation. What was interesting about making this marking on the application is that it actually changed my priority above single military personnel since single military person who don’t have a spouse are in higher need of daycare. This makes sense and I completely agree. I just think it’s interesting that the CDC was ok with me saying that I have a spouse yet my military records all state that I’m single. It’s very frustrating as for a long time I’ve had to pretend that I was single. Now that I don’t have to hide my family anymore, my official records don’t account for the special person in my life that has been through deployments and two PCS moves with me. I’m sure there will be more interesting issues I’ll deal with when the adoption finally comes through. One of the things that I’ll be able to do is claim the baby as a military dependent. It will be interesting and challenging figuring out how to deal with the child having the benefits that come with that while my partner is excluded from them. As excited I am that DADT is behind us, I can’t wait until my spouse can receive all the benefits and privileges of all other military spouses.
I know that we’re not the only ones that are dealing with bringing a baby into our family or dealing with how to do this post DADT. I am sure that the future will bring us happiness and I’m excited to start a new chapter in our lives without DADT hanging over us. I’ll now be working through the new challenges of being a gay military father.