Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by hopeful adoptive parents, Carrie & Sarah Reinhardt about their thoughts and experiences involving the recent decision by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriages.
When IAC asked if we wanted to do a blog post for them, we jumped at the opportunity to share our thoughts, experiences, and feelings on recent events surrounding marriage equality; and how our future child was a part of it every step of the way.
On August 13, 2011, in our home state of NJ, we were joined in a beautiful Civil Union ceremony, followed by a reception with over 100 family and friends. To us, in our minds and to those in attendance, we were “married.” ’That will always be the date we celebrate as our anniversary. While we were very much appreciative that we lived in a state who provided same-sex couples with the same rights and privileges as married heterosexual couples, the moment we stepped foot over state lines, our Civil Union meant nothing in a legal sense, unless we were in a “friendly” state such as Massachusetts who would honor the recognition. Any time we went on a road trip to visit friends or on a family vacation, there was always the discussion around “Do we have all the documents packed?” referring of course to the legal documentation, such as living wills, to protect us in the event of a medical emergency. I can stay that it’s quite unnerving to have different rights as a couple and family depending on the state you are in.
In June 2013 when the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down, we were elated for our brothers and sisters who enjoyed marriage equality in their home state, and were now able to also do so at the federal level. But there was also a sense of sadness in that after nearly 10 years, we were still fighting the battle here in NJ. We’ve both always been a strong supporter of local and national organizations advocating for legislature in support of marriage equality. At this point, it wasn’t a matter of if, but when.
Although not yet legal in NJ, on October 7, 2013, we were married in NY when the state ruled that non-residents were allowed to do so. The scene in Town Hall was unreal. There were same sex couples from all over the country, different ages, some together for as long as 50 years! Two weeks later, on October 21, 2013, the day marriage equality finally came to NJ, along with eight other couples, we were married by the Mayor of Maplewood in a communal ceremony. At the time, we were just starting the adoption process, so moments like this now took on an entirely different meaning. As much as this was about legal protection and equality for us as a couple, it was also about setting an example for the child we would be raising in the future. We wanted them to be able to see their parents be a part of progress in our state and country. We also wanted them to see that although we were not a family yet, we were always doing things with them in mind. We wanted our child to know the security that their family, in every way, shape, and form, was equal to all others in the eyes of their state and federal government.
Whatever passion(s) our child has, we want them to know that although they are one person, their impact can be great. Just as with marriage equality, the adoption process can be a long and an emotionally challenging journey. But in the end, the result is life changing.
For more about Carrie & Sarah, as well as additional blog posts, you can visit their adoption sites at: www.modernfamilynj.com and www.iheartadoption.org/users/reinhardtcs
For more on the article about the October 7, 2013, communal marriage ceremony in NJ, visit here.