Bonnie Aspen – Parenting

“A child in a homosexual home.”

One thing that we probably need to touch on is trying to adopt. There’s a good coming out thing with that.

We started [our adoption effort] when we were in the Bay Area. We went to an adoption agency’s open house, the “dog and pony show.” We were thinking we were going to adopt from Guatemala at that point in time. They showed their little film, handed out their materials, and when they were done, it was questions and answers. I raised my hand and said, “You know, in your film and in your stuff I’m not seeing any gay families. This is the San Francisco Bay Area, what’s up with that?” The woman from the agency absolutely pissed her pants! She’s like, “Well, this is international adoption. We couldn’t knowingly—with foreign governments—place a child in a homosexual home.” Willow and I looked at each other and it was like, “Oh, my God. We are so far out, we didn’t even have a clue we needed to be in.”

Sweetly, the people around the table that were there, that wanted to adopt, started sending us the cards from two agencies. All of them were like, “These two agencies will deal with both of you, and write you up as one of you.” So we did that path. Willow was the “adopter,” because she had this huge great salary. I was going to be the “nanny” that lived in. We were approved and everything. Well, Willow was approved and I was authorized to live in the house. We [ultimately] decided that [doing that] would be really out[side] of integrity, for us. I mean, certainly we’re not saying anything about lesbians or gay men that adopt from foreign countries, and lie to do that. But we decided that we couldn’t start a family based on that lie.

So, we switched from international adoption to domestic adoption, and lost a girl, which was real hard. We were chosen by a 16-year-old, who had just had a baby, [who had decided] for her baby to go to [us]. We were on the way to the hospital and got a call that the mom had changed her mind. Which is, you know, certainly something that happens; but because there’d been a small amount of cocaine involvement, she never got her baby. The baby went to foster care. It had nothing to with us being lesbians. It was a different county [than the one we lived in], so we couldn’t be considered foster parents for [her]. This was a single mom, a 16-year-old momma, [who was herself] born to a 16 year-old momma. So, a single girl, living with her single mother, living with her mother’s mother.

The move [to Spokane] happened right after that. Then, once we got here, we just didn’t . . . If a baby appeared, if a child who was pregnant said, “I’d really like Bonnie and Willow to have my baby”—and that young woman could still be “momma,” could still be birth mom—we would’ve [adopted here]. But we’re not on an active seeking . . . That’s how that worked out.


Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 15 August 2007; transcribed by J. Zander; edited by Laura S. Hodgman. Audio file held in the Museum of Arts and Culture.