Second Parent Adoption Stories {Franny & Cathy}

We learned the process of second parent adoption from other members of the Houston Gay and Lesbian Parents Association. At that time, we just participated through the private email listserve. We knew that we had to go to a particular law firm that specialized in second-parent adoptions and work with them. It looked like a hassle, honestly. Not so much the expense, but the vulnerability of having to get interviewed, screened, and hopefully approved for adoption by a social worker, then the strange errand of going to San Antonio, crossing our fingers that we got a gay-family friendly judge, and of course, the paperwork.

We were so put off by the indignities of the process that we didn’t really celebrate – which was a mistake. Other families had balloons, flowers, grandparents, and other family friends there. There were gay families from all over Texas running the same family errand, and they did it right.

We started when we got pregnant. We used an anonymous known donor and worked with our law firm to line out the contract terminating any parental rights. Then when our daughter was born, we made sure the birth certificate had the right wording regarding the “father.” This was particularly galling to me because I wanted to go home the day we had her, and we had to stay overnight until the clerk came back to work. After that, we had one more contract with the anonymous known donor, then all the baby-proofing of the house for social worker approvals, and the appointment in San Antonio.

I believe that at that time, the firm we used were the only lawyers in Texas who did this, and they’d arrange for everyone to meet up in San Antonio once a month to get the adoptions done.

I think I felt fairly defensive, and so to cover for that, I was too focused on the business and the process of getting my wife listed on the papers. A little afraid to feel much joy until it was all over – and even then, only after we had a passport with both names as parents did it feel “real.”

We still travel with her adoption papers, though she has both our names and is old enough to speak up for herself now. {She just turned 8.}


It seems like a long time ago, now. But the one-two punch of having a baby, and all of the sudden it feels like your heart is crawling around outside your chest — that love, against the vulnerability of strangers having so much power over your family. It’s intense. Very intense.

And now my wife is the school nurse at our child’s elementary school, and she’s the “main mom,” not the adoptive mom. They spend a TON of time together.

Eight to ten years ago, there were several lesbian mom bloggers or lesbian TTC bloggers who, I think helped make it safe for a lot of us to consider our options, get started, hit roadlbocks, and keep going. We saw that getting discouraged is just part of it, through their experiences and the community in their comments. So grateful to all those folks.

In honor of Pride Month, we are dedicated to celebrating ALL moms and the challenges and obstacles some must face to enter into motherhood.  Our hope is that this series will enlighten you and inspire you, so please join us as real local moms open up and share their stories all day long.  To read more, please click here.


About Franny O.

Franny is an HR executive for privately-held companies. Franny and her wife Cathy have lived in the Meyerland area, and Franny blogs at and tweets as Frannyo. Their daughter Maggie just turned eight. They also have three dogs, a fish, and a Little Free Library filled with bad chapter books.


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