Dan Savage’s The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided To go Get Pregnant was a humorous and interesting story about the adoption process from Dan and his boyfriend’s perspective. I’ve heard Mr. Savage speak and I thought he was incredibly humorous and he had a great one liner about men sleeping with men (“Gay relationships have to have good communication. We’d better talk every time we have sex, I’ll be damned if I’m going to lie there and take it for the next 20 years.”) and although I haven’t had a chance to read his weekly article, I have read his blog a few times.
I think the most rewarding part about the book is learning more about the adoption process. There are greater stories, like Homo Domesticus: Notes from a Same-Sex Marriage by David Valdes Greenwood, but this one dealt solely on the adoption process and the emotions (or lack thereof) involved.
The humor and sarcasm of the book definitely make it a worthwhile read and the emotions that I went through were enough to convince me it’s a good story. We follow his journey from trying to find lesbians to co-parent with and even a random straight neighbor who wants to borrow his sperm, to the ultimate open adoption dream they live. It was a fascinating mix of self-satisfaction in the descriptions of the sex and the needs of Savage and his boyfriend (emotional, physical, monetary) and the desires of what they wanted to become, fathers. We meet Melissa, the homeless/”gutterpunk” future mother and a broad cast of interesting characters and you can’t help but fall in love with the irreverent descriptions of both Dan and Terry’s mothers, the adoption agency staff and even some of the other couples.
It seems that Savage isn’t really taking the whole process and decision seriously, even though he’s been thinking about it for a long time, but then when he finally leaves Melissa after the take the baby home the reader fully understands how much it means to him. He does sort of derail it a little talking about how he doesn’t think the baby will love him or even know him, but then he has a moment of clarity and realises that he has to work for it, just like any other Dad and that the baby will love him regardless.
I also appreciated the few political statements Savage made, as he can’t really avoid them, but I definitely felt they took a backseat to the story and the personal journey which is what really mattered.
Quotes from The Kid
“The straight couples in this room had more important things on their minds than our homosexuality, of course. Homos can fall into the bad habit of seeing homophobes under every bed, so attached are we, at times, to our own oppression.” – 15
“It was just what I wanted at the time. I was single and couldn’t be a full-time or even a half-time parent, so the offers were very tempting. Sweep in, play dad, sweep out. Poopy diaper? Hand the kid to a lesbian. And since I like lesbians more than I like gay men, the idea of making babies with lesbians – and forming a large, happy, extended queer family – appealed to me politically.” – 29
“Public displays of affection for gays and lesbians are political acts, and what could be a larger public display of affection than the two of us adopting a kid together.” – 36
“Good Gay Men are not supposed to be heavy (though some gay men are allowed to be “bears” these days, if they’re furry enough). We’re expected to do our sit-ups, watch what we eat, and show up at family and high school reunions looking fabulous so that the girls can say, ‘What a waste!’ and the boys can say, ‘What a fag!'” – 36-37
“Since gays and lesbians don’t have children by accident–it’s hard to get drunk one night and do an adoption, or slip and fall into the stirrups at an artificial insemination clinic–all our kids are wanted kids, planned for and anticipated. All parenting experts agree that a wanted child is usually a loved child, and a loved child is a well-looked-after child.” – 58-59