For most families, having a baby is a happy time, full of smiles, kisses, hugs and giggles. Sure, there are inconveniences such as sleepless nights or dirty diapers but rarely would a parent have to go through the adoption process.
For Kat Dunams, who welcomed a beautiful baby boy about a year ago, with her wife, legal documents and attorney fees were becoming as common as baby rattles and blankies.
“Despite all the privileges of living in this country, in order to be fully considered an equal parent to my son, I must go through second-parent adoption or else risk losing him, especially if traveling to states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage or abroad,” Dunams wrote on her GoFundMe page, a grassroots fundraising site.
The Woodside resident, who came here from the Ukraine, assumed that when the Supreme Court repealed many parts of the Defense of Marriage Act —which previously prevented married same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as heterosexual couples under the federal government — that she wouldn’t have to worry about adoption.
But shortly after her wife got pregnant, Dunams realized that she’d be in for a bumpy and pricey ride.
“The main expense is the attorney that will represent us in family court,” Dunams said. “We weren’t familiar with how everything worked so we needed to hire a lawyer.”
That is why Dunams turned to GoFundMe to ask people to pitch in.
“I was very surprised and moved at the response because going into this, I had no idea what to expect,” Dunams said. “For us, $4,000 is a lot but I figured it wouldn’t be too much for someone to give $15 or $20. I never thought people would give but then it just started pouring in.”
As of this week, Dunams has raised $3,858 over 21 days thanks to the generosity of 56 people who donated anywhere from $15 to $1,000.
Though the fundraising is almost complete, Dunams will have to wait at least eight months for a home study to be conducted by a social worker to determine if Dunams’ residence is appropriate for the baby — despite Dunams, the child and her wife having lived under the same roof since his conception.
While others may be upset about the inequality, Dunams said she is not looking to be an activist.
“Where I come from, there is a lot of abuse and violence going on towards homosexuals so for me, the fact that I’m able to marry and be open about my life is sort of a luxury.
“I’m not an activist and there is certainly inequality but with all of these people fighting for same-sex rights, I’m just so grateful for their work and for having already gotten so much for us.”
Dunams said the main lesson this experience has taught her is how generous people can be.
“People do care,” she said. “So when you think there’s no help out there, just ask for it and you’ll surprised with the results.