This story was initially created as part of the Marriage Equality Movement Family Story Quilt which premiered at San Francisco City Hall on National Freedom to Marry Day in February 2007, honoring the historic Winter of Love and the 40th anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court Loving vs. Virginia decision. These family stories -- created in 2007 -- now have many updates, babies have been born, many couples have gotten legally married in California in 2008, some have divorced, some have won historic union battles and so much more ... stay tuned for updates!
Huda Jadallah & Deanna Karraa
- We've been together 15 years
- Huda was born in San Francisco, grew up in Bay Area
- Deanna was born in Orange County, grew up in Los Angeles
- We have three children: Hady, Omar & Hind
- We are Palestinian American
- We live in Oakland, CA
My partner, Deanna, and I are Palestinian American lesbians and we have three children. Deanna is a Public Health Nurse and I am a doctoral student in Sociology. We currently live in Oakland and have been together for 15 years. The inability to marry as lesbian mothers created economic, social, emotional, and legal challenges to our family. We were denied access to housing, healthcare, and our children have had the painful experience of having their family challenged & disrespected.
To begin, we were denied the right to live in Family Student Housing at U.C. Santa Barbara because my partner and I could not get married. Furthermore, my partner was unable to get legal parental status until AB 25 (domestic partnership bill) passed, five years later. We paid exorbitant prices living in downtown Santa Barbara while married couples with no children lived in subsidized Family Student Housing.
Eventually financial constraints forced us to lie to get into Family Student Housing. We removed Deanna's name from the list of residents and said it would just be our children and myself living there. Unable to show any public affection and denial of her presence in our lives allowed us to survive economically but we bore the impact psychically and emotionally.
Then we faced significant adoption costs, spending over $1,000 in legal fees plus the cost of a home study and time spent meeting with the lawyer, preparing the house for the home study and filling out legal paperwork only to be informed that the judge would deny the adoption. We had to withdraw our adoption petition, leaving our children without health-care benefits through my partner's place of employment again because we couldn't marry. As a graduate student, we paid for health care for our children through the university's health care plan, which did not cover preventative health care, like immunizations and regular doctors' visits. As a result, we got MediCal for the children and that wasn't easy, because they wanted to go after the "father" for the cost of health care. After multiple phone calls and follow-up, we eventually got MediCal coverage but it took a lot of work and emotional energy and delayed us in getting an operation our son needed.
When AB 25 passed, we were thrilled to be able to complete our cross-adoptions for all three children. While the adoption put an end to our financial burden of health care costs that married people wouldn?t have had to bear, the process had a negative impact on our children. We were told that in order to complete the adoption we had to inform our four-year-old sons that they were being adopted. Our boys never questioned we were a family until that moment. The internal disruption to their sense of self and family was irreversible. The process they made us go through was not in the best interests of our children- rather it denied the legitimacy of the family they always had.
The exhibit has toured extensively and is now part of an ongoing exhibit called THE LOVING QUILT 2010: A People's Living History - and Herstory - of Marriage Equality & Family Justice Movements
A Project of Marriage Equality USA in collaboration with NUMEROUS creative individuals & community, state and national organizations.
Maya Scott-Chung, MPH is the Creative Director and Curator of THE LOVING QUILT 2010 which was created during 2006-2010 as part of Maya's Masters in Public Health/ Community Health Education Thesis at San Francisco State University.
For exhibit booking and further information contact Maya: firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 381-0876
THE LOVING QUILT Webpage: www.marriageequality.org/quilt