By Dana Draa
Charlotte, North Carolina
Advocating for rights and protections has always been in my blood. At only 17 years old I joined the US Navy after graduating from high school (after my parents signed an age waiver). I come from a line of servicemembers: My paternal grandfather, William Albert Draa, served in the Army and my maternal grandfather, John Woodrow Backe, was a yeoman in the US Navy. During World War II, my maternal grandfather met my grandmother, Anita Lamb, a Marine. They fell in love and were married for 20 years before my grandfather passed away in 1973. My father was in the Army and served during the Vietnam Era war. I am proud to have followed in all of their footsteps.
Today, I continue to serve our country and veterans in a different capacity, through my job at the Veteran’s Health Administration helping visually impaired and blind veterans identify benefits and rehabilitation for which they are eligible based on their service to our country. I am honored to work with our nation’s heroes on a daily basis.
I am also honored to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit led by the ACLU seeking to overturn North Carolina’s ban on second parent adoption. Lee Knight, my partner of seven years and I live in Charlotte with our two beautiful, wonderful, glorious children: Miller, who is 3 years old, and his little sister Margot, who is 1. Lee Knight carried both of our children, and North Carolina won’t allow me to be their legal second parent. We both worry about the children’s future should anything ever happen to Lee Knight.
Miller and Margot deserve to have all the protections afforded to them by having two legal parents, not just one. Just as I committed myself to serving our country to ensure protections for all American citizens, I commit myself to this quest for equal protection under the law for my family and other families like ours. I am confident that one day in the very near future, the law and our country will recognize me as the parent that I already am and the family that we already are.
You can learn more about the case and about the other families like ours affected by North Carolina’s second parent adoption ban here: http://www.aclu.org/second-parent-adoption-nc.