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There are three sides to every story

Thanks to my lovely friend Liz for bringing the old post to my attention yesterday.  It’s from an old blog site of mine and I don’t think it is on this site so I thought I’d share it again.

10 things that you might want to ask same-sex parents?

Do you have a list of questions?  If you felt no shame, embarrassment or hesitation in asking questions of same-sex parents what would they be?  Add them to the comment section.  Don’t be shy.

As a same-sex parent here are the questions that I think people may like to ask; well to be honest it is the questions we have been asked.

  1. How did you have the child/children?
  2. No, really how did you have them?  Not what type of birth but did you use IVF or were they from a previous heterosexual relationship or did you use the ‘turkey baster’?
  3. What does your child/children call you?  Is there a ‘mummy’ role or ‘daddy’ role?
  4. What do you tell your child/children about their other biological parent?
  5. Does your child/children have a relationship with their other biological parent?
  6. Are the children related?
  7. How did you go enrolling them in school?
  8. How do you go with other families understanding your family?
  9. What do your family think?
  10. What do you do with Mothers Day or Fathers Day?

Would you like me to answer these questions to get us started?  I’ll answer them and I’d like you to add your questions or if you are a same-sex parented family perhaps you have different answers.

  1. Monique and I had our children once we were together.  Monique had our daughter and I gave birth to our son.
  2. We used IUI (Interuterine Insemmination).  Something that is not part of every day conversation but very popular with assisted fertility treatments (ART).  We went to http://qfg.com.au/.  The process was not easy.  Monique had blood tests day after day until her hormone levels were right  every month followed by IUI.  This went on for 18 months.  36 back to back attempts.  Monique says to this day that it was like she was being treated for an illness not attempting to have a baby.  When she was pregnant, we couldn’t believe it.  I had 5 months of similar attempts followed by a miscarriage and then another 6 before a pregnancy that lasted to full term.  We both had HCG injections which I gave Monique and myself and we had other medication prescribed by our gynaecologist/obstetrician.
  3. We are mummy (Monique) and mama (Adele).  We have heard so many variations and would love to here more in the comments.
  4. Our children both know there is a wonderful man who helped us become a family.  They also know they will never meet him.  We made a conscious decision to have a donor who was not seeking involvement in the future.  Our rationale behind this was two fold.  Firstly we think it is hard enough to keep two parents together raising children.  Secondly the way the laws in Queensland were at the time (I don’t think they have changed yet but expect they will) a donor had the choice to be known and at anytime withdraw this.  That would mean if we had chosen a known donor we could have told the children for years that they would eventually meet their father and then he could withdraw this consent.  A risk we weren’t willing to take.  Our children celebrate their father.  Every Father’s day they release a balloon each with a note to thank the man who helped us become a family.  Interestingly in the time we had our children, donors got to choose if they were willing to donate to same-sex couples.  In Brisbane at that time the number of men who were willing to donate to same-sex couples was not high.  It makes that man even more special.
  5. No
  6. Yes our children are related.  They have the same donor father and different mothers.  It was initially very important to us that the children have the same father which completed our family circle – in some way we were all related.  After such a long period of trying to have children though, to be honest, it was less important.  Even though it was less important we are very glad they have the same donor father.
  7. No issue enrolling in school.  Interestingly we were the first known same-sex parents in the daycare (it had been operational for 17 years) and the first known same-sex parents at the school (it had been operational for over 120 years).  One of the best experiences we have had both from the daycare and the school is that both places were willing to work with us if there was an issue.  We both did a lot of research before having children, one of the key issues was that children had no issue if their peers teased them about their family structure however if they had teachers that struggled to cope with their parents or family structure, that impacted them significantly.
  8. We have never had a major issue with family members.  We know many people who have.  We have been pleasantly surprised by so many and we have experienced people who keep their views to themselves.
  9. Similar to the question above.  Probably if we go back to before children.  It is always a shock for family members to have their heteronormative picture altered.  Some are ok, others aren’t and then there is the group that on the surface are OK but lobby other family members.  They are the group I struggle most with.  Honesty is very important.
  10. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are very special days for us.  We have a rule in our household that Mother’s day gifts must be handmade.  Each of us get a day for Mother’s Day.  Father’s day is equally as special.  We celebrate wonderful men in the children’s lives including their grandfathers.  We also honour their father.  We never pretend he doesn’t exist or speak of him poorly.  He is what made us a family.  We have always been blessed by the day care and school in that they double up for Mothers Day.

A side note about donors.  There was a great friend of mine that adopted her children except for one.  She never wanted adoption to be seen as a negative.  So from the moment they adopted their children they talked about how lucky they were that someone allowed them to adopt.  They made it a positive word.  That is what gave us the idea to make sure that donor was never a negative, that the children’s father was never negative.  He is a wonderful man and he is always considered positively in our home.Family3

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