"I have different style than most, but I'm my lil boy’s parent and role model. I think second parent just means I love our little boy equally to his other parent. I'm masculine and don't feel like 'Mom' is the right term for me. I have been told if I don't choose a label I would confuse him. I was also told "Labels are for canned foods!" I think it's more confusing that people can't just be happy he has two parents that love him. I'm his MomDad for now."
"Funny thing/tragic thing...we have to adopt our own kids. Yes it's been 1.5 years since they were born...almost 15 years together... she bought the vial, helped me peek at my cervix daily, held my hand while they stuck a catheter all the way to hell #IUI , did the #tww and was the one who got the initial #bfp #pregnant message but queer parents still need to adopt their kids even if they are on the birth certificate. Even if the parents are married. Even if there is an unknown donor. I know, I know it's just paperwork and it feels unfair... but It's a good day."
"My wife carried our son and goes by Mom. I identify as Dad but use female pronouns. I had to go through a step parent adoption to legally be my son’s dad.
Before getting pregnant, my wife and I sought out counsel from a family attorney to see what our options were for ensuring that I would be a full legal parent of our child. The attorney advised that due to the nature of the law in Arizona I would be able to be on the birth certificate. The law states that the spouse of a married woman is considered the parent of a child who is conceived while they are married. The catch is that a paternity test can be ordered to refute this. So, I could be on the birth certificate legally but paternity would clearly not stand up in court so I would still need to continue with the adoption process. The attorney suggested we go through the county for a "step parent adoption." In Maricopa County, these are paid for by the county due to their philosophy that all children should have two parents and the volume of cases they get.
We contacted the county who put us in touch with an attorney that they contract with. This attorney's office was very kind and LGBTQ affirming. At first we were told that we had to do a home study or wait until our child turned 1 before we could complete the process. Due to the political climate at the time, we were concerned about doing a home study in the event that we may be assigned a homophobic case manager who could essentially take our child from both of us. We opted to wait (which was also scary as we didn't know if laws may soon change). Sometime in between we were informed that we didn't have to do the home study and could proceed. Luckily, my wife and I both already had fingerprint cards and our donor had no issue with severing his rights. This made the process faster and simpler.
We met with the attorney to finalize all the documentation and had to appear in court for our adoption hearing. Both were pleasant experiences and the judge even gave us a little homemade gift with his adoption date on it. I legally became my son's father on February 9, 2018 when he was a year and a half old.
Through out the adoption process there was only one thing that was disturbing. My wife had to sign a document stating that she had intercourse with our donor during the time our son was conceived. This was not the process we used to create our son, but it is the only wording available on the documentation. My hope is that the language will become more sensitive and accurate as more families like ours go through this process.
We are now trying to have another [kid] and even though I don't believe I should have to jump through these hoops, I am thankful that we have made the contacts we have. I know the process will be affirming the next time around."
"LOVE makes a family. Genetics are awesome but not necessary to be a parent...I do think about how I am not genetically related to them, but it really doesn’t matter. I honestly probably wouldn’t think about it at all if people didn’t bring it up. I often get the question about if I plan on having "My own kids.” They are usually well meaning and inquisitive minds, but I do get bothered by these questions and comments...I was able to experience being pregnant and the birth, and absolutely felt like a mom. Christina didn’t get to experience these things. When our first daughter was born, we had a conversation with a not so nice clerk at the hospital who asked “who is the mom? The real mom, who gave birth.” It was an interesting and heartbreaking moment."
"When planning our family, I didn’t have much of a desire to be pregnant, while Katie really wanted to experience pregnancy. I love the way we created our family and it balances our roles so well."
My son turns three in less than two weeks. I honestly can’t believe it. I’ve been a mom for three years! In my head, he’s still my little baby. But, as he always reminds me, he’s actually now a “really big boy.”
As often happens with impending milestones, I have found myself reflecting on these past three years. There are so many fears and uncertainties surrounding being a non-biological mother (at least there have been for me). Will we ever form a bond? What if he doesn’t love me? There is a lot of noise out there about the primacy of a biological connection, and it created considerable anxiety for me. But, on the occasion of my son’s third birthday, I am grateful to be able to say that while biology is important, all of that concern was unwarranted. Things really do get better.
I remember when my son was a newborn and he only wanted my wife. She was the only one who could truly comfort him. She was even his sole source of food. I had no idea how to care for a baby, and that was compounded by not having a biological relationship to my son and feeling that somehow if I had that, I would know what to do. But, as all parents do, we figured it out together. I was able to learn how to know what my son needed, and how to respond to him.
It’s not that biology doesn’t matter. It’s adorable how similar my wife and son are. They look alike, they act alike, and they even like a lot of the same things. Genetics definitely play a major role. But, so does love. My son knows that I’m his mom. He knows that I love him, and he knows that I’m there for him. He is too young to know about biological connections, or that his family is different from many of his friends’ families. What he does understand, is that he has a Mama and a Mom, and that we both love and care for him. That’s enough for him.
That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t sometimes prefer my wife. He’s a toddler, and so he goes through phases where he only wants one of us. But it does give me some comfort in those moments when strangers (or medical professionals) ask “so which one of you is the mother?” or when someone says something insensitive about biology.
Our bond is strong. I couldn’t possibly love him more. Looking at him makes my heart smile, and I miss him every second I’m not with him. There is no more powerful connection in the world. Biology or not, he’s my baby. So, to all the new non-bio parents out there, you are amazing, you are strong, and you are more than enough.