My New Year wish for 2016 would probably be for solidarity among LGBT moms and dads of different stripes.
Parents in general are probably familiar with a phenomenon I call “competitive parenting.” Because of their love for their children and a deep desire to do their best as parents, people often subscribe to different philosophies and methods: attachment parenting, free range kids, cloth diapers, etc. Furthermore, insecurities about whether they are actually making the best choices for their own children sometimes leads them to go from self-affirmation to putting down other parents in order to make themselves feel superior. This can be as subtle as singing the praises of a gluten-free kid diet in mixed company, and as extreme as telling formula-feeding moms that they are depriving their babies. I find this competitiveness to be the best mom or dad unnecessary. We are all in this together, we all love our children, we are all trying our best, and we really shouldn’t have to prove ourselves to anybody. We have more in common than there are differences to be found. Solidarity!
LGBT moms and dads in our unusual situation often struggle with even more insecurity because of feeling judged by society as a whole. In attempt to prove themselves just as good, competitive LGBT parents grapple with how we raise our kids, as well as the manner in which we built our family in the first place. Over the past few years, interacting with LGBT parents on social media, I have found some mutual support in these groups, but a lot of division as well. I can easily dismiss hateful comments from outsiders, who know nothing about my circumstance, as ignorant. When other gay dads talk about fostering and adoption as a more moral path to parenthood, or even suggest that commercial gestational surrogacy is selfish and exploits women, it really bothers me. I also dislike when I see other gay dads through surrogacy turn up their noses at the idea of fostering or adopting kids.
Rather than putting each other down, we should be lifting each other up together. We are all in this together, because society does not distinguish between gay dads through adoption, surrogacy, co-parenting and previous relationships. We’re just perceived as gay dads. We all love our children equally regardless of how they came to be in our care. We are all doing what we think is best for our own families, because the truth is that there are merits and drawbacks to any family-building approach. Josh and I have already discussed in previous posts how we carefully navigated surrogacy twice in effort to ensure, as much as possible, positive outcomes for all parties involved. We have complete respect for gay dads who foster and adopt. After considering that path ourselves, we decided to pursue surrogacy instead for very specific reasons. The best way to have and raise kids in one’s own case is not necessarily the best nor the most feasible path to parenthood for others. There should be more solidarity than divisiveness, because LGBT parents have more in common than differences.
In closing, I would just like to mention that Eric Rosswood’s upcoming book, “Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: First Hand Advice, Tips and Stories From Lesbian and Gay Couples” takes a unified and balanced look at these varied ways same sex-couples become parents. We are very happy to have contributed our personal family story to the section on surrogacy, and we are excited to read other family stories about assisted reproduction, fostering, adoption, co-parenting and more. We hope prospective LGBT parents will find this resource informative and helpful in deciding their own best path to parenthood. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon now. Check it out!