Who's Your Daddy

So you want to be an LGBT parent

Recently, Patrick Gevas, a PR person representing Circle with Disney, was pitching me a story idea about how his client keeps kids safe when they’re on the internet. During the conversation, he mentioned that he and his husband are thinking about having kids, and wanted to know if he could ask me a couple of questions. I get these kinds of questions pretty often, so here are my answers to the most common ones.

How do we know if we’re ready for kids? Honestly, no one is ever really ready. But some steps in the right direction include making sure you’re secure in your relationship — kids don’t “save” relationships — and being financially solid.

Should we use a surrogate/sperm donor or adopt? There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these choices. Using a surrogate or donor allows you to pass on your DNA, and can offer you greater influence in prenatal healthcare. It can also be expensive, and complications may arise in navigating the role of the donor in the child’s life.

Adoption is certainly less expensive, and there are too many kids in this country looking for a good home. But you rarely know what emotional and health issues may come with the child.

What if our family disagrees with our decision to become parents? Know your family, and use that knowledge to set boundaries and manage your expectations. Granny has the right to think every kid needs a mom and a dad. She doesn’t have the right to treat your child differently because he or she has two dads. Your children deserve the exact treatment as any other kids in your family, and if other relatives cannot provide that love and support, limit interactions with them. If you feel a need to explain why you skipped Granny’s big Thanksgiving dinner make sure to provide solid, verifiable facts, don’t rely on perceptions or feelings.

How can we ensure our kids will see other families like ours? There are several organizations in Utah to support LGBTQ families like the Gay and Lesbian Parents of Utah (http://bit.ly/glputah), Utah Gay Fathers’ Association (bit.ly/UtahGayFathers), and the Utah Pride Center (utahpridecenter.org/youth-family-programs/). Also, families like ours are increasingly seen on television and in films. Xfinity even offers a Kids and Family section in its LGBTQ Film and Television Collection.

How will friends react? Be prepared to lose friends or at the least to have your friendship change. You can’t be hitting the clubs every night or taking spur-of-the-moment weekend getaways anymore. And honestly, your pals probably don’t want to go to the petting zoo all the time. Make sure to take time to hang out with your friends without the kids; you need that. And don’t be hurt when your friends make plans that exclude you, they don’t need to put their fun on hold because of your decisions.

Where’s mom? Gay dads get this a lot. Just be honest — tell them you’re a two-dad family. Anyone who has an issue with it probably isn’t someone you want in your lives anyway. You can save yourselves a lot of problems by proactively coming out to teachers, neighbors, and other parents. But be prepared: some parents won’t allow their kids to hang out with yours or insist it happens only at their house. Explain the situation to your kids and let them decide whether they want to live by those rules or not.

How do we know we’ll make good parents? You don’t. Just do your best, and parent with patience, humor, and empathy.

You can learn more about Circle with Disney at meetcircle.com

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