“Don’t want to see another generation drop, I’d rather be a comma than a full stop.” – Coldplay
As we post our way to greater volume and depth around the reality of gay parenting, the pressure to be profound is intense. But should it be? In a time when Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker have replaced Will Truman as mainstream, Elton’s fatherhood gets only brief headlines, and research continues to churn out the same conclusion (gay parents = straight parents in all the ways that matter), what more needs to be said?
When we began building our family years ago, we had no idea where to start. We borrowed approaches to finding the right ‘preparatory’ therapist, the right adoption facilitator, the right birth-mom, the right social worker, the right lawyer, the right county judge, even the right church (we did ask the local Catholic outfit to bless our child, but we were declined). I remember thinking, So much work! What about the fun? All those cute little clothes, cribs, feeding and changing accouterment, and diaper bags (finally I can get away with a man-purse)? With accessories, Patsy Stone knows you can never have enough hats, shoes, or gloves.
All those ‘right’ resources were scattered, unfamiliar, and pricey. Even worse, the stigma seemed thicker in the gay community than in the broader American conversation (Gay Friend: “What have you been reading?” My husband: “Books about adoption.” Gay Friend’s response: “You should start reading some other books!”). Turns out, we had way more allies among ‘traditional’ families than we ever could imagine.
Like them, we answered the call to dedicate and celebrate our marriage by hurling ourselves into the future rather than the past (we’d rather be a comma, than a full stop). Like them, we were granted entry into that secret parent club by clicking our heels three times and chanting “Children Change Everything”. Contrary to common gay-belief, it’s a very cool club – although the decibels and the odors are oddly similar those experienced in the clubs I frequented as a 23-year-old in Provincetown. Census numbers and Alex Mapa both tell the story.
Let’s talk future for a sec. There will soon be a time when both the generational and geographic temper tantrums over gay marriage are exhausted. The shrinking minority of toddler-style crocodile-teared, red-faced red-staters will need a hug and a nose-blow (by 2025 or so). They might go as respectfully as Elisabeth Hasselbeck, but many will not. The best balm will be the truth-based stories told by the millions of 30-something adults raised by gay parents, in much the same way our coming out changed our collective reality, permanently.
For two dad families, the loving and nurturing part of caring for kids comes easy. We took care of friends who-died-too-soon in the 1980s, and care for our aging parents and grandparents today. We’ve thought about how, where, and when to start families for years. This thought runs deep, making us navigate hurdles of biology, misinformed attitudes, and discriminatory laws. We know that the dynamics of two-dad parenting demands a reliable, evolving platform to help gay men prepare for the experience of parenthood.
None of us can do this alone. We must develop resources to learn from one another’s processes and family paths. We must share our experiences and stories so others can learn from them. We must prove to the larger community that we can raise stable, healthy children, prepared for the world with the conviction to make it better. Yes, it’s not fair that we have to ‘prove’ these things, but change demands it. It gets better because we choose to make it better – join us at twodads.org.
Gotta run – my son just handed me a mess of ChuckE.Cheese tickets, and I’m the official ticket holder. Turns out it doesn’t matter how many Dads a kid has, as long as they have a home “where a kid can be a kid.” Thanks ChuckE.