But... Doesn't Everyone Need a Mom?
The creators of 'The Magic You' give advice on how to equip kids of LGBTQ parents to address sensitive questions from friends and classmates.
This is a guest post from the creators of 'The Magic of You'.
Kids ask the darndest things. They don't (usually) mean any harm, but simple questions can create real consternation for children of single and gay dads if they aren't prepared for them. These youngsters will undoubtedly get asked in the playground something along the lines of: "But doesn't everyone need a mom?".
We need to equip our children with the answers to questions like these. Clearly single and gay dads need help from a donor and/or a surrogate to create their family – and we want their children to understand, be comfortable with, and be able to communicate the role played by donors and surrogates.
All children should understand that it's the people that raise you that are the dads or moms and that families come in all shapes and sizes. We think it's best that they are able to explain how they came to be.
The last thing you want is for your child to feel they are missing out, that there's something they don't and never will have. Wouldn't it be lovely if they could respond with confidence to, "You don't have a mom" with a clear explanation of what they do have, that they were wanted very much and that their family is perfect for them.
We hope the Magic of You (which is completely customizable for your unique story and using your own photos) will give you the tools for this.
Another thing we really hoped to achieve through the book is to honor the contribution of the surrogates and donors where they aren't anonymous – they do an amazing job and it's only right and proper that the children they helped to create know the role they played. You can tailor your book to do this to whatever degree you feel comfortable with.
Sali, who created the Magic of You, kept a journal during her tough journey to children – extracts show just how much she appreciated Jillian, her surrogate.
10 February 2016: Skype video conference today with Jillian. We like her - she's relaxed and seems open minded. After the call we tell the agency that we'd like to proceed with her. And they say Jillian would like to proceed with us too - it's a match!
29 April: I say to Chris, "Our child could be conceived today!" and he says, "You know, I was just thinking that". We have a little shudder of excitement at the thought. We've not felt this before with any of the other embryos.
13 May: Meet Jillian in the flesh for the first time. It went well. We all agree that we'll be honest to an eventual child about their origin. The doctor tells us we have only one embryo that is good. Chris and I feel deflated at this - how have five eggs become just one good embryo from a donor in her twenties? The doctor reminds us that it only takes one.
01 August: Our single good embryo is transferred to Jillian today. We are hopeful but don't really expect this to work, yet something feels a little different this time. The embryologist reckoned this was a brilliant embryo. God knows what they look for - it looks like all the others. Now we wait.
09 August: Jillian is pregnant. She sends me pics of a pregnancy test – it's positive! We're happy, but it's way too early to celebrate - we've been here several times before.
29 August: Jillian has the first scan. She sends us pictures - there really is a little something there. We're still finding it hard to believe. A baby. A real baby.
15 September: Jillian has another scan. Wow! the little peanut is growing. We're starting to admit to each other that this may really happen.
19 January: We attend the 28-week scan – we're having a little boy! Now we can settle on names.
08 February: We've picked a name! It wasn't really that difficult. We both had a list of our top three and we both liked Max - so that was easy to agree on. Wow. Max.
18 February: Jillian sends new scan photos. OMG! it's a real baby and we can see his face! It's hard for us to get our heads around the fact that this is actually happening.
07 March: Jillian texts me "I am completely filled with joy we're going to be meeting Max soon! This time has gone by in a flash! I think he's going to be a calm baby for you! His movements are strong but relaxed, my kids were like ninjas in there and still are!"
07 April: Induction is set for Monday at 6am. We go out for dinner with Jillian and her fiancé. I ask Jillian how she'd like us to refer to her when we talk to Max about her. I ask if she would mind being called "auntie Jillian". I explain we use the term 'auntie' for all close friends and family and Jillian confirms that she'd be delighted to be known as auntie Jillian.
10 Monday April 2017!!!!! Our son is born. OMG!
The delivery nurse brings him to me and I hold Max straight out the womb against my skin for half an hour and gaze into his newborn eyes - indescribable.
A couple of hours after delivery and after we have fed Max a little, the awesome Jillian holds the baby she has just delivered for us. I hug her and thank her for doing this.
11 April: The first night was scary - he is so small and he makes so much noise when he breathes! But we are enthralled.
We visit Jillian in her room next door. I ask how it felt to carry the baby for someone else and whether it was hard having to give him up. She explained that she thought about the baby as if she were carrying a very precious backpack for someone else that she knew she would take off one day.
Thanks to our amazing gestational surrogate, Jillian, we are now a happy family of three.
So, we hope you'll tell your child the story of how they came to be. And we urge you to tell them early as you never know when those unwanted questions will pop up.
You can find out more on the website www.sensitivematters.net.