Co-Parenting: It’s Not Just For Divorced Couples Anymore
Bill Delaney and his husband entered into an "intentional co-parenting" arrangement with a lesbian couple. Here's what he thinks gay men should know about this type of arrangement.
On most websites relating to LGBT parenting there is a lot of excellent information about adoption or having children via donors or surrogacy. Gay and lesbian parents blog about the anxiety felt when asked questions about a mom or dad who doesn't exist. Meanwhile, anti-gay forces preach that both a mother and a father are required, and no other option will do. Very little about these topics resonates with my family. My husband and I intentionally co-parent with our daughters' two moms.
Intentional co-parenting is such a rarity that it gets little coverage, and when we were planning for our family, we had almost no resources from which to draw. We met one co-parented family, a single gay dad and lesbian mother with a toddler, but that was it. We'd heard there were others, but it was third-hand information. Since the birth of our oldest daughter we've met others who created an intentionally co-parented family, but they also went through the process blind or with only our family as an example. And yet, rarely are any two co-parented families the same; our model isn't a universal fit.
And that's one of the reasons I'm writing for Gays With Kids. In addition to writing about more general topics relating to LGBT parents, my intention with this blog is to be at least one resource that pops up when prospective dads and moms search for parenting options. Co-parenting is an approach that we think should be a serious consideration for anyone – gay or straight, and single or partnered. Many divorced parents have successfully raised kids in separate homes. (Granted, there are lots of not-so-successful scenarios, but we'll touch on those in future columns.)
Interestingly, when I posted about our family on a gay family Facebook page, there was almost instantaneous criticism lobbed at us. I was expecting expressions of concern, like the ones we'd received from our own family and friends. After all, we have created a family structure that most people don't know about. Since children are involved, questioning our approach is valid, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to answer any questions. I knew there'd be some not-so-nice reactions – it's the Internet after all – but the frequency and level of vitriol caught me off guard.
If you are reading this and feeling any concerns yourself, or are curious about what I mean by intentional co-parenting, please return to read my follow-up columns to learn more. And in the meantime, our in-laws and close friends who have witnessed our family in action can assure you that our daughters are doing very well under the care of their four dedicated parents, a.k.a. their Parental Entourage.
For more on co-parenting, check out these articles: