If you wanted to meet new people in the early 2000’s, MySpace was the virtual place-to-be. So when Melody Harrison moved from Austin, Tex. to Dallas with her young son in the wake of a rough relationship, she turned to trusty old MySpace to meet some new friends.
There, she met Hollie, who was a student at the University of North Texas. The two met up in person at a local bar and hit it off immediately, and they’ve been together ever since.
On their first date in 2006, Hollie said one of their very first conversations was about their views on having a family.
“I knew I wanted to have children,” Hollie explained, “so that was one of the first things I asked.”
“And I had my son Hayden from my previous relationship with his other mom,” Melody added. “So of course it was a big deal to me to know how Hollie felt about kids.”
As they continued their relationship, Hollie got to spend more time with Melody’s then-5-year-old son Hayden, and the two bonded quickly. In 2008, Hayden even helped his mom pop the question to Hollie.
“He got down on one knee in front of me,” Hollie smiled, “I mean, how are you going to say no to that?!”
With Hayden’s blessing, Hollie and Melody were married in June 2009.
When they started discussing how they could continue to form their family, the couple said what mattered the most was that their children could all be biologically related to one another.
So, when planning for Hollie to carry their next two pregnancies, they decided to use the same anonymous sperm donor as Melody had used when she had carried Hayden.
In 2010, Hollie gave birth to their son Hudson. And five years later, using the same donor again, the couple had their daughter Fallyn.
“We really wanted them to all have that important bond,” Melody said. “And you can totally see it, they look so alike.”
Now 20-years-old, Hayden is currently a student at Texas Tech. 10-year-old Hudson is working hard at his baseball swing, and 5-year-old Fallyn, known as ‘the princess’ of the family, is starting Kindergarten this summer.
The Harrisons have settled in Wylie, northeast of Dallas, where they said their neighbors love their kids and treat their family like any other, referring to them as “mommy and mom.”=
Although their community has largely been supportive, one of the biggest struggles the couple said they’ve had is around religion.
Melody was raised in the Assembly of God, and Hollie was raised Christian. While they both wanted to take their kids to church, it was a tense topic for Melody since she had been raised to believe that being gay was wrong.
“She had a hard time going into a church,” Hollie explained. “We tried several in Frisco, and it never worked well. Then, some friends in our neighborhood told us about their church, and asked us to come with them. And we loved it. We didn’t have people staring at us as we walked in.”
They eventually had a meeting with the pastor of the church, where Melody said they explained that they didn’t want their children to be taught that being gay was wrong. While the pastor said he didn’t fully understand everything about being gay, he did fully support their family.
“We do sometimes have to do some explaining,” Hollie admitted. “But I feel like both parties have to be more open. We have to be more willing to educate, and they have to be more willing to learn.”
Hollie, who works in education, said she’s always “front-loaded” information about their family, including explaining to their kids’ teachers that their family has two moms. Luckily, she said they have always been treated respectfully at school.
When teaching their own children about the make-up of their family in relation to others, Melody said they have always tried to lead with acceptance and love.
“Our kids have known since they were little that not everybody is going to have two moms,” she said. “Some have a mom and a dad, or two dads, or one mom, or one dad. And all of those things are good. The more people you have to love you, the better, and it doesn’t matter their gender or color.”
When it comes to advice for other lesbian couples who may want to become moms, Melody said it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page with how to raise your kids, and that you keep the lines of communication open.
“If you want to have a family, do it,” Hollie added. “Don’t be afraid of the scrutiny, don’t be afraid of the criticism. Be proud of your family. Because I promise you, we are multiplying by the second. Keep going.”