Celebrating Family Diversity
(Original, Unedited Article - Enjoy!!)
There is nothing more precious than a child. There is nothing more important than having that child living in a world that is open, accepting, affirming, loving and caring. Family is the backbone of society. The importance of a loving home and a supportive family is priceless. To have such a family is the gift that will help a child follow a successful road to a wonderful life.
To see loving couples struggling through the frustration of trying to become a family and failing is heartbreaking. It is also something that is common among same sex couples. To be a parent is one of the most amazing gifts someone can receive and something every person has the right to experience if they choose to do so. Having a family is an experience equaled by no other that brings with it happiness, responsibility, worry, and love. Why then is it so difficult for those couples who are loving, committed to each other in a monogamous relationship, dedicated to each other and their desire for children, caring people who would show the same care to any child they were gifted with, and capable adults who would prove themselves to be great parents to be disappointed time and time again? The only thing that seems to be the reason for their frustration is the fact that they are same sex couples. There is still so much for same sex couples to overcome. It makes no sense, but the obstacles are there nonetheless.
In my life I have been lucky enough to have become friends with many same sex couples. Some of these couples have no interest in becoming parents, but a lot of them crave a child to love. They want to share their lives and love with a child they will nurture and love with dedication and purpose. Their desires couldn’t be deeper or purer. But wanting something and achieving that goal are often not the ending result.
The avenues available to these couples are adoption, foster parenting, surrogacy, and, unfortunately, giving up. Each avenue is filled with a multitude of barriers to get through and hoops to jump through. Although it is true that the same is the case for traditional couples, it seems that the same sex couples have just that extra bit of tap dancing to do to achieve their dream of holding a precious baby in their arms. This is an entirely different issue that is the source of frustration for so many. Why is it okay to prevent a child from being welcomed into a loving home? There is only one possible answer. It isn’t.
My friends Sean and Justin are two gay men who have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for more than twenty years. They have been married for ten of those twenty years and have made a life together that is admirable. They work together, they are best friends, they make each other laugh, and they support each other’s dreams. They are a wonderful married couple who have a great life that each one of us would be lucky to experience with our own spouse. Like any other married couple, they have had their share of worries and setbacks, but through it all, their deep love for each other helped them persevere. They are not perfect. They have their moments of frustration and anger. They sometimes get so tired that they snap at each other. They are human, after all. But these are rare occasions and their friendship, their commitment to each other, and their deep bond as a family is what pulls them through.
These men have gone through this process of try and fail in their attempt at having a family for the past eight years. Five years ago, they were lucky enough to have a woman donate her eggs to them. Several eggs were harvested, the eggs were fertilized with each man’s sperm, and the fertilized eggs were placed in stasis. Then came the search for the woman who was willing to act as their surrogate and carry their chance at finally becoming a family with children to love and cherish.
Miraculously, a very kind woman came forward and after a multitude of physical and mental screenings, they were on their way to achieving their dream. The first IVF was performed and failed. A second attempt resulted the same way. It was heartbreaking for the men and for all of us who were hoping that their baby would finally find its way into their arms. The third attempt was the charm. Two of the fertilized eggs were implanted and the most wonderful miracle occurred. Both eggs became viable! The most amazing thing of all was that one of the eggs was the biological child of Justin, and the other egg was the biological child of Sean. The babies were successfully carried and delivered with Sean and Justin in the delivery room to experience the birth of their babies. They welcome them with open arms and hearts. There was not a dry eye in the delivery room when those beautiful girls entered the world. Their twin girls were absolutely beautiful and were welcomed into their family by their totally enamored and devoted fathers. Talk about a perfect ending for them.
These two men brought home those infant girls and raised them with love and dedication. They went through the sleepless nights, the worry of early childhood sickness, and feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that they were doing the right thing as they raised their girls just as we all have when we became new parents. But they had the experiences times two. For those of us who have had twins or triplets, we know how much more difficult it is to take care of more than one child—but these men were a team. They worked together, helped each other, and shared the responsibility and the love that these precious girls brought them.
It is so important that we celebrate family diversity. These men fought to have their daughters. They weathered heartbreak, disappointment and finally joy from the success in the creation of their family. What is most important is that these children are wanted, cherished, and loved. What difference does it make that the twins have two fathers? What is important is that the twins have parents who love them completely, celebrate their daughters lives, and dedicate themselves to raising them with love. Isn’t that the real importance of being a family, after all?
Copyright © 2013 ~ Lyssa Samuels
All Rights Reserved.