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Friday, August 22, 2008

Educator on Surrogacy by Default

Here are a few dumb statements and questions I’ve encountered lately regarding our children:

Twice people have said the boys “look like their Daddy”, meaning my partner. Uh, then who do you think I am? My name’s on the birth certificate too. I know the people who said this were in no way meaning to disrespect me, but it made me feel like I’m nothing more than a babysitter. We’ve decided that we’ll both be called Daddy and they can add our first names to clarify if they’re talking to or about one of us in particular.

While getting professional pictures taken a couple weeks ago, the photographer finally looked at me and said, “So who are you? A friend of the family?” I just said, “No, I’m also a father”. I watched the wheels spinning in his head, then clarified that we’re a couple, we had them via surrogacy/egg donor, and then he apologized.

“So where’s the mother. Will she be involved in their lives?” I guess the concept of egg donor is off most people’s radar, so when this question has been asked, I just explain that there was an egg donor who plays no part in their lives or even knows of their existence.

“Did you adopt outside the country?” This has been asked of me when I’m out in public with the boys by myself. No, we’re not “Bradgelina”. I just say tell them that the boys are bi-racial and not adopted. Then they get it. A neighbor who’s white and has bi-racial (black and white) children told me she gets dumb questions like that too.

“Oh, so you’re both parents?” This requires explaining the legal process and how we’re both considered legal parents in all states and both listed on the birth certificates.

“Are you guys married?” Apparently the uninformed youth of today think gay people can marry in this country. I’ve been asked this on three occasions by people in their lower 20s. While it’s positive to find out that younger people think gay marriage is perfectly fine, it requires explaining that it’s legal only in two states, that other states don’t recognize those marriages, that a few other states offer domestic partnerships, and that our state offers neither. So next time it’s on the ballot, we need you to stop texting long enough to go VOTE!

At the time, some of these questions or statements seemed a little insulting or dumb, but then I realized that the average person has never encountered our situation. Becoming a parent this way makes you an educator on surrogacy by default. I don’t let it get to me. I don’t think there will ever be so many gay parents out there with children from surrogacy that it just becomes common knowledge, so we’ll most likely have to explain the situation over and over for many years. So far no one’s reacted negatively to me when I explain, so I find that very positive.


Tim and Louie said...

Wow! Some of those comments are just AMAZING! You are to be commended for doing such a good job keeping your cool and educating these people.

Just imagine that you are laying the foundation for future gay generations that may embark on the same path to parenthood and these folks will be better informed when they encounter each other because of your efforts!

Kudos to you!!!

Jaymee said...

i am in awe of you, those comments would have lead to bruised shins. i know how you feel about educating the world about surrogacy. someone said to me the other day that it was only for gay men, because women do not need to use surrogacy. while it is refreshing that someone in alabama would even think that gay men could be fathers, i had to catch my breath.

keep on educating. i could not think of a better person.

PVED Mom said...

Those comments are really amazing!!!!! If you ever want to hang out with a great group of people and talk about your babies, and have folks to lean on when dummies irk you we have a great online discussion list that's private. It's called MVED but everyone's who's done the donor egg route is welcome:):) Your babie sound wonderful! Congrats DADDY!

Tim and Louie said...

OMG!!! Your babies are SO CUTE!!!

Both of you must feel very proud and very exhausted!!! :-)

Keep those pics coming! Too cute!

GayDad said...

Thanks! I just realized I hadn't posted any pictures of the boys. They're really getting big - already growing out of the 3-6 mo. clothes at 4 months!

We have married neighbors who also had to use a surrogate and egg donor to have their twins, so I bet they get odd comments too, although people assume the mother carried her babies. Then we have other neighbors who used IVF to have thier twins, so in our little world, we aren't that uncommon.

Anonymous said...

They are cuties!
One day at a local farmer market a woman asked our son if he wanted a sticker. He said yes, then she said, "will that be ok with your mom and dad?" while looking around puzzled not to see a some African American adults around. He confidently (at 4 yrs old) looked her right in the eye and said, "I have two dads!", grabbed the sticker and walked off.

GayDad said...

How funny!