By: Amber Leventry
LGBT activist and writer, Eric Rosswood, has written the modern day version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting for same-sex parents to-be. But this book is more what to expect when you want to be expecting by way of five alternative paths to parenthood. Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips, and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples will guide you through adoption, fostering, surrogacy, assisted reproduction and co-parenting. Rather than the actual expectations of what it feels like to be pregnant, Rosswood and many other gay couples tell you their sometimes heartbreaking, always heartwarming stories of becoming parents.
Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood is a filled with guidance, advice, and inspiration for gay and lesbian couples looking to welcome a child into their family. From testimonials to legal considerations, the book is full of the pros and cons, ups and downs of each of the five focused on paths to parenthood. It’s so full, in fact, that I am a bit dizzy from all of the information. It’s a good dizzy, kind of like when you leave the therapist’s office after a great session. I finished Rosswood’s book feeling grounded and enlightened; and with the need to recommend Journey to anyone weighing their options for starting a family.
While the book is specific to gay and lesbian couples, it provides such thoughtful reasons, challenges, and questions to consider before starting a family. All parents should be so thorough.
Eric Rosswood and his husband, Mat, became fathers via open adoption, but not without many questions and emotions. Mat writes honestly about the legal steps, scams, and draining waiting periods during their path to parenthood. He also writes about the joys of finding the right birthmother and experiencing the pregnancy and birth of their son. Mat and Eric’s story sets the tone for the book and characterizes the qualities same-sex parents need: perseverance, frustration, patience, elation, and love.
While there are other books, websites, and organizations that can help same-sex couples gather information, it is rare that you can find such a comprehensive look at five different types of family building in one spot. Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood covers the logistics and realities of adoption, fostering, surrogacy, assisted reproduction and co-parenting, but it also focuses on the emotional implications too.
Rosswood says: “When reading Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood, it’s like going to a trusted friend for advice. You find out what worked for them and what didn’t. What do people wish they had known before they started their own journey to parenthood? There’s no holding back in this book. The good and bad are discussed so that readers can decide which parenting journey is right for them.”
My partner and I have three children with the use of an anonymous sperm donor. We couldn’t be happier or feel more fortunate with our ability to have created our family this way. While I would not consider our journey easy, it was certainly more straightforward than other options available to same-sex couples, specifically gay men. I was incredibly touched and overwhelmed by the stories of the dads in this book and the lengths they went to in order to become parents.
Rob Watson, a fellow writer for The Next Family, describes procreation by way of a “twinkling cell phone” while waiting for a call from the foster care system to deliver the news that a baby ready for adoption had been born. Another dad details the benefits of international surrogacy and the nerve-wracking red tape that goes along with it. In the assisted reproduction section, you will read stories of women who used known and anonymous sperm donors. You will also get a glimpse into how couples became pregnant via home inseminations, clinic performed intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in vitro fertilization (IVF) after struggles with fertility.
Becoming a parent is a daunting feat. It can feel like an impossible one for same-sex couples. I will tell you this: Ask questions. Consult a lawyer. Be patient. Know it will all pay off. And read Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood. Besides bringing legal clarity to the table, many seasoned parents have already done a lot of the question asking and are more than happy to share their wisdom.
One of my favorite pieces of advice comes from Duke Nelson, a gay dad from Texas: “Advice doesn’t prepare you for the experience. No one could ever prepare me for the rush of feelings I get when I hear ‘Daddy!’ after walking through the door…I worry about them being good and kind people and loyal friends. I worry about the choices they make every day. Nope, no one can prepare you for why you feel this way. It just happens. And you are caught off guard, completely immersed.”
Because ultimately, no matter how you become a same-sex parent, you will be a parent; and you will be so completely happy to be so caught off guard.
Photo Credit: Beki Eckles Andreasen