What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Cary.
There was a great "What I Want You to Know" post on this site about wanting a family as a queer woman. It captured that feeling of wanting a family, but knowing that there would be more challenges ahead for you than most. My wife and I are two people who experienced this feeling. It took so much time, energy and money to bring our two children into the world, but we could overcome physical and financial obstacles. We have more obstacles ahead while we start the process of adopting our third child from Korea. I like to think that staying strong through all that it takes to build our family shows our love for our children. Now I would like to share with you a bit about life after the kids join the family. Here is what I want you to know about being a lesbian mom. What I want you to know is that being lesbians does not mean our children are crazy, out of control maniacs. Our kids are respectful and kind, I think even more so because they have two moms. Our kids know that families come in different shapes, sizes and colors. They respect differences in others, and that, I firmly believe, is a wonderful thing. What I want you to know is that my kids aren't embarrassed of their family. When asked about his daddy, Finn, my five year old, will say,"I don't have a daddy. I have a Mommy and a Mama and a Grandma and a Grandpa and a sister", with a big smile on his face. People have mentioned "dad" when I'm out with one or both of my children, and I explain that they kids have two moms. I am not embarrassed, and I show Finn and my daughter Lyla they have no reason to be embarrassed either. But at the same time, I want you to know that my kids listen to what you say, too. If they see someone give a negative reaction, they hear that there is something wrong with their family. What I want you to know is that all children should be educated about different types of families. Lyla, at seven years old, says she gets tired of telling her friends that my wife and I are BOTH her moms. What I want you to know is that you shouldn't shy away from mentioning that a child has two moms or two dads. Different types of families should be acknowledged. I want you to know that there is more than one way for a child to be brought up. Finn is a boy, and he has female parents, but he is being raised perfectly fine. He has male role models, and he loves his moms. I want you to know that even though I am their birth mother, my wife is as much of Lyla and Finn's mother as I am, and even though Lyla and Finn are not Korean blood like my wife, they consider themselves Korean. One day they will have an adopted brother or sister from Korea, and they will all be siblings regardless of how they look. I want you to know that I will never hide the truth from my children. They will uderstand that those in the LGBT community have often had a lot of hardship in their life. I won't pretend that there aren't homophobes, and I will honestly say I have met some. Once I had a distant family member ask me, "How could you do that to them?" referring to the fact that my kids' parents are lesbians. Here is my answer to that: How could I love my children unconditionally and give them a warm, safe home, food, a good education and two supportive parents who provide for them? I could do this because I believe that the type of family doesn't matter in the least as long as parents love and take care of their children. It breaks my heart that when I see a happy, loving family, others see a sinful disgrace. Because of people like this, I want you to know that LGBT families sometimes do face discrimination. Sometimes people who have experienced discrimination don't need lots of help, but just someone who will accept them and listen. LGBT families don't want to be singled out. We don't want to be separated from the straight/cisgender families in a THEM and US situation. My dream is that communities will accept all kinds of people. You should know that it's hard to deal with those who make assumptions. I don't always like to be different, and I sometimes dread new opportunities where I might be asked about a nonexistent husband or boyfriend. I sometimes wish I didn't have to write letters to my child's teacher each year, or hear my daughter say, "Mommy, why are there no shows about two moms?". I wish my family could be understood. I wish I could stop crossing out "father" and writing "mother" on enrollment forms. I wish I could embrace my wife in public without worrying if others saw. I wish that my children would never have to worry about discrimination. Even innocent questions I can get annoyed with. But what I want you to know most of all is that being a lesbian mother has made me stronger. It makes my children stronger, and at the end of the day I love Finn and Lyla to the moon and back and wouldn't change anything. I hope you know that families like ours just want recognition and for others to be educated about LGBT families.