Were all three of you adopted or are you biologically related to your moms?
Both! We are all three full siblings; Karen is our biological mom and we have the same biological father. Audrey legally adopted us after we were born, but my parents lived together and were as married as they could be years before that. In order to get pregnant, my mom went through 14 months of infertility treatment. Because she had endometriosis, it was difficult. And expensive. Ultimately, a procedure called a G.I.F.T.—gammete intrafallopian transfer (similar to IVF) is what worked for me and my little sister Jillian. Teagan was born through a surrogate (and that’s a whole different story). Frozen embyos were used and, again, we are all full siblings. No one, including my parents, knows the identity of our donor, but we do know a few things about him: his height, weight, hair color, eye color, career aspirations, college, and ethnicity.
Most sperm banks (like the one we used at the University of Arizona) limit the number of children who can be produced from one donor (so something like the story in Delivery Man is actually impossible, but it does make an entertaining movie). But it is possible that we have a few half siblings. When I turn eighteen in September, I’ll have the option of trying to find out my father’s name and contact information, but I’m not sure if I will. The laws are really clear about my parents’ rights and my biological father’s rights – basically, they have no right to him and he has no right to us – but they’re really unclear about OUR rights. So we’ll see what happens. For once, I don’t really have a plan.
Gay parent adoption 101: it’s actually SUPER hard. We were lucky to live in one of the few states – New Mexico – that allows second-parent adoptions – where Audrey could adopt us without Karen giving up her rights. If we’d been born in Kentucky and not been able to be adopted, Audrey would have had no parental rights at all. Without written permission from Karen, she couldn’t have taken us to the doctor and Karen could have removed those rights at any time. Thanks, Land of Enchantment!
Of course some children of gay parents were born through traditional means. Sometimes the gay parent marries someone of the opposite sex before fully accepting or acknowledging their own sexual orientation. The couple has children, later divorce, and the kids end up with a gay parent and a straight parent. Gay couples can adopt in some states. Or sometimes a gay parent will adopt as a single individual and then share parenting responsibilities with a partner (who may or may not gain any parental rights). Gay parenting is becoming even more common as more gay couples can get married legally.
According to the 2010 census, there are 593,324 same-sex couple households in the United States. 94,627 of those couples have children: 72.8% have only biological children, 21.2% have stepchildren or non-related, adopted children, and 6% have a combination. First demographic study I’ve ever seen where my family is actually in the majority!
Keep the questions coming! Happy Friday!