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Helpful Advice For LGBT People Wanting To Start A Family

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There are many choices for LGBT people interested in starting their own families, but how do you know which path is the right one for you? This article breaks down the various possibilities to help you make the right decision.

When my husband and I decided to expand our family, we started evaluating the best way to move forward. We didn’t realize researching the topic would be so challenging and time-consuming. What we found were that there were many choices for same-sex couples looking to have children; however, it was almost impossible to know about each of them, let alone research them.

What is an open adoption and how does it differ from adoption in general? What does co-parenting mean? These were terms I had never heard of before.

While researching all of these various methods and contacting different agencies, we eventually found the answers to many of our questions regarding costs, processes and legal issues. Lacking, however, were firsthand stories from people who had children themselves. What was it like for the people who went through the process? There was no human link to the very technical and clinical information we found regarding the process.

In the end, we felt open adoption was the right path for us. It was an amazing journey, but when reflecting back on it, I still wish we had more information going into the scenario. That’s why I wanted to make it easier for other people looking to expand their own families.

And that’s why I wrote, Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood, a new book you can check out on Amazon. It compares each family building path from the perspective of other couples that have already had families of their own.

Below, I will break down the five most common paths to parenthood with a brief introduction as to what you should know about each one before moving forward. Please keep in mind, these are only brief summaries. For more detailed information, take a look at my new book, Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood. 

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OPEN ADOPTION

Open adoption was designed as a way to benefit all parties involved, giving everyone (the birthparents, the adoptive family and the child) more information about each other. With open adoption, the birthparents and the adoptive parents get to meet each other prior to the adoption taking place. They share information with each other and can remain in contact over the years.

There are numerous benefits to open adoption. Some examples include birthparents having the peace of mind of knowing their child is being raised in a safe and stable home, the adoptive family getting more information about their child’s family medical history and the child having the opportunity to know more about his or her biological heritage and background. Of course there are challenges too, like unpredictable waiting periods, emotional stress, adoption scams and the possibility that a match will fall through. A qualified and reputable adoption agency can help to alleviate some of the stress by weeding out potential scams and by providing emotional support to help you get through the obstacles that pop up along the way.

FOSTER CARE/FOSTER ADOPT

Foster care is a situation where minors are temporarily placed into safe environments in the event that they are unable to live safely with their families. Children can end up in foster care as a result of neglect, abuse, divorce, the death of a legal guardian or a plethora of other unfortunate and tragic events that could disrupt a home. Foster care is designed to be a temporary solution until a child can be reunited with his or her previous parents or guardians, meaning you will only be caring for the child during a short transition period. However, reunification is not always possible and sometimes this temporary care can lead to a more permanent situation through adoption.

It is important to fully understand a child’s background and how your life will be impacted before you decide to open up your home. If you choose to become a foster parent, you will play a vital role in adding stability to a child’s life by providing a safe and comforting home environment in his or her time of need. Also, there are still kids who get kicked out of their homes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and it can be hard for LGBT children in foster care to find permanent homes. It’s also challenging to find people willing to take in a child living with HIV/AIDS. As a prospective LGBT parent, you are in a unique position to help kids in our community grow up in a safe, stable and accepting environment.

SURROGACY

A surrogate is a woman who carries or gives birth to a child on behalf of another person or couple. One of the benefits of surrogacy is that you have the opportunity to witness and be a part of the pregnancy journey. You can be present for sonograms, the baby’s first heartbeat and even the birth. All of that comes with a price, though. When taking into consideration the cost of hiring a surrogate, possibly paying a portion of the surrogate mother’s living expenses, the cost of the medical procedures, agency fees, lawyer fees and more, you’re looking at somewhere over $100,000. On top of that staggering number, many insurance companies will not cover the costs of the fertilization or delivery when using a surrogate. Surrogacy is by far the most expensive journey to parenthood.

Because of the large sums of money involved, you need to make sure you’re not being taken advantage of. There are plenty of scams that prey on unsuspecting people with dreams of building a family. Make sure you thoroughly research potential agencies prior to working with one. Don’t make your decision based on a well-designed website or the testimonials found there. Ask for references so that you can speak directly to people who have been through the program. Contact independent physicians, attorneys and mental health professionals for objective opinions about the agency and program you are considering. Also, make sure to seek the advice of an independent attorney who can oversee the process and advocate on your behalf.

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Photo courtesy of Thomas Whaley

ASSISTED REPRODUCTION

When women decide to have children together, it is very common for them to choose assisted reproduction, and for one person in the relationship to carry the baby. There are many benefits to this, such as having the opportunity to go through the experience of being pregnant together and supporting each other along the way. As a couple, you can participate in various things together including doctor visits, Lamaze classes and even birth. You’ll also be involved in your child’s life from the moment he or she is conceived, having the opportunity to see the baby’s sonogram and even listen to your child’s first heartbeat. If you are both in the same room during the actual delivery, your partner or spouse can support you by holding your hand, helping you with your breathing and comforting you along the way.

If you choose to move forward with assisted reproduction, you’ll need to decide whether you would like to use a known donor (for example, an acquaintance or friend) or an unknown donor. There are advantages and disadvantages in both scenarios.

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Photo courtesy of Sarah Gilbert

When the donor is known, your child can develop a relationship with them as he or she grows up. Your child will have a better understanding of where he or she came from and why he or she might have certain characteristics and traits. However, there is a greater risk that the donor may later try to claim parental rights. There may even be a possibility that you or your partner could lose custody. When using a known donor, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney specializing in Reproductive Law and have a Known Donor Agreement signed. Keep in mind that a Known Donor Agreement will not necessarily terminate the donor’s rights, even if it says so. That’s why consulting with an attorney beforehand is crucial, especially since the laws vary by state.

If you choose an unknown donor through a sperm bank, you’ll have access to the donor’s comprehensive medical history and the ability to control your child’s exposure to problematic genes. The specimens can also be quarantined and tested for sexually transmitted diseases. This can reduce the risk of passing anything on to you or your child. However, when using a sperm bank, the costs can add up tremendously depending on what services you select. Many insurance companies will not cover alternative insemination unless there is a diagnosis of “infertility” or if you have tried to inseminate without success for a period of time. Make sure you ask your health insurance company how they define infertility, what treatments are covered and if their policy covers insemination for same-sex couples.

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CO-PARENTING

Co-parenting is when two or more people in a platonic relationship raise children together. It’s most commonly seen when heterosexual couples separate but still have joint custody of their children. However, there are other instances where individuals decide to co-parent without ever being romantically involved. Think of it as a shared custody scenario without the ugly divorce.

Whenever additional people are involved in raising the child, there are many opportunities to create a more balanced life. While one parent or couple is taking care of the child, the other person or couple can catch up on things like sleep, chores, work-related activities or hobbies. This allows you to be more focused on your child when he or she is present. Because there is shared custody, you can also have free time while your child is staying with his or her other parents. This makes it easier to schedule date nights and have more alone time with your partner.

A well-thought-out co-parenting scenario can be great for everyone involved, including the children; however, that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks associated with it. If the moms have one set of rules at their house and the dads have another set of rules at theirs, things can get complicated very quickly. Jealousy can even creep in if people are not secure in the parenting relationship structure they’ve created. This can result in an uncomfortable situation for all involved. Making sure that everyone is on the same page in the beginning will make things easier later on down the road.

There can be legal complications too, since only a few states acknowledge that a child can have more than two legally-recognized parents. You may be able to do a third-parent adoption in some states, but it’s best to consult with a lawyer to fully understand your rights.

Please note, the above summaries are brief. For more detailed information, along with firsthand stories from other same-sex parents, legal tips, and the top questions you should ask yourself before moving forward, please read my book, Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood, published by New Horizon Press. It’s available now wherever books are sold.

 

Eric Rosswood is a regular contributor to the New Civil Rights Movement. He is also the author of Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood and the marriage equality children’s book, My Uncle’s Wedding, which received a proclamation from CA State Senator, Mark Leno. To learn more about Eric and his work, visit www.ericrosswood.com.

 

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BREAKING NEWS

Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case

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Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.

Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.

The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”

The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.

“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. 

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Biden Will Include DeSantis in His Visit to Support Florida Hurricane Victims

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President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Wednesday to support families devastated by Hurricane Ian, and will include the state’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, in his trip, the White House announced Tuesday.

Last week, asked if he would meet with DeSantis, a top detractor of the president, Biden told a reporter who asked, “I’ll meet with everybody who’s around. The answer is yes, if he wants to meet.”

“This is not about anything having to do with our disagreements politically, this is about saving people’s lives, homes and businesses,” Biden also said last week.

DeSantis asked President Biden for financial assistance for his state, battered by what experts say is one of the worst hurricanes in U.S. history. DeSantis voted against relief aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy when he served in Congress.

President Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, will travel via Air Force One to Fort Myers, one of the hardest-hit areas of Florida by Hurricane Ian.

READ MORE: Watch: 2024 Presidential Hopeful Ron DeSantis Says ‘Cause for Concern Cause’ With Democrats Moving to Florida

But Fort Myers is also part of Lee County, where officials delayed evacuation orders.

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” The New York Times reported. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

“Lee County, which includes the hard-hit seaside community of Fort Myers Beach, as well as the towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel and Cape Coral, did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for the areas likely to be hardest hit until Tuesday morning, a day after several neighboring counties had ordered their most vulnerable residents to flee,” the Times added. “By then, some residents recalled that they had little time to evacuate.”

The St. Louis Post Dispatch blasted the Florida GOP governor, calling his “flip-flop on hurricane relief” a “study in right-wing hypocrisy.”

READ MORE: ‘Premeditated, Fraudulent, and Illegal’: Asylum Seekers Sue DeSantis After Being Sent to Martha’s Vineyard

“DeSantis’ willingness to shelve his usual attacks on the Biden administration to politely request emergency federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Ian is an inspiring example of constructive bipartisanship — as is Biden’s announcement that the government will bear a big part of the expense,” the Dispatch Editorial Board stated. “It’s interesting, though, that DeSantis took exactly the opposite stance a decade ago when he joined other hard-right members of Congress who argued against generous federal recovery aid when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Northeast.”

Over the weekend DeSantis was blasted by volunteer relief aid workers who were delayed for hours in distributing “food, water, medicine, diapers, and anything else people needed” so Gov. DeSantis could get a photo-op.

 

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‘It’s a Lot More Nuanced, Peter, You Know This’: Karine Jean-Pierre Forced to Explain to Doocy the Price of Gas

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Fox News propagandist Peter Doocy on Tuesday challenged White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the price of gas, suggesting President Joe Biden is responsible for its increase but not its decrease. Jean-Pierre explained what global issues affect the price of gas, while explaining the “historic” steps President Biden has taken.

“You’ve said the President was responsible for gas prices coming down. Is the president responsible for gas prices going up?” Doocy asked.

Jean-Pierre was not about to let that pass to give Fox News a talking point.

“So, it’s a lot more nuanced than that, right, Peter, you know this,” Jean-Pierre pushed back.

READ MORE: Watch: Fox News’ Peter Doocy Admits There Are Republicans ‘That Don’t Agree With Voting Rights’

“There have been global challenges that we have all have dealt with – when I say all, meaning other countries, as well, have dealt with since the pandemic. There’s been pandemic and there’s been Putin’s war. And Putin’s war has increased gas prices at the pump.”

“We have seen that over the past several months and what the President was able to do, he took some historic steps. When you think about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and making sure that he, we were able to do everything that we can to bring that cost down for American families, give them a little bit more of a breathing room and we saw that we saw that every day this summer, over saving American families, over $1 per gallon. And so that is what the President is going to continue to stay focused on the American consumers. How do we continue to keep to keep prices down? That’s why we we did the inflation Reduction Act that’s why we talk about the Chips Act. All of these things are going to help Americans here in this country.”

Doocy rattled off some of the highest gas prices in the nation, asking, “who can afford that?”

READ MORE: ‘I Was Waiting Peter’: Karine Jean-Pierre Calls Doocy’s Claim ‘Ridiculous’ as He Presses About ‘MAGA Republicans’

“We understand that,” Jean-Pierre replied, expressing empathy, “that’s why the President worked so hard the past several months, to make sure that he did everything we can to bring gas prices down. We have seen fastest – I know you’re pulling out a couple of areas across the country and I get that, and we understand that there’s more work to do. We have never said we were done here. We have always been very clear that there is more work to do. But we have seen the reality is we have seen the fastest decline in gasoline prices in over a decade. That’s because of what this President has done. And again, prices going down by more than dollar per gallon and these are real savings are talking about $100 per month in savings for average family with two cars.”

Watch this short clip below or at this link.

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