Helpful Advice For LGBT People Wanting To Start A Family
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 didnâ€™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. Thatâ€™s why I wanted to make it easier for other people looking to expand their own families.
And that’s why I wrote,Â Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood, a new bookÂ you can check out on Amazon.Â 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,Â Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood.Â
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 childâ€™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 childâ€™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 childâ€™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. Itâ€™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.
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 babyâ€™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 motherâ€™s living expenses, the cost of the medical procedures, agency fees, lawyer fees and more, youâ€™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 youâ€™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. Donâ€™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.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Whaley
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. Youâ€™ll also be involved in your childâ€™s life from the moment he or she is conceived, having the opportunity to see the babyâ€™s sonogram and even listen to your childâ€™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, youâ€™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.
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 donorâ€™s rights, even if it says so. Thatâ€™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, youâ€™ll have access to the donorâ€™s comprehensive medical history and the ability to control your childâ€™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 â€œinfertilityâ€ 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.
Co-parenting is when two or more people in a platonic relationship raise children together. Itâ€™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 doesnâ€™t mean there arenâ€™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 theyâ€™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 itâ€™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. Itâ€™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 childrenâ€™s book, My Uncleâ€™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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No TX Congressional Republican Will Say If They’re Attending Trump’s Rally in Waco – Will He Have Trouble Filling Seats?
Donald Trump‘s Saturday campaign rally in Waco, Texas, falls during the 30th anniversary of the 51-day siege that community is known for, when 86 people died after a failed ATF raid on an anti-government religious cult suspected of illegally stockpiling firearms amid allegations of sexual abuse, statutory rape, and polygamy.
Experts have been warning for a week that Trump’s choice of Waco, synonymous with violent anti-government extremism, was no accident. His rhetoric this week, including most recently Friday when he warned of “potential death & destruction” should he be indicted, has been seen as encouraging violence.
NCRM was among the first news outlets to report experts’ concerns over Trump’s choice to hold a rally in Waco during the 30th anniversary of the deadly siege.
Not a single congressional Republican from Texas will say they are attending, nor has the town’s GOP mayor, according to a report from Insider, which contacted over two dozen Republican lawmakers and other elected officials.
“None of the 30 Texas Republicans Insider contacted about the event said they were going,” Insider reveals.
“Most of the 30 GOP members contacted about Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to the site of a 30-year-old standoff between cult leader David Koresh and federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether they intended to rally with the scandal-plagued candidate and perhaps say a few kind words,” Insider reports.
“Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco native who now represents the surrounding 17th congressional district, praised Trump for shining a light on his hometown but said he’d have to miss the spectacle,” Insider adds. “Aides to Rep. Troy Nehls, one of the four House Republicans from Texas who have formally backed Trump’s 2024 run, told Insider he wouldn’t be heading to Waco because of a prior commitment in Washington, DC, this weekend.”
READ MORE: ‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses
Meanwhile, in addition to guest list challenges – the campaign refused to tell Insider who the guest speakers will be – Trump may have trouble filling seats.
Mary Trump, the ex-president’s niece who opposes him, has been running a campaign to get anti-Trump Americans to “sign up” for tickets to the Saturday rally, in the hopes of being able to turn away supporters.
Let’s fill this venue with empty seats.https://t.co/3tGSfan5iw
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) March 24, 2023
“Donald has a rally in Waco this Saturday,” she also said via Twitter. “It’s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI. Scores of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice.”
“But we can stop him. If we book the 50,000+ venue, we can make sure most of the seats are empty when the traitor takes the stage,” she said. “We can no longer fail to hold powerful men accountable for their crimes against our country.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘Utter Cowardice’: Jim Jordan Blasted for Telling Reporter He Can’t Read Trump’s Violence-Threatening Post Without Glasses
Countless GOP lawmakers over the years have professed ignorance over Donald Trump’s tweets as reporters ask them to respond, often claiming they hadn’t read them, but House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan took that performance to a whole new level Friday afternoon.
NBC News senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur asked the Ohio Republican congressman to weigh in on Trump’s social media post threatening “potential death & destruction” if he gets indicted.
“Jordan said he hasn’t seen Trump’s post,” Kapur said via Twitter. “When I showed [it] to him on my phone, he said he can’t read well without his glasses.”
“He added he’s reviewing DA Bragg’s letter,” Kapur added.
READ MORE: ‘Big Shoe Drops’: Bad Day for Trump on Multiple Fronts in Special Counsel’s Grand Jury Probes
Jordan, who didn’t need glasses to appear on Fox Business just two days ago (photo) is getting blowback.
VICE News Deputy DC Bureau Chief Todd Zwillich explained the progression.
“The stages of ignoring incitement,” he tweeted. “2016: I don’t respond to tweets —> 2018: I havent seen the tweet —-> 2023: I literally can’t see the tweet.”
“Utter cowardice,” declared former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh. “Not at all the @Jim_Jordan I knew & served with in Congress 10 yrs ago. Or…maybe it is.”
“The sheer dishonesty and cowardice of these people,” lamented MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan, echoing Walsh’s remarks.
Government watchdog group Citizens for Ethics said the “extent to which Trump’s backers in Congress are going to not condemn [his] calls for violence are ludicrous.”
RELATED: Ninth Wrestler Comes Forward to Say Jordan ‘Snickered’ When He Complained of Sexual Abuse: Report
Some tied Jordan’s inability to see the post to his apparent inability to see or remember all the Ohio State wrestlers who say they complained to Jordan when he was their assistant coach, about being sexually harassed or assaulted by the team doctor. To this day despite numerous reports and people publicly coming forward, Jordan denied it ever happened.
“Apparently, Jim Jordan is unable to see wrestlers being sexually abused or Donald Trump social media posts,” attorney and Republican turned Democrat Ron Filipkowski tweeted.
“Well, @Jim_Jordan has shown before that he has trouble seeing threats right in front of his nose, so this checks out,” tweeted historian Kevin M. Kruse.
But Jordan’s Democratic colleagues on the Judiciary Committee may have served up the best response: “Why do you need your glasses to condemn violence @Jim_Jordan?”
READ MORE: ‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’
‘Big Shoe Drops’: Bad Day for Trump on Multiple Fronts in Special Counsel’s Grand Jury Probes
Judge Nixes Trump’s ‘Executive Privilege’ Claim, Orders Mark Meadows, Stephen Miller, Other Top Aides to Testify as Corcoran Completes Grand Jury Appearance
It’s a bad day behind the scenes for Donald Trump.
First, his own attorney, Evan Corcoran, just past noon on Friday walked out of a federal court building after completing more than three hours of testimony before Special Counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the ex-president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return hundreds of sensitive, classified, and top secret documents.
NOW: Trump attorney Evan Corcoran departs DC federal court house after testifying before a special cousnel grand jury for what appears to have been more than 3 hours. pic.twitter.com/LQN91gKDGo
— Rob Legare (@RobLegare) March 24, 2023
His testimony, compelled by a subpoena, is seen by a former top DOJ official as “the most critical evidence in the case,” and should “allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”
READ MORE: ‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’
Prosecutors, citing the crime-fraud exception, were able to convince a federal judge that Trump likely committed a crime via his attorneys, enabling them to bypass attorney-client privilege.
Trump had strived to block Corcoran from testifying, but a federal judge and an appeals court, in an extraordinarily quick turnaround – some legal experts saying for reasons likely related to national security – ordered him to testify.
Also Friday, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege and ordered testimony before Special Counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating Trump’s actions related to the January 6 insurrection from eight former top Trump White House aides.
Among them, Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller, and former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. Also, former national security adviser Robert O’Brien and former deputy chief of staff and social media director Dan Scavino, ABC News reports.
READ MORE: ‘Chilling’: Law Enforcement ‘Seriously’ Investigating Threats Ahead of Possible Trump Indictment Says Top WaPo Reporter
Meadows is a former GOP congressman seen by many as integral to the events of January 6.
“Former Trump aides Nick Luna and John McEntee, along with former top DHS official Ken Cuccinelli, were also included in the order, the sources said,” according to ABC News.
Former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman weighed in, saying: “Another really big shoe drops: [Judge] Howell rejects Trump’s executive privilege claim and orders Mark Meadows and others to testify before Jan 6 [grand jury]. Meadows has really been able to stay on the sidelines. No more–even if he takes the 5th, which [would] then force [question] of immunity.”
Image of Donald Trump via Shutterstock
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