Celebrating Family Diversity: Lyssa Samuels

RainbowRings

There is nothing more precious than a child. There is nothing more important than having that child live in a world that is open, accepting, affirming, loving, and caring. Family is the backbone of society. The importance of a loving home and a supportive family is priceless. To have such a family is the one gift that will help a child follow a successful road to a wonderful life.

To see loving couples struggling through the frustration of trying to become a family and failing is heartbreaking. It is also something that is common among same-sex couples. To be a parent is one of the most amazing gifts someone can receive and something every person has the right to experience if they choose to do so. Having a family is an experience equaled by no other that brings with it happiness, responsibility, worry, and love. Why then is it so difficult for those couples who are loving, committed to each other in a monogamous relationship, dedicated to each other and their desire for children, who are caring people who would show the same care to any child they were gifted with, and capable adults who would prove themselves great parents, to become parents? It is a sad reality that they are disappointed time and time again. The only thing that seems to be the reason for their frustration is the fact that they are same-sex couples. There is still so much for these couples to overcome. It makes no sense, but the obstacles are there nonetheless.

“The avenues available to these couples are adoption, foster parenting, surrogacy, and, unfortunately, giving up.”

In my life I have been lucky enough to have become friends with many same-sex couples. Some of these couples have no interest in becoming parents, but a lot of them crave a child to love. They want to share their lives and their love with a child that they will nurture and love with dedication and purpose. Their desires couldn’t be deeper or purer. But wanting something and achieving that goal often do not go hand in hand for many couples—especially same-sex couples.

The avenues available to these couples are adoption, foster parenting, surrogacy, and, unfortunately, giving up. Each avenue is filled with a multitude of barriers to hurdle and hoops to jump through. Although it is true that the same is the case for traditional couples, it seems that the same-sex couples have just that extra bit of tap dancing to do to achieve their dream of holding a precious baby in their arms. This is an entirely different issue that is the source of frustration for so many. Why is it okay to prevent a child from being welcomed into the loving home of a same-sex couple? There is only one possible answer. It isn’t.

My friends Sean and Justin are two gay men who have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for more than twenty years. They have been married for ten of those twenty years and have made a life together that is admirable. They work together, they are best friends, they make each other laugh, and they support each other’s dreams. They are a wonderful married couple who have a great life that each one of us would be lucky to experience with our own spouse. Like any other married couple, they have had their share of worries and setbacks, but through it all, their deep love for each other helped them persevere. They are not perfect. They have their moments of frustration and anger. They sometimes get so tired that they snap at each other. They are human, after all. But these are rare occasions and their friendship, their commitment to each other, and their deep bond as a family is what pulls them through.

These men have gone through this process of try and fail in their attempt at having a family for the past eight years. Five years ago, they were lucky enough to have a woman donate her eggs to them. Several eggs were harvested, the eggs were fertilized with each man’s sperm, and the fertilized eggs were placed in stasis. Then came the search for the woman who was willing to act as their surrogate and carry their chance at finally becoming a family with children to love and cherish.

“It was heartbreaking for the men and for all of us who were hoping that their baby would finally find its way into their arms.”

Miraculously, a very kind woman came forward and after a multitude of physical and emotional screenings, they were on their way to achieving their dream. The first IVF was performed and failed. A second attempt resulted the same way. It was heartbreaking for the men and for all of us who were hoping that their baby would finally find its way into their arms. The third attempt was the charm. Two of the fertilized eggs were implanted and the most wonderful miracle occurred. Both eggs became viable! The most amazing thing of all was that one of the eggs was the biological child of Justin, and the other egg was the biological child of Sean. The babies were successfully carried and delivered with Sean and Justin in the delivery room to experience the birth of their babies. They welcomed them with open arms and hearts. There was not a dry eye in the delivery room when those magnificent girls entered the world. Their twin girls were absolutely beautiful and were welcomed into their family by their totally enamored and devoted fathers. Talk about a perfect ending for them.

The two men brought home those infant girls and are raising them with love and dedication. They have gone through the sleepless nights, the worry of early childhood sickness, and the feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that they were doing the right thing as they raised their girls just as we all have when we became new parents. But they have had the experiences times two. For those of us who have had twins or triplets, we know how much more difficult it is to take care of more than one child—but these men are a team. They have worked together, have helped each other, and have shared the responsibility and the love that these precious girls have brought them.

It is so important that we celebrate family diversity. These men fought to have their daughters. They weathered heartbreak, disappointment, and finally joy from the success in the creation of their family. What is most important is that these children are wanted, cherished, and loved. What difference does it make that the twins have two fathers? What is important is that the twins have parents who love them completely, celebrate their lives, and dedicate themselves to raising them with love. Isn’t that the real importance of being a family, after all?

 

photo credit: nettsu via photopin cc

5 comments

  1. E.A. Reynolds /

    Lyssa this was a great piece. Family truly is the cornerstone of our lives no matter what form it comes in.

  2. Thank you, E.A.! This is a subject very dear to my heart. <3

  3. I arrived here from your website Lyssa. I just read King Merek and the Mechanic (brilliant read btw) and was looking to for the publication date of the next book when I found this article and I just had to comment. This is something that resonates with me. The older I have gotten the more the longing for a child of my own has set in and to read such an eloquent and heartfelt piece I just had to say thank you. I think there are a lot of people in the world who would do well to read this

  4. (apologies) was cut of before I finished. I just want to say thanks for posting this and demonstrating what a gift a family truly is.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Donal. :) I appreciate your support. I, too, have a deep need to see that all people are able to have the family that they want.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed King Merek and the Mechanic. Merek and Vance are just awesome, aren’t they? Magnus and Archie’s story will be released on November 19th. Bryce and Daxton’s story will be released on December 17th. I’m thrilled! I’m currently working on Kendrick and Roger’s story. I really love those Sorenson brothers!

      Thanks again for your comments. Enjoy your week. Love, Lyssa