If you’re LGBT and starting out on the road to parenthood, then you’ve probably got lots of questions you’re trying to get answered. Biological or adoption? Where will I live? If I start now, how long will it take? Am I really doing this? The answer to that last question is, YES. YOU ARE! So start the journey and take it slow. These areas of concern can run deep, and they are common to all LGBT folks and all family building methods. So the real question is, how does one get enough information to move forward?
The LGBT Family Planning Process | First Steps
Center Families holds an annual LGBT Family Building Expo at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan. Talk about information! The Expo offers 16 programs throughout the day, family building professionals providing information, LGBT parents sharing their stories, and over 20 exhibitors offering services in biological and adoptive parenting. The Center created this Expo to help get questions answered for community members for whatever path to parenthood they are on.
Attend an Expo? To become a parent? Really? Can’t I get answers by attending some adoption classes? Through consultations with doctors? By reading a book or two about becoming parents? Or, find the nearest friend who did this recently and grill them on everything they know?
These sources of information will provide insights into how to become a parent, but they are not going to provide us with insights into managing many big decisions that we, as LGBT adults living in a heterosexual world, have to think about. There are many concerns that are specific to an individual family, like coming out as an intended parent to those around us, including the unsupportive family member. Or disclosing to our employer that a child is coming soon, answering their 20 questions that they’re asking because of curiosity or judgment, and then figuring out how to ask about parental leave and other related benefits. Then there’s determining where we are going to live, which is influenced by our work, school zones, feeling safe as LGBT individuals, finances, and more. Finances! You’ll need to pay for the adoption or medical costs, and then have money to support your family.
20 Common Questions Asked By Lesbian and Gay Parents To Be
These 20 questions are worth thinking about if you’re on the road to parenthood, and they are on the minds of many LGBT intended parents:
- How long will adoption or biological family building take us? What are the usual timelines, and what are the factors that make it longer?
- This is quite a project! Will I need to plan time off from work to manage this?
- How do birth parents, donors, or carriers generally feel about LGBT adoptive parents?
- How much money will this cost, and are there ways to save money?
- Will our health insurance cover the medical costs of IVF?
- How do I find a provider or agency that’s LGBT affirming?
- Foster care is essentially free, but what are the downsides?
- I need to tell people in my life that I want to be a parent, but am not sure of the right timing. How can I balance getting support and maintaining my privacy?
- My family is not supportive, which leaves me wondering if I should do this at all.
- How can I connect with parents who have been down this road to educate me and share their experiences?
- My partner and I do not agree on biological vs. adoptive family building. We need help educating ourselves and getting together on this.
- I’m too old to become a parent and am not completely sure about it.
- I don’t know other LGBT parents. How will I build safe spaces for my family?
- How should I handle talking with my employer or coworkers about my intentions? I don’t completely feel safe doing it. What exactly am I telling them and when?
- What are the specific questions I should ask my employer about benefits, and when should I do this?
- I’m single and considering single parenthood or co-parenting, but know little about it. How can I learn more?
- Do we still need to second parent adopt even though we’re married? Will my parentage be recognized if I move to another state?
- What should I know before deciding about using a known vs. unknown donor? What are the common concerns of both?
- Will I have to move to a different home in order to make space for a child?
- Life is tough enough sometimes just taking care of myself. Can I really care for a child?
We benefit from examining our desire for parenting, taking an emotional inventory, actively seeking out providers that understand our families, talking with parents and seeking out other LGBT headed families, and taking the time to make big decisions even though we may want to move more quickly.
So if you missed the 4th Annual LGBT Family Building Expo, you can see us at New York City all year long for a free family building consultation. We will help you gather information, provide you with referrals, and lead you into some of the big conversations that are better had at the beginning of this journey.
Everyone could benefit from doing as much research as possible about all of your options before leaping ahead to stroller shopping.