Well, ours isn’t born, yet, but we’ve had plenty of rude questions already, especially around the time we made our announcement. Unlike some of the other commenters, it offends me when someone treats me like an open book. I value my privacy and want to be treated like others in general- that is to say, I don’t like it when people ask personal questions they have no right to know the answers to. Such as “how is that possible?”, “is it your genes?” (to me as the non-bio mom), questions about our donor, refering to the donor as “father”, assuming we had to have a medical procedure, etc. Our lesbian neighbors have an 18-month-old daughter, and are asked who the birthmom is, questions about their donor, etc.
I don’t mind questions from other lesbian couples trying to conceive, probably because I feel they have a legitimate reason to ask, but other people are just curious. And I don’t think curiosity is a good reason to ask impertinent questions. One should at least ask if it is ok to ask, before getting into personal questions like that.
This is one of the reasons we decided to go with an ID-release donor. It was our best choice for giving our children a chance to know their donor (when they turn 18) and not risking protracted legal battles that would be extremely stressful on us and the kids. I wouldn’t want to potentially spend our kids’ childhoods in a state of constant worry and conflict- I want to enjoy them. Especially when going with someone you don’t actually know (via the internet, for example- we did meet a potential donor online), you can’t really trust another person’s intentions. Unfortunately, some of these battles have occurred between people who were formerly very close, too. Sometimes people lie, sometimes they just change over time- ultimately having a known donor is still a very risky proposition when our laws do not accomodate our family structures. There needs to be a codified and universal manner of establishing parentage by intention, so our kids and families can be protected.
I don’t know if I will see this film, but I’m leaning toward no. I appreciate that it shows a long term lesbian relationship, lesbian parents, and older children of lesbians, but I have a few objections that I don’t think I can get rid of. One is the most common objection I’ve read, which is the near-universal fate of lesbian main characters in literature and film: becoming straight, going crazy, or dying in some horrible and violent fashion leaving her lover to wander the world forever in grief. I know Jules goes back to Nic, but if her cheating “isn’t about that” as she says, then why doesn’t she cheat with a woman? I don’t like cheating, but at least it wouldn’t fall in the trap of nearly every other portrayal of a lesbian in a mainstream storyline. A comment on another review caught my attention on this- when movies about straight couples depict troubled marriages and cheating, the husband never cheats with his male business partner, or the woman with the female housekeeper- they cheat and get to maintain their sexual identity. So, I don’t think that Jules’ cheating has nothing to do with sexuality- what many have speculated is probably right- it is the filmmaker’s effort to attract straight viewers, but unfortunately it gives them more fodder for anti-gay pathologizing and stereotypes.
The second is that I actually think it damages the view of lesbian parenting. How are the kids supposed to be all right if their family blows up because their mother starts having sex with their sperm donor? They’re already going through something highly emotional and having to sort out what having a sperm donor and meeting him means to them. Then they have to try to understand why their mom starts sleeping with him? Granted, in a movie, they might not find out, but in real life? Maybe it’s because I can’t imagine taking a spouse back after that, so Nic doing that seems unrealistic to me. It’s at least as likely that the couple would divorce, in which case the kids would probably find out why. Parents divorced after 20 years and mom sleeping with the sperm donor they just met- talk about destroying a kid’s world! I find myself wondering, does Jules care at all about how her actions might affect her kids? I think it represents terrible parenting- not the way I’d like to be represented as a lesbian mom.
Further, I feel it drives up the controversy and stigma around (semi-)anonymous sperm donation, by which many of us create our families. Instead of making the idea more normal for the straight people that the Jules/Paul twist is supposed to attract, now whenever the issue of sperm donation comes up, they’ll think of this movie and inevitably, the image of Jules cheating with the donor. At least, knowing how other movies have affected my thinking about various subjects in the past, that’s what I think would happen for me. My wife and I are going to have a baby soon, and when we make our announcements to people, this is not what I want them to be thinking about. And I certainly don’t want that idea coming up when our kid(s) decide to meet their donor, in our own minds or those of our children. So, while there are some aspects that I would like to see this movie for, I probably won’t. I hope someday soon a movie about kids from lesbian families will arrive that doesn’t sour the whole thing for the people is supposedly represents- I can’t wait to see that!
Friends of ours have a known donor who is quite involved in their lives. We are about to TTC, and for our own reasons, we are going with an ID-release donor from a sperm bank. I’m not sure, yet, how to answer our child(ren)’s questions about why their friend knows her donor, but they don’t.
I look wistfully at MARE all the time. :) I’ve seen at least one child’s profile on there where the boy preferred two dads. As a foster parent in Mass, I can say from my own experience that DCF is very inclusive of our families here. It’s important for people considering foster adoption to be aware that many of the children available for public adoption have been through a great deal of trauma and loss and may have special emotional needs because of it, so being sensitive to gender history and other factors is important to finding a match that will truly work for a child. Of course, sometimes things are hit-or-miss depending on the social worker, but kids have a pretty good shot at finding the right family here- not just a “traditional” one.
Mommy and Mama, over here. We go over this from time to time because we’re foster parents, so it really varies. Our current foster son has been with us since he was a baby and is almost 2 now. He calls us both mama because it’s easier to say, but he knows who mommy is (me) if you ask him. Our former foster daughter called us “Mommy Kate” and Mama Josi” to distinguish, but just Mommy and Mama most of the time. Another former foster son also called us mommy/mama-first-name. Other kids who have been older and/or haven’t stayed very long just call us by first names. We’ll be trying to conceive shortly and are going to stick with Mommy and Mama. It’s working very well now, so we’ll keep the titles! There will be no known donor to contend with, so we don’t have to come up with anything for that. If we are lucky enough to adopt our foster son, I think his birthmother will be called by her first name or maybe Miss first-name.
My parents are Grammie and Grampy, my wife’s are Nana and Granddad.
I guess I’m one of those few out there- I took my wife’s last name when we got married, and though we haven’t had kids old enough for their friends to address us as Mrs., I suspect I’ll enjoy it for the same reason I took the name- because it signifies our family as a unit. That’s a big evolution, though- I remember being a kid and being so mad at my big sister for changing her name! And I still hate it when women are referred to as Mrs. Joe Schmoe, like she is completely erased. Whole people should have whole names.
Oh, no. No way. I would never allow my child to join the BSA and that’s from personal experience. I participated in Venture Crew, which is a BSA program that includes Senior Girl Scouts, and the troop that we were affiliated with was extremely homophobic, as evidenced by the terrible language and anti-gay hatefulness used around and ingrained into the scouts from the start. It is troop-by-troop in many ways, but the BSA is ultimately an organization that purposely foments homophobia, and they are not going to mess around with my kids’ minds.
Will this boy really not find that out? He’s probably already experienced it, whether his moms realize it or not. Kids are damn observant and I have to bet he’ll find out about the rejection of his parents as troop leaders. So his parents are judged unfit to guide children, which would also say they are unfit to parent him, and they just let that slide like it’s ok? I understand the piece about wanting to protect him, but the fact is we can’t protect our kids from the homophobia in the world by trying to keep them ignorant of it. Sometimes the lessons of integrity and strength in the face of bigotry are just hard.
And no doubt, describing scouting activities as “stereotypically male” is just not right. In fact, in our big weekend competition, Girl Scout troops beat Boy Scouts and Venture Crews in almost every single contest by a long shot. Including winning the lumberjack competition in 42 seconds. Sounds like he’s into girly activities to me!
I bought this book as soon as I heard of it. I know ours is only a baby, but I like to read to him and he laughs at every line! We have a bunch of LGBT/diverse-family books that kids 2+ would get, but it’s nice to have a good board book that our little ones can see themselves in. Hope, it’s interesting that your daughters perceive the child in the book as a boy- maybe not as androgynous as the illustrator thought!