I often read a news story because it shows up in my newsfeed on Facebook, my Google alerts, someone posts it on Twitter or even just my daily scan of CNN.com (I only read the Crime & Justice section) and Huffington Post. I mostly reserve my commentary on current events for Lisa and my close friends. On a rare occasion something will gnaw at me until I feel like not commenting is more harmful than commenting. Which brings me to Heather Barwick’s letter on The Federalist. (If you’re an American history or political junkie, you’ll get the name reference. If not, click here.) If you haven’t read the piece, stop reading this and click here I’ll wait….(This link is a more in depth iteration or maybe combination of her essay in the Federalist and her interview with WorldMag.com.)
Reading her story before proceeding is important to me because I do not believe in opining on something based on the title or other people’s perceptions…I like to marinate on my thoughts for a few days to avoid gut and emotionally regrettable reactions especially on something that hits this close to home…but Heather Barwick doesn’t have two mommies. Heather has/had a mom, a step-mother type and a seemingly deadbeat dad. I do not think she represents the whole or even a fraction of LGBT children. I think her situation is different…because she has a dad.
From reading her essay it appears her dad was not around or not around enough or in the right way. She was/is missing a dad. I do not think another male figure would have filled that role for her any better than her mother’s partner. Why, in my opinion? Because she has a dad. I lived in a house with my dad my entire childhood so I can not even comprehend all of the feelings that come along with the knowledge as a child that a parent (mother or father) is out there in the world but does not want to be near. Even though I have not lived this, I have seen the effects in the lives of others close to me. That wound does not seem to heal no matter how stable an environment is created. My parents divorced when I was a senior in high school. They’ve both remarried bringing step-parents, step-siblings and an ever growing extended family (which reminds me that our hearts are capable of limitless love). No parent was replaced though. My father was still my dad and mother still my mom. But step-parents often do step in to take on that role of the absent parent. Trying to fill a hole that may already be shaped like someone else. So no I don’t think Heather’s mom’s partner could replace her father…not even if she had the right parts.
As for the long-term consequences she speaks of, I would like to point out what I think should be obvious at this point…I was raised by a man and a woman. I am now happily married to another woman. I did not grow up around any same-sex couples (that I can recall). There were no same-sex marriage models for me to draw from in my life. In fact, the first same-sex marriage ceremony I attended was my own. Yet so far…I’m (We’re) doing alright.
One thing she says is dead on, “…there are so many different ways that the family unit can break down and cause kids to suffer.” And as I continued to do research on her essay and came across the WorldMag.com interview, I noticed that every example of proof that kids of same-sex couples were unhappy and maladjusted was of some extreme scenario. What I think is that there are far-reaching consequences of divorce, infidelity, abandonment, and just plain unhappy homes that impact families of all shapes and sizes. The impact is greatest on the children. We are the adults and we are responsible for making sure the kids are alright.
Kids do not exclusively come in to LGBT homes as products of divorce, although some do. LGBT families are formed in so many ways…just not in the oops I’m pregnant way…What you should think of when you see a LGBT couple with a child is how much that child was wanted…And how much thought, planning, love, persistence, and even monetary resources were put in to having that child. I am one of two moms to a new baby. A new baby that was planned, conceived and birthed into a family of two moms. There is no dad. There is no missing person. There is no person who did not want to be a dad. Our names are on the birth certificate. I believe with all of my heart that we are enough parent. We are an original intact family of two moms and a child. My wish and hope for my child is that she knows she is loved and wanted every day. She will know where she came from and how she came to be. Because two moms (two dads, one mom and even one dad) need a little extra help to bring a child into this world. Our child will always know that her two moms had help making her and somewhere out there is someone who gave us a precious gift. I know one day there will be questions but we will have the answers. We will always be open and honest.
Heather wanted to start a dialogue and it should continue. I think hearing from kids born or adopted in to LGBT families is important too. My concern for my child is what initially drew me to her story. It is unfortunate that after reading her piece on The Federalist that I found the WorldMag.com article because I now feel like her change of heart/of politics coincides with her chosen denomination. I kind of wish she would have just said that instead. In a way, I feel like Heather Barwick and I are less than 6 degrees of separation apart. She was raised in Maryland, I currently live in MD. She lives in Columbia, SC, a city I called home for 11 years. We are roughly the same age from what I can tell. We even have the same first name. Depending on how long she has lived in Columbia, our paths may have crossed. Our 20 year old selves probably would have been friends. In her role as a child advocate, I hope she finds it in her heart to remember that families come in all shapes, sizes and configurations…
And always remember there’s nothing worth sharing
like the love that let’s us share our name
Always remember there’s nothing worth sharing
like the love that let’s us share our name