Parenthood planning tips are important for every couple looking to start a family – including LGBT couples and families. Heather and I are so excited about planning our future family, to the point that we already have many of the ins and outs worked out, and we know when we're going to start. There are, of course, many scenarios, legal actions, and laws that can make it hard for some couples to start families, but it's not impossible. Every child deserves a happy, healthy family, and every couple deserves a child to love if that's their choice. I hope that some of you find help and courage in these parenthood planning tips.
1. Adoption or Biological Children?
One of the most essential parenthood planning tips for LGBT families involves making a decision about whether you want to adopt a child or have your own biological child. They both have their own very special and meaningful merits, with many families choosing both options. That's a possibility for you as well. It's wonderful to give a child a home with a loving family through adoption, but it's also wonder to have a biological child.
2. Where do You Live?
If you choose adoption, however, you need to consider where you live. Unfortunately, in some parts of both the US and the world as a whole, there are places where it's all but impossible for LGBT couples to adopt children. In general, you'll also want to make sure you're in a place that matches your values. If your church is important to you, having an open and accepting institution is important. Great schools with open minded teachers, students, and parents are essential as well.
3. Scouting out a Surrogate
Whether you're a gay or lesbian couple, you may choose to have a surrogate. Finding the right surrogate takes a lot of time and research. Think about what things are important to you, and what qualities you want to see in a surrogate. It's generally better to go through the proper, professional channels, simply to protect both the parents and the surrogate.
4. Discovering a Donor
The same is true for sperm donation. You'll want to look at the profiles of potential donors for a variety of reasons that are personal to each individual couple. There are many ways to go about this, especially if you don't require any fertility treatments or in vitro fertilization. If you do, medical help from a certified, trustworthy physician or treatment center is crucial. You may choose to receive a donation from someone you know. If having more than one child, you'll also have to decide if you want the same donor each time.
5. Who's Doing What?
To that end, you'll have to decide who's doing what. Who's carrying the baby? Some lesbian couples even carry each other's babies, through fertilization. For same-sex male couples, who will donate sperm? There are many things to think about, and it's important to be on the same page.
6. Essential Paperwork
This is important no matter where you live. There are adoption processes, name changes, and living wills to ensure that the remaining partner will keep custody of the children if something happens to one of you. You will also want to think about estate planning. Make sure there are provisions in place for both your partner and your children.
7. Living Happily Ever after
LGBT families are no different than any other family. Same-sex couples want to have children they can love, teach, cherish, and keep safe. They have the same values and desires as any other family: to be happy, healthy, and full of love. That's the most important tip at all: be happy and love your children, no matter which route you choose.
There are many more things to consider, but these are some of the most important aspects. Heather and I plan to have at least one child each, although she's making me go first (thanks, darlin'!), but things might be different for your family. Do you have any family planning tips or personal experiences you'd like to share?