Now here is a contentious one for you…
I write this entry with as much care and sensitivity as I can muster, having already experienced a taste of the polarising and colourful reactions to this ‘land mine’ of a discussion.
I stumbled into this issue for the first time about fourteen years ago, completely by accident. Master Z was around the age of one, only just toddling around the place. My partner T and I were completely and utterly smitten with him. We still knew very few others in our situation – two women in a same sex relationship with a child – but we were slowly hearing about some others like us who had ventured down this same path. We had our wonderful day care provider, Karen, who I had become good friends with, and I was embarking on my own family day care business while studying too. Life was bounding along quite nicely and we felt somewhat ‘protected’ in our circle.
Initially there were two slightly older little boys with Master Z at Karen’s family day care each day. One was from a single mum household, the other from a split family heterosexual household.
The ‘diversity box’ was well and truly ticked here.
It was a wonderful arrangement and we felt we belonged. Our foray into same sex parenting was starting out better than we might have imagined.
A few months later, Karen was thrilled to share that some friends of hers – another same sex female couple – had enrolled their little girl into her care. This little girl was about six months younger than Master Z and was absolutely adorable.
We couldn’t believe our luck.
It was the ‘Holy Grail’ of Minority Group Parenting…
Master Z was going to have the opportunity to grow up with another child of a same sex couple around him.
We met this couple and instantly hit it off, attending social BBQs with them at times both at Karen’s place, and theirs. New friends with such similar life experiences were hard to come by, and we felt delighted at the prospect of having some.
A random, unintentional discovery changed all of this.
Mid conversation one day, we learned we had used the same anonymous sperm donor.
Master Z and this little girl were biologically half ‘siblings’.
After the initial shock wore off, I was excited. I thought it would be lovely for the kids to grow up knowing one another and having someone to talk to about issues they might face in the future.
The ‘initial’ shock for the other couple took a few weeks to subside. Once it did, it appeared to be replaced with fear and apprehension. They seemed to feel this discovery somehow undermined the relationships they were building within their own family unit.
Before too long they removed their daughter from Karen’s care, cutting all contact with us. I felt gutted, frustrated and completely out of control. No amount of reassurance from us could make this situation better; they wouldn’t even speak to us.
It was the end of the road with our new friends, and the end of the road with our kids being in contact.
I didn’t understand the issue. I still don’t.
It was then that I first realised what an unexpectedly divisive topic this was. It came completely out of left field and sent us reeling.
I often wonder whether that lovely little girl from family day care will ever know about Master Z, and my other kids.
I guess only time will tell.