The Great Lesbian Divide- Bio vs. Adopted Kids - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can someone explain this to me?

I can't quite figure out why this exists.

Do adoptive parents feel those with bio kids are selfish? Do bio parents feel those with adopted kids don't feel the same overwhelming emotions? I thought this divide might lessen as my kids grew older but I am noticing it even more in the schools. The bio lesbian moms are friendly and the adoptive lesbian families are friendly (at least it appears that way) but not too much cross over.

My daughter invited a classmate over (I knew a two-mom kid, but I didn't know how the kid came to be) and the mom was really quite cold at both drop off and pick up. I asked a friend about her and the answer was "Her kid is adopted, yours aren't.

So. What do you know about this? Help me get a clue! TIA.

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#2 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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In addition to the ideas you mentioned, I'm sure some of those adoptive moms tried to have bio-kids without success. As someone who struggled through lots of IUIs while I watched women I knew get pregnant effortlessly, I can attest to feeling bitter toward them.

This is just a guess though. I had my little guy last spring but don't have enough mom friends to know anyone who has adopted. When I was trying to get pregnant, I was asked by a white lesbian mom w/an adopted mixed race daughter, "Why do you want a boring white baby anyway?" I can't even begin to detail here how offensive and wrong that comment was...

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#3 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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Wow. Ugh. I once saw someone express that they felt compelled to choose a non-white donor so that they could have a mixed race baby because there are already too many white people in the world. As if white people are a global majority.

I don't know of a divide between lesbians who have adopted and those who haven't. It strikes me that there is a gigantic, nearly unbridgeable, gap between those who are parents or are in the parents' camp and those who are not. Even though I have felt myself in the parents' camp for a few years, few parents actually recognize this, though I see the gap between me and those who are not in the camp. It's currently growing.

Where do people who have both birthed and adopted fit? What about those who have kids from prior straight relationships? What about the single parents? (I see a big gap there, too.)

The other gigantic, nearly unbridgeable gap (actually, often a canyon) that I see is class. That one strikes me as the biggest barrier to coalition in queer communities.

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#4 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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I started a reply saying that I hadn't noticed this at all, and then I suddenly remembered an incident at a dyke baseball tournament last summer. I was sitting with large group, including a couple who adopted an older child from the foster system. I wasn't even talking to them, but was telling another woman about how we came to have Esmé (she was given to us as an embryo).

One of the adoptive moms said, and quite snarkily), "Why didn't you just adopt? There are so many needy kids out there. I don't get the whole must-birth-a-child-of-my-loins thing."

I replied, "We did adopt. We adopted her as an embryo, if you want to look at it that way. Besides, it's none of your business how I build my family, just as it's none of my business how you build yours."

So yeah, I guess there is a divide. Hmm. That sucks.

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#5 of 19 Old 02-09-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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Good reply back, S&D!

I have repeatedly felt like I needed to defend my choice to birth my first (and possibly second) child(ren) - especially given all the transphobia, homophobia, bs, and infertility extra special BS I've gone through.

Ironically, the people who have given me the hardest time and the least support are people who have birthed their own kids or their partner birthed their kids, after conceiving easily.

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#6 of 19 Old 02-09-2010, 03:05 AM
 
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Interesting topic. I have not come across this myself, but we are pretty new to parenthood (to-be) and don't know more than a couple of adoptive families. Truth be told, at the outset of deciding to start a family we assumed we'd adopt because of the "so many needy kids" philosophy and we were really shocked at the amount of obstacles and adversity we faced. First financially, when we assumed that we'd adopt an infant and realized that was unrealistic for us budget-wise. Then we looked into foster care and realized that we faced some discrimination as a same-sex couple, would likely not pass a home inspection because we had recently bought a fixer-upper, and would be pretty limited in certain parenting decisions (for example co-sleeping) and would likely go through quite a lot of heartache before finding a child to join our family permanently. So we decided to go with birthing a child - the great irony being of course that due to infertility we ended up spending a fortune and facing quite a bit of heartache anyway.

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#7 of 19 Old 02-09-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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starling&diesel, that's awful. But good for you for standing up. I probably wouldn't have been as well-spoken in my reply.

FtMPapa, you're right about those divides. The older I get though, the more the queer "community" seems to me to be be more like a series of islands, each one with it's preferred "Keep out" sign: No boys allowed. No women. No transfolks. No femmes. No fat folks. No skinny people. No bi. No monogamous people. No poly. No people of color. No white folks. No trust funds. No working class. No old queers. No young ones. No married gays. No queers with kids... It's dizzying to keep up with who is welcome where. I guess I miss my babydyke days when I felt like I belonged everywhere in the queer world, whether that was really true or not.

We didn't really consider adoption b/c of cost and because we live in Georgia and do not fit the two-moms-wearing-dresses-and-lipstick that we assumed would get priority for adopting around here. I'm femme but my parter is genderqueer and basically looks like my son even though DP is older than me. We've witnessed some gay guy friends of ours get put through the ringer with private adoption--4 babies have come and gone, one of which they actually had and cared for for a week before her mom changed her mind--and we're uncomfortable in general with overseas adoption.

Anyway, I'm so sick of queers judging each other for their choices all the time, especially parents! Why can't we all just support one another, instead of attacking each other? We've got enough shit to deal with from everyone else!

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#8 of 19 Old 02-10-2010, 01:18 AM
 
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We have a bio baby and another on the way. I've only once encountered judgement from a family that was planning to adopt. It was when I was pregnant and I definitely got an "I'm Superior for Adopting" vibe. Whatever.

Living in a liberal metropolitan area most of my friends with kids are straight. We have one lesbian couple with kids friend. They have a bio baby and are adopting their second. We've encountered only one adoptive lesbian couple and they seemed fine. I can imagine that having the commonality of adoption would have made us connect stronger.

We made the choice to have a bio-baby for a lot of reasons. I'll say it and please don't flame me, but it was important to us to have a baby who looks like us. It was important to us to be able to grow our child in the manner we wanted, birth our child in the manner we wanted and be in our child's life from the moment he was conceived. These are all pretty selfish reasons, so maybe those are worth judging. We couldn't afford adoption so finances were a big reason for us to both go with a known donor and grow our child.

But...

After having a child I have decided that it doesn't matter where they come from, what they look like, etc.... We (parents) are united by the life-changing act of becoming a parent and bringing a child into our lives, be it through adoption or conception. No matter where they came from, we're still up in the middle of the night, losing sleep, worrying, feeding, clothing, striving with all our might to help develop a decent human being. So I don't get the judgement on adopting vs. conceiving. Once again, whatever.

I do find there is a vast gulf between those who are parents and those who are not, in all aspects of life. That's a hard one. I would love it if everyone planned all their gatherings to not interfere with our nap time, and to start at 4:30 pm so we can get home in time for bed, and to be at places where my kid can be noisy and run around if he needs to. It's not that way so I end up not doing a lot of social things with people who don't have kids, and I really appreciate my friends without kids who GET it.

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#9 of 19 Old 02-10-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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Some of our very best friends have created their family through adoption (they have four kids too, just like us). It is not a dividing factor in our friendship at all. That said, I think the issue is more about finding families with whom you share common ground than it is about adoption vs. gestation. Most of the queer families we've met--regardless of how they created their families--do not share our same "attachment parenting" philosophy. And thus we find that most of our friends are straight because we have more in common with straight families who practice AP than with queer parents who parent in a more "mainstream" way.

Our friends who have adopted are also attachment parenting and I think that trumps the fact that we formed our families in different ways, in regards to our common ground. We respect their choice (more than respect really, we're in awe of their strength and dedication--along the way they have had 5 babies/toddlers come and then go . . . total heartbreak), and they respect ours (and yes, envy us sometimes for being able to have newborn babies who we know from the start are ours forever).

But I think that simply being "queer parents" isn't necessarily enough of a common ground. If you add in extra differences re: parenting practices and family formation (e.g. adoption vs. gestation), then it can be hard to find ways to connect, regardless of the fact that everyone is queer and parenting.

I can have a nice conversation with any other parent, and probably more in-depth with any other queer parent, but when it comes time to choose who to have deeper, on-going relationships with, I'm going to be drawn towards people with whom I share more than just queerness and parenting status.

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#10 of 19 Old 02-10-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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interesting topic i think! we have 2 bio babies - one that i carried and one that dp carried. we have 2 sets of friends who are on the adoption path - one straight couple who have been waiting forever to adopt from ethiopia after domestic wasn't working out for them - and one queer couple who have just begun the process. no negativity from either of them towards us despite the fact that the straight couple are dealing with unexplained infertility and the queer couple tried 7 IUIs I think even using injectibles on the last 2. i suppose it's down to individual personalities?

we do have one set of friends who don't have kids (or want them) and have actually stipulated in invites to events that these are ADULT ONLY and kids are NOT WELCOME. we declined but didn't make a big deal of it; however other friends of theirs did and i think they were quite surprised that this was offensive.

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#11 of 19 Old 02-10-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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I think Lex is onto something with "queer parent" not necessarily being enough to link families. Where Lex feels most connection with other AP folks, I'd say we feel most connection with families that are really conscientious about sharing parenting, and so far, that's been two straight families, one lesbian/queer/trans parent family, and one adoptive two-mom family. I could easily imagine that the experience of building an adoptive family, regardless of parental gender, might create a real desire to bond with folks with similar experience.

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Originally Posted by FtMPapa View Post
Where do people who have both birthed and adopted fit? What about those who have kids from prior straight relationships? What about the single parents? (I see a big gap there, too.)
Where I have felt a divide is one FTMPapa mentions, with single parents, particularly single bio-moms. To be clear, I know and respect many single parents, and I know we have lovely single parents and aspiring single parents here (including FTMPapa, right?), but this is definitely the division where I have to be most conscious of my own discomfort.

There really is a fundamental difference between constructing a two-mom family, and a single-mom family, and what's hard about one is definitely different than what's hard about the other.

The dismissive treatment I received from expectant or aspiring lesbian single (bio-) moms when we were expecting our first, and I was not carrying, absolutely cut me to the quick. I may have made similar slights, albeit unintended, by my very existence as a second (perhaps unnecessary?) parent in our family. So much of my initial experience of motherhood was in grappling with who I was as a non-bio-mom and what that meant for our family, and it was, understandably, something that completely separated me from the experience of single biological moms, even queer ones. I actually feel a lot of connection with adoptive parents, in the similarities around raising and loving a child outside a basis in genetic bonds, though I also know my experience in a family with bio-kids is very different (i.e. even though in some ways I guess I am an adoptive parent, we are not really an adoptive family).

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#12 of 19 Old 02-12-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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Hmmm. Coming from the adoptive mom side, can't say I've seen much of this in my circle, but there are rude/inappropriate/insecure people everywhere - even lesbians (gasp). I certainly don't feel superior because I adopted.

We hang out with many more straight people now that we're parents; we have more in common with many straight people parenting than with many child-free lesbians. Now that our daughter is 6, she is making her own friends at school and so we are interacting with all kinds of parents, rather than ones from settings where they can be assumed to have things in common with us. And that's fine with me. As long as there's a basic level of respect, it's all good. I already have friends, with and without children; I don't necessarily need the parents of my daughter's friends to be my friends at this point, just to pick up their kid when they say they will!

By the way, I wouldn't assume that a mom's "coldness" was some kind of judgment on your family; maybe she's just shy. Maybe she had a bad day at work. Maybe she was in a hurry. If you continue to feel discomfort from her, you could invite her for a cup of tea and ask!
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#13 of 19 Old 02-22-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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Wow, I had no idea there was a divide, maybe my kids are too young for me to realize this is an issue, or maybe I just don't have any lesbo mom friends.

We are perhaps one of those few lesbian families who have both adopted and bio kids. I would have to think that if there's a chill coming from the adopted families it may be because it's just a very different way to create a family and not everyone understands the unique qualities or different challenges adoption poses over the course of a child's lifetime.

To put it into perspective a bit, I think nealy all gays and lesbians form their own extended families through "adopting" friends to fill in where our own families fail. Although these bonds are formed in a quagmire at times, and no one else necessarily understands what the hell it all means, these "families" are things we get defensive about if people threaten, or appear to threaten, because they are vitally important to us. (is this making sense?). Adopting children is not so different. People make all kinds of assumptions and say REALLY stupid things when they find out you have adopted and it just really sets you on edge to the point where you're looking for someone to be an idiot so you can set them straight (figuratively speaking). Lesbian adoptive parents face something of a double minority status -- not only are you a lesbian couple, and your ability to be a proper parent openly questioned anyway, but you're an adoptive parent, and now the state and lawmakers and the media and televangelists are all up your butt about whether you can be entrusted with the moral and ethical duty of raising somone else's children. You really get opened up to all kinds of scrutiny that just isn't there when at least one of you appears to be the 'legitimate' parent of your kids.

Our oldest is adopted and our youngest is bio, carried by me. I've spent years defending the idea that biology doesn't make a family, and also experienced the hormonal flood when my son was born that made me really feel like a mother for the first time. Neither position is right, and neither is wrong. They are just different. If given the choice to choose to have dinner with an adoptive lesbian couple or a strictly bio couple, I can't say it would be able to choose one over the other. I guess it would depend on the day whether I wanted to talk about my daughter processessing her own loss by way of the adoption, or my son's questions about a donor father, or whatever.

Yeah, I've been guilty of getting haughty over adoption -- wondering why people need to go to the ends of the earth to try to have their own when there's a bunch readymade and waiting for some parents. It's probably just a defense mechanism I think especially if they came to adoption by way of infertility. There are certain things you can only share with other people that have adopted, and there are certain things you'll never have to fake a smile to get through when you're with adoptive parents (e.g. you don't have a birth story, you may not have even met your child for months or years after their birth).

That's my 2 cents anyway.

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#14 of 19 Old 02-23-2010, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So maybe this is just something I built up out of nowhere. Perhaps it is also an economic thing. We are a $90K income family living in a $200K income town, so I may be looking for slights where there are none.

I remember trying to argue with my LDS parents that just because their was one other LDS kid in my school didn't mean we had enough in common to date! (Turns out he is gay too, but still. Two gay kids with LDS parents doesn't mean we have to be friends! ) So I was well aware that just because we are all lesbians might not be enough. But somehow I feel like I should at least be on hello and wave terms with the 3 or 4 other two-mom families in our school of 700 kids, kwim?

As for stupid adoption questions. My dp was asked, at work, if she had kids. She answered, yes, 4 kids. And the guy responded "Are they all yours?" What does that mean? How do you even answer that? "No, they are my neighbors???"

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#15 of 19 Old 02-28-2010, 09:09 AM
 
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I have 2 kids from a previous 'straight' relationship. I just now purchased a house with my partner, a woman, who has taken on my kids as her own. I have not had some of the experiences listed here, but do sometimes feel on the outs within this online community because I cannot join the sperm donor or adoption conversations. I had my kids the 'old-fashioned' way, but am definitely very lesbian. Most of the other women that I know IRL with kids, had theirs the same as me... were in relationships with men, had kids, decided this wasn't working for them, and now are dating or partnered with women. I sometimes do often feel like I am not a 'true' lesbian in online communities.

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#16 of 19 Old 02-28-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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I kind of know how you feel, wemoon. I've been on both sides now. I had my first baby before I identified as queer as well.

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#17 of 19 Old 03-02-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wemoon View Post
I have 2 kids from a previous 'straight' relationship. I just now purchased a house with my partner, a woman, who has taken on my kids as her own. I have not had some of the experiences listed here, but do sometimes feel on the outs within this online community because I cannot join the sperm donor or adoption conversations. I had my kids the 'old-fashioned' way, but am definitely very lesbian. Most of the other women that I know IRL with kids, had theirs the same as me... were in relationships with men, had kids, decided this wasn't working for them, and now are dating or partnered with women. I sometimes do often feel like I am not a 'true' lesbian in online communities.
Same here. I was in a hetero relationship for close to ten years, had my two children with the same person - and following our divorce, came out as gay.

I'm now living/partnered with a woman, who is assisting with co-parenting our children. We are planning to have a child between us one day soon (with me carrying).

I find that among our queer friends, I sometimes feel like a fraud. These are people who identified as being gay from a very early age, only ever dated women, plan to have children via adoption or donor insem...

So it's definitely a struggle to try and find a community circle without feeling like I have to 'prove' myself at every turn.

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#18 of 19 Old 03-02-2010, 12:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
So it's definitely a struggle to try and find a community circle without feeling like I have to 'prove' myself at every turn.
It's strange, I feel the same way and I've self-identified from an early as gay. I think with our adopted daughter we both have fought to "prove" ourselves as rightful, equal parents and then with our donor-conceived son, we have to fight to "prove" she is an equal co-parent. I think sometimes we find these battles because we are looking for them. KWIM?

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#19 of 19 Old 07-06-2010, 01:57 AM
 
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I haven't encountered that but here it seems there's a divide between those co-parenting and those who have chosen anonymous, even if it is coparenting with another gay couple.

When a queer friend found out we would choose a Caucasian donor (I am of color), he was shocked my DP actually agreed to having a 'biracial' child. It was very hurtful to me.

But I love seeing adopted kids. When I walk in the gay village and I see an Asian toddler with a very contented white gay couple, I just smile. I would never think of parents who have adopted as different. I have always wanted to adopt as well, and after my DP gives birth (planned after mine in the next 2 years before she reaches late 30s), then we would like to adopt our 3rd and last child.

Good question stated above, about families who have adopted and had a bio child. Are they only half-selfish?
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