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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I wanted to start a thread to talk about issues related to parenting as a lesbian and I understand that some other folks want that too.

Let's go!
:

Me, I would like to talk about the issue of name changing and creating of family names. Hyphenation was not an option in our family (trust me, my last name is 12 letters) so, I am in the process of changing my name to match my partner's and daughter's. It is what I want but it is also weird to me to give up my name without any fanfare or ceremony of some sort. Okay, so this is a lightweight issue to start this thread - but it is about family identity for me. Any thoughts?

This thread is about any other issues that come up for lesbian parents too - male role models, legal rights, "who's the real mom?", SAHM vs WOHM, day care being gay-friendly...bring it on!
 

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I'm not in your position as I don't have a partner, but I'll try to contribute to the thread with what perhaps I would do if in your position


I kinda like the idea of coming up with a completely new last name for the family, either a mixture of both last names or something that holds meaning. I hate hyphenated last names and would never do it.

And I think you should do some sort of fanfare or ceremony
 

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I completely understand your desire to have all names in the family match. DP and I actually had this conversation last night. While we do not have children yet, we both know we want to have the same last name. I really do not care to hyphenate our last names...I am not sure how to explain my feelings. Whle I am very liberal and progressive, a huge part of me is conservative. I always looked forward to taking on my husband's last name when I go married (while pretending to be straight
). I know I would personally be honored to use DP's last name. Some of my friends who are lesbian have taken on their DP's last name, but their relationships have been butch-femme. Neither DP nor I identify as butch or femme, so our decision has nothing to do with traditional sex roles and expectations. I simply would be honored to use her last name.

I am not sure how my family will react, but I know it is my decision. There will be some members who are supportive and some who are not.
 

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I'll chime in here. I took my DW last name because when we have a child we want to all share the same name. I personally wanted us to use *my* last name, but you can't win 'em all you know. :LOL Since I will be the bio mom we felt like it was only fair that we use DW's last name, plus it was just really important for her to keep her last name. We weren't into the idea of creating our own last name, and I hate hyphenation.

Btw, we are not butch femme either. My family was almost all supportive except my grandparents (who are supportive of me as a lesbian) really wanted me to keep my last name, but they wanted my sister who is straight and got married to keep her last name too.
can't please everyone I guess.

The name change process here in MN was expensive and annoying. We had to go to court, pay almost $400 in fees, but what really
me off was that after the $400 check I had to send *another* $50 check for an FBI background check. People who get married don't have to have that. So ridiculous.
 

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Before our daughter was born, DP and I talked about last names. Neither of us were really keen on hyphenation. And honestly, neither of us wanted to take the other's name. But we knew that when we DID have children, we wanted ONE last name. So, we created our own last name. We took the first two letters of my last name (Jones) and the first four letters of her last name (Heimbaugh) and came up with Joheim.

We celebrated it, but nothing big. Just a recognition that we were committed to each other. When DD was born, it was easy to just write in those six letters. It also makes it easy when DP has to take DD somewhere without me (I carried DD). No one questions if she is her mother because they have the same last name.

[Thank you for starting this tread.]
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for responding about names - I am taking my dp name for two reasons; hers is easier to spell and I carried our dd. Basically we all want the same name - it does suck to have to go through the legal crazy part of it. Here, in CA, I will have to post my intention to change my name in the newspaper!


Just restating: This thread isn't just about my name, (although I am loving the responses). Anyone can take this in any lesbian parenting direction that you would like so if there is something on your mind feel free to bring it up here. I am looking forward to hearing more from other lesbian moms.
 

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My partner and I had a committment ceremony several years ago and were "pronounced" at the end of the ceremony using our new last name-- a surprise to our family and friends. It was actually very funny because folks knew that we were changing our last names, and they knew that we were creating a new name with the letters from our last name, so people kept trying to guess what it would be. Someone in our family thought that she had seen something with the name written on it before we were pronounced and thought we had changed our name to Oxen. Ha! :LOL The word spread throughout all of our wedding guests and what a surprise when it was Oryn instead! My mother-in-law was so relieved (no offense meant to anyone who might have Oxen as their last name)!
Anyway, I gave birth to our daughter in 3/04... she was very sick when she was born and was rushed to the NICU... and then transported to another NICU... and then another... and throughout this entire time, no one ever questioned my partner being Eva's mother. She was able to go down to the NICU while I was still in the delivery room and be with her-- no questions asked. I truly believe that having the same last name played a HUGE role in this. We started the adoption process a week after she was born but it took forever including a home study and 2 court hearings. The final adoption hearing didn't happen until Eva was 6 months old. During the entire time between her birth and my partner legally adopting her (second parent adoption), we had tons of medical follow-up from her time spent in the NICU and still, not one single person questioned my partner as being Eva's mother.
Just my 2 cents... I think it was one of the best things we ever did. I also feel like it really helped to create a family identity for us. And it helped to reinforce to our families that we are in this for the long haul...
Anyway, have a great night and thanks for starting this thread!

~westchestermom
 

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Just checking in as a lesbian mom. I have no input on the name issue (great story westchester).

I don't totally meet the criteria (what else is new) as my children do have a father in thier life. However, they do still have an "out" lesbian mom, and very well may have a lesbian step mom some day.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by A&L+1
Just restating: This thread isn't just about my name, (although I am loving the responses). Anyone can take this in any lesbian parenting direction that you would like so if there is something on your mind feel free to bring it up here. I am looking forward to hearing more from other lesbian moms.
Okay, mind if I change the subject? :LOL

DD was conceived with an unknown donor with no ID release. The bank we went with didn't offer it and at the time we were TTC, we didn't think much about it. But since dd's birth, we've been rethinking that and wondering if we should go with ID release with future kids (we want 4 total). So my question is: Have we set the president with dd? Do you think we should use non-ID release donors for future kids? Or is there some kind of explanation that we can use that will satisfy dd's questions if we decide to use ID release for the others?

It's been a tough one. We never could have guessed we would feel this way because at the time we were making decisions, we didn't have a connection to a child like we do now, kwim? Is it unfair to dd to use ID release donors inthe future because we feel differently after having HER or is it unfair to future kids to not use ID release donors because we didn't with her?

Am I making sense?
 

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On the name change subject, my DW and I have discussed it, and decided to keep our last names.

The hyphenation thing would never have worked because our names together would make a 12 letter last name (our child would get writer's cramp when first learning to write it!). In addition, both of our last names are common words that just don't go together well.

We discussed whether we wanted the same last name so that our child (we'll start TTC in May) will have the same name as both of us. After much thought, we decided that there are so many families who have different last names from each other (as in step parent situations where the mother remarries and the kids still have their biological father's last name), that it won't be that traumatic for our child to have a different last name than DW (I'll be carrying).
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by quiltpucks
Okay, mind if I change the subject? Is it unfair to dd to use ID release donors inthe future because we feel differently after having HER or is it unfair to future kids to not use ID release donors because we didn't with her?

Am I making sense?

Hi QP,

Yah, that makes total sense to me. I think it's impossible to say whether choosing and ID release donor for future little ones is unfair to your daughter; it all depends on how she eventually feels about that, and also, to a certain extent, how you and your partner present the information to her (ie, with or without underlying guilt, for example). That might be something worth working out with a counsellor or therapist, just to get your own feelings sorted out about it.

That said, even though your daughter may not be able to find out who her donor was, there are lots of people looking to see if there donors produced other offspring and an increasing number of web sites that exist to facilitate such searches. I haven't been on one but my partner has; apparently, all you need is to enter your sperm bank's name and your donor's number. I mention this only because if your daughter eventually really wants to make some kind of connection and can't do it by finding out the identity of the donor, that is something else you/she could look into.

The other thing to consider is that even an ID release donor can change his mind about meeting offspring; there are no guarantees, and as far as I know, they are not under any obligation. 18 years is a long time...

BTW, we have a baby boy
conceived via an ID release unknown donor.

I really don't have a final word of advice or bottom line on this; it's a really delicate issue that only you and your family will ultimately work out. I would say, however, to just do what you feel is right for the entire family, whatever that is.

I hope this helped!
Good luck!

...aargh...I just realized I still haven't changed my sucky sig! Must do that...
 

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Lisa,
My partner and I have (and will keep) our own last names. I lost my father several years ago and we were very close, so I want to hold on to his last name. Julie is keeping hers for the same reason. It is important to us for sentimental reasons. I wish there was a way we could all "match" (especially with baby/babies) but there was no way for that unless one of us backed down and we decided it wasn't something we wanted to do.

Mere,
About the donor issue. I understand your frustration and stress. I would tend to want the continuity among the children. However, your non-realease donor could change his status as time progresses (Are you a member of donorsiblingregistry.com? This is THE site that does matches on donor siblings as well as donors and offspring) More donors are coming forward with their information, and I am sure this will continue to increase as the population of donors ages. You can also place a message yourself on the DSR and it be there for the donor to see so even if they don't sign up they can see your registration and contact you privately. This registry was on Oprah and so far it has matched a LOT of siblings as well as donors with families.

Right now our biggest problem (problem?) is baby's first words. He is saying DADA. DADADADADADA. DaDa! Loud. In the supermarket. And there we are, two lesbians pushing him in the shopping cart and I know people are thinking the joke's on us.
So my partner has started letting him call her Dada.
: We are so against this in theory it boggles the mind that we are doing it right now. He wants to call someone dada because he can freaken say it! And she is home with him all day, so it's her (she is also less feminine than me
) He is just so proud he can get sounds out and have us respond. But we are embarassed in public
: The whole mommy/momma thing went out the window fast... dada is evidently an easier sound to call both of us.
My women's studies classes never warned me about that.
 

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Okay, well I'm a lesbian. I'm co-parenting with a man (a ***) so I won't identify with some of the stuff you are talking about. But I'm here...

And my daughter calls my ex girlfriend (who we live with) "Uncle." And it stuck, so now a lot of our friends are callign her uncle too.
 

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Hi y'all. Just checking in. Dp has a different last name from me and the kids. Hyphenation was out for us as well (my last name has all the vowels except u in it.) We hyphenated their middle names to include dp's last name.

Too tired to type much. Happy summer solstice to you.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kincaid
Lisa,
Right now our biggest problem (problem?) is baby's first words. He is saying DADA. DADADADADADA. DaDa! Loud. In the supermarket. And there we are, two lesbians pushing him in the shopping cart and I know people are thinking the joke's on us.
So my partner has started letting him call her Dada.
This was our daughter's first "word" too! We had the same feelings as you, but our friend helped us out with a solution - she said, "maybe she's trying to say 'dog'!" So we managed to attach "da" to "dog." (Do you have dogs in your life?) Also, before long she was also saying "ma ma ma" and "ba ba ba" etc. so the problem took care of itself.

If your partner is ok being called "Dada" that's great - I just wanted to share another solution to the "problem"...and it's great to hear we weren't the only ones with this little issue!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Kincaid, we are ignoring "dada" here and because my daughter doesn't seem to understand that things have names yet it hasn't been an issue. We aren't counting dada as a word, just a sound.
to you though for taking your son's lead.

Mere, We used a anon donor and we will again in the future, but I think that it would be fine to switch to a known donor if you think that you would feel better about it. I believe that the best I can ever do is make the best decision with the information I have at the time. You made the best decision that you could when you selected your donor, now that you feel you would like more info and access to any future donors, it make sense to do it without regrets.

As the OP, I just want to say that there is no criteria for this thread, so if you are a lesbian and you parent (including TTC) then,
: welcome home.
 

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i would agree with the poster who says the da da da does not last long- consider not having your partner get saddled with a name she is not so interested in when in about a week he will be calling her something else. we have a dog named etta, so we decided that must be what the baby was saying.

is anyone going to family week in provincetown? we have been every year since my daughter was born (she is three, we have been four times) and it is one of the most amazing affirming things we have done as a family. i highly recommend it (people come from all over the country). i think that there is one in michigan but i have never been there.

laura
 
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