Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Child of Fate and Love

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

A Child of Fate and Love

Article excerpt

New Hampshire residents Marianne Marsh and her partner, Carol Ramsey, desperately wanted to adopt. But time and again they met heartbreaking disappointment. Meanwhile, 150 miles away, facing an unplanned pregnancy, Cate Grant and her husband, Lawrence (not their real names), decided to find a GLBT couple to raise their baby. The meeting of these four adults--and a total of three children--was destiny

Cate: I know that fairy tales are true. My husband, Lawrence, and I have lived one. We have been best friends for 15 years and a couple for five. I'm bi, and he's straight. We're atheists who treasure the simple life with our family of cats and a fish, in a cabin deep in the New Hampshire pine forests of my childhood.

We were blissfully child-free by biology due to Lawrence's bout with cancer and my ongoing battle with benign growths. In early 2004, with the late winter snows, I had begun to feel not quite fine. By spring I felt like someone else entirely. The trajectory of my illness followed the well-worn path of every previous growth. Lawrence and I played our usual silly game, naming this growth the "Ticking Widget," or "Widget" for short. Lawrence finally got me to see a doctor. We were stunned to learn that I was pregnant.

Marianne and Carol: Before we met, we both knew we wanted children. Once we found each other, we decided to start our family. We both wanted the experience of being pregnant, so we were eager to purchase our sperm and start our family. After trying for some time, and several procedures, we learned we were both infertile.

We embarked on a journey to learn all we could about adoption: seminars, books, and phone calls. We called adoption agencies and asked up front if they had experience with gay and lesbian families--a question frequently met with silence or a stumbled reply.

Finally, we found Friends in Adoption. They eagerly invited us to their weekend seminar in rural Vermont. There we heard from birth parents, couples who had adopted, and many of their staff who had been adopted or had built their families through adoption. We knew this was the right place for us.

Cate: We never particularly wanted any children of our own. We treat our pets as our children. I had raised my siblings and my friends' children, and I volunteered to design and implement inner city children's programs for 10 years. By the time I was in my mid 20s I'd had more children than the old woman in the shoe. Now, like her, I didn't know what to do.

Fortunately, Lawrence did know what to do--an LGBT adoption. In the past, we had considered being surrogates for two gay couples, but that did not work out. In honor of them we decided to find another deserving same-sex couple. The circle of feminists we called found us an attorney to whom I explained, "We wish to find an LGBT parent or parents for the baby we are hosting. Cast the net wide. A gay atheist man and his transgender Buddhist husband would be fine. All comers are welcome, as long as they're LGBT."

Marianne and Carol: Within a few months we received a call from Friends in Adoption stating that there was a birth mother in our area who wanted an open adoption. But she was not willing to end her parental rights after birth--she had given up children for adoption before--and it took a few months before she could allow the adoption to proceed. We talked with other adoptive parents of her children and decided to take the risk. We had a beautiful baby girl with us for most of her first three months--then the birth mother decided to raise her on her own. We were heartbroken and still grieve this loss.

Soon thereafter we were again selected by a birth mom. Then, two weeks before the baby was due, her mother decided to raise her grandchild.

A few months later we were picked once again. When we learned the birth mother was in labor we drove all night to get there. We saw and held a beautiful baby girl. …

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