By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com May 16 2014 8:00 AM ET
When people are dealing with a situation that is unfamiliar to them, they are quick to judge. This definitely speaks true when it comes to being a gay parent. I’ve noticed some people even feel sorry for us, like “Oh, you are really asking for it” or “Your poor son is going to have so much to deal with when he gets older.” They don’t actually say these things (to our faces), but it’s easy to perceive. Apparently the disadvantages are glaring to everyone, and people are quick to overlook the advantages. There is one in particular that is immense: We have the ability to choose when we are going to be parents.
Unless there is some dramatic scientific breakthrough, men are not going to be able to impregnate men, and women are not going to be able to impregnate women. Being gay means finding alternative options when starting a family. Lesbians have a slight advantage in this category as they can actually carry a child, but they still must acquire sperm to make this happen. Adoption is the prevalent method among gay men – it is affordable, it is a good cause, and it is extremely rewarding. Regardless of how a gay family is started, the one thing that we all have in common is the tremendous amount of planning that takes place. Straight couples don’t necessarily do this. In fact, over one third of all babies born in the U.S. are unplanned. In stark contrast, 0 percent of all babies within a gay family are unplanned.
In a nutshell, this is an enormous advantage for a gay family. We have the option of choosing when, so we have the ability to be incredibly prepared. As any parent will tell you, there is no such thing as being “ready,” but damned if us gay/lesbian parents aren’t as close as possible. The only catch is that once you get on an adoption list, you have no control over when you will be matched with a birth mother and bring your child home. We were told the average wait time was a year, but it was only six weeks for us, and most of the gay parents I know are in similar boats. The longest wait time I have heard for a gay parent was six months. That’s nothing. The smartest thing to do is be ready the second you make it onto the adoption waiting list.
If you are considering starting a family, use this information to your best benefit. Plan the shit out of everything possible, down to the birth announcements. In our case, we only had six weeks before our baby came home, but we had months before that to get things ready. By the time our son came home, his nursery was 100 percent complete and we were able to just relax and enjoy him, and as any parent will tell you, worry about keeping him alive.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.