In my 24 years I have been called many things, though "synthetic" was never one of them. When I would walk to school, holding the hand of one of my lesbian mothers, the other children would not point, laugh, and whisper hurtful words about the artificially inseminated girl. I may have been mocked for having braces and glasses; they might have poked fun at my short hair or how tall I was. Of all the things I endured throughout my childhood, shame for who my parents were was not one of them. When it came to my family, I have only ever known love from four amazing parents, and for that I consider myself extremely fortunate.
People often speak of how children are conceived out of love, but in my case I know this is true. I have never known another who was so carefully thought out, planned, and created under such remarkable circumstances -- namely, the joining of two women in love, a gay man, and an over-the-counter ovulation kit.
What makes us such spectacular human beings is that each and every one of us is unique. I was brought into the world by three amazing people, welcomed and rejoiced by three incredible siblings, and I was fortunate enough to gain another parent at a young age -- my dad's partner came into my life when I was 8 -- raising my total of grandparents to eight. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends always gathered to love my siblings and me. My mother never thought the dream of bearing a child could be a reality, because she was a lesbian; I don't think anyone has ever been so happy to be wrong.
Four people, regardless of sexual orientation, race, difference of opinion, and religion, were selfless enough to take on the task of being parents. Mom, Mama, Daddy, and Dad: One stayed home with me for 12 years, one went to work during the day and school at night to help better the family, one is a graduate of Stanford Law School, and one danced with me and made brownies at midnight. For every sports game, awards ceremony, school dance, driving lesson, and book report, I was fortunate enough to have a parent supporting and encouraging me along the way. Never have I gone without; someone was always there, and usually it was more than just one someone.
Agatha Christie said, "One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood and a loving home." When I look back on my childhood, I do not remember the giant neon sign above me that read "prodigy of same-sex parents," but rather I remember being on the honor roll, attending Girl Scouts and selling cookies, playing soccer and softball, and my mom taking me to my first karate lesson. I can recall fighting with my siblings and doing front flips on my trampoline, staying out until the street lights came on and playing with the neighborhood friends I had. I look back fondly on the many camping trips we took as a family, like the time I caught my first fish with my mom and brother or when my auntie taught me how to make s'mores. My life at home with two moms was borderline mediocre in most eyes, but in mine, it was absolutely genuine and unparalleled.
I never felt as if I was given a disadvantage in life because of who my parents loved. When I was 19, I was fortunate to find a love of my own, a military man whom I had been friends with since middle school. Our relationship escalated quickly, and before long I found myself married. Though our courtship was unconventional in the eyes of many, we were lucky enough to have the support of our families. Now, five years later, we are happily living in Texas with our two beautiful children. There was a time in my mother's life when she thought it would never be possible to have a child, let alone grandchildren. My children will know the love of six grandparents -- I cannot think of anything better than that.
The life I've had for these 24 years has not always been easy, but I have always tried to meet the challenges with grace and poise. As a child, I was fearful of others knowing about my family, only because people could be incredibly cruel. Now, through organizations such as the Outspoken Generation and the Family Equality Council, I have learned to not only embrace my family but share our story with others to help show that there is nothing "synthetic" about us. I have been given a life with more love and opportunities than most people I know. I am one of a kind, and I am proud to be a child of same-sex parents.
BRITTANY BURGES is part of The Outspoken Generation, a project of the Family Equality Council that strives to empower those with one or more LGBT parents. She lives in Texas with her family.