One of the biggest surprises my wife Kim and I experienced after adopting our 4 year old daughter, Kloee, was the fact that we had to come out all over again! Let me preface this by stating that combined my wife and I had been out for over 50 years. We came out in the eighties when you called your girlfriend your “roommate” and it was completely acceptable to not have your significant other invited to social functions and to wear your wedding ring on the other hand…so nobody knew.
So, after vacationing in Provincetown, Cherry Grove Fire Island, attending a dozen Mellissa Etheridge concerts, many women’s book store events, going to Pride 100 times and wearing our fair share of purple well, here we were now, with a little four year old girl who had two moms.
You see, even though I was completely comfortable with my sexuality, my identity, my relationship and with being part of the LGBTQ community, being a lesbian mom was completely new to me. What I did not realize initially but then quickly understood were two things:
- I was now thrown into the predominant hetero world of parenthood and I couldn’t just come out when I was comfortable with it.
- Every single person that I had to deal with– from the staff at daycare to the emergency room to the new parent I met–I had to come out to.
Oddly enough the person I was most nervous about coming out to was my own daughter.
At 4 years old I knew she didn’t have a political opinion on the matter, but here I was wanting to be accepted as her new mom along with my wife who was also her new mom. What if she turned to us and said, “That’s weird. Where is my new dad?”
I remember thinking about a way to explain our lesbian family if it was confusing to her. Meanwhile, when taking her and her friend to the pool one day, she decided to tell her friend that her biological mom couldn’t take care of her because she was sick. Her friend’s response was simple, “Yeah, and now you have two moms to take care of you and you’re a family.”
And then the day came when she told me that she told a kid at school that her two moms were married and the other kid reacted by saying “yuck.” Well, responding on your child’s behalf is very different than responding on your own – something very new to me. I decided to approach the other mother since a real friendship was developing between our girls. When I mentioned it to her, the mom was apologetic and surprised since they had just attended her best friend’s wedding who was marrying her wife. (Parenting, you live and you learn)
Time has gone by and many of my fears were never realized. In fact, it has become a source of joy and humor in our family.
Recently we were on a trip to rural Ireland to visit my mother who was in the hospital. Kloee went across the room to talk with an elderly patient she had befriended. The woman was telling her how pretty she was and that someday she will meet a handsome man to marry. Kloee responded, “Or a woman.” The woman replied, “Oh dear, no, you wouldn’t marry a woman!” Kloee responded, “Yes, I can- my mom married a woman, my mommy Kim.” Apparently I was not the only one listening to this conversation as a young lesbian patient and her girlfriend were watching and laughing to see where this would go.
Then I hear, “Mommy, didn’t you marry mommy Kim?”
Here we go again!
Happy Pride Month everyone 🙂
About the Family
Kim and I have been married for many years and adopted our daughter, Kloee three years ago when she was four years old. 🙂