Tough Questions: Can I Have A Family?

It’s 10:00 PM and my evening is winding down. I pick up my MacBook Air, my journal, and the book I’m reading (The Wisdom of No Escape). I’m not sure what my plan is: to read? To journal? To type? The light from the fire/heater against a comfy chair catches my eye. I sit in the chair, the light and the heat of the fire on my left side and look out the large glass doors onto the still glassy lake. I write.

As I’m writing, the silhouettes of my fingers against the backlit keyboard catch my eye. I pause and look down at them. I can see a ring on my finger. I look over to the empty couch next to me. I can see a kid running and jumping on it. I can see the child sleeping peacefully, toys scattered about on the floor.

There’s something… right.. about that. It feels nice and comforting and good.

But the love stories on the radio don’t match the love stories of my life.

Can I have a family? Will I have to let that dream go? Will it ever be real?

I’ve always wanted a family (I still do). At times, who I was seemed to conflict with what I wanted. The government of my country (and of some religious denominations) refuses to acknowledge or support families that look like the one I might build. Relationships are hard enough, how do you build one in the face of so much resistance?

And there’s questions of logistics which I could swim in for days if I let myself: how much will it cost? Do I adopt or have a surrogate? Open or closed? Family member, friend, or stranger? Will the child feel like we’re his or her (or zir, or their) parents? Will it feel more connected the parent(s) of origin?

I don’t know. 

I don’t like not knowing. I like maps and plans and data collection and evaluation. (That’s one of the reasons I love working with GLSEN so much… lots of research!)

I know now that I can have a family. I also know that if I don’t have a family, I am not a failure. There are all types of relationships and ways to move through life, and they are all valuable and important. Christians can look to Paul and Jesus who both, to varying degrees, advocated forsaking marriage for the kingdom of God.

I look down at my finger and know that one day, there very well might a ring on it. And that my family and my friends and communities of faith and my state (and hopefully soon my country) will recognize it.

And that makes me smile.


What about you? Is this a question you’ve asked yourself? Would you consider responding to this prompt (publicly or privately)? If you do, and you’re brave enough to share it with me, I’d love to hear it. Ping me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Or just shoot it to my inbox.

PS The beautiful photo is by Lola Audu (it’s not the same lake).

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