a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
"And the person inside says nobody's home" 
rosefox: "Angsty about it?" "No" "Yes you are" (angst)
Ugh, got hit with a massive wave of insecurity today. I keep picturing the three of us out in the world with FutureKid, and everyone assuming that J and X are "Dad" and "Mom" and I'm a friend or something. Realistically I know that X and I will immediately look like the classic Brooklyn lesbians-with-baby couple (you should have seen us the day we showed up at the cat shelter in Park Slope and realized we were wearing matching rainbow jewelry... gayest moment of my life, and that's saying something) and people will probably assume that J is the "friend". Or because J and I are the chatty extraverts, we'll look like a couple and X will look like the third wheel. Or who cares what strangers think anyway. But I'm not going to be a biological parent, and we have to fight the state and jump through absurd hoops to get me recognized as a legal parent, and all of X's pre-IUI appointments are at 8 a.m. (so they can do same-day bloodwork) and I'm on a West Coast schedule that makes that feel like 5 a.m. for me and I really can't be there for them, and right now I just feel so disconnected from the whole thing and it hurts and I'm sad. And desperately, desperately insecure. Which is triggering my dysphoria too, because why only care that strangers won't see me as part of my family or as the parent of my child when I could also care that they get my gender wrong? Bah.

X promised me that on Saturday we'll go shopping for baby things together (not a whole lot, since they aren't actually pregnant yet, but just some onesies or something) and that will help. Unless I sit down on the floor of Old Navy and burst into tears. You'd think I was the one getting all hormonal.

I would really appreciate any words of support from non-bio parents and parents-to-be out there! Not just "once the baby comes you will absolutely feel like a parent" but sympathy/empathy from people who've been in an emotional place like this. Fellow-feeling. You know.

Bonus: I had a total foot-in-mouth day on Twitter (I think I managed to piss off four separate people, mostly without meaning to), and meanwhile Daniel has been totally splendid and fierce and eloquent, and so the insecurity says that he's the visible "parent" of Long Hidden and I'm relegated to a dark dusty corner or something. And I'm white and that cancels out all my queerness and transness and polyness so really who am I to talk about being marginalized anyway. And augh brain shut. up.

I haven't had to deal with insecurity this bad in ages. I have no idea how to deal, other than by maybe having a good cry (why couldn't I have cried while everyone else was awake? I hate crying alone) and going to sleep.
 
16 May 2014 07:27
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
I haven't had to deal with insecurity this bad in ages. I have no idea how to deal, other than by maybe having a good cry (why couldn't I have cried while everyone else was awake? I hate crying alone) and going to sleep.

*hugs*

Rob was raised by two dads and a mom. This happened because his biological parents divorced when he was a toddler, his mother remarried very shortly afterward, and his biological father stayed involved in active parenting, but for all intents and purposes he had a three-parent family until sometime in his mid-teens. And that's a way more obscure example of non-bio parenting than my goddaughter who has two mothers. Or the child my cousins eventually have, who will also have three parents, one of them genetic. Your family will be your family no matter what. You and X and J can all wear matching rainbow jewelry if you're really worried.

Anyway, you are awesome and I like talking about books with you.
16 May 2014 17:18
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
My parents also divorced when I was very young, and both remarried (my father multiple times). But my relationships with my stepparents ranged from indifferent to actively hostile, so I can't draw on that as a source of comfort. Rather the opposite.

Anyway, you are awesome and I like talking about books with you.

Aw, thank you! Very much likewise.
16 May 2014 17:41
sovay: (Default)
But my relationships with my stepparents ranged from indifferent to actively hostile, so I can't draw on that as a source of comfort. Rather the opposite.

Understood, and I'm sorry if I stepped on anything.
16 May 2014 18:17
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Oh no, not at all! Just providing data.
16 May 2014 11:56
amaebi: (Default)
I am a non-bio-parent of a child who looks Asian. (Because he is.) And particularly after adoption training-- which was focused for White parents-- I wondered whether things would be really weird in terms of how I was treated.

As it turned out, when Sheeyun, Chun Woo and I are out together people think he's home-made. Chun Woo's school colleagues, who've barely seen Sheeyun, were arguing with Chun Woo this last year and assuring him that he's home-made, which unnerved him. When Chun Woo and I are out together I get the impression (sometimes verified) that I register as his Adoptive of Course mother. And I feel edgy about people registering me as one of those White women who goes International Baby Shopping. I feel edgy about that because I'm a jerk. :D

In fact, there was more weird (and overt) reaction from my No Blue Without Pink rule. People are very, very into gender policing and got really nervous. Sadly, the rule had to die in Chun Woo's toddlerhood, as I wouldn't dress a chihuahua in frilly non-durables, and that's where all the pink went.

But, briefly, relationship shows, and assuming that the usual thing happens and you live as a parent, you and futurechild will look like parent and child.
16 May 2014 17:23
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
In fact, there was more weird (and overt) reaction from my No Blue Without Pink rule.

It will be interesting to see how people react when we actively refuse to gender the baby or let anyone else do so. (I feel no need to remain ignorant about the baby's anatomy, but I'm well aware that anatomy doesn't predict gender.)

But, briefly, relationship shows, and assuming that the usual thing happens and you live as a parent, you and futurechild will look like parent and child.

Thank you. :) It helps to hear that.
16 May 2014 15:40
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Not a non-bio parent, but a non-bio child, so if at some point you want words of reassurance from FutureKid's potential perspective, I'd be glad to do that.
16 May 2014 17:10
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Yes, that would be very helpful, thank you!
17 May 2014 01:17
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Ugh, keyboard error, lost first draft.

I don't remember any random person ever giving us shit / doubting we were family / whatever when we were very obviously not biologically related. Which is not to say that it never happened, but if it did, my parents must've handled it so that it didn't register for me.

(And they are my family, no qualifiers necessary or desired.)
17 May 2014 07:35
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
That's awesome. :) I'm really glad.
16 May 2014 16:33
dantesspirit: (Default)
I have a good friend- on the west coast, no less- in a very similar relationship set up as you. She is married to the guy as well, and his girlfriend lives with them- she gave him her blessing to have a girlfriend, so not exactly the same, but similar family unit. They share a delightful little boy to whom she is not biologically related, but he considers his mother just as much as he considers his birth mother, his mother.

What you are describing- the insecurities over not being a true bio-parent, health issues, etc- is very, very similar to what she blogs about. Her blog might be worth reading for you.
( http://familyvalues.dreamwidth.org/ )

Meanwhile, all the hugs you would want.
16 May 2014 17:09
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
I've known Mary and Casey for going on 20 years. :) But thanks for the pointer.
16 May 2014 17:42
dantesspirit: (Default)
Ah! well, there ya go then.}:P Mary's awesome.}:P
16 May 2014 17:29 - You are very much the book baby's parent
mystery gardener
Rose,

I'm not qualified to talk about any of the other things you bring up in this post, but NEVER think you are (or are perceived to be) anything less than a wonderful, loving and hardworking parent of Long Hidden.

Best,

Sabrina
16 May 2014 18:17 - Re: You are very much the book baby's parent
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. <3
17 May 2014 21:53
wendil: Waterhouse (Quiet)
Hello there :) I don't recall how I found your journal but I peer in for the excellent recipes, book recommendations and other bits here and there from time to time. I read this before going to sleep last night, and you were on my mind. I dreamed about you. In my dream you were sitting on a bench in some sort of store, looking lost and sad. I remember presenting you with a pair of baby shoes (baby Top-Siders, I believe) and telling you that you were going to be an excellent parent.

If you meant for this to be friends-only, then I do apologize for stepping into the conversation. I just wanted you to know that I am rooting for all of you and hoping for the best of all outcomes. Good luck to you, X & J on the coming of FutureKid.
18 May 2014 00:12
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you so much! That's a really sweet dream. :)
18 May 2014 04:25
dangerpudding: Just Me. (Default)
I, too, can only really speak from the perspective of the child - my messy family of bio, non-bio, and oops-actually-bio (or oops-actually-non-bio) parents and all.

I can say that from there? The biology is so much less important than the love. I don't miss Dad any less because he wasn't involved in my genetic material, or love Paul any more because he was.

Also, most of the world was perfectly happy to believe and act as if anyone I said was my parent, who acted as my parent, was.

Mary is good peeps to talk to on this one, as might be [livejournal.com profile] chinders, if you know her (or I'd be happy to introduce y'all).
18 May 2014 04:36
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
I do indeed know Cathy, but thanks for the offer of introduction. :) And for the rest as well.
18 May 2014 04:52 - Non-biological parent
In my experience, where there were three people in parenting roles on a daily basis, what really helped for the non-bio parent was that the three of us picked out names for the kid to call us ahead of time. Mom, Dad, Mum. These stuck, and because we had a way to refer to one another, it prevented that feeling of two parents having obvious names and one not, which led to insecurity before we talked it down and picked the names (in the waiting room for the IVF, as it happens).

Also, random bouts of insecurity and feelings of being disconnected were common for all three of us in the ramp up to parenthood. Even the bio mom, eight months pregnant once broke down and cried for awhile because she felt like the events taking place in her body were taking place without her involvement, just happening to her.

It all worked out in the end, which was nice.
18 May 2014 04:53 - Re: Non-biological parent
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Also, random bouts of insecurity and feelings of being disconnected were common for all three of us in the ramp up to parenthood. Even the bio mom, eight months pregnant once broke down and cried for awhile because she felt like the events taking place in her body were taking place without her involvement, just happening to her.

I can totally see how that might happen, and thank you very much for the reassurance that this is normal.

No idea what X and J will be called, but I intend to be "Zaza". :)
18 May 2014 23:08
willow: Red haired, dark skinned, lollipop girl (Default)
I'm not a parent.

I'm an older sister (by some serious years). And it blew me away a year or so ago when my little sister told me she still (and will always) consider me one of her primary care-givers.

As in, she has a mother, a father and Sis.

So whatever feelings you're having now - I can't speak to. I can only speak to the feeling of responsibility when you hold a little human being, all squish headed and semi-ugly in your hands, squinting at the light and wondering wtf is going on. And, how BEING there for them affects THEIR bond to YOU.

Given the complicated thing my sibs and I go through to treat each other as sibs and not 'Second Mom and kids'.

The interaction and BOND matters.

I have a paternal little brother who didn't meet me until he was 14 yrs old and YET? For years? Even though all he had was a picture? He'd let EVERYONE know he had a sister; all his school applications, any paperwork, people he met asking if he was an only child, etc. Leaving my father to explain the long drawn out saga of separation and lost contact and private detectives.

People will think what they think and you can't change that.

But the child will always KNOW who loves them, watches over them, who they WANT to have a relationship to, who's their family and NO ONE will be able to talk them out of it EVER. At the most outside influence might get a sullen grunt that's not really assent but - I'm telling you no loudly in my mind.

Also? If Biology made parenthood - adoptive parents would be shit out of luck. FOSTER parents or adoptive parents of older children would be shit out of luck. And there'd never BE adult adoptions.

Also consider that you might be feeling similarly to a heterosexual man whose heterosexual cis female partner needed to use a sperm donar for fertilization and whose schedule keeps him away from appointments. But that doesn't change the fact that post successful impregnation? You've gone 9-10 months of bonding with baby in womb; talking, singing, feeling the baby move to the side to nuzzle against the warmth of your hand, feeling kicks and punches, reading stories, etc...

Just because your part in things doesn't START at the same time - doesn't mean it's NEVER starting, no matter what your brain weasels tell you.
19 May 2014 05:10
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you. I really appreciate all of that.
16 May 2014 10:13
Hey. Being a parent isn't biology. Being a parent isn't legal. Being a parent isn't about what is seen, thought, or experienced by anyone EXCEPT the child.

The baby is the center of this & you'll be amazed at how all-consuming of your energy they can be. But at the same time, the strength & passion of that baby-parent relationship is so affirming that it will trump all the other stuff - not entirely, not all the time - but for a significant portion of the time.

I don't want to minimize the perception/legal issues inherent in poly parenting. They are real. I just want to point out that they exist side by side with a wonderful, tremendous love that gives you additional strength to deal with it all. You are not going into this without resources, and the resource is such that it can not be truly understood/appreciated until you have it. Which is probably not helpful at all, but it is true.

Community also helps. Almost all of the poly parents I know are cis or present as such to me; that being said, if introductions would be helpful to you please let me know.
16 May 2014 18:08
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thanks. It's mostly not about gender, and I'd be glad to chat with anyone you think I might get along with.
19 May 2014 00:09
nounsandverbs: (roses 2012)
Hi! [livejournal.com profile] cbpotts suggested we get in touch. I'm a member of an 11-person created poly family called Harmony House. We have five kids -- three biologically mine, two biologically my housemates'. All five are being raised together as siblings.

I'd be happy to share what experience I have, or failing that, to volunteer my partner(s) for same. :)
19 May 2014 05:10
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you! I think right now I'm just looking for "this is totally normal" emotional support and the like; those are the comments that seem to have helped the most so far.
17 May 2014 03:48
brooksmoses: (Brooks and Suzanne)
This. Right now, the child is hypothetical-future-child; you can't have a relationship with them, just the things that will be the space around them (and even a lot of that is hypothetical). Suzanne also had a lot of feelings of fear of being left out when Theresa was pregnant, and once Morgan was born that changed completely because now she was there for Suzanne to have an actual relationship with.

It's scary, though. I remember being there too.
17 May 2014 03:57
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you. Good to not be alone.
16 May 2014 13:51
Tons and tons of empathy. It'll be hard sometimes. But the kid will always know who you are to them.
16 May 2014 18:19
rosefox: People cutting pieces of a cake that's covered with icing hearts. (love (divided))
Thank you. <3
16 May 2014 14:24
Context: I'm in an odd spot - I'm one of the bio parents but due to non-acceptance by the other parent, I'm just an aunt or "legal guardian" at best when presented to other people.

When the kids were young, it hurt. It hurt a *lot*, especially when one of the kids were ill at school and the school wouldn't release him to me to take home because "you're not a parent" even though I was listed as a legal guardian *deep breath*.

FWIW, I can tell you this - it gets better. When the kids (or kid, singular in your case) gets older and understands your true role as a Parent, neither one of you will give a flying hoot about what other people think because you're having too much fun together. I promise - it WILL get better.

Hang in there. Society can be full of jerks sometimes. Have faith that the kiddo won't be one.
16 May 2014 18:20
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you very much, and I'm so sorry you're in such a difficult spot with regard to your kids. :(
16 May 2014 14:33
I feel you, I do. In some ways, I'm envious--like, there are legal hoops and bullshit, but at least there is a way for you to become a legal parent (I don't mean to devalue your feelings by saying this--they're real and meaningful). It's really hard to look at the person you love most in the world and have a nagging feeling in the back of your mind saying "But you don't REALLY matter."

But the other week in the elevator, I ran into our upstairs neighbors, a couple around our age who have two little boys, one about Bear's age and one just maybe 6 months old. We've all chatted and been friendly before. And the father, in passing asked if my son was going to pre-school. So even though Bear looks nothing like me and lives with both parents, who are both parents in every sense of the word, our relationship signalled "parent" to our neighbors--maybe they thought that Helen and I were a couple, maybe they understand on some level the three-parent structure, whatever, it doesn't matter--they KNEW that Bear was mine. I did correct them so as not to be confusing, but it felt good. I expect you'll have many validating moments like that as well.
16 May 2014 18:22
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Anytime you and yours want to be introduced to the lawyer who's trialing third-parent adoption in NYS, just let me know.

Bear is so very yours, and you are his, and no one who sees you together could doubt it for a moment. <3
16 May 2014 17:24
The book She Looks Just Like You, by Annie Klempnauer Miller, is a very thoughtful exploration of the writer's own experience of being a non-biological parent.

I have genetic children whom I do not parent, and have the opposite experience of people assuming I'm their parent when we're together because we look strongly alike. Which is an odd thing, but being accorded an honor to which I'm not at all entitled is just awkward; not being accorded the honor due to someone who chose to parent seems both awkward and hurtful.

My very best wishes to all three of you on this journey.
16 May 2014 17:26
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thanks for the recommendation!
17 May 2014 00:45
Hugs. Can't speak to your specific questions about parenting (as a parent-to-be with my first I was mostly excited and anxious by turns).

HOWEVER your work together with Daniel's on LONG HIDDEN is inspirational, and so important. It's a magnificent project.
19 May 2014 05:12
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you so much. :)
17 May 2014 04:17
[livejournal.com profile] mactavish may have loads of great advice for you. Remember her from WOMBAT?
17 May 2014 04:21
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
You're the third person to make that suggestion. :) She and I are still in touch through Twitter.
17 May 2014 05:29
Great minds think alike :-)
19 May 2014 00:05
*pebble* While I have none of the relating points on parentology, I understand insecurity. *hugs*
19 May 2014 21:37
Nothing says "I have parental superpowers" like knowing just by smell if the crankiness is simply being tired, or by the way Baby's eyes look if it's some oncoming bug.

Nothing says "I'm parenting" like getting thrown up on. Or pee'd on. Stuff like that.

And it doesn't take an act of biology to grant one Parental Superpowers. My brother was adopted, and Mom never felt like he was somehow not entirely her offspring.

What other people think? Feh. The *real* hazard comes when your child realizes that they can absolutely get away with finding one of the three adults who was momentarily out of the loop on an immediate issue of snacks (or discipline for that matter.)

Right now the 3 year old has learned this trick, and I have to remember that if Mom or Da is around to make sure requests or notable behaviors haven't had limits set in advance that Auntie [livejournal.com profile] silkensteel hasn't been informed of yet.

The kiddos look enough NOT like me, and I have enough grey, that 'though they treat me like family I'm obviously not the blood parent, and am possibly an aunt or grandma. The two oldest introduce me as "friend" or "housemate."

Legally, you're going to have some interesting times. Not awful - and I'm not going to pick on details you need to remember, because you are TONS better at that then I. :) Please feel ok about the future.
20 May 2014 05:34
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thank you. :)
22 May 2014 12:30
ailbhe: (Default)
It's going to be great. Mactavish and DJM might have useful practical stuff to say, but I can only offer that it's going to be fabulous and you'll have a great time. And children really, really know who their family is, and it's not about genetics.
30 May 2014 05:14
Many many many many hugs. <3
7 June 2015 01:28
I'm not sure how analagous my experiences are, as someone who adopted an almost-toddler rather than an infant. But my experience so far is that it -is- different--not less close, not less real, just not by-the-book of many others' parental experiences and assumptions. But my experience is also that all those things are okay, and that the thing that is our family is no less strong or wondrous for it. But it's okay not to feel the same exact feels as those who come to being families in more traditional, societally sanctioned ways. We act like there's one primary template for parenting when there are really so many.

Also, and you probably know this, even for bio parents bonding isn't always instant. If you fall in love with your child over time rather than in a single overwhelming blinding moment, that's okay, too.
8 June 2015 00:50
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
Thanks for the reassurance and reminders!
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