As the world is challenged to be more inclusive, accepting, and loving by a more aware and passionate generation, the ‘one size fits all’ model is vastly outdated. Not only in terms of clothing, work arrangements, and the concept of happiness of success—but within families. Some children grow up with two moms, while others have two dads. Some kids are adopted while their sibling is the product of a successful surrogacy. Some families welcome their ex-partners to be part of the mix, creating a blended, vibrant collection of support. For those LGBTQ+ couples who may not be able to biologically reproduce on their own, there’s never one ‘right’ path to take in the process of welcoming children to the world, to their household, or both. During the month of June we celebrate this diverse community, and pay tribute to the many obstacles they must overcome to build the happy family they’ve dreamt of. Here, these couples share their stories, and hope to raise awareness—and ignite hope—for any LGBTQ family who needs it.
Christina and Katie
Moms to Kennedy, 3, and Charlotte, 1.
Christina and Katie Bailey always knew they wanted to have children—and they both wanted to be part of the process. That’s why they chose the reciprocal in-vitro fertilization treatment, using Christina’s eggs and donor sperm. They weren’t concerned about their chances at conceiving since they didn’t experience any red flags. Much to their surprise (and disappointment), their first round of IVF was unsuccessful. This experience wasn’t just a financial burden but also an emotional one. As Christina described: “We went into it thinking everything would work and when we got our hopes up, we were left feeling empty inside.”
After this letdown, they explored many other options but ultimately decided at the last minute to give IVF one more chance. They had a few scares along the way as they transferred two embryos, resulting in one miscarriage and the devastatinging news that the other pregnancy might not last.
“I will never forget the morning I came into the bathroom and Katie was crying over blood all over the floor. I had thought that our bumpy journey was over with and when I saw that, I thought we had lost both babies. I tried to be optimistic for Katie, but deep inside I thought the pregnancy had ended. We were both shocked to hear one little heartbeat the day after our scare,” Christina explains. The pregnancy wasn’t easy,but it resulted in their now happy and healthy 3-year-old daughter, Kennedy.
Their second pregnancy followed a similiar trajectory: they were excited to be pregnant, only to be told after some tests that chances of miscarriage were high. They waited for it to happen, but their second daughter, Charlotte, defied the odds. For these two moms, celebrating LGBTQ+ families is all about choosing love. After all, they are living proof that couples can persevere through fertility struggles. If you want to show your support, you can do that by not discriminating in any way.
“Not making any negative comments against LGBTQ+ couples is huge! Treating everyone equally means so much,” Christina shares. “I think informing kids that you can love anyone is also important. Many kids don’t understand that women can marry other women and men can marry men if that’s who they love.”
Brian and Cade
Dads to Parker, 3
It was an exciting moment when Brian Miller and his husband Cade Bittner decided they wanted to have a child. Though many options existed for this couple, they ultimately decided surrogacy was the best route for them. It wasn’t a fast process—it took two years—but the end of the road was their son, Parker. What did their journey entail? They selected an egg donor, found a local surrogate, paid for a few rounds of IVF, and finally, the surrogate carried the pregnancy to term.
As soon as Parker was born, they made a conscious effort to teach him what families really are: families. None is better or worse than another. Just very simply, families are people who love each other. They did this by stocking his bookshelf with all sorts of books, with some of their personal favorites including My Two Dads, Prince and Knight, and Same, Same But Different. They also don’t shy away from questions that can be tricky, like, when Parker asked ‘Where is mommy?’ right before his third birthday.
“When we were able to respond, ‘You don’t have a Mommy and you actually have two daddies,’ he was instantly put at ease,” Brian shared. “I am sure this is the first of many bridges we will cross as he goes to school. And if every family exposed their children to the wide makeup of families, it would help children of LGBT to feel more secure that they are not ‘different.’”
Rasha and Vanna
Moms to Leilani, 7
Leliana has two names for her two moms, Rasha and Vanna Pecoraro. While Rasha is ‘Mommy,’ Vanna has the proud title of ‘Mamá.’ This is just one of the many ways their family is blended and beautiful, thanks to the decision of this couple to grow their party of two to three. They chose an anonymous donor from a sperm bank that had a similar ethnicity to Vanna, and then had a naturopath perform an IUI insemination. Rasha carried Leilani to term, and they feel lucky they were able to get pregnant on the very first try.
Though they would have been overjoyed with any outcome, Rasha says they are very proud to be two women raising a strong, smart, and beautiful young woman. In their family, they celebrate love every single day—a challenge they propose to any family, of any shape, size, or orientation. More than anything, they want their daughter to be proud of her roots, and make an active effort to be part of the LGBTQ+ communities.
“We always fight for what is right,” Rasha continues. “We attend Pride parades in different cities, and we don’t shy away from showing the world exactly who we are: a family created from love.”