Karl’s Outing: “I have a son – I am a gay dad” | Episode 1
For a long time I’ve been struggling with what’s the best and safest way to share our rainbow family happiness with you and the world. We want to protect our families and of course our children. The main motivation for this article, my outing as a daddy, was the possibility to answer the many questions from family and friends, and to support more rainbow families with the desire to have children. As you can imagine, after a private Facebook post of an ultrasound scan, we received countless messages from friends and family members who either simply came to us curiously and supportively. Or who were seeking help for their own family planning, wanting to know more about our rainbow family history and the possibility of sperm donation and artificial insemination.
Today it’s Sunday and we actually would have to work on much more “important” things, write travel blogs, post on Instagram and prepare bills. But a late summer weekend left its mark with a big impact. After much deliberation, the time has come to tell my story. Because it has already been a year since my first child, our son, was born. Blonde curls, deep brown eyes and a smile that really makes every iceberg melt. He is enchanting everyone, from grandma to uncle. “All the dad,” say one, “just like his mom,” the others. But in the end, only one thing counts: It’s our child, he’s alive and kicking – we have a rainbow family. Be curious about our different Couple of Men adventure, as a rainbow family.
Rainbow Family Year 1
This first, personal article about the topic of a rainbow family on our blog will give you a little insight into the past 10 years, in which we as a gay male couple together with a lesbian friend couple zealously planned, cried in desperation and then hoped again. One year after the birth of our first child, we spent this summer a first united, rainbow-colored, really magical weekend with the entire (!) rainbow family. The story about our family happiness should also address the difficult situation of same-sex couples with a desire to have own children. Even two years after the equality of marriage in Germany, also known as ‘Ehe für Alle‘, lesbian and gay couples still can not legally and with full support (especially by lagging in legislation) start a family. Personally, I hope that I can inspire doubting and insecure LGBTQ+ couples with our story of starting their own rainbow family and raising a new generation of happy children with LGBTQ+ parents.
It all started with a 10-year friendship
But back to the beginning. And this is about the common friendship between me and the mother of our first child. More than 10 years ago, our paths crossed for the first time, as part of a mutual friendship clique. Even then we both liked the easygoing friendship that united us. We also got to know each other better and better during several trips around Europe. The foundation stone was laid for our rainbow-colored family future. Only a few months later, she met her wife for life. And although we moved away from each other to different countries, we still kept in touch via email and Facebook. Until, one day, I received an invitation in my Facebook inbox about dinner for three, only the two girls and me. Just like that.
The evening – The question – Only one answer
It was wonderful to see the lesbian couple, my friends, after such a long time. We had a lot to talk about, new friends, the newly adopted country and relationship matters, friends just have to know about. It has always been special to us that we could spend so easily and relaxed time together. Of course, besides all the excitement of being reunited, I also recognized that the two girls became increasingly impatient and unusually nervous. A few Schnitzel, fried potatoes, and some Hefeweizen beers later it was time for the question of all questions:
Can you imagine becoming the father of our children?
There it was, just like that, unblinded and straight forward – the question of all questions. I can still remember how excited I was and how the blush rose in my face. And at the same time, I could only answer one thing:
Naturally! Yes! It would be a honour to me!
Visibly relieved, we all laughed out loud. Shy and happy at the same time, we all smiled and just ordered another beer. The cat was out of the bag, but how should we continue? As you can imagine, this was not on the evening program. The foundation was laid, we wanted to tackle the project of a rainbow family together.
And how should we continue? Questions! Answers?
When? How? With which rights and obligations? It was now time to find out, discuss, and clarify all open questions. Just one thing was clear, it would not be an easy way. For the lesbian couple’s the laws in their adopted homeland do not allow/support sperm donation for a same-sex couple, let alone from a known donor. In addition, we could not expect any help from the country’s doctors and medical centers in family planning. Questions and questions and so few answers: What about the adoption law? Are legal alimony obligations obligatory? What happens if one of the partners, in which case I as a donor, wants to withdraw from all rights? Do we agree on joint or separate custody?
Websites Fertility Clinics:
Tips, help, rights for rainbow families:
- Wikipedia: LGBT Parenting
- LSVD Projekt „Regenbogenfamilien“
- BMFSFJ – regenbogenportal.de
- Legal situation: Access to sperm banks
- First Sunday in May: International Family Equality Day
Support of rainbow families in Europe
Fortunately, in other European countries, there is a good chance of receiving legal help in planning a rainbow family. Even having sperm donated officially via a sperm bank, including tests and insemination at fertility clinics is possible. So the adventure family under the rainbow could continue, in a roundabout way. At first without Daan, because I had not even met him so far. More about this topic in one of the following episodes. First of all, the girls and I planned regular Skype calls that, unfortunately, often got canceled because of me. Despite my initial euphoria, family planning was at this point in my life not on top of my agenda. And then I met Daan and after six months of a long-distance relationship between Berlin and Amsterdam, my move to Amsterdam became a priority. The rainbow family project quickly took a back seat. But thanks to the tenacity and almost endless patience of the two future mothers, we were able to find common answers and tackle new challenges bit by bit.
Honesty is the name of the game in a rainbow family
From the very beginning, the foundation for the success of our rainbow family was open and honest dealings with each other, but not only about important decisions. Much confidence is needed, which must be built up piece by piece. Especially since I as the donor wanted to be part of the family from the beginning on. In addition, the clear agreements we made on rights and duties helped me to respect the decisions of the Mommies and to appreciate and accept everything that is decided for our common children. We were asked a lot of questions, for example how to handle it legally, with or without a contract, how often I can see the little one, and who are the legal guardians. We decided to settle everything on a friendship basis. Long phone calls with countless conversations went ahead and continue to take place. Especially after our first family weekend together, any differences in how and where we grew up ultimately do not matter at all. The motivation and drive for all decisions is the well-being of our offspring and the awareness that all experiences shape a human being and thus prepare them for their own future. Of course, this also includes the whole rainbow family.
Baby shoes as the birthday gift
My outing came late, only at the age of 18 years. At that time, I still lived in a small, very conservative village in the east of Germany, which I left after that. It was not so easy for my parents at the time to accept my homosexuality. But over time, the relationship relaxed. Today, the relationship is more than cordial. My parents even refer to Daan as their third son and accept him as a full and solid part of the family. Nevertheless, I have kept my parents completely out of the decision-making and family planning process. I simply did not want to disappoint them in case we would be unsuccessful. I hoped so much that it would work, that I wanted to wait until the first ultrasound scan. Of course, I could not guess that this would happen just before my dad’s 60th birthday. In short, for the birthday, we handed him a small gift box with a baby shoe and an ultrasound image.
From incomprehension to tears to absolute joy
It was a daring venture because I had no idea what to expect in response. From endless euphoria to total rejection, everything was possible. In the end, there was something of both. My mother opened her present and began to dance like crazy across the room, shouting, “I’ll be a grandma, I’ll finally be a grandma!”. On the other side of the table sat a completely baffled father, who just could not understand what this little pair of shoes in the gift box meant to him. He needed a breeze of fresh air while I told him all about our plan, the arrangements, and the moms. The prospect of having a real grandson or granddaughter soon sank slowly into his heart. Just a few days later, we received a call from my mother that my father had officially started to make plans as a grandfather. One year later, our first summer weekend together wiped away all doubts. Today you can hardly imagine a more proud grandfather, like my daddy.
And so our story continues
The last year was marked by intensive contact via WhatsApp with countless pictures, videos, and messages documenting every little step of our common child. Since his birth last year, we have visited my son three times and even celebrated Christmas together. “Going with the flow” is currently our motto. And even if he is a boy genetically, we want to offer him as much freedom and possibilities as possible. For both, his sex, as well as his sexual preferences or with which sex he would like to identify himself later, should be left entirely to himself. Unlike me, he prefers to play with cars instead of dolls. But who knows what will happen in the future.
When a rainbow family grows together
This was Episode 1 of our series about the topic of becoming a rainbow family. On our blog, it is mainly about me and my experiences as a gay father, since I was the one who pursued the desire to have children and also performed the sperm donation abroad (More about this in a future episode). The summer weekend together also marked the first edition of a summer event where all families involved were invited to celebrate the successful launch of our rainbow family together. Even one of the two grand grannies was there. Because no matter how life ends up in the world, it is important that we follow a desire with love. And that all involved work together for the happiness of the children in order to prepare them well for the challenges of life. And baby number two is already on the way …
Wanna know more about our gay travels around the world? Stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. See you again hopefully very soon on our blog. If you have any questions about rainbow families, please feel free to comment below or send us a private message on one of our social media channels.