Saturday, September 13, 2014

[USA] "Same sex couple raising daughter in modern day family" by Amy DuPont

"The National Council on Family Relations says kids who grow up in two parent households are more successful than children raised by single parents. The participate in fewer risky behaviors, do better in school, and as adults, typically earn more money. Their research doesn't say whether those benefits are the result of marriage or simply having two parents in the home.  

An Onalaska couple, who hopes to someday marry, believes they can raise a successful, loving child either way. 

Like most other 7-year-olds, doing chores doesn't top Olivia's list of fun things to do. Still, the Onalaska second grader knows taking on responsibility is an important part of growing up. So is being kind, respectful, honest, as well as brave. All of the things Olivia's two moms try to teach her to be.

After ten years together Tina Buchal and Kelly Konrardy wanted to grow their family of two to three. The couple thought long and hard about bringing a child into a same sex family. They worried about what a sometimes insensitive society would say to them, and more importantly to their child. The women believed they could be great parents. "We knew she would be loved," said Kelly. 

With the help of in vitro fertilization and a sperm donor, Tina gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Moments after Olivia's birth, the "what if's" of gay parenting seemed to fade away. "When you're a parent, you're a parent. You're not thinking throughout the day 'I'm a straight parent or I'm a gay parent.' We do have the same struggle and we're just trying to do the best we can." explains Tina.

Tina and Kelly split the duties of parenting equally. Both enjoy their alone time with Olivia as well as their time together. The couple says they have the support of relatives and friends and even their church. Olivia's young classmates also seem to accept this modern day family. "A lot of her friends don't even think about her having two moms as anything different because they might have a mom and a step-mom or a dad and a step-dad."
Still, there are some things love and acceptance can't conquer. Because Tina and Kelly cannot legally wed, the law doesn't consider Kelly Olivia's parent. Kelly is Olivia's guardian; not enough to guarantee Kelly keep custody of Olivia if something were to happen to Tina. "It's a pretty scary thing for me knowing we did everything we can do, but it might not be enough."

Just like every other parent, gay or straight, married or not, Olivia's moms are doing the best they can. "We know she will have struggles when she gets older, but if we give her that good foundation of love and confidence and bravery and that she knows she always has a safe place to come to, then you just kind of send them out."    

Gay marriage is currently illegal in Wisconsin. An appeals court overturned the law as unconstitutional in June, but the ruling has been put on hold pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court.  If gay marriage becomes legal in Wisconsin, Tina and Kelly say they would marry. Not only would their marriage make Kelly an equal parent in the eyes of the law, but the couple says it's important for their daughter to hear her moms make a public commitment to each other."

Read More at WXOW

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