Sam Hartman (hartmans) wrote,
Sam Hartman

Unusual Family Structure

It's unusual to have a three-parent family. In the past when I've thought about this I've focused on things inside the family. However since Zoe's birth I've been examining how our family interacts with the outside—doctors, friends, the government, etc. As I was starting to write this entry I was thinking about the problems we have run into and are likely to run into. However as I began to plan what I wanted to say I realized that things have worked out much better than I expected and that I'm incredibly happy. We keep running into cases where people just accept us as who we claim to be. Many friends writing back messages of congratulations after Zoe was born made it clear that they were happy for all of this. On one hand, it doesn't take much to be inclusive in a note of congratulations. On the other hand even in several cases where I don't think the people involved were familiar with what has been going on with my family, it was clear they were quite sincere. I really appreciate it when people just accept what's going on. We've received similarly good responses from Zoe's doctor. He was a bit confused who everyone was when we all showed up, he asked, and he has been happy to treat us as a family of three parents and was very supportive when he needed to give us a referral to a specialist. The hospital staff were also supportive.

Unfortunately we've run into a number of situations where laws and policies get in the way. You can only list two parents on a birth certificate. In terms of having legal guardians, a kid can only have two parents. None of this is surprising. However it is still painful to have to pick someone as the odd person out. It also means that we'll have to have significant complexity going forward to make sure that if a question arises about who can take Zoe out of school or who can get medical care for her, we have the necessary legal instruments in place.

We had a particularly painful situation at the hospital. The mother and one other person are allowed to check the baby out of the nursery or be with her while they were doing tests and examinations. They would not allow both Kevin and I to be with Zoe. I understand how this policy developed and that there is significant concern about making sure babies are not taken by unauthorized parties.

So far, I at least have not run into anyone other than my parents who has been particularly judgmental about our family. My parents are coming along nicely though; my mom likes to be a grandmother. I'm sure that I know people who are confused or disapprove. However there seem to be fewer than I expected and many who do disapprove seem willing to let me live my own life.

Tags: family, poly

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