by Sandra Telep
Nearly a decade ago, when my partner and I first began to look into what our options were for starting a family, I was looking to connect with other LGBTQ families. I wanted to hear first hand experiences, get advice from parents who had walked this road, and connect with other prospective parents. Other LGBTQ families weren’t easy to find in the smaller city we resided in at the time, so I sought out community online.
Thanks to message boards I was able to connect with other families. From there I discovered a community of bloggers and started my own blog. I loved reading along with other families’ stories and sharing a bit of our own journey. These virtual friends were my tribe as I battled infertility, grieved losses, rejoiced in a long-awaited pregnancy and welcomed our first child into the world. Many of these friendships grew so strong and important that we made plans to meet face to face and introduce our families to each other, sometimes traveling significant distances to see the kids that we had dreamed about together all those years ago now playing together. Blogging for LGBTQ Families has been a lifeline for me.
Now, we live in Philadelphia, a much larger city, in a very LGBTQ friendly neighborhood with our six year old and three year old. We are surrounded by other LGBTQ families and our children have never known anything but a community of friends and neighbors made of all different types of families. I know how valuable that is to both us as parents, and our children as they come to understand the world we live in. This is one of the main reasons I serve on the board of Philadelphia Family Pride.
I know how lucky I was to begin my parenthood journey in the age of the internet…but I still had to search for and build my community. Philadelphia Family Pride helps build and nurture the community of LGBTQ families in Philly through social events and valuable educational resources for prospective parents and families. Our annual Family Matters Conference includes workshops on legal issues, financial planning, planning for parenthood, and social justice. We look forward to spending time with our friends at some of our favorite social events like camping, the aquarium, Smith Playground, the summer picnic or hiking. PFP really has been a treasure to our family.
Just recently I sat on a panel for one of our Maybe Baby group classes, and I was struck, looking around the room at the group of prospective parents. How amazing would it have been when we were researching parenthood to attend a class where we could talk to foster parents, reproductive technology specialists, parents that used known and anonymous donors, surrogacy agency representatives and other people trying to figure out how to build their families – all in one room! I love being a part of an organization that connects LGBTQ families with resources and each other.