Crisis in Nepal

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A major earthquake hit Nepal last weekend.  Thousands have died, and many remain in peril amongst the ruins.  My thoughts are with the people of Nepal and I hope they are able to recover with the help of the international community.

After surrogacy in India and Thailand was shut down, international surrogacy shifted to Nepal.  Disasters like this highlight the lengths many intended parents are willing to go, the risks they take venturing far from home in effort to have children.

A group of Israeli parents through surrogacy and their babies are being airlifted out of Nepal back to Israel.  Most of these parents are gay because Israel only permits domestic IVF and surrogacy for opposite sex couples.  In the future, I hope that domestic surrogacy expands for gays in places like Israel and Australia, so that people who prefer to go through this process closer to home have the option to do so.

Super Nanny

We met our awesome nanny Pat through serendipity.  Josh’s mother Phyllis can be quite gregarious and will strike up a conversation with just about anybody.  About 8 years ago, before JJ and AJ were born, she met a woman strolling in the mall with what appeared to be triplets.  It turned out that Pat was a nanny for these twin boys and their brother who was one year older.  Phyllis told Pat all about her son who was expecting twin boys in a few months.  Pat said that she was actually going to be looking for a job soon because the three boys in her care would be moving out of state.  Phyllis wisely took Pat’s phone number for future reference.

When the boys were born, we foolishly tried to manage things on our own.  Even though we both had full time jobs, we figured because we worked different hours we would each be able to juggle the babies in our off hours while the other was working.  AJ and JJ’s prematurity made feeding more complicated than most babies, and we found ourselves beginning to lose our sanity after the first three or four months.

Phyllis saved the day by introducing us to Pat, and the rest is history.  Pat helped out with AJ and JJ in the daytime Monday to Friday up until they were three years old and ready for preschool.  When we told Pat that we were expecting DJ and MJ, she came right back and was ready to start as soon as they came back from India.  The kids all affectionately call her “Tatie” which means “Auntie” in Haitian Creole.  Including the boys she took care of previously, Pat has cared for three sets of twins, probably making her the most experienced twin nanny in the world!

Keep Your Cake and Flowers

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Over the last two weeks, there has been an uproar over bills about to become law in Indiana and Arkansas.  If signed by their respective governors unchanged, these Religious Freedom Restoration Acts would have allowed individuals to refuse service to anyone if it conflicted with their religious beliefs.  Much of the controversy was because many interpreted this to be license for florists and bakers to discriminate against LGBT couples looking to get married.  Personally, I am not too bothered by private business owners shooing away customers because of their own hangups.  I would actually prefer if these businesses took it a step further and posted their discriminatory policies online. It would save me time and gas money not having to pile four kids into the minivan to go visit these hateful establishments. The market will deal with these businesses and I do believe that the number of businesses that actually invoke these RFRA laws will be low because the truth is, discrimination is bad for business.

I’m not worried about cake and flowers. I will happily go elsewhere and do business with better people that are more receptive to my family. What troubles me is how these laws are so broadly worded that they may allow for government employees to refuse service. If a county clerk has a problem with me when I apply for a marriage license or refuses to process my homestead tax exemption because they don’t agree with my family structure, that is a problem that is not as easily remedied with going somewhere else.  I feel that government officials, law enforcement officers, and healthcare professionals have a duty to serve the public, and if they can’t handle working with certain minorities, then they should resign and find another more insular line of work.

After much discussion, these laws were hastily amended in attempt to satisfy the public outcry.  Let them eat cake.  But I do not believe these fixes properly addressed potential situations in government, law enforcement and healthcare.  And bills like this are still being considered in other states.  I expect more reactionary measures like these will come up in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision coming in June, and the elections of 2016.

#BoycottDolceGabbana

Their fashion may be cutting edge, but their opinions are from the dark ages.

Their fashion may be cutting edge, but their opinions are from the dark ages.

Last week, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana gave an interview and made comments that prove gay people can be haters just like anybody else.

“We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one.”

“No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”

Dolce added that procreation “must be an act of love”, saying: “You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be.
“I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.”

Gabbana added: “The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.”

After Elton John started a twitter campaign to #BoycottDolceGabbana over the weekend, now Dolce and Gabbana are trying to walk back there comments claiming that they were just speaking on their own experience and not judging others.

Gabbana said in a statement Sunday that “it was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love.”

Dolce says he was expressing his view about family based on his experience growing up in a traditional Sicilian family “made up of a mother, a father and children. I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I’ve known.”

Dolce said he was expressing his personal views “without judging other people’s choices.”

Guys, don’t bother.  There is no way your global statements last week against gay adoptions, “synthetic” IVF and non-traditional families can be interpreted as non-judgmental.  You called Elton John unintelligent today and you must think there are lots of other stupid people that will accept your feeble explanations.  And no apology will ever reverse the damage that has been done with your offensive statements.  You have lost customers for life.  Just like I have walked past Barilla pasta on sale dozens of times and then paid more for other brands, I will never buy another item from your brand ever again.  Now that you have exercised your right to speak your mind, I will be exercising my rights as a consumer and choose to give my money to better people.  Instead of spending all this energy toward damage control, your time would probably be better spent designing a line for the paragons of fashion NOM staffers that share your philosophy.

NOM Founder Maggie Gallagher dressed like this on national television.  Maybe she'll buy D&G

NOM Founder Maggie Gallagher dressed like this on national television. Maybe she’ll buy D&G

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is Chinese New Year!  It is the Year of the Sheep.  JJ and AJ were born in the Year of the Pig, and DJ and MJ were born in the Year of the Snake.  The kids dressed in outfits to celebrate their Chinese heritage and I took some photos.  I am particularly proud of the one with all four kids smiling.  That is no easy feat these days!