Gay Families in the Making

Gay Families in the Making

Birmingham Support Group

Are you thinking about starting a family?

Are you trying to get pregnant or adopt?

Or are you a new LGBT family?

We are a small group of LGBT* couples and singles who have either recently started or are planning to start a family. We meet socially every month in and around Birmingham.

Our network is a non-judgemental and supportive forum where we can:

  • discuss our concerns, progress, hopes;
  • exchange tips on anything from fertility treatment to baby sleeping routines;
  • share good news or have a moan;
  • while at the same time creating an environment where our children will meet other children from alternative families and where we can celebrate diversity.

To join us, email gayfamiliesinthemaking@gmail.com or subscribe to this blog.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

* lesbian/gay/bisexual/transpeople

22 Responses to "Gay Families in the Making"

We are starting planning for next years’ family pride festival and wondered if anyone would welcome the challenge of helping to plan/organise the festival?
Please get in touch if interested!

Hi,

We held the first Family pride camping festival last weekend and got some very good feedback from the families that attended; everyone said they are looking forward to next year and are definitely going to bring friends they know – which is fear news! We are updating the website ready to take bookings for next year and thought we would let you know dates in advance so that some of your families and friends might attend. Next year the festival will be the weekend starting 19th July 2013; early bird tickets will be on sale from next week hopefully giving you a reduced all inclusive price, there will also be a group discount offer! Please visit our website or contact us for more info! http://www.gayfamilypride.co.uk

Kind regards
Ashling

Hi,
anyone interested in a new gay family pride camping festival? Inbox me for details or visit http://www.gayfamilypride.co.uk
Lots for the kids to do – 7x bouncy castles, discos, cupcake decorating and much more! 13th-16th July 2012

Hi there,

I was just wondering if you guys still meet as a group?

Stacey x

Hi Stacey
Yes, we meet on the 2nd Saturday of every month – see the Our Meetings page for details
Sandra

Someone has just told me about a new LGBT parenting publication coming out –

“Pink Parenting a bi monthly glossy, the creation fo long term gay couple Jeff Crockett and Giorgiou Severi, who also publish Europe’s leading fertility magazine, Fertility Road” (as featured in The Independent 5/7/11)
http://www.pink-parenting.com

Also featured is “The Pink Guide to Adoption” http://www.baaf.org.uk

Hi everyone

Unfortunately fi, fin and myself won’t be coming tomorrow. Fin is at his dads and we are using this time for some very dull but needed diy. Have a great day and see you soon lesley

Welcome Siobhan and LIsa.
How exciting regarding the forthcoming fostering decision. looking forward to hearing more about it when we meet. See you soon, Siobhan E

Hi we are a Lesbian Couple from Redditch, we have a little girl 2 1/2 from my previous relationship, we are a week and a little bit away from going to panel to become foster carers :0) we cant wait to meet you all

Siobhan & Lisa xx

Hi Siobhan and All

Couldnt work out how else to post but wanted to say Hi and see how your fostering journey is going and to see if you guys still meet. Dee and I are civil partners, we have fostered teenagers for 12 years and have 4 girls aged 15-24. We now also have two birth children beautiful boys aged 4 and 1 and an equally beautiful adoptive son also 4. Finally we are currently fostering a newborn girl. We would love to meet others as happy and crazy as us lot.
Leanne and Dee

Hi Leanne
Sorry for taking so long to get your comment online. We meet every month and the next meeting is on Sunday – see separate post. Sandra

Short History of the group – June 2011

The group started back in January 2009 when I was 20 weeks pregnant, posting an email on Birmingham Girls looking for other LGBT women in a similar situation, or with children, or thinking or trying, to meet and share information, support and socialise. (The wish to share information and support including around trying to start a family distinguished my intention from Birmingham Pink Parents who described themselves as a social group for LGBT families).

I got a few replies offering advice and support and two replies from people willing to meet (someone else single and a couple). Until December 2010 is was mainly us 4 that met kind of sporadically in each other’s houses with a couple of other interested women dipping in but not joining.

In December 2010 the information on the group was reposted, and to a wider selection of networks, which resulted in renewed interest and a steadily growing membership. We still met in our own houses in December 2010, January and Feburary this year, but after that we have become larger than could become accommodated by a house!

In March we met at Giraffe restaurant in Solihull, in April at Rowheath Pavillion, Bournville, May – Compton Verney near Warwick and June, Woodgate Valley Country Park. Each month different new people have joined us.

As I recently posted by email, we currently include 20 families, 35 adults, 17 children and 7 pregnant people. We have thinkers, tryers, first time parents, first time parents who are planning, trying or pregnant with second chidren and families with two children. We include both biologcial parents and parents through adoption, couples and singles, lesbian and bisexual, all women so far but with some interest from men who might like to join the group. This information I have gleaned from emails, so it could in reality be even more varied than I have managed to work out so far… only surveying the group at some point could tell us more.
Siobhan

News

Some of us recently highlighted our group at a couple of events, Birmingham City Council LGBT Network meeting on the theme of Rainbow families May 19th, and Birmingham Pride May 28th 2011. Both mentions led to more interest and members.

At Pride –
I spoke to the busienss “Gay Family Web” at Pride (listed on our LGBT Parenting links page). They are planning to develop a “Family Pride” event which will be nationally advertised but Mildands based. They are just trying to secure funding at the moment. They have experience developing similar activities and events for many years with Rainbow Families in Brighton and are organising the family area at the “L Word Festival” this year. They are a really approachable couple with two young children and they will involve us in the planning and development of the family pride event.

I was also filmed by someone from a t.v. company putting together a proposal to put to Channel 4 about a feature on LGBT families and the issues we face in creating our families. I talked about my route to parenthood and later sent on to him the background research I did for the Rainbow families meeting on May 19th, since he said he thought maybe it was all okay now and people don’t have any problems and issues.

I spoke to Bootwomen about their policy around no children on their walks (because of some wording in last year’s Shout festival programme about children not being welcome on the walks, even the easy walk to the peace garden in town, these walks were organised by Bootwomen). They stood by their policy not to have children on their walks as these are not usually suitable for people with chldren in tow, too rough terrain for buggies or too long, or people want to walk faster than would be possible with children there. All of this I agreed was fair enough. They said they had even run one walk especially for women with children previously but no one turned up. I guess maybe our group acts as a more appropraite space to address any needs around this at the moment.

Shout!
And in terms of the Shout festival, I have been in disucssion with David Viney about this year’s programme (in November) and including some LGBT family friendly activity or subject matter – watch this space for more information on that, but one thing is we do need to think about us all going along and supporting whatever gets put on if we want to build on this kind of programming for future years. I have now also emailed the Dudley Parents group listed on our LGBT parenting links page to try and encourage them to go along too, but not heard back from them yet.

Facilities and Funding
With reference to Birmingham LGBT Community Forum securing nearly half a million in funding for a new health and wellbeing centre (Liz refers to it in a different post), it would be great if we could have some influence in how child friendly the centre is. I will contact Steph Keeble and ask if we are able to have some input into the planning of facilities, and yes as Liz says it would be excellent place for us to use long term providing it was child friendly and accessible.

We ought to be thinking about trying to access some funding from them (
or other avenues) as well if possible (could help towards room hire etc). With this in mind I think it would be useful if we collected profiling information on our membership to include in any bid for money from them or anyone else – things like how many of us there are, couples, single, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc, how many children, what ages, what methods we used to become a family, what parenting arrangements we have, any issues and problems we have faced or are facing now, that kind of thing. I thought maybe we could put together a survey through survey monkey to collect the information Does anyone have any experience of developing these kind of surveys? Participation in providing information would be voluntary.

BBC
Today I have been emailed by the BBC also looking to invite LGBT families to get involved in a programme on the subject. They are going to either post their request directly to this blog or to me to post for them.

Blog as means of communication
I am still trying to learn how to use this blog. I still don’t yet know how to start a discussion on a particular topic, and wonder if we could do with a “how to” section as well. I keep being asked to resubscribe every time I post something and I am not getting all the other posts at the moment. Is anyone else having any problems?

SInce I am new to all this I also don’t know how this long post is going to look and if this will seem like the right way to put so much information on. Any feedback from those more used to this way of communicating welcome.

We are still working on private members area so I won’t post the introductions I have for now.
I will post a separate short history of the group though, and perhaps Sandra could move it, and this news to more suitable areas?

cheers, siobhan

Hi all, a few of us did make it today and had an enjoyable time (Lesley, Fi and Fin, Siobhan and Tris, Gaby Martina and Rebeca) and an NCT friend and her twins.

We chatted in the cafe, had some lunch, the kids ran riot (Tris uprooted two plants unfortunately and fell off a high stool backwards), there was coloring-in to be had as well. Fin braved the weather for the playground for a bit.

I have posted under the “our next meeting” thread where we decided to go next time which is somewhere we can go whatever the weather.

Siobhan

Sorry, we won’t be going either. Woodgate valley can be pretty bleak in the rain!
Sandra Ang Freddie & Arthur

We are not going to be able to make it today either – we are not fair weather lesbians, honest! Have fun and we look forward to meeting everyone very soon.
Maggie and Shayna

Hi thank you for letting us know

Unfortunatly we wont be coming either as we are getting over colds and being out in cold wet weather isnt the best. It is a shame as we were all looking forward to today.
Just a reminder of Shays Birthday party next sat, all welcome Pease RSVP before fri.

emma x

Hi Lesley/all,

Thanks for letting us know. I think there’s a lesson here about making sure meet ups aren’t weather dependent. There are no guarantees with the British weather!

It would be really good if we could hire a community centre space (perhaps even the new LGBT Health & Wellbeing Centre in Birmingham once they’ve found premises) for meetings. If there’s indoor as well as outdoor space with toys then it would suit children/babies of all ages.

Unfortunately we’re not going to make it today, which is a real shame as we’ve been looking forward to it, but hope folks have fun despite the weather!
Liz

Morning everyone
Just received a call from the manager of woodgate valley urban farm, unfortunately they have had to cancel the open day today due to the weather. Obviously the park and cafe are still open(but unfortunately the farm will be closed for the day). The plan is to meet at 12 at the visitor centre/car park entrance. Look forward to seeing you later! lesley

We were really looking forward to coming along and meeting everyone for the first time today – but the weather has put us off😦 We hope those of you that brave it don’t get too wet and it brightens up soon! We plan to come next time!
Kirsty, Toni, Heidi and Helena. x

Hi all. We are a couple in a civil partnership and have 18month old twin daughters. We feel it’s really important as our girls get older that they know other children with LGBT families. Perhaps this group will be a way to find people?! Kirsty and Toni

Hi Kirsty
Thanks for getting in touch. Hope you can make it to one of our meetings soon.
You can also communicate with our members by posting onto this blog, although obviously this can be viewed by anyone, not just our members.
Siobhan will contact you soon via email (ie not via the public blog).

Sandra
(in a civil partnership with 2 sons, one 4 years old and the other 4 months old).

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