Commitment? Picnics, playdates, and home cooked meals? If you asked
almost anyone what Family means, they would likely talk to you
about love. Almost no one would mention a renewable parental
authority document, talk about their trip across state lines to
have their child, or tell you about worrying over the latest
version of their living will.
realities that go mostly unnoticed and unremarked by the general
public. A recent New York Times piece details the extra burdens and
difficulties placed on Amanda and Kay Shelton and their children,
Maya and Myles:
Though Kay, 37, is known as “mama” to their
children — Maya is 3, Myles, 8 months — the state government
still views her as a legal stranger. So Amanda, who works as a
commercial litigator for a law firm in Detroit, must sign a
notarized document every six months that gives Kay, who stays home
with the children, parental consent. But they have often wondered
if there was more they could do to strengthen those legal ties, or
to improve their financial situation.
The inability to adopt is one of many legal and
financial inequalities the Sheltons face because their state and
the federal government do not recognize their union, which they
affirmed in a ceremony almost 11 years ago.
For the Shelton’s, power of attorney and adoption laws aren’t
concepts, they are the daily challenges and obstacles that threaten
to distract them from nurturing the Love and Commitment that we all
recognize as the building blocks of solid Families. Building a
family is no easy task, and yet some are forced to try harder, jump
through more hoops, and spend more time and energy shoring up the
protections that keep their family healthy and strong.
There is a wealth of information that can help build stronger
Familes, especially for same-sex households. Our Ask the
Experts section is full of solutions and helpful tips to help
jump through all those extra hoops.
Building a Family is hard enough. We’re here to help: