Serendipitydodah For Moms

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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group was started in June 2014 and as of November 2018 there are more than 3,800 members. Each day moms of LGBTQ kids gather virtually to share a journey that is unique and often very difficult. The group is a place where they share a lot of information, ask questions, support one another, learn a lot and brag on their kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members nickname themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted there. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com
For a list of helpful resources for parents of lgbtq kids click here.

There are three subgroups, several special projects and more than 50 regional groups available to the members of the private Facebook group.

The three subgroups include:

Serendipitydodah MTK is a subgroup where the conversation is trans specific. It is mostly made up of moms of trans kids.

Serendipitydodah Blue Ocean Faith is a subgroup for members of Serendipitydodah for Moms who want to dive in deeper to their journey of faith.

Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue is a subgroup for Serendipitydodah Mama Bears who are willing and able to be available to do small acts of kindness for LGBTQ people who need connection, care or assistance. This subgroup makes it easier for members to coordinate and organize to do things such as attend a wedding as an affirming stand in mom, visit someone in the hospital, help someone get settled in a new area, provide some transportation, include someone in their holiday gatherings, send a note of encouragement etc

Special Projects available for members:

The Mama Bear Story Project –  Stories have the power to change the world … they inspire us, teach us, connect us. The Mama Bear Story Project provides a stage for the members of “Serendipitydodah for Moms” to share autobiographical essays and personal portraits in an effort to connect with other moms like themselves and to make the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all LGBTQ+ people to live.  The project was started in January 2017 and as of July 2018 has published more than 30 essays written by a mom of an lgbtq kid. Each essay includes a portrait of the mom and is shared on The Mama Bear Story Project Facebook page and on the Serendipitydodah Public Blog.

The Made With Love Project invites members of Serendipitydodah for Moms to make heart patterned friendship bracelets for members of the lgbtq community to remind them they are loved just the way they are. Anyone can submit lgbtq people to receive a “Made With Love Bracelet” by sending the person’s name and address in an email to lizdyer55@gmail.com (feel free to also add some information about the person). This is more than a bracelet – this is a movement created by moms of lgbtq kids who are committed to making the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all lgbtq people to live.

The Banner Blanket Project was started by a member of Serendipitydodah for Moms. The project delivers handmade blankets to LGBTQ teens and young adults who find themselves not supported by their family. The hope is that the blankets delivered to them will serve as a reminder that there is someone who loves and cares about them. Moms of LGBTQ kids who are members of the Serendipitydodah Facebook group are invited to make no-sew fleece blankets and mail them to assigned recipients. You can nominate someone to receive a Banner Blanket by emailing their name and address to lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

A helpful list of resources for parents of lgbtq kids can be found here.

 


 

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a proud partner of Free Mom HugsFree Mom Hugs is a group of affirming parents who love their LGBTQ+ kids unconditionally and take hugs of love and acceptance to others. We are dedicated to educating families, church and civil leaders, and not only affirming the value of the LGBTQ+ community, but celebrating it.
Visit the Free Mom Hugs website for more information.

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Mama Bear Holiday Hugs Project

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The Mama Bear Holiday Hugs Project is hosted by Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids.

The holiday season can be an especially lonely and stressful time for many lgbtq people who have lost support due to their lgbtq status. Members of Serendipitydodah for Moms are invited to send holiday messages of love, hope and affirmation to lgbtq people who need support during the holiday season.

To nominate an lgbtq person to receive a Holiday Hug message, in the mail, from an affirming mom, click on this link and fill out the form. (Name, address, sexual orientation, gender identity and pronouns are required)

MAMA BEARS GIVE THE BEST HOLIDAY HUGS!!

PLEASE help us spread the word by sharing this post!!

If you have questions you can email mamabearholidayhugs@gmail.com


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears” The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

Mama Bears to the Rescue

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If you know an LGBTQ person who is feeling alone and needs some love and encouragement please consider telling them about “Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue”

 
Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue is a private Facebook group made up exclusively of moms of LGBTQ kids who love, support and affirm their own LGBTQ kids and want to love and support other LGBTQ people who don’t have that kind of support and affirmation in their life.
 
The focus is small acts of kindness, making personal connections and being a loving presence in the life of LGBTQ people who have lost support due to their LGBTQ status.
 
The members of Mama Bears to the Rescue do things such as include LGBTQ people who need support in their holiday gatherings, stand in as affirming moms at same sex weddings, send notes of encouragement, find helpful resources, talk on the phone, text, get together for coffee or lunch etc
 
If you know someone who is an LGBTQ person who could use some Mama Bear love and encouragement please click on the following link and fill out the form:
 

DEFINE IT! – Gender Identity

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Gender identity is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither. Gender identity is how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

It’s a common misconception that gender identity and sexual orientation are connected. If someone is transgender, for example, many people automatically assume that they must also be gay. That, however, is not the case. Gender and sexuality are different, and it’s an important distinction to understand. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, or bisexual. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman.

A person’s sexual orientation determines who they are attracted to. A person’s gender identity is about their innermost concept of their self as male, female, a blend of both or neither.

One easy way to think about the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity is: “Sexuality is who you go to bed with, and gender identity is who you go to bed as.”

Most people feel that they’re either male or female.  Some people feel like a masculine female, or a feminine male, while others feel neither male nor female.  Feelings about gender identity can begin as early as age 2 or 3.

Most people’s assigned sex and gender identity are pretty much the same, or in line with each other. These people are called cisgender. However, some people feel that their assigned sex does not match their gender identity.  (i.e., assigned sex is female, but gender identity is male). These people are called transgender or trans. There are many gender identities that fall under the transgender label/umbrella including gender queer, bi gender, agender, non binary and gender fluid.

Future “DEFINE IT” series posts will go into more detail about specific gender identities and other related terms.

DEFINE IT! – Pansexual

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Pansexuality or Omnisexuality can be defined as romantic and/or sexual attraction to a person regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This includes cisgender and transgender men and women, non-binary people, people who are agender, bigender, genderqueer and all who fall outside of the gender binary. Pansexuals are often described as being “gender blind”

However, it’s important to keep in mind that pansexuality can mean different things to different people, which can make pinning down a definition that fits everyone challenging.

Pansexual people often say their attractions are about “heart not parts” and explain that the physical aspect and gender identity of a person do not factor into their attractions. However, others who identify as pansexuals may express that  even though gender may “play a part” in who they are attracted no identity is necessarily excluded from their realm of possible attraction.

The best thing to do is remember that pansexuality is a broad and flexible term that can be claimed by many people.

Always listen to what someone who identifies as pansexual tells you pansexuality means to them and respect their explanation and boundaries.

 

DEFINE IT! – Sexual Orientation

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Sexual Orientation is different from gender and gender identity. Sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to and who you feel drawn to romantically, emotionally, and sexually.

Sexual Orientation refers to a person’s unchosen and natural sense of sexual attraction. However, one need not have any sexual experience in order to understand their own sexual orientation.

Research indicates that a person’s general sense of attraction is set, persistent and resistant to change.

Sexual orientation is not binary and should not be conceived as either straight or gay. Instead, sexual orientation should be thought of as existing on a spectrum where many people fall somewhere in between straight and gay.

Asexual, Bisexual, Demisexual, Gay, Heterosexual, Lesbian and Pansexual are a few sexual orientations but the list is much longer and constantly evolving.


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

More than 500 moms of lgbtq kids are standing by to support, connect with and care for lgbtq people like Seth Owen

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Jacksonville teenager, Seth Owen, shared his remarkable story with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres Tuesday, completing a journey that has taken him from virtual homelessness to the embrace of the nation.

You can read more about it on The Advocate at this link.

Unfortunately Seth’s story of losing support from his family due to him being gay is far too common and doesn’t always have such a happy ending.

That is why members of  Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids, decided to start Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue.

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Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue was started in March 2018. There are currently more than 500 moms of lgbtq kids in the group who are scattered across the country, ready to offer support, connection and care to lgbtq people like Seth Owen, who have lost the support of their family due to their lgbtq status.  Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue is a subgroup of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids.

Members of the group are available to connect with lgbtq people in their local area who need some support, connection or care.

The group is a place where these moms can connect with each other in order to plan and coordinate small acts of kindness such as being a stand-in affirming mom at a wedding, visiting someone in the hospital, helping someone get settled in a new area, providing some transportation, including someone in their holiday gatherings, sending a note of encouragement etc.

The most important thing the members of Mama Bears to the Rescue want to do is be a loving and supportive presence in the life of lgbtq people who have lost the support of their family due to their lgbtq status.

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If you know of an lgbtq person who could use some Mama Bear love please email lizdyer55@gmail.com


Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue is a subgroup for Serendipitydodah for Moms. The members of the group are available to do small acts of kindness for lgbtq people in their local community who may need connection, care or assistance.

 

Freedom of Religion is NOT Freedom to Discriminate

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The August 2018 synchroblog topic invited bloggers to write about something that Christians do not necessarily always agree on. I decided to write about religious freedom laws and same sex marriage.

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50+ years ago religious freedom arguments that are being made today to discriminate against LGBT people were being used to justify the discrimination of people of color and interracial relationships.

At that time scripture was misused to support the exclusion and oppression of people of color and interracial couples. Today, once again, people are misusing scripture in a similar way to justify the exclusion and oppression of LGBT people and same sex couples.

Most Christians have never taken the time to study what scripture says about same sex relationships for themselves. Most Christians read scripture with preconceived ideas that have been formed by believing what they have been told by someone else.

If anyone is willing to set their preconceived ideas aside and take the time to study original language while also taking historical context into consideration they will be able to comprehend that there is nothing in scripture that clearly condemns a loving, healthy same sex relationship. NOTHING!

I know!, because as a parent of a gay son I was diligent in my effort to find out FOR SURE what scripture did and didn’t say about same sex relationships. I loved my son enough to go to the trouble. Do you love anyone enough to go to the trouble? If you do, I would be glad to help you.

In fact, there is more evidence in scripture to support slavery than there is to support the condemnation of all same sex relationships.

Scripture also doesn’t put forth the idea that marriage is to be only between one man and one woman or that it has anything to do with people falling in love. Those who claim that scripture dictates that marriage should only be between one man and one woman are making scripture say more than it actually says.

Scripture proves one thing about marriage … that marriage has been changing since the beginning of time. As society progresses, learns and improves, our institutions change.

Traditionally marriage was not between one man and one woman. The idea of marriage as a sexually exclusive, romantic union between one man and one woman is a relatively recent development. In the ancient world, marriage served primarily as a means of preserving power, with kings and other members of the ruling class marrying off their daughters to forge alliances, acquire land, and produce legitimate heirs. The purpose of marriage was primarily the production of heirs. Often times peasants wouldn’t even bother with marriage since they had no property or position to worry about.

The church didn’t even get involved in marriage until the 5th century. It wasn’t declared a sacred sacrament until the 12th century. And it wasn’t until the 16th century that weddings were performed publicly by a priest and with witnesses. A license to be married wasn’t commonplace until the 17th century which was around the time when romance began to have some involvement. As the middle class formed in the 19th century only then did young men begin to select their own spouses and start marrying without the consent of their parents. The idea of women having rights and not being a subordinate to their husband didn’t become common until the 20th century. It was 1965 before the Supreme Court ruled that a wife could be raped by her husband. Until then husbands who forced themselves on their wives were not guilty of rape, since they were legally entitled to sexual access.

The institution of marriage has always been in a constant state of evolution.

“Marriage, like transportation, has always been a part of human existence. But riding a donkey is very different from flying in a jet, and modern marriage has only superficial similarity to what went before. Just as we embrace each new mode of travel that enhances human welfare, no one should mind adapting marriage to the needs of modern people.” – Steve Chapman

Extending matrimony to same-sex couples advances the same interests cited in support of heterosexual marriage. Legalizing same sex marriages encourages stable commitments that offer a framework for procreation and upholds the interest of children in a legally protected family.

The evidence before us is that same sex marriage offers the same benefits to individuals and society that opposite sex marriage does.

And finally, there is nothing in scripture that would support the idea that Christians should not sell their services or products to someone who is, in their eyes, sinning. In fact, that would go against the very tenets of Christianity.

Any use of Christianity to justify discrimination is evidence of a misunderstanding about who Jesus was and what his good news was meant to convey to and about humanity.Discrimination and exclusion were not values of Jesus and are in conflict with the precepts of the Christian faith.

Oh – and one last point – the First Amendment does not guarantee us the right to discriminate based on our religion, it instead guarantees us the right not to be discriminated against based on our religious beliefs. Many Christians who have been led by their Christian faith to become affirming of same sex relationships are finding themselves to be “discriminated against” based on their religious beliefs and that is certainly unconstitutional.


Be sure and check out the other contributions for this month’s synchroblog:

What God May Really Be Like – Why Can’t Even God-Followers Get Along?

Wesley Rostoll – Why did God accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?

Jeremy Myers – Three Views on Hell (and a fourth view I hold)

Liz Dyer – Religious Freedom is NOT Freedom to Discriminate

Jordan Hathcock – Let’s Get Dirty

Christians should stop saying things that produce death!

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Christians should stop saying things that produce death.

Jesus said he came to offer a message that gave life and not death! In fact, Jesus said he came to give abundant life! BUT anti lgbt theology does not produce abundant life in those who embrace it – instead it produces death – emotional death, mental death, spiritual death, relational death and even physical death.

When your theology consistently produces death it’s time to admit you have something wrong.

Individuals, institutions and organizations that condemn, exclude and/or restrict people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or who they date and marry are embracing and spreading shame based messages that do irreparable harm to a whole group of people.

Christians should stop saying things that produce death.

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In Matthew 7 Jesus said if you aren’t sure about something check out the fruit it is producing, because “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit”

People were asking Jesus a lot of questions.

They wanted to know what they should believe – who they should follow – who they should emulate and support.

They wanted to know who was right – who knew the true way – what prophets should they trust – what rabbi should they follow?

Instead of answering with a list of shoulds and shouldn’ts, or naming names, Jesus offered a formula that would be useful to truth seekers throughout all of time.

Jesus advised those who were listening:

When you are not sure about a specific doctrine, or a certain theological point, or some Christian message you can simply check out the fruit that it is consistently producing.

If it is producing good fruit then it is of God and true. Embrace and follow the teaching.

If it is producing bad fruit then it is not of God and not true. Abandon the teaching.

Anti lgbt theology does not produce good fruit and it’s long overdue for churches, institutions and organizations to stop embracing the anti lgbt theology that produces death.

There is an abundance of information available proving that lgbt people who wholeheartedly embrace the idea that all same sex relationships are sinful and unholy typically experience depression, hopelessness, despair, self loathing and many times suicidal ideation. Good theology should make people more whole and healthy.

Christians should stop saying things that produce death.


If you liked this post you also might like The Fruit Doesn’t Lie

 

 

More than 1,100 Thank Yous

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Years ago his parents sent a black wreath to his office to let him know he was dead to them.

A few weeks ago more than 1,100 Moms of lgbtq kids signed a letter to support him and let him know we stand beside him.

He responded with more than 1,100 Thank Yous!

One of my favorite things about Serendipitydodah for Moms are the letters of support that we send out. We send our letters to individuals, organizations, businesses and institutions that are helping to make the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all lgbtq people. The members of Serendipitydodah can request to have their name added to the letters we send. We sent our first group letter in the spring of 2015 with less than 200 signatures. Today our letter has more than 1,100 signatures.

Recently, after seeing him on Making It, the NBC reality competition series co-hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, we decided to send a letter to Jeff Rudell.

Jeff was one of the “makers” on Making It and told a bit of his story during one of the episodes.

Jeff told how his family rejected him when he came out to them as gay and how his parents went so far as to send a black wreath to his place of employment with a card that said “in memory of our dead son”.

His story broke the hearts of the members of Serendipitydodah and we wanted to reach out and let Jeff know that we stood with him and admired him for having the courage to share his story.

We sent the following letter with more than 1,100 names of moms of lgbtq kids added to the letter:

Dear Jeffrey,

We are members of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a large private Facebook group created in June 2014 for moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids.

We presently have more than 3,100 members in the group and many of us are working to bring attention to acceptance and equality of LGBTQ people.

We are writing to you because we want you to know that we were encouraged when you shared your story on Making It. Of course we were sad and broken hearted to hear about the way your parents abandoned and rejected you, but we are so thankful that you are willing to share your story because we believe it is important for others to hear stories like your own. We also want to let you know we care about you and recognize the courage it took for you to share your story publicly. We are moms who understand because some of our own children have had to exhibit the same kind of courage when they finally determined to come out and begin living fully into the person they were created to be.

Although there is a lot of ignorance and hate out there, we want to encourage you. Every day there are more and more people who are supportive and affirming of LGBTQ people. The tide is turning and things are getting better. Laws are changing and many, many people do care about you and support you.

So, hang in there and keep dreaming and striving to live a full, happy, successful, good life. 

More than 1,100 of us are signing our names to this letter with much love, gratitude and encouragement sent your way. We think you are amazing! We love your creativity and are rooting for you and wish you the best in all that you do!

Thank you for the way you are encouraging others just by being your authentic self.

We will continue to fight for you and support you just as you are.

Love is the movement,

(followed by 1,100+ names of moms of lgbtq kids)

BUT that isn’t the best part!!

The best part is that Jeff responded with a beautifully written thank you AND INCLUDED A THANK YOU FOR EACH NAME ON THE LETTER!!!

Yes, you read that right.

Jeff Rudell took the time to type out a thank you for more than 1,100 moms who signed the letter of support we sent to him.

Jeff Rudell took the time to send us more than 1,100 thank yous.

Needless to say, we were blown away.

Spreading love is amazing because so much of it always comes right back at you.

Here is Jeff’s response (you probably want to grab a kleenex):

Dear Liz:

I hope you will forgive me the informal manner of my address but, after weeping over your letter for a good 20 minutes, I feel like we are close enough that I can call you by your first name.

I am deeply moved by your note. Humbled. Encouraged. Overwhelmed. In truth, your note affected me in quite a few ways. Chief among them, however, was a deep feeling of joy that the world contains people such as yourself and all the other members of your group. It was not always so. That you all have gathered together, in love, gives me more than a little hope for all our futures.

I agree with you that stories such as my own need to be told. Too often shame or fear keeps people from sharing their experiences and that leaves so many others in the dark, feeling isolated and helpless. I was happy and honored to be able to speak of my own history (and I was deeply impressed that NBC was willing to include it in the final edit of the show). As you well know, my story, awful as it may be, is in no way unique or unusual. LGBTQ children everywhere go through the same thing I went through, or worse, every day.

I was uncertain, and a little anxious, about what sort of response my appearance on the show might receive. One hears horror stories about trolls and haters on social media. To my great delight, I am happy to report that the responses have — across the board — been positive, hopeful, encouraging, and loving. A 22-year-old man and woman offered to adopt me as their son. A grandmother in her 80s offered my husband and me use of her spare bedroom should we ever find ourselves in need of shelter or respite in the mountains of Kentucky. I have a standing invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at the home of more than 100 different families across America. And the messages of love and support go far beyond even those kind gestures.

Your note, however, was the one that hit hardest. That so many of your have come together, united in your efforts to retain relationships with your LGBTQ children…honest to God I cannot imagine a more beautiful thing, anywhere, ever. Thank you for the work you are doing. Thank you for loving your children (and thus helping to make more loving citizens). Most of all, and most selfishly, thank you for sharing that love with me. You have helped make me a better person with this gift.

With very best regards to each and every one of you!

Sincerely,

Jeffery

P.S.

I’m sorry for my delay in writing but I wanted to take time to read each name aloud, and say thank you. Such an act of kindness takes time to absorb and appreciate and having each of these names in my mouth helped me find a place for each of them in my heart.

J.

Thank you, Liz Dyer, Founder & Owner

Thank you, Abby De Fiesta Cortez 

Thank you, Adele Berardi

Thank you, Adrienne Haslam

Thank you, Aimee French

Thank you, Alecia Moss

Thank you, Aletheia Wall Zambesi

Thank you, Alise D Chaffins

Thank you, Alison Defrese

Thank you, Alissa Butler

Thank you, Allena Brown

Thank you, Allison Baswell

Thank you, Allison Gonzalez

Thank you, Allison Wilson

Thank you, Amanda Corry Thorderson

Thank you, Amanda Curtis Dwyer

Thank you, Amanda Dalton

Thank you, Amanda Gayle

Thank you, Amanda Grace Blackmon

Thank you, Amanda J Brewer

Thank you, Amanda Shingola Everly

Thank you, Amber Guerrero

Thank you, Amy Brooks

Thank you, Amy D’Arpino

Thank you, Amy Forbes

Thank you, Amy Goad

Thank you, Amy Hansley Bennett

Thank you, Amy L Parker Orwig

Thank you, Amy Ridgely Allridge

Thank you, Amy Rueter

Thank you, Amy Stubbs

Thank you, Amy Wells

Thank you, Anani Steadman

Thank you, Andrea Coffee Peacock

Thank you, Andrea Larson Schultz

Thank you, Angel Barber

Thank you, Angela Bengston

Thank you, Angela H. Coble

Thank you, Angela Harrison Darland

Thank you, Angie Laws

Thank you, Angie Leavitt

Thank you, Angie Silver

Thank you, Angie Stratz Ashmore

Thank you, Anita Breuer Peters

Thank you, Anita Jewell Carter Cockrum

Thank you, Anittra Kilgore

Thank you, Ann McGee Green

Thank you, Ann Phillips Smith

Thank you, Ann Zweckbronner

Thank you, Anna Parks

Thank you, Anne Campolieti Anderson

Thank you, Anne Rolfert

Thank you, Annie Shelton

Thank you, AnnMarie Augugliaro Gilbert

Thank you, Antoinette Sanchez

Thank you, April Silbermann

Thank you, Arlene Schulz

Thank you, Ashlie Burnette Webb

Thank you, Athena Sims

Thank you, Autumn Kinsman

Thank you, Barb Cressy

Thank you, Barbara Winkler

Thank you, Beau Simcoe

Thank you, Becky Abbott Kelley

Thank you, Becky Cantrall

Thank you, Becky Henry

Thank you, Becky Horness

Thank you, Becky Krauklis Rominger

Thank you, Becky Norum Warner

Thank you, Belinda Adkins

Thank you, Belinda King

Thank you, Bella M Kaplan

Thank you, Bella Squicciarini Kaplan

Thank you, Beth Barndt Ruthenburg

Thank you, Beth Breems

Thank you, Beth Campbell

Thank you, Beth Highton Carter

Thank you, Beth Loring

Thank you, Beth McGill-Rizer

Thank you, Beth Richardson

Thank you, Beth Wiggins Baswell

Thank you, Bethany Kirwen

Thank you, Bethany Wood

Thank you, Betsy Bruce Henning 

Thank you, Betsy Sforza Gutridge

Thank you, Beverly Wynne

Thank you, Billie Jo Marrs

Thank you, Blanca Benavidez

Thank you, Bobbi-Jo Phoenix Turner

Thank you, Bonnie Miranda

Thank you, Brandy Darr Doty

Thank you, Brenda Ahlemann

Thank you, Brenda Diesslin

Thank you, Brenda Fiet Walter

Thank you, Brenda Holloway Bratcher

Thank you, Brenda King

Thank you, Bridget Murphy

Thank you, Brigitte Spence

Thank you, Britiney Fife

Thank you, Brittney Jo

Thank you, Bryna Dawn Carter

Thank you, Candace Kitchkeesick

Thank you, Candace Winters

Thank you, Candice Staats Morales

Thank you, Candy Cathey

Thank you, Cara Peachick

Thank you, Cari Martinez

Thank you, Carie Poynor Downes

Thank you, Carla Hegeman Crim

Thank you, Carla Iturregui Picasso-Brown

Thank you, Carla Michaelsen

Thank you, Carla Short Spivey

Thank you, Carlee Roche

Thank you, Carol Caudill Thames

Thank you, Carol Foster Lamar

Thank you, Carol Lundemo

Thank you, Carol Mason

Thank you, Carol Smith

Thank you, Carole Bass

Thank you, Carole Christian

Thank you, Carole Glover Kuriatnikova

Thank you, Carolyn Brice Briggs

Thank you, Carolyn Cage Johnston

Thank you, Carolyn Walker

Thank you, Carrie Black

Thank you, Carrie Colladay Stell

Thank you, Carrie Fulton

Thank you, Carrie Garske Shank

Thank you, Carrie Henderson

Thank you, Caryl A Williams

Thank you, Caryle A Cox

Thank you, Cassandra Graham

Thank you, Cassy Taylor Campos

Thank you, Catherine Marie Matesi

Thank you, Cathleen Frantzen Schaber

Thank you, Cathy Calamas

Thank you, Cathy Ledbetter Lafever

Thank you, Cathy Light Evans

Thank you, CeCe Garrett

Thank you, Celia Hadden

Thank you, Chasity Davis

Thank you, Chelsa Nunn Morrison

Thank you, Chelsea Mornings

Thank you, Cheri Nill

Thank you, Cherie Andres Draper

Thank you, Cherie Stevens

Thank you, Cherie Thomas

Thank you, Cherie Walker

Thank you, Cheryel Lemley McRoy

Thank you, Cheryl B. Evans

Thank you, Cheryl Bakkila-Perkins 

Thank you, Cheryl Couch-Thomas

Thank you, Cheryl Wilson

Thank you, Chris Behne

Thank you, Chris Clements

Thank you, Chris López

Thank you, Chris Pepple

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Thank you, Tamra Jennings

Thank you, Tana Lightbown Hendricks

Thank you, Tanya Higgins

Thank you, Tanya Hutchinson

Thank you, Tanza Bauer

Thank you, Tara Dominy Bonner

Thank you, Tara Lawrence

Thank you, Tara Nicole

Thank you, Tara Soughers

Thank you, Tari Card

Thank you, Tasha Moreno

Thank you, Tenley Dyck

Thank you, Teresa Comby Childers

Thank you, Teresa Martenson

Thank you, Teresa Medlin Poston

Thank you, Teresa Parker

Thank you, Teresa Perkins

Thank you, Teressa L’Heureux

Thank you, Teri Henderson

Thank you, Teri Stueland Kay

Thank you, Terri Cook

Thank you, Terri Gervasi

Thank you, Terri Nolt

Thank you, Terri Schempf

Thank you, Terri Smith

Thank you, Terri White

Thank you, Terry Hall Sanchez

Thank you, Terry Moran

Thank you, Theresa Cooper

Thank you, Theresa Moore Martinez

Thank you, Theresa Tasker

Thank you, Tiffany Christie

Thank you, Tiffany Powell

Thank you, Tina Marie

Thank you, Tina Pawlick

Thank you, Tina Peck Rumbley

Thank you, Tina Thomas

Thank you, Tina Wesley

Thank you, Tonda Campbell Hoyt 

Thank you, Toni Ann Bradley

Thank you, Toni Black Sanchez

Thank you, Toni Dyer

Thank you, Torri Winright

Thank you, Tracey Gombold Bell

Thank you, Tracey Jo Pryor

Thank you, Tracey Reams

Thank you, Tracie Mickey Loux

Thank you, Tracie Sells

Thank you, Tracy Decker Chappell

Thank you, Tracy Jepson

Thank you, Tracy Kane

Thank you, Tracy Stittleburg

Thank you, Tracy Trotter Nagy

Thank you, Tracy Williams Matos

Thank you, Tricia Kaufman-Waddell 

Thank you, Tricia Rogan Alberts Bollmann

Thank you, Tricia Willard 

Thank you, Trish Ives

Thank you, Valencia Greene Foster

Thank you, Valerie Amoling Cronin

Thank you, Valerie Glines Messina

Thank you, Vanessa Ford

Thank you, Vanessa Goosen

Thank you, Vanessa Horton-Hendershot

Thank you, Vanessa Melchiori

Thank you, Vicki Delong Tacoma

Thank you, Vicki Evans Sevey

Thank you, Vicki Kemp Whorton

Thank you, Vicki Kluzek

Thank you, Vicki Luna

Thank you, Vicki March Belsterling

Thank you, Vicki Westphal

Thank you, Vicki Wimmer Johnson

Thank you, Vicky Barnes

Thank you, Vicky Snow Decker

Thank you, Victoria Larson

Thank you, Vlada Knowlton

Thank you, Wendie S Dillehay

Thank you, Wendy Brown

Thank you, Wendy French

Thank you, Wendy Harley

Thank you, Wendy Koster

Thank you, Wendy Lea

Thank you, Wendy Margaret Jennings

Thank you, Wendy Swanson

Thank you, Wendy Vinson Nelson

Thank you, Wendy Wiley Canedy

Thank you, Whitney Straub

Thank you, Whitney Treloar

Thank you, Whitney Webb

Thank you, Yvette Griego

Thank you, Yvonne Frith

Thank you, Zaneta Salde Encarnacion

Thank you, Zenia Robertson

Thank you, Zora Oh    


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears” The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com

 

Mama Bear Story Project #36 – Jeannette Cona-Larock

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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

 

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MY LIFE PREPARED ME FOR MY CHILD

Or will it be the other way around?

I never thought I wanted children.  I was fortunate enough to have a father that never questioned my ability to do anything I set my mind to do, a mother who had her own degree in a science field atypical of women in her generation and I had just enough hutzpah to believe I could do anything.  Growing up in the 70s and 80s, it seemed ridiculous to consider having a family when I was determined to be a career woman.  I took the hardest classes in high school that I could despite the times and found myself working through a chemical engineering curriculum in college.  There wasn’t going to be any MRS degree for me.  Life was black and white, based on data and right or wrong.

A difficult breakup after college brought to light some things that had been hidden from me and taught me that the world isn’t black and white but that there are shades of gray.  Some self-reflection taught me that I always had the decision to view the world in a positive light or a negative one.  I worked on myself over the next two years reading books like How to Win Friends and Influence People andThe Power of Positive Thinking as well as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

My views on the possibility of becoming a mother changed when I met my future husband, at work no less in a large chemical company.  I could see a long-term future with him and it included one with children.  By that point in my life, I was ready.  I learned that it’s okay to change your mind. Changing your mind can be a new path on your evolution as a person.

We were blessed that getting pregnant wasn’t difficult and by the time I was 32, we were expecting our first child.  From the time we were engaged, we worked on our genealogy, combing through old records prior to the ease of computers and traveled to countries to see dusty old books filled with generations of history.  We looked over common names, discovering lineage and blended our two trees together.  We learned that family is shared history and love for one another.

Our child arrived with a head full of dark hair, a fiery personality and I was consumed with a determination to be the best mother that I could.  Circumstances prevented me from returning to the work I was doing and after careful consideration, we decided to have one parent at home and I set about my new role as mother and head of household operations with the same rigor that I had my education and work career.  I pinched pennies, kept schedules, and along the way, determined the type of mother I wanted to be.  I wanted to be one that didn’t yell or lose my patience.  I wanted to be one that educated (even if I didn’t enjoy arts and crafts) and I wanted to be one that encouraged my child to be whoever they wanted to be and the best they could be with no strings attached.  Perfection not requested or required even though I demanded it from myself.  When my second child came long 23 months later, I battled postpartum depression and wondered whether I had failed.  I sought treatment and realized that I could do this and do it well.  I learned that children are loving and forgiving and that I had the strength to do the same.  I also learned that “Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough.”

In third grade, my child came to me and said, “Mom, I want to cut my hair and wear boys clothes”.  By this point in my life as a mother, something inside of me started whispering, “Go with this.”  I said yes and saw how happy my child was.  Everything about this child screamed “out of the box”.  Every costume was a boy/male character.  My child was rough and tough and lived life ferociously.  Pokemon Cards, anime characters and more were the norm.  That didn’t mean we didn’t have American Girl dolls and the few random princess toys at the house for both children.  My child was just a happy child.  Traveling to China, we struggled with our translator to find the words to describe why my “daughter” looked like a boy but not once were we met with disdain.  I learned that I could live in the shades of gray even when I preferred the black and white.

The middle school years were rougher.  Schools with dress codes for special events, comparisons of fashion among pre-teens and teens made life more complicated.  My child continued to want to live in truth but struggled to find a comfortable place in the “norm”.  Together, we pushed boundaries as much as we could.  At some point along the way, the request for the first binder was made for a character cos-play costume.  Again, I found myself fighting internally but supporting the endeavor.  We discussed the physical effects of wearing one long term.  We tried sports bras and other options.  Little by little, I noticed that the binder was being worn more often and we had to replace and keep more than one for washing.  I learned to live with some discomfort for myself when challenging preconceived ideas. I was growing and evolving knowing we were on a different path together and as a family.

Living in a school district that allowed for the choice of high school, we prayed and discussed and ultimately decided on our district high school with a television and radio career pathway to help our child with the best chance of success for a career in film they had known they wanted since childhood.  God knew that our choice was about more than that and led us to the best possible place for our child to be, to grow and to transition.  It certainly wasn’t without its significant challenges given the student body population, but God had sent us loving and caring teachers, amazing friends in that population, new parent friends and a principal that would ultimately embrace my child’s new vision of themselves.  I learned to have faith and to be an advocate.

There were still stormy waters.  The same depression I had seen in myself, I saw in my child.  Reclusive behaviors:  spending too much time alone or locked away in bedrooms, I sometimes checked just to make sure my child hadn’t done anything drastic.  Those were scary moments, but I was going to fight for my child’s survival no matter what the cause.  I learned that I could be a mama bear.

Just prior to graduation, in February 2015, I discovered a letter posted on Facebook declaring to the world what I had long suspected and needed him to discover for himself.  I’ve been asked if I was upset that he didn’t choose to tell his parents first but when I asked him, his response made total sense, “Mom, I knew you’d be okay with it.” The love and support we received from family and friends in that moment continues to bring tears to my eyes.  The one person he had feared telling was one of the first people to respond and said, “To thine own self be true”.  I learned that we all have the power to change both on the inside and the outside.

The changes are more incremental but still momentous.  Court documents officially declaring a new name, the first day of testosterone shots, a new driver’s license and more steps to come like a new passport and surgery.  These steps overlay all the milestones in any young adult’s life:  first day of college, turning 21, anticipated graduation from college and we walk alongside our son not holding him up any longer but giving him wings to fly.  I have learned that all parents’ job is to work themselves out of a job regardless of the circumstances.  In this, we are all the same.

Life will not always be easy but as I consult more and parent less, I see a new role for myself.  One that advocates for other children who need someone in their corner.  I’m not sure how that will take shape, but it has begun with educating those around me, listening when people come to me with questions and living our life as a family out and proud following the lead of my son who is open to everyone in person and on social media.  I have learned that I can learn as much from my children as they can from me and parenting is the best job I never thought I wanted.


 

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email lizdyer55@gmail.com