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Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears is a private Facebook group hosted by the Mama Bears organization. The group was started for moms of LGBTQ kids in June 2014 and presently has more than 8,000 members. Each day moms of LGBTQ kids gather virtually to share a journey that is unique and often very difficult. The members share resources, ask questions, support one another, learn a lot and brag on their kids. Mama Bears is dedicated to Supporting, Educating and Empowering Moms of LGBTQ kids and the LGBTQ Community. For more info about the Mama Bear groups, projects, resources and websites visit the Mama Bears website.

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Members of Serendipitydodah were asked to share a piece of their heart with you by answering one simple question:

 What do you want others to know about you, your kids, and your family?”

Here are their responses:

Don’t say, “I understand and support you all” and then disappear from our lives. Please don’t say we’re brave. Brave is dealing with a serious medical diagnosis. We are not brave, we are just being normal, loving parents who support our child. – Cathy Hoff from Ballston Spa, NY

We’re worthy. We matter. We’re valuable. We’re doing our best just like everyone else. We celebrate the wins and support each other through the losses. God does not see us as less redeemable than anyone else. See us. We’re no different. – Whitney Treloar from Naples, FL

That my child is exactly who God lovingly and perfectly made him to be. – Tammie Jarnagan from West Fork, Arkansas

Love is Love is Love. My daughter is the same relation to you now as when she was known as my son. She is your sister’s child, your daughter’s child, your neighbor’s child. Love me, love my Child, as Christ does. Love one Another.  – Cilla Thomas from Lincolnville, Maine

Our love is so true to each other. We have stood by each other, even as you stepped away. If you could have only stayed to share with us. Love knows no barriers. God has stood by us and we are so blessed. – Lori Chavers Blankenship from Gilroy, CA

Having a son who is gay has helped me become a better Christian and taught me to live and love better. I never had to choose between my Christian faith and my son. My faith helped me realize that condemning same sex relationships is wrong and unjust. – Liz Dyer from Fort Worth, TX

Our family is just a regular family, and we want the same for our child as you do for yours. – Jennifer Robinson from Portage, Michigan

I thought I knew what it meant to be a Christian. After all, we were a Southern Baptist minister’s family. I’ve always taught my kids to love God and love people. But I’ve learned more about the love of Christ from my gay son than I could have ever taught him. I’m a better person because of him. We no longer call ourselves Baptists, and we stay away from organized church. I will never subject our family to that kind of hurt again. We’re just Jesus followers and it feels good! – Jackie McQueen from Tuscaloosa, AL

My kid would be a regular, well adjusted, normal, everyday kid with everyday goals and concerns. If the world would just let them. – Lannette Sargent from Seattle, WA

My son was pretending to be a girl for 18 years. Now he can live as his authentic self. He’s never been happier. Our love stayed the same! – Danielle Castellini Giannascoli from Buena, NJ

Simply put, we love our kids and will stick by them. Just because one is gay and another is transgender is no reason to condemn us. We love fully and fiercely, just like God loves us! – Renae Shaffer-Stone from College Place, WA

The world is a better place because my child is in it. – Mary Jo Whitley from Winston-Salem, NC

I have been given the greatest gift by having a gay child. I have learned to love more completely and freely. The greatest heartache has not been with my child, but with others and how their beliefs have impacted my child. – Tana Lightbown Hendricks from Vancouver, BC

That my child is my most precious gift and to throw her away would have been the greatest sin. She is an amazing person. – Adele Berardi from Bayville, NJ

My daughter has a GREAT relationship with her father. Our family is intact. We raised both our kids in the faith. My faith journey towards affirmation started LONG before my daughter came out and when she did, I already kinda knew and my heart was well prepared. – Nicole Garrison Park from Lewisville, TX

I would like others to know that we are happy living our authentic lives and that they are loved. – Linda Ling from San Marcos, TX

We are the same people you knew BEFORE my daughter came out. – Shirley Carley from Midlothian, VA

Our family’s love does not come with buts, if onlys, asterisks, strings attached or conditions. We live for love, we live for each other.  – Tammy Flowers Mejdrich from Charleston, IL

To my ex pastor: You baptized my child in a freezing cold river at family camp when she was a child. She went to YOU and without my knowledge and asked you to baptize her. How you could turn your back on my child because she is gay is unconscionable. That is why I no longer attend the church I had been a member of for over 2 decades. Our family loves the Lord but will love Him in a place where people actually “love like Jesus”. – Nancy Villegas from Dinuba, CA

We have & will always love our daughter unconditionally. Those that matter support her; those that don’t support her don’t matter. Love people, love God. Namaste. – Katie Krone Connell from Arlington, TX

She is not depraved, sick or sinful for being gay and I am not “in bondage” for loving and supporting her just the way God created her. – Elizabeth Frauenknecht from Dayton, Ohio

We all travel roads that take different paths, but all strive to end up at the same location eventually and that would be healthy and happy. If we just cared enough to help each other reach our destination without judging who we bring along, we would have an amazing journey. My immediate family represents unconditional love on each path we take.  – Marcie Loeffler Castiglione from Burleson, TX

I am a mom! It took a while for me to wake up and affirm my girl, but praise the Lord I’ve awaken! I won’t be stopped. I love my girl and so does the Lord! – Sherry Pyles from Middlebury, CT

The silence and the avoidance of the “the subject” of my gay child is just as painful as hateful words that my beliefs offend you. You can’t tolerate one of my children and support the others and call it all unconditional love. – Kristen Capp from Monroeville, PA

Our family is about unconditional love. We work at being fully present in the life we have now, appreciating and respecting it as the gift that it is. We do not try to force our views onto one another but rather appreciate that our greatest lessons may come from those that are different than us. – Cheryl B. Evans from Ontario, Canada

This adventure has taught me more about how God truly wants us to love others than 50 years sitting in a church ever did. I have been stretched in ways I never thought possible, but the end result has caused me to love my child even more than before. – Deniece Williams from Canton, IL

Just love people, who they are and where they are, and let God figure out the rest. It’s not our responsibility to have all the answers. – Dena Heinen Edwards from Edmond, OK

I used to sing “Jesus loves you this I know, for the Bible tells me so. He loves me and he loves you, he loves pink and long hair too” to Grace. She always knew who God made her to be, we just had to catch up. – Ann Vinson Zweckbronner from Mechanicsville, VA

I am so proud of the wonderful people my children have become despite the unkind and harmful things they had to endure from uneducated and misinformed people. – Rose Stucchio from Massapequa, NY

My kid is the same kid they always were before they came out, Now I know one more little piece of information about them. Nothing scary, nothing much, just another revelation as they grow into the person they were meant to be. – Jennifer Stake White from Cleveland, TN

From the moment we stopped fighting our child’s authentic identity as a girl, our lives became simultaneously easier and harder. Easier because she was immediately happier being able to dress as a girl, present as a girl in public, grow her hair out, and just be herself. Harder because her dad and I became immediately aware of the increased danger to her from people who oppose trans people, which included some friends and church family.  – Katie Jenifer from Fayetteville, NC

My gay son makes me the luckiest mom on earth!! – Genell Brown from Shelton, WA

My family is happy, now. We laugh and smile and grow, now. Please stop negating the hard fought battles that brought us to this point because you disagree with our outcome. Instead ask us about the journey, you might find it wasn’t what you think.- Rachel Drouillard from Kettering, OH

I want others to know I don’t need you to pray for my daughter to be changed. I have raised amazing human beings. Don’t feel sorry for me because one happens to be gay. We are in a good place in our home, our hearts, and our walk with the Lord. – Brandy Doty from Nolanville, TX

I was shaken to my soul when my son came out. I would not have chosen for one of my kids to be gay but now I honestly count having a gay son as a gift from God. God did miraculous surgery on my heart. – Donna Thompson Spencer from Coral Springs, FL

If you say you’re “supportive” and you keep voting to put people in power who want to take rights and protections away from my son, then you are not supportive. Civil rights are not social issues. They are rights. The fact that you don’t openly disapprove of my child isn’t support. That is called tolerance. – Molly Wills Carnes from Houston, TX

I feel fortunate we raised our kids in a fully affirming church. That may have made it easier for my son to come out, although he was still afraid to tell us. We love him unconditionally, and his straight sister, too. Sending you all big Mom Hugs! – Nancy Booher from La Mirada, CA

My gay son has made me a better person, kinder, less judgmental. I love him with all my heart. He is a gift from God. My greatest fear is worrying that someone would judge him, reject and even physically hurt him just because God made him Gay. – Teresa Medlin Poston from Marion, SC

I’m not saying this on behalf of my transgender child because on GOD, she will never go a day without knowing how important and loved she is! I’m asking this for all the others who have been ostracized, ridiculed and told they are not right in the eyes of God to please look into one another’s soul and show kindness and compassion regardless of what’s between someone’s legs and this world will be a much safer, happier place. – Lizz Rosãs from Albuquerque, New Mexico

The best part of having a gay son, is the privilege I have had, meeting and becoming friends with his gay and lesbian friends. They are some of the most loving, creative, compassionate and caring people on the planet. My life has been enriched because of them. – Kay Bradford from Goodyear, AZ

As I told a legislative staffer on the phone today – our family is just like any other family. We work, we volunteer, we go to church, we take vacations, we have pets, hobbies, friends, hopes, dreams. We have good days and bad days, weird family inside jokes and made up words still in our vocabulary from when our kids were learning to talk. We are the same as most families. We want to live our lives freely and go about our business in peace. The only difference is that one of us is gay and a certain faction of society wants to throw up roadblocks at every turn while others may want to inflict physical harm. Normal things have become a fight. This has made me a fierce force for love, justice and equality. – Michelle Bradshaw McComb from Buda, TX

From the moment my son came out, my world changed so much for the better! He opened my eyes to REAL UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! – Angie Laws from Hickory, NC

I want you to know that I love my child completely just the way that God made her. She is the same sweet girl that you have known since childhood. She happens to have a wife instead of a husband. I want you to know that we can talk about it even if we disagree because the silence is killing me. I want you to know that I understand why you think the way you do. I used to think that way too. I beg you to just try to begin to think about it differently. Read some books on this subject. Hear our stories. I’ve put myself in your shoes, please put yourself in mine. – Robinette Nacca-Cooke from Las Vegas, NV

What I want others to know about our family is that we love deeply, passionately and unconditionally. We as parents feel blessed to have a gay child because it has changed us for the better. Our eyes and hearts have been opened to a depth of love that we never completely understood before. Don’t judge what you don’t understand. – Sandy Van Dyne from Palmdale, CA

I don’t understand all my gay sons’ choices, but I do know they did not choose to be gay. God chose them and us to receive this life – with love & joy, or not. We choose love. We choose joy. Join us or not – your gain or loss. – Patty Meriwether from Fort Wayne, Indiana

I guess I want you to know that our house functions just like any other. My daughter identifies as lesbian. She is also a beautiful ballerina, talented artist, and giggles until three in the morning when she has her friends over. Most of our struggles are not because of her sexuality, but because she is a willful seventeen year old that knows who she is. My husband and I are both pastors in a progressive denomination. – Monica L. Banks from Winston-Salem, NC

I have 3 sons and their sexuality is just a sliver of who they are….I have a horticulturist, an artist, and a public servant in a large metropolitan city. Until/unless you have skin in the game, we have nothing to discuss!!! – Gerry Phifer from Jacksonville, TX

We’re just a normal family living our lives, loving who we love. Nothing much to see here. My teen daughter’s girlfriend had a birthday yesterday. We bought a stuffed animal & candy. We delivered the gifts. The girls hugged in the driveway. No big deal, no “gay agenda”. – Amy Hansley Bennett from McKinney, TX

Being a mom is awesome! I love all of my children, when our son came out we didn’t have all the answers, but he is my son and I unconditionally love him! I am 100% affirming, did we know everything, heck no! But I know love is love…what else matters? – Danette Mohring from Orangevale, CA

My son is a gifted writer and painter. His faith is inspirational and his ability to make people laugh brightens up even the darkest days. This world is a better place because he exists. Oh, and he’s transgender, which is just a facet of his amazingness. – Sherilyn Hickenbottom from Elk Grove, CA

I have two amazing sons, one straight and one gay. And I know that God created each of them to be exactly the person they have become. I believe the best gift any parent can give their child is to love them! I celebrate my kids! – Jamie Hovland from Quartz Hill, CA

After years of infertility, we were blessed with two little miracles! They are awesome adults: a straight daughter and a gay son, spiritual beings in human bodies, created by a loving God. We love and celebrate them and continue to love ALL of God’s children, letting Him do the judging. – Dyanne Khalaf from Tustin, CA

I am closer to God, my child, my family now than ever before in my life. My faith is deeper and richer. I fully love, accept and affirm my LGBTQ children BECAUSE of my faith, not in spite of it. – Susan Cottrell from Austin, TX

My daughters are the joy of my life. I always believe that we love unconditionally in our family and in the world. All life is a gift. – Kathy Lutz Hayes from Cincinnati, OH

I am the blessed mom of a transgender teenager and a cisgender teenager. Both were given to me as a precious gift from my Lord and Savior. I will do whatever I need to do to protect, love and support them with the abilities God gave me!! – Melissa Sosenko DeStefano from Gilbertsville, PA

Before I was a judgmental, white, conservative, holier than thou, Republican, fundamentalist, Christian. I had to take a really hard look at myself and when I did I found myself lacking. I’ve deconstructed everything I once believed was truth and am slowly putting it all back together. I think I am going to like the new me when this process is complete and I have my wonderful son, who happens to be gay, to thank for helping me see how wrong I was about so many things. – Laurie Newell Rhodes from Bryan, TX

I am the Mom of two, a straight son and a gay daughter. Both of them are gifts from God, Who made them who they are – straight or gay, talented, smart, and loving. Sexual orientation is no more a choice than eye color, or height, or anything else one is born with. I wish society as a whole would stop treating the LGBTQ community as less than equal. Love is love! – Michele Wessel Tarnow from Valparaiso, IN

My children are not their sexual orientations. My children are bright, caring, amazing humans that I have been blessed with. Love them for their personalities, their hopes and dreams, and how hard they love their family and friends. – Carrie Black from Oklahoma City, OK

I am so grateful that God created my son gay: He is smart, funny, talented, openhearted and deeply loyal to his friends. He – along with others in the LGBTQ community – deserves the same protections, privileges and basic human dignity as anyone. My purpose is to love him unconditionally, and to stand up and speak up for his rights. I’ll always have his back! – Jaron Terry from Hillard, OH

Our son was born 11 months after I was diagnosed with melanoma and 7 1/2 months after we were told I was all clear. He is the perfect gift, born on Christmas morning. God gave us a warm, loving, happy, compassionate, caring son who was just what we needed after a very scary year. God always knows what is best for us and our gay son is a true blessing. – Tricia Willard from San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

For years we tried to be the “perfect” conservative, evangelical Christian family. We completely towed the party line, and that harmed all of us. The church became irrelevant to us as we went through some very dark times, and once we left we realized how wrong its teachings were–so opposite of light and life. Now we have exited, our gay son has a partner, and we have never experienced so much freedom and love. My message is that God made us in his image, and that means good and intelligent, crowned with glory and honor. Use that intelligence to live in the truth of who you are and not as an institution says you should! – Laura Sparks Turner from Reno, NV

When I found out my son was gay, I fasted & prayed for a year for him to change. The result was that God used that year to change me, not him. He didn’t need to change, he’s perfect just the way he is. God popped that nice, safe ‘Evangelical Bubble’ I was in so I could see the truth. I now look at people through the lens of love like Jesus did rather than the lens of fear that the church does. I am so thankful that I have a wonderful, sweet, funny, talented gay son. I love him with my whole heart and wouldn’t want him to change for the world. – Kim Kendall from Ferndale, WA

My daughter was born into a Southern Baptist family. Members of my family had donated land for churches, built church additions, regularly tithed, and were called to the ministry at young ages. I, too, had felt the call to ministry, but in the S.B. Faith, women are not allowed. I transferred to the Presbyterian church, and met my daughter’s father because he played on the church basketball team and worked at the same place I did. Our child was born after we had been married 3 years. A perfect girl! But later we found she has Rett Syndrome, a spectrum of disabilities. After high school, she came out as a lesbian. I always knew she was gay. She loves God, grew up in the church, and still loves everyone there. But she is not comfortable with their judgmental attitudes and comments. We stay home on Sundays because of that. We went from being very active (Elder, Choir Director, Treasurer, Confirmation teacher, etc.) to no involvement at all. Here is the kicker. No one knows she is gay. She cannot speak because of her disability. We do not out her to people she feels uncomfortable with because of her vulnerability. What she cannot handle is the jokes and comments about other LGBT people. – Susan Cloys Seaman from Whitefish, MT

What I want others to know about me and my family is that we love our son for who God has made him to be. We will not try and change him because that would be trying to change God. – Kelly McKinsey from Bakersfield, CA

I had concern when my child was 3. He was a delight and brought us so much joy. The number one thing I knew to do was to protect him from church beliefs. Whenever I hear, “We love your child but…” I want to walk away and I know that person is not safe. God has given us a heart of love and released us from fear. – Debby Laird McCrary from Orlando, FL

When our son first came out at age 19 we felt very much alone at our church and unsure where to turn for advice. We pretty quickly grasped that his being gay was not a “choice” and not a sin, despite what we had always been told. We found support online, through the Gay Christian Network, Reformation Project and later Freed Hearts. Five years later he’s happy and successful and we have a great relationship. – Kim Stone Haltiwanger from Athens, GA

What I want others to know about me, my kids, and my family is that our mutual love and trust are unshakable. We encourage each other to be the best, most authentic versions of ourselves, because that is why we exist. We are who God made us to be, which means we honor the truest and best in everyone we meet. These are our primary values, and for me these are Christian values. They coincide nicely with the best in all of the other major religions as well, which is how I know we’ve got this much right in our lives. Everyone deserves a place at the table of human fellowship. – Janine Sarah Moore from Freehold, NJ


Mama Bears is dedicated to Supporting, Educating and Empowering Moms of LGBTQ kids and the LGBTQ Community. For more info about the Mama Bear groups, projects, resources and websites visit the Mama Bears website.