Mama Bear Story Project #29 – Dena Edwards


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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.


“I’m gay, please don’t make me leave, I like living here, I like our family, please don’t make me leave …”

My heart shattered. I’m not going to lie, the homosexuality part terrified me to my core, but what shredded my Momma heart was knowing my precious son really thought we would kick him to the curb because of it. My beloved boy who was once a literal part of my body and was then a living, breathing, 17-year-old piece of my heart walking around in a man’s body. Not possible that I would ever turn him away. And I felt like a total failure as a mom that I had not gotten that message clearly and deeply embedded into his brain.

A seed of determination was planted that day, although I didn’t fully realize it in the swirling vortex of negative emotions that overwhelmed for the next many months – fear, isolation, despair, regret, guilt, doubt, anger, depression. As a conservative Christian, I believed my trusted, worn, NIV Bible said homosexuality was a sin. I knew Satan was a lion seeking to devour, and I believed my son was on the ground, belly exposed to those snapping jaws. It was my job, my DUTY as mom to swoop in and save him from the devil’s blood lust.

I had been dropped into the most desperate spiritual battle of my life. And I was going to call on the power of my mighty God, and we were going to win.

That IS what happened. But not exactly how I envisioned it.

I am one of those weird people who enjoys playing Monopoly. But only once I’m actually playing it. Prior to that, I avoid it like the plague, knowing that once I commit, I’ve given up the next several hours. I say no to whoever is asking me to play and stand strong until lots of begging finally plants me in front of that time-suck colorful cardboard square. God simply skipped the cajoling part, shoved a little metal shoe in my hand, placed me emphatically on square one and yelled “GO” in big red letters into my ear. He knows me so well.

My wise, all-knowing Father and I started rolling the dice and making our plays. What is interesting to me in hindsight, is I thought He and I were playing the same token. On the same team, as partners, working towards the same winning move of saving my son from the temptation of his same-sex attractions. What I came to realize much later is that I, in my human fallibility, could never be partners with God. We were on the same team, but our mission was different. I was working towards a win for my son; God was working towards a win for me.

What, ME? I’m not gay; this couldn’t be about me! There is nothing wrong with me …. Oops, ok, maybe some self-righteousness in there, but nothing as bad as homosexual- … yes, ok, I heard that one. Serious self-righteousness going on here. God, I got Your message, I’ll get to work on that so you and I can go back to the goal of fixing my son.

I’m kind of dense sometimes.

Many months and many grace-filled Get Out of Jail Free cards later, and I knew why God had made me play with the broken shoe instead of the cool car. I needed to get me out of the driver’s seat and let God lead me where HE wanted me to go.

If I’ve lost you in analogies, what I’m trying to say is I had it wrong all along. I thought the issue that needed addressing was my son’s homosexuality. In reality, the issue was my self-righteousness and lack of faith. In God’s seemingly backwards way of doing things, He used my son to get to me. To work on me. My son’s homosexuality changed my Christianity completely. Beautifully. Not in spite of him being gay, but because he is gay.

As I studied the various word choices in biblical translations, as I studied the culture of the time in which the bible was written, as I let the word of God come alive with the Word of God (Holy Spirit, see John 1:1) the verses spoke to me in different ways than ever before. Instead of attempting to read a 2,000-year-old book through a modern lens, my goal became reading a 2,000-year-old book through a 2,000-year-old lens and applying it to modern times. Big difference. Passages I had read hundreds of time in my Christian life took on new meanings. I saw the scriptures on homosexuality as they were intended – addressing rape and pederasty (abusive adult male to young male sexual practice that lasted through many hundreds of years in ancient Greek culture) and overindulgence, not modern, loving, monogamous same-sex relationships. That gave me peace, and was a nice appetizer, but the main course was still being served.

God opened my heart to people. All people. To His humanity. To the fringe, the hurting, the outcast, the poor.

Along the journey, God and I made a pit stop with Free Mom Hugs. Free Mom Hugs is an organization of Christian Moms of LGBTQ kids who are loving their kids unconditionally and sharing that love with others. At the time, I hadn’t quite gotten to where I saw homosexuality as a part of God’s beautiful creation, but I recognized His love when I saw it. The first time I put on a Free Mom Hugs pin at an LGBTQ event, I was overwhelmed at the need. Kids and adults alike were drawn to the Mom love – something I had always taken for granted, and something that should be a given. I saw that it wasn’t. I was humbled to the point of embarrassment, and still am, when LGBTQ people tell me thank you for giving Free Mom Hugs. For supporting my son. I want to shout, “That’s what ALL moms should do!!” It hurts me and angers me and moves me. Moms, and dads, should love their kids. Period. End of story.

But the reality is, unconditional love isn’t just the realm of moms. It is the realm of Christ. Of Christians.

God used homosexuality to show me how wrong I had His message. I’m not here to identify the sin in others. I’m not here to change others. When I start to think I’m even capable of that, I know I’ve fallen back into the pit of self-righteousness and need to climb my way back out again. I’m here for one thing and one thing only – to love God completely and to share God’s amazing, empowering, unconditional love with everyone I meet. (Ok, two things.) God has got the rest.

My story as a Christian mom of a gay son has changed. The story I would’ve told even a year ago was the story of how I made the switch from non-affirming to affirming, and the difficulties and challenges I faced. How we lost some of our family in the process. How scared we still are that we might lose more. How silence has become the norm when the topic comes up. I would’ve (and have) told of the different books I’ve read and people I’ve met and talked with and fallen in love with. How I see Sodom and Gomorrah differently. How Paul’s life and times affect how I now read his books. A year ago, I talked about conversations I had with my son in which he shared what it really was like to be gay, and how different it was than what I had always thought. How that affected me.

Those things are all true. That story is important. And I’ve watched many moms and dads and siblings go through that same journey. It’s such a hard one. But, fellow travelers, when you battle your own fears and make the trip, it’s so much different than you expect. So much better. God fills you with love … such love …

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free!

My God my Savior has ransomed me.

And like a flood His mercy reins.

Unending love, amazing grace.

I look back three and a half years ago to when I saw the world as I knew it crumble. I remember the failure I felt as a mom that my son thought even for a second I might abandon him for something I then saw as sin. That wasn’t just a Mom failure, that was a Christian failure.

I have been fighting the spiritual battle of my life. But it wasn’t for my son’s endangered soul, as I had thought. It was for my own. And my God and I, we are going to win.

Dena Edwards is a member of Serendipitydodah for Moms and is helping to make the Free Mom Hugs 2018 Tour a reality.

The Free Moms Hugs 2018 Tour plans to take off from Oklahoma on May 4, 2018 and stop at 10 cities over a two week period. One of the highlights of the tour will be a visit to the Matthew Shepherd Memorial on Mother’s Day. You can visit the Free Mom Hugs Facebook page here for more info.

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 secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 2,500 members. For more info email

Love Is Very Much Like Courage


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Love is very much like courage, perhaps it is courage,
and even perhaps only courage. 
– Galway Kinnell 

The following piece was written by Meredith Indermaur.

Meredith is a member of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids, and like so many moms in the group, she has discovered that love is very much like courage.


Nearly ten years ago, a dear friend gave me a Willow Tree figurine for Christmas, as she does every year. In fact, she’s the one who got me interested in collecting the unadorned, faceless sculptures, and I’ve been hooked on them ever since. Beautiful in their simplicity, they have a childlike, innocent quality about them. They are striking on their own but stunning en masse. Each little figure represents something meaningful (like hope) or commemorates an important event in life (like a new baby). The angel I unearthed from her box that winter’s day is called “Courage.” She stands about 5 inches high with arms outstretched in a V-shape, her little head turned upwards toward the sky, looking like every other child I know who’s ever scored a soccer goal or aced a math test. My friend explained that she sensed I’d be facing some situations requiring me to be “bold and courageous,” and this gift was her way of reminding me to remind myself of who I am in Christ. That’s funny, I thought, because I’ve never considered myself to be particularly courageous, statue or no statue.

The artist penned these words about her “Courage Girl:”

“I sculpted the first Angel of Courage in 2001 to celebrate the triumphant spirit, inspiration and courage we call upon to face challenges in our lives — whether they be our health or the well-being of our loved ones. In response to an overwhelming request for this sentiment, I re-sculpted Courage in 2006. I hope this figure can be a reminder of people in our lives who inspire us with their strength and courage every day.”

Two years later, our oldest son came out as gay to my husband and me in a letter he wrote before leaving for church camp for a week. He was afraid to be home when we read it. At the time, his fear made perfect sense, given off-hand comments I’d made over the years about “biblical truth” and “the LGBT lifestyle,” but when I think about it these days, I shudder. That I’d put him in any position to fear me for being honest about himself shames me to my core, which seems fitting, given how I’d unwittingly shamed him. I’ve sought and received his forgiveness, thank God, and we are and have been on the same page for a long while now. I take none of this for granted; I know how easily I could have lost him.

As a high schooler who was born and bred in North Carolina, I inhaled every book Thomas Wolfe wrote with the same gusto I give today to a bowl of kettle corn. Too young at that time to comprehend the deeper meanings attached to his own life experiences, I missed a lot of what he was trying to communicate in my favorite of his works, “You Can’t Go Home Again.”

My teenage self really didn’t understand anything about “home” – and would not – until I’d grown up, moved away, and returned for visits a couple times a year. I thought Wolfe was trying to convey that New York City had a hold on him that Asheville, North Carolina, which must have seemed backwards by comparison, could never have. But he was writing about something much larger, much more intense, and much more true than I could grasp in my limited experience. He was writing about the pains and gains of growing up. In effect, he was reiterating Jesus’ parable that begins, “Truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

“Something has spoken to me in the night…and told me that I shall die, I know not where. Saying: ‘[Death is] to lose the earth you know for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.'” – From You Can’t Go Home Again

Death and resurrection. Loss and gain. Putting away childish things. All these take courage.

Growing pains are real. I remember my eight-year old legs aching when I’d lie in bed at night and my mom reminding me that they hurt because my bones were growing. Spiritual growing pains are real, too, but by the time I began experiencing them in full force, my mom wasn’t here to reassure me that all those “something[s] greater” à la Wolfe were awaiting me. In fact, I was terrified I was losing my faith, tumbling down that proverbial slippery slope, and keeping company with all those people who’d “traded the truth for a lie.” I was nothing if not steeped in what had morphed into what I call American evangelicalism – the thing that lived off fear like a fungi lives off its host – rather than steeped in the Jesus kind of evangelicalism that simply proclaims, by word and by deed, the Good News of God’s loving presence to everyone.

My son’s coming out forced me to take another look at my previously held belief system, and I don’t mean “take a look” as in revisit some things but actually roll up my sleeves, grab a shovel, and dig down deep, turning everything over and over again. I worked up a mean sweat for nearly three years. A mom will do that for her kid, and I have to tell you, it took a helluva lot of courage to begin and to persist. A researcher by nature, I sought out alternative translations of Scripture and studied any verses hinting at homosexuality in their original languages. I pored over scholarly articles, psychology journals, and medical books. I listened to and learned from LGBT people, starting with my son. I got connected to other Christian moms of LGBT kids. And I prayed – oh, how I prayed. This was a true labor of love, which I owed my son, if nothing else. It was also my faith deconstruction, an often fear-filled, messy, and lonely business that gave me a deep appreciation for what my son and others like him experience on a daily basis. My fearful reliance on certainty was blown to smithereens, so I’ve learned to peacefully co-exist with doubt. The god I thought I knew – the disapproving, occasionally angry, and ever-disappointed One I was introduced to in childhood – continues to fall by the wayside. In that god’s place is Someone Who embraces and sustains us all, Who finds delight in us, and Who continues beckoning us to step outside our tight theological boxes for open pasture. Many of the beliefs of yesterday that built and carried me – in fear – are the ones I offer again and again as a sacrifice to this embracing, sustaining God. I was overdue for a dismantling. I now know from experience that spiritual maturity, among other things, is birthed out of a good shell-shocking, and I didn’t want to waste mine; in fact, I want to continue welcoming it.

“Toil on, son, and do not lose heart or hope. Let nothing you dismay. You are not utterly forsaken. I, too, am here–here in the darkness waiting, here attentive, here approving of your labor and your dream.” – From You Can’t Go Home Again

Having a child in the LGBTQ community is a gift of the highest order. This gift is God’s invitation to stand on the outside and in the margins with others that He loves but who may not yet know that love. This gift is God’s invitation to view Him and others with a different hermeneutic – one that takes to task a small, narrow, restrictive, and exclusive belief system and offers us a more expansive and inclusive one. It’s also God’s invitation to see Him in and through my son and others like him. This is the heart of God’s heart. Thomas Wolfe’s words about death and resurrection, about losing something for gaining another thing, about leaving something in order to find something else are really Jesus’ words and are now a part of my own experience, which is the only way any of this could ever make sense to me at all.

I am finally putting my face on the little figurine as I stand with my arms in a V-formation with my head tilted upwards toward the sky. I don’t stand alone but alongside my son and others in the LGBTQ community who are the epitome of courage.

And we are stunning en masse.


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 2,500 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. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. However, moms do not have to be Christian to be a member of the group. In addition to providing a space for members to share info and support one another, a special guest is added each month for a short time so members can ask questions in the privacy of the group. The guests include authors, pastors, LGBTQ people, bloggers, medical professionals and public speakers.

Serendipitydodah for Moms also has two extension groups:

Serendipitydodah MTK is for trans specific conversation and is mostly made up of moms of trans kids.

Serendipitydodah Blue Ocean Faith is for members of Serendipitydodah for Moms who want to connect with and become a part of the Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor community via it’s online presence. Blue Ocean Faith is a faith community that fully includes, affirms and supports lgbtq people and those that support them.

Email to join or for more info.

The Fruit Doesn’t Lie


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Some Christians worry that affirming and supporting LGBTQ people might end up being the wrong thing to do. They wonder how they can be certain they are embracing the good and right position.

As someone who was not always affirming or supportive I can understand their doubts but I no longer have those doubts. I feel confident that affirming and supporting LGBTQ people, their relationships and their identities is the good and right position to hold.

My confidence and assurance is because I keep coming back to this …

The fruit doesn’t lie.

Good theology should produce good fruit and non-affirming/anti-gay/anti trans theology doesn’t pass that test.

Most of the time non-affirming/anti-gay/anti trans theology produces bad fruit in the lives of lgbtq people who try to embrace it wholeheartedly. Fruit such as depression, despair and self loathing are very common results.

We can almost always find a verse or teacher or book to match our beliefs, but … the fruit doesn’t lie.

If a theology is mostly producing bad fruit you know it isn’t the truth and should be abandoned, because … the fruit doesn’t lie.

every tree


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 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.

Scripture does not address most things specifically. Instead it gives us some guiding principles to live by. Then people come along and try to figure out how to apply those guiding principles to real life. When we get it right it mostly leads to whole, healthy, vibrant lives. When we get it wrong it mostly leads to broken, unhealthy, hopeless lives.

If a specific doctrine is mostly producing self loathing, despair, hopelessness, depression, isolation, shame, self harm and other such bad fruit then it’s a no brainer … it’s not good doctrine and we should abandon it.

We can twist scripture to fit with our own perspective.

We can cherry pick and only choose those scriptures that support our view.

We can ignore original language and historical context so that scripture seems to support our argument.

We can almost always find a verse to more or less say what we want it to say.

We can almost always find a Christian leader to teach what we believe.

We can almost always find a book that supports our point of view.

We can almost always find a church that represents our belief.

BUT … the fruit doesn’t lie.

I’m confident that anti-gay/non-affirming/anti-trans theology is wrong because it consistently produces bad fruit and I’m confident that affirming and supporting LGBTQ people, their relationships and identities is good and right because …

When you listen to and get to know LGBTQ Christians who are connecting with faith communities and theology that affirms their relationships and identities you will find they are experiencing a lot of good fruit in their lives. They are typically healthier in every way – relationally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

The fruit doesn’t lie!

(If you would like to delve deeper into what scripture says and doesn’t say about same sex relationships check out this post which addresses the verses most often used to condemn same sex relationships.)


If you are the mom of an LGBTQ kid there is a great online community you might want to join. Go here to find out more about Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. 

Mama Bear Story Project #28 – Jaron Terry


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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.

Jaron Terry BW


Living in the Light

“Haven’t I always told you that there is nothing you could ever say, do, want, think, need, or be that would keep me from loving you?” These words closed my late-night text conversation with our son when he came out to me, five years ago today.

He was a junior in college and I had just finished watching his fraternity’s “It Gets Better” video. Although other students in the video identified themselves as gay or ally, he did not. When I heard my only child say, “I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere, and that I was really weird,” and “You don’t have to live in the shadows,” I knew he was saying he is gay.

I’ll never forget my emotions when the next evening he told his dad and me: “I want to live my life in the light. People who are forced to live in the dark do dark things, and I choose to live in the light.” He said he’d always known he was gay and he was relieved that we could accept him. That broke my heart because we more than accept him; we love him.

Among my emotions that night was relief, because since he was a small child I’d thought he might “turn out to be” gay, not yet understanding that, indeed, he was born gay. Always such a gentle and empathetic boy, I was relieved that he felt he could be honest with us. I knew that it took a lot of courage, because, sadly, too many kids are disowned when they come out.

I also felt fear. The fear I had started tamping down from when he was only a toddler, as hateful rhetoric spilled from the television about the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and again when he was four and the Defense of Marriage Act mandated that marriage was only for straight people. Ellen DeGeneres came out when he was 5-years-old, and within months her sitcom was cancelled. But my fear greatly intensified when our son was in grade school, and young Matthew Shepard was horrifically and brutally murdered at the hands of homophobic bullies. And, just two weeks after our son left for college, Rutgers University sophomore Tyler Clementi tragically jumped to his death after bullies shattered his life by invading his privacy.

I also felt sadness – sad that when he was in middle school, I tried to “steer him” away from being gay – like he had a choice. Although I’d had gay friends, I knew their lives were difficult because of how they were treated, and I didn’t want that for my boy. And, I was sad about the daughter-in-law and grandchildren I had envisioned. I now know that even if one’s “life script” changes, the happily-ever-after story doesn’t have to – just re-cast the characters.

Next, I started worrying about how to publicly acknowledge this new reality. I had been raised in the school of “what will people say” and what worried me most was what I already knew the people of the United Methodist Church would say. I’d heard what those at the UMC where we’d raised our son thought of LGBTQ people, and I’m ashamed to admit I never called them on it. Why? I was afraid that doing so would cast doubt on my son’s sexuality. So, when he came out of the closet, I took my relief, sadness and fear into my own closet to gather myself for the coming battle I sensed.

Darkness of Judgment and Anger
I began reading and studying everything I could find, including Justin Lee’s book “Torn;” Savage & Miller’s “It Gets Better;” and Betty DeGeneres’ beautiful story, “Love, Ellen.” With education came growth and also the next stage: being open about our love and support of our son – and confronting those who tried to convince us we were wrong. That included the church where we’d worshipped for nearly 25 years.

I was so angry about the UMC’s stiff-necked stupidity! Just four weeks after our son came out in 2013, Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman, whose son is also gay, announced a “change of heart” and supported gay couples’ opportunity to marry. In response, the so-called church “ladies” said horrible things about LGBTQ people during Bible study. Even though I explained with my newfound knowledge that the “clobber verses” they quoted did not say what they had been taught to believe, just two weeks later – when basketball star Magic Johnson’s son came out – the same ugly things were said. In my opinion, the verse that really does the clobbering is John 13:34-35.

I am thankful that during the height of our painful shunning by church members – including those in our share group – we attended a Reconciling Ministries Network class, “When Kids Come Out,” where I first met fellow Mama Bears and was invited to join this loving online community. The warmth and counsel from other mothers who also love and affirm their LGBTQ children has been a balm and bolster. A balm in that for the first time I was no longer alone, and a bolster in their encouragement to stand up and speak out to defend LGBTQ people from the fear and hate engendered by ignorant misinterpretation of scripture and the resulting harmful stereotyping.

My husband and I had already begun “shaking the dust off our feet,” searching for an open and affirming church, when we received an invitation from our UMC’s pastor to lead a new share group. So we decided to take another shot at educating church members and proposed a group for “Families and Loved Ones of LGBTQ persons.” We were called into the office where I was horrified to be told: “This issue will not be discussed. Not here, not now, not ever.” After several months of trying to inform him and soften his heart, we had a loud, unpleasant blow-out that ended with our terminating our membership. It was necessary, but painful to leave the church community we had been part of for so long, and where we knew other families – still in the closet – remained silent about their children. In 2020, the UMC will have a final chance to vote yes on inclusion.

Embracing Light

I am certain that if being LGBTQ were “incompatible with Christian teaching,” as the UMC says, then Jesus would have said something about it. The fact is that “Christian teaching” and “Christ’s teaching” are two different things. Christian teaching is all about the rulebook – who’s in and who’s out. But Christ’s teaching is about inclusive love. Love is what matters most; love is what matters in the end. Jesus even gave a new commandment about it.

My views on the value of having organized religion and church in one’s life have sharply shifted – I no longer think it’s always helpful; instead it’s usually harmful. However, I do believe that the pervasive spirit of what many call “God” is real. I don’t believe God “listens to” or responds to prayer, blessing some while ignoring or punishing others. Instead, I believe that contemplation of the presence of God keeps me in the flow of the spirit, aware and attuned to living in the light. Indeed, Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit as counselor to help us understand things not yet comprehensible. He even warned us against resisting the transformative work of the Spirit.

Since I became a Mama Bear three years ago, basking in this nurturing network of friends and sisters, I’ve been able to turn my anger into action. These mothers have helped me develop the courage and the confidence to be an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community. I serve on the national diversity & inclusion committee for my professional association; I write articles and give presentations on writing/speaking and making the business case for LGBTQ inclusion; I am president of our local PFLAG chapter, and, of course, I encourage other mothers. Together, my husband and I financially support advocacy organizations, march in the Pride Parade and explore new ways of understanding and being one with God.

So much has changed, but what remains unchanged is how very much we love our son and how proud we are of who he is: Our son is an honorable man. He is happy, fun and outgoing, devoted to his true friends and to his family. He is educated and interested in his profession, dedicated to helping his organization’s clients realize their own passion for serving nonprofit agencies. Our son is artistic, creative and talented, launching Olly Awake, a gender equal clothing line to positively impact those who want to be their own best versions. And, he is also an advocate for equality, volunteering with the Human Rights Campaign, and other groups that advance justice and inclusion for the LGBTQ community. Most importantly, our son is out of the closet, living his life in the light.


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 2,400 members. For more info email


Moms of LGBTQ kids send support to Olympian Adam Rippon


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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created in June 2014 as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group presently has more than 2,400 members and was especially created  for Christian moms of LGBTQ kids who want to develop and maintain healthy, authentic, loving relationships with their LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group.  For more info email



More than 850 members of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private Facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids, signed a letter of support to Adam Rippon after he spoke up against VP Pence regarding Pence’s support of conversion therapy.

Adam Rippon, a 28-year-old figure skater, will be the first openly gay man to compete for the United States in the Winter Olympics.

In an interview, Rippon said that he would prefer not to meet Pence during the traditional meet-and-greet between the official delegation and U.S. athletes in the hours leading to the opening ceremony.

“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon said. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to meet somebody like that.”

“I don’t think he has a real concept of reality,” Rippon said of Pence. “To stand by some of the things that Donald Trump has said and for Mike Pence to say he’s a devout Christian man is completely contradictory. If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘shitholes,’ I think he should really go to church.”

The widespread belief that Pence supports gay conversion therapy comes from a statement he made in 2000 on his congressional campaign website: “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Here is the letter that was sent to Adam:

January 30, 2018

Dear Adam,

We are members of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a large private Facebook group with more than 2,400 members who are moms of LGBTQ kids.

Our group was created in June 2014 especially for open-minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids.

Not only are we excited that you are among several openly LGBTQ athletes going to Pyeongchang to compete in the Winter Olympics, but we have been so encouraged by the way you have spoken out in support of LGBTQ people.

More than 850 of us are signing this letter to send you our support and gratitude, and to let you know that in our eyes you are already a champion!

We were horrified and broken hearted after reading some of the horrible comments that were posted to you after you spoke up about VP Pence and wanted you to know that we care about you, are standing with you and appreciate the courage it takes to be open and speak out the way you are doing.

Although there is a lot of ignorance and hate in the world we remain hopeful that the tide is turning and that things are getting better. Of course, we know nothing will change or get better unless good people like you and us keep showing up, speaking up and fighting for what is right. And that is why we just had to write and express our support and gratitude. Not only are you helping to make the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for LGBTQ people to live but you are inspiring others to do the same. You have energized us and given us fresh inspiration to keep fighting the good fight, and because of that we are forever grateful.

We believe people like you reflect the true spirit of America and remain hopeful others will hear your voice and be inspired to follow your example.

We are rooting for you and wish you the best in all that you do!

Love & light,

Liz Dyer, Founder & Owner

Abby De Fiesta Cortez 
Adele Berardi
Adrienne Haslam
Alecia Moss
Aletheia Wall Zambesi
Alise D Chaffins
Alison Defrese
Alissa Butler
Allena Brown
Amanda Corry Thorderson
Amanda Curtis Dwyer
Amanda Dalton
Amanda Gayle
Amanda Grace Blackmon
Amanda J Brewer
Amy D’Arpino
Amy Forbes
Amy Goad
Amy Hansley Bennett
Amy L Parker Orwig
Amy Ridgely Allridge
Amy Rueter
Amy Stubbs
Amy Wells
Anani Steadman
Andrea Coffee Peacock
Andrea Larson Schultz
Angela Bengston
Angela H. Coble
Angela Harrison Darland
Angie Laws
Angie Leavitt
Angie Silver
Angie Stratz Ashmore
Anita Breuer Peters
Anita Jewell Carter Cockrum
Anittra Kilgore
Ann McGee Green
Ann Phillips Smith
Ann Zweckbronner
Anna Parks
Anne Campolieti Anderson
Annie Shelton
AnnMarie Augugliaro Gilbert
Antoinette Sanchez
April Silbermann
Arlene Schulz
Ashlie Burnette Webb
Athena Sims
Barb Cressy
Barbara Winkler
Beau Simcoe
Becky Abbott Kelley
Becky Cantrall
Becky Henry
Becky Horness
Belinda Adkins
Bella M Kaplan
Beth Barndt Ruthenburg
Beth Breems
Beth Campbell
Beth Highton Carter
Beth McGill-Rizer
Beth Wiggins Baswell
Bethany Kirwen
Betsy Bruce Henning 
Beverly Wynne
Billie Jo Marrs
Blanca Benavidez
Bonnie Miranda
Brandy Darr Doty
Brenda Ahlemann
Brenda Holloway Bratcher
Brenda King
Bridget Murphy
Brigitte Spence
Britiney Fife
Brittney Jo
Candace Winters
Cari Martinez
Carie Poynor Downes
Carla Iturregui Picasso-Brown
Carla Michaelsen
Carla Short Spivey
Carlee Roche
Carol Caudill Thames
Carol Lundemo
Carol Mason
Carol Smith
Carole Bass
Carole Christian
Carole Glover Kuriatnikova
Carolyn Brice Briggs
Carolyn Cage Johnston
Carolyn Walker
Carrie Black
Carrie Colladay Stell
Carrie Garske Shank
Carrie Henderson
Caryle A Cox
Cassandra Graham
Cassy Taylor Campos
Cathleen Frantzen Schaber
Cathy Calamas
Cathy Ledbetter Lafever
Cathy Light Evans
CeCe Garrett
Chasity Davis
Chelsa Nunn Morrison
Chelsea Mornings
Cheri Nill
Cherie Andres Draper
Cherie Stevens
Cherie Thomas
Cherie Walker
Cheryel Lemley McRoy
Cheryl B. Evans
Cheryl Bakkila-Perkins 
Cheryl Couch-Thomas
Cheryl Wilson
Chris Behne
Chris Clements
Chris López
Chris Walker
Christie Hoos
Christie Nader
Christina Aronovici
Christina Johnson
Christina Lehmann Bergevin
Christina Rosbury
Christine Bullock
Christine Foster Shaw
Christine Gilmore
Christy Emigh
Cilla Thomas
Cindy Helzer Baldwin
Cindy Jo Conner
Cindy Morgan
Cindy Naas Nathan
Cindy Richard Broussard
Cindy Rodriguez Castro
Cindy Watson Bowen
Cindy Winsky Lear
Colleen Craig
Colleen Hepler Brassington
Colleen Kane
Connie Dupuis
Cosette Johnson Blanchard
Crissy Flores
Crista Mason
Crystal Baker
Crystal Squires
Crystal Wagner
Cyndi Silva Raugh
Cynthia Corsetti
Cynthia Gaye Rahm-Clark
Cynthia Vermillion
Dana Baker
Dana Blankenship
Dana Burgess
Dana Huntington-Smith
Danette Mohring
Danielle Castellini Giannascoli
Daphne Bookas Alvarado
Dawn Acero
Dawn Bellotti
Dawn Bennett
Dawn Carafeno
Dawn Ervin
Dawn Pogalz
Dawn Roth
Dawn Varvil
Dayneen Glastetter
Deanna Jolly Frazee
Deb Foreman Cyr
Deb Gallagher
Deb Vaughn
Deb Woodman
Debbie Griewe
Debbie King
Debbie McCullough Hayhurst
Debbie Rogers Greenan
Debbie Wasielewski Tavarez
Debbie Woods Coy
Debby Lloyd Boutwell
Debby McCrary
Debi Jackson
Debi Tucker Boland
Deborah Carlyle Enman
Debra Hill
Debra Honeywell Myott
Debra Rene Skinner
Dee Dee
Dee-Ann Bodenheimer-Enslin 
Deena Corwin Pfahler
Deleise Carper Brewer 
Dena Heinen Edwards
Denise Lodge Everitt
Denise Ramirez-Tatum
Denise Trainer Webb
Detra Damskov
Diana Dermit McCarthy
Diana Walla
Diane Brady-Leighton
Diane Simms
Dina Palmisano Wolstromer
Donna C Smith
Donna Campbell Thornbury
Donna Davis Poock
Donna Holmes
Donna McAtee Edwards
Donna Thompson Spencer
Donna Turner Hudson
Dorene Rose
Doris Wright
Dyanne Khalaf
Elaine Falk Parker
Eleanor Dennison
Elisa Stoneman
Elizabeth Estep Woodmansee
Elizabeth Frauenknecht
Elizabeth McConnel Sutton
Elizabeth Medlin
Elizabeth Pierce
Ellen McCrory
Ellen Passwater
Ellen Pridmore Green
Emily Farley
Emily Richards Rivera
Eva Sullivan-Knoff
Felicia Dodd
Fran Shirer
Frances Lavender
Frances O’Flaherty
Francine Rowland Woodcock
Franny Buell
Gena Rogers
Genell Brown
Georgi Persons
Gerry Phifer
Gina Williamson
Giny Bailey
Glenda Crump
Glenda Moore
Glenda Purkis Boulton
Gloria Melton
Greta Medrano
Gretchen Doornek Mueller
Gretchen Veling
Gwen Harker Poole
Harriet Sutton
Heather Blazek
Heather Clevenger
Heather Diaz
Heather Gee-Thomas
Heather McCracken Bottoms
Heather Rae Turner
Heather Shamp Mitchell
Hope Lane Addis
Ida Federico Hammer
Ilene Pedersen
Ineka Estabrook
Irene Gilliland
J. Regina Blackwell
Jackie Berens-Andrew
Jackie McQueen
Jacque Wright
Jacqueline Rutledge
Jacqueline Steverson Brown
Jade Cutter
Jamie Hovland
Jamie Tessing Bruesehoff
Jammie Risley Hahn
Jan Pezant 
Jan Roberts
Jan Simmons Johnson
Jan Wightman
Jane Clementi
Jane E Lages
Jane Moody
Jane Quintanar
Janet A. Morales Souza
Janet Bossemeyer-Mazerolle
Janet Brandes Ambrosio
Janet Lee Anjain
Janet Phillips
Janette Leverenz
Janice Dunn White
Janice Hoffman Woodruff
Janice Norton Ritter
Janie Romine
Janine Rauscher
Janine Sarah Moore
Jaron Terry
Jay Nevitt Geiger
Jayne LB
Jayne Spear
Jayne Tucker
Jeannette Cona-Larock
Jeannie Babb
Jen K D-Lewis
Jen Tengs-Howard
Jenn Riedy
Jenna Robertson
Jennie Young-Walczyk
Jennifer Adams
Jennifer Angulo
Jennifer Donovan Jasgur
Jennifer Dunnam Stringfellow
Jennifer Hancock
Jennifer McClelland Meyer
Jennifer Miller
Jennifer Robinson
Jennifer Schaffner Burkhardt
Jennifer Seeger
Jennifer Sollazzo Smyke
Jennifer Stake White
Jennifer Sumner
Jennifer Tatum Downs
Jennifer Teeter
Jennifer Wilkins Pearson
Jenny Bishop Morgan
Jenny Williams Hines
Jerri Surles Collins
Jessica Banks
Jessica Fahlgren
Jessica Johnson
Jessica Markwood Weiss
Jessie Swinford Shirrell
Jill Arrowood
Jill Blythe
Jill Johnstone
Jill L’Heureux
Jill Pote Yarbrough
Jillian Jones
Jo Ivester
Joani Lea Jack
JoAnn Forsberg
Joann Thompson
JoAnn Tyndall Larsen
Joanne Lee
Jody Miller Vanderzell
Jolene Weaver
Joy Denton
Joy Millikan
Joyce De Jager
Judie Brown Gordon
Judith Davis
Judith K Volkar
Judy Pettit Ronshausen
Judy Witzel Harper
Julia Elliott Campbell
Julia Lunardo
Julia Thomas
Julie Ackerson-Armstrong
Julie Bean Bisgaard
Julie Childs
Julie Elliott O’Neal
Julie Greene
Julie Kennedy Eaton
Julie Lenox Haines
Julie Manning Waters
Julie McCoy Kinder
Julie Mendell Lumpkin
Julie Pruitt
June Test Castonguay
Karen Adams
Karen Bashe
Karen Decker Kusserow 
Karen Kay Sorensen
Karen Ona
Karen Sullivan
Karin Paulus
Karin Triola
Karla Hall McIntyre
Kate Feider
Katherine Brown Leidy
Kathi Nicholson
Kathie Hegert
Kathie Moehlig
Kathrine M Kraft
Kathryn Borden
Kathryn Zentner
Kathy Anderson Giannuzzi
Kathy Ann Cousineau
Kathy Cantwell-Smith
Kathy Davenport Isakson
Kathy David
Kathy Ewing-Finley
Kathy Goodwin-Banko
Kathy Green
Kathy Johnson Tysdal
Kathy Josephson
Kathy Lutz Hayes
Kathy Nickles Baker
Kathy Reim
Kathy Renne Post
Kathy Stephenson Surbaugh
Kathy White
KathyMae VanLacken Hoepner
Katie Burwell
Katie Jenifer
Katie Krone Connell
Katie Miterko
Katie Willhite Brooks
Katrina Black
Kay Holladay
Kay Kelley
Kay Otting
Kay Whistler
Kelli Henry Alamond
Kelli Lewis Decker
Kellie Taylor-Lafevor
Kelly Beane
Kelly Cantwell
Kelly Dembiczak
Kelly Jamie Koffler
Kelly Lepley
Kelly M Hunsaker
Kelly McKinsey
Kelly Rae Holiday
Kelly Stepp Hayworth
Kendra Slinker
Keri Lynn Riley
Kerri Vann Pritchard
Kerry Newlee
Kim Belcher Messick
Kim Freeman Weill
Kim Huddleston McMahon
Kim Kendall
Kim Knox
Kim Lue
Kim Sonntag
Kim Stone Haltiwanger
Kim Woltering Agrellas
Kimberly Hattaway Linville
Kimberly Jones
Kimberly Shappley
Kimberly-Dawn Falk
Kimberlyn Graham
Kirsten Shaw
Kris Gromm
Krista Burdine
Kristen Capp
Kristi Chenoweth Dubois
Kristi Kodos
Kristi Ladage
Kristy Moeller Ottinger
Krisztina Inskeep
Kyle Jump
Lannette Sargent
Lara Young
Laura Beth Taylor 
Laura Carpenter
Laura Choi
Laura Schaffer Ross
Laura Sparks Turner
Laurie Kooiman
Laurie Lewis
Laurie Mitchell Allen
Layla Raquel Lesley
LeAnn Fenner
Leba Shallenberger
Lee Ann Howdershell
Lenora Lea Gill
Lesa Edwards-Schepers
Lesley Davis
Lesley Williams
Leslie Fitzmorris
Leslie Jones Webster
Libby M Aragon
Linda Davis
Linda Hedrick Cox
Linda Ling
Linda Munton Hartung
Linda Rooney
Linda Slater Tow
Linda W. Inwood
Linda Wiebe Dickinson
Linda York O’Connell
Lisa Bray
Lisa Burgess Berry
Lisa Cousins
Lisa Fischetti Schlossberg
Lisa Geoffroy
Lisa Giordano Bontemps
Lisa Golden Dugger
Lisa Jane
Lisa Jordan Ashby
Lisa MacGregor
Lisa Maniscalco Hildebrand
Lisa McCrystal Holley
Lisa Nickerson
Lisa Rebillot-Collins
Lisa Rhea
Lisa Schramm
Lisa Scott Wofford
Lisa Wetmore Shinn
Lisa Wycoff
Lisa Wysocki
Liz Dyer
Loretta Davila
Lori Benner Balkum
Lori Black Manning
Lori Bradley-Lewis
Lori Caldeira
Lori Chavers Blankenship
Lori Faircloth
Lori Johnson
Lori Lamb
Lori Love-Wise
Lori Maddox
Lori McCoy Simmons
Lori Rogers
Lori Young-Wilson
Lorie Garrett
Lorri Young
LuAnn Shaffer Welham
Lyndah Kolkmann
Lynette Joy
Lynn Kato
Lynne Steele Ford
Madai Girard
Maggie Borowski
Mai Friesen Swan
Maleea Shaver Castillo
Mally Baum
Mally Shell Hatch
Marci Cobb Morey
Marcia Kooger
Marcie Castiglione
Margaret Martin
Margi Wilmans 
Margie Candler
Maria Breeden
Maria Iacona
Maria Mongelli Glanzmann
Marianne Minier Walker
Marie Vincent Turnbull
Marilyn Fowler Brownjohn
Marilyn Weaver Folk
Marilynn Bourne Fowler
Marjorie Rudolph
Marla Hagemeyer
Marlene Hoefer Brummond
Marlene Lund
Marsha Ladd
Marsha McCollum
Martha Maust
Martha Parshall Richards
Marti Parsons Grahl
Mary Anicich
Mary Ann Grisham
Mary Carter Knisley
Mary Davidson
Mary Estelle Montgomery
Mary Jo Whitley
Mary Kay Weil
Mary Prados Peterson
Mary Siever
Mary Walton
MaryRuth Green Gossett
Maureen Anne Claffy
Maureen Harden
Meg Shull Bierwirth
Melanie Burke
Melea Broekers
Melina Madolora Wikoff
Melinda Shatzer Bowersox
Melissa Ballard
Melissa Brady Silva
Melissa Everet
Melissa Morritt Coble
Melissa Narvaez
Melissa Nicholson Smallwood
Melissa René Everet
Melissa Rogers
Melissa Sosenko DeStefano
Melissa Talarico
Melissa Torres
Melody Dolle
Meredith Webster Indermaur
Merryl Dietz
Michele Engle
Michele Manuel Fuselier
Michele Wessel Tarnow
Michelle Black
Michelle Bradshaw McComb
Michelle Eckmayer
Michelle Martin Gardner
Michelle McCann
Michelle Melom
Michelle Oh
Michelle Zulch
Millie Donnell
Mimi Lemay
Miriam Pendley
Miriam Righter
Missy Keaton
Missy Moore Weening
Misty Dupuis
Molly Griffin
Molly Williams Broderick
Molly Wills Carnes
Monica Ausderau Larmon
Monica Maday
Monica-Niki Elenbaas
Monique Rodas
Morven Roberts Baker
Nancy Adams Smith
Nancy Barron Booher
Nancy Dryer Deeb
Nancy Johnson Campbell
Nancy MacDonald
Nancy Ruh
Nancy Thompson Flikkema
Nancy Villegas
Nancy Wance
Nancy Williams Eakin
Nanette Sanderson Sparrow
Nicole Blagg
Nicole Garrison Park
Nicole Havlen Hair
Nicole Mohr
Nikki Holmes
Noreen Sharp Wendeln
Ofelia Dafne’ Barba Navarro
Olivia Santos
Paige Gant
Paige Stover
Pam Cotton
Pam Ensinger Antos
Pam Swendig
Pam Walsh
Pamela Davidson Lorton
Pamela Fields
Pamila Moore Gantt
Patricia Berning
Patricia Detzel
Patricia Sjöberg
Patti Atwood Grossman
Patti Detzel
Patti Mercer Churner
Patti Stone
Patti Stratton
Patty Abrams Snader
Patty Dave-Meriwether
Patty Loraine Woodruff
Patty Yamsek
Paula Unrau
Pauline Carlson
Pauline Cieri
Pauline Daly
Peggy Graff-Perrett
Peggy Knight
Penny Watne
Phyllis Barber
Rachael Hawkins
Rachel Derman
Rachel Drouillard
Rachel Fields
Rachel Keyte
Rachel Ross Boone
Rachel Sargent
Rachel Whitehall
Rebecca Armstrong
Rebecca Baxter
Rebecca Fako Uecker
Rebecca Hedges Lyon
Rebecca Roberts
Rebecca Sayre
Rebecca Wilson
Regina Pitts Woods
Renae Erickson
Renae Shaffer-Stone
Renay Boyes
Renee Cuffe
Renee K Williams Erwin
Renee Utley Bennink
Rev. Mally Baum
Rhonda Eubanks
Rhonda Hartzell
Rhonda Morrison
Rhonda Smith Mailhos
Rhonda Wills-Johnson
Riah Daniels
Rika Moya
Rita Daruvala
Rob Ullinger
Robbin Ramseur
Robin Gowan
Robin Preece Parker
Robin Protsman
Robin Spring
Robinette Nacca-Cooke
Robyn S Haag
Robynne Buckingham
Roh Hardin
Ronda Zylstra
Ʀosaııie Ĺane
Rose Stucchio
Roseanne M. Shannon
Rosemarie Varrichio Campbell
Rossana Neglia McLaughlin
Roxanna Villars Gambrell
S Anderson
S. Brae Adams
Samantha Nelson
SanDee Hunter Duncan
Sandra Cathers
Sandra Gainer Fuentes
Sandra Miller Lenard
Sandra Nelson Harris
Sandra Van Dyne
Sandra Vincent Richard
Sandy Collins
Sandy Gregg
Sandy McClure
Sara Cunningham
Sara Hoel May
Sara Lunde Larson
Sara Vazquez
Sarah Keller Garcia
Sarah Langley
Sarah Mills Holbrook
Sarah Thacker-Estell 
Shannen Rhoda
Shannon Eaton
Shannon Jarvis
Sharon Hanby Williams
Sharon Harding
Shawna Dicintio
Shay Bisbee Haude
Shelley McBride
Shelly Willis
Sheri Martin 
Sherilynn Hickenbottom
Sherri Jackson Simancas
Sherrl McFerrin Townsend
Sherry Baisden
Sherry Pyles
Sheryl Warren Olszewski
Shirley Carley
Sondy Eklund
Sonya Hook
Spring Davidson
Stacey Frazier
Stacey Jackson Baeumler
Stacey Wadle
Staci Lee Kennelly
Stacie Houghtaling Belair
Stacy Gouge Drake
Stefani Ragsdale
Stephanie Anderson
Stevie Prince
Sue Cottle
Sue Ellen Ward Lowe
Sue Howard
Sue Stewart Newman
Sue Tresatti
Sue West Helms
Susan Berland
Susan Boyce
Susan Cloys Seaman
Susan Cottrell
Susan Dollar Michaels
Susan Foss Naranjo-Stultz
Susan Hammontree Fortney
Susan Jewell
Susan Ledbetter
Susan Mackenzie Treber
Susan Merritt Slattery
Susan Metcalf
Susan Rest Asplund
Susan Ridley Griffin
Susan Wardzinski
Susanna Bedser
Susy Rowe Barnhill
Suzanne Alexander
Suzanne Lambert Mann
Suzanne Martin
Tamara Darbin
Tamara Totoro Dick
Tammi Perkins
Tammie Jarnagan
Tammy Flowers Mejdrich
Tammy Varner O’Brine
Tammy Warren Tearoe
Tammy Watchel
Tammy Watson
Tammy Wenzinger
Tamra Jennings
Tana Lightbown Hendricks
Tanya Hutchinson
Tara Dominy Bonner
Tari Card
Tenley Dyck
Teresa Martenson
Teresa Medlin Poston
Teresa Parker
Teressa L’Heureux
Teri Henderson
Teri Stueland Kay
Terri Cook
Terri Gervasi
Terri Nolt
Terri Schempf
Terri White
Terry Hall Sanchez
Terry Moran
Theresa Cooper
Theresa Moore Martinez
Theresa Tasker
Tiffany Christie
Tiffany Powell
Tina Pawlick
Tina Thomas
Tina Wesley
Tonda Campbell Hoyt
Toni Ann Bradley
Toni Black Sanchez
Toni Dyer
Torri Winright
Tracey Gombold Bell
Tracey Reams
Tracie Sells
Tracy Jepson
Tracy Trotter Nagy
Tricia Kaufman-Waddell 
Tricia Willard 
Trish Ives
Valencia Greene Foster
Valerie Amoling Cronin
Vanessa Ford
Vanessa Horton-Hendershot
Vanessa Melchiori
Vicki Evans Sevey
Vicki Kemp Whorton
Vicki Luna
Vicki March Belsterling
Vicki Mungavin Hopkins
Vicki Westphal
Vicki Wimmer Johnson
Vicky Barnes
Vicky Snow Decker
Victoria Larson
Vlada Knowlton
Wendie S Dillehay
Wendy Brown
Wendy Harley
Wendy Lea
Wendy Margaret Jennings
Wendy Swanson
Wendy Wiley Canedy
Whitney Straub
Whitney Treloar
Whitney Webb
Yvette Griego
Yvonne Frith
Zaneta Salde Encarnacion
Zenia Robertson
Zora Oh

Mama Bear Story Project #27 – Niki Fox Elenbaas


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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.


My journey as a Mama Bear began, remains and will likely end on a quest for forgiveness and grace.

Our firstborn, Dina Clare, was in her senior year of high school when I accidentally “outed” my daughter. It was the spring of 2000, when computer access for our family of four was on a shared desktop computer in our living room.

One night, while working after everyone else was in bed, I came across several unfamiliar poems. This was not unusual. Dina was a prolific writer who.often wrote and embellished her work on the computer. She had already had pieces published and awarded in youth competitions, including poetry slams.

I always tried to cool down while I shifted from work to sleep. That night I treated myself to a poetry reading. In short order, I realized that I had stumbled upon our daughter’s coming out story.

The set of several new poems put into words how Dina, along with her long-time boyfriend, were dealing with the fact that she was feeling a romantic attraction to a younger student in their group of friends — a girl.

My first feeling was relief. I suspected that something major had been troubling Dina, beyond the usual senior year angst. I also had sensed that a struggle was going on in our daughter’s first serious relationship. I had asked Dina a few questions in a private moment, but she didn’t want to talk about it.  I respected that.

Finally, Dina’s mood swings made more sense. The weekend before, at a typical Saturday gathering of teens in our living room, I had observed our daughter’s delight in the presence of the young woman who was the object of Dina’s “crush.”

That the poems were devoted to a girl did not come as a huge surprise. Dina’s dad and I loved her unconditionally. Since she was very young — we had observed a variety of things about our firstborn’s unique way of being that pointed in this direction.

We had friends and colleagues who were gay and lesbian, so we didn’t have an acceptance problem. We had raised our daughter and son in a home that regularly hosted large gatherings, welcoming guests from all backgrounds and orientations. “Normal” for them meant spending time with people of various faiths, ethnicities, education and economic levels, as well as relationship status.

It was so hard not to wake up my slumbering husband. I barely slept that night,.worrying about to help Dina with her emotional struggles without wounding our trust. I feared that she would feel angry that I had come upon her secret before she was ready to tell me.

So, I prayed for guidance. I felt called to be patient — not this Mama Bear’s strongest suit. I resolved to wait and apologize profusely when the right opportunity came to mention my discovery of her poems.

Although it seemed like forever, no more than a week passed before the moment arrived.  Dina and I were stuck in traffic on our twice-weekly drive to her synchronized swimming team practice. She was dejected and more dramatic than usual — about other cars, her AP English teacher, her youth symphony conductor, life in general.

After letting her rant for awhile, I breathed deeply and said, “I remember how stressful senior year was for me. Is it choosing a college or worrying about grades? Or something else…? Can I help?”

She burst into sobs. “There’s no way you would understand what I’m going through!”

I paused. “I think I do. You left some poems on the computer,” I said quietly as I touched her arm.

Then the crying kicked into high gear. I couldn’t decipher what she saying between gulping breaths.

I tried to soothe her. “I’m so sorry I read your new poems without asking first. It’s okay, there’s no problem at all. I just want to help.”

“How can you say that, after what you said?” My precious daughter moaned through gritted teeth..

I was at a total loss. She knew I was not anti- gay or lesbian. Didn’t she?

“I don’t know what you mean, sweetie,” I said gently.

Dina glared at the traffic in front of us while she sniffled, arms crossed tightly, as if to shield herself from a blow.

“You were pretty clear about what you think of people who are bisexual,” she finally said.

An incident came back to me in a rush. About a year earlier, when I was driving the kids to their high school, there was something on the radio about bisexuality.

I — a person who was raised by Catholic parents who loudly proclaimed that homosexuality was a ticket to hell — felt at that point like I had made so much progress!  I was enlightened, the first in my family to graduate from college, with degrees in psychology and writing. I totally understood that some people were wired differently from the beginning of life. Some men loved men, some women loved women. Some people felt like the opposite sex on the inside. Furthermore, professionally I was recognized as an advocate for the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender members and staff in my organization.

And yet.

My words of that particular morning came back to me like a flood — words I can never take away and that Dina can never “unhear.” In my ignorance, I rudely had scoffed, “I just don’t get bi- people. It’s like they are promiscuous and want all their options open.”

I don’t remember how Dina and Hunter reacted in the car. For me, it had been a throwaway comment. As I now know, for them it was crushing to hear their mom say something so hateful and hurtful.

Now both my daughter and I were crying on the freeway. Mine were tears of shame and regret. I immediately begged for my daughter’s forgiveness and asked her to tell me more about her feelings. I assured her that I had been thoughtless and wrong. I assured her that nothing would change how much I loved and admired her. We couldn’t hug while I was driving, but we clasped hands.

Dina granted my request for forgiveness over and over again. I had a lot to learn with her help, and our son’s. They, and lots of study, have helped me to understand my error andembrace the expansive spectrum of sexuality and gender.

Once we were home that night, we immediately filled in my husband. He and I asked for Dina’s guidance on her expectations about if, when and how we would share her “coming out.” Actually, that’s the last time I will use that term in my story. I prefer to say that Dina “came into” her wonderfully created authentic self.

In the winter of her freshman year of college, Dina met Desiree — who is now her wife. From the beginning, we were delighted to see how the two of them brought out the best in each other. As time passed and their relationship continued to deepen, Dina said it was fine to share their relationship with others as it came up in natural conversation.

For the most part family and friends were delighted that Dina was dating again and so happy. In March 2004 the girls became engaged on the third anniversary of their first date, and we threw a huge party to celebrate.

The notable naysayers, not surprisingly, were my parents back in Minnesota. They sent Dina and Desiree a very hurtful letter that I will never read. Even their priest told them not to send it when they showed it to him. In the version that my very accepting younger brother saw, my parents condemned the girls for their lifestyle and predicted eternal damnation for all of us who didn’t agree with Roman Catholic dogma.

Mom and Dad are blind to what their behavior has cost them — how much they hurt themselves, how much they miss. Dina, Desiree and our son are amazing adults who are an absolute treasure to be with. Since 2001, on the rare occasions when my parents came from Minnesota to be with my family in Washington, everyone was awkwardly civil, mostly to placate me.

The girls’ wedding in 2011, officiated by one of our family’s best friends, was a wonderful week with friends and family who traveled from Australia and the U.S. to celebrate in Hawai’i. Our son’s University of Washington Law School graduation in 2014 was such a proud day.

My parents were not invited to either event, at my children’s insistence.

Each day I prayerfully consider how Dina forgave me that night in 2000. It’s the only way I manage to remain in regular contact with my parents, despite their unabashed rejection of my child and all “homos,” as they say. I ask for God’s grace so I can honor the Fourth Commandment. But I am a Daughter Bear as well as Mama. I don’t back down from my belief in the expansive wonder of God’s creation. I value the scientific method and how humans have increased our understanding of how genetics and neurobiology.

And I pray fervently that my parents eventually will look beyond their deep-seated prejudices and into the loving heart of their granddaughter.

My husband and children hold out little hope for reconciliation, which breaks my heart. There have been too many words of condemnation — couched as “love the sinners, hate the sins” — for them to believe that my parents ever will change.

However, I just can’t abandon my hope for a miracle before my parents pass on. And without fail, each time I choose forgiveness I feel the flow of grace as a balm to my wounded heart.

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 2,400 members. For more info email



Mama Bear Story Project #26 – Dawn Acero


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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.

Dawn Acero


Allow me to introduce our family. My name is Dawn and I am 46 years old. My husband, Elias, is 43. Our children (ages as of 2017) are Tobias (10), Eliana (8), Isaiah (6), and Buddy (4).

Elias and I wished for healthy babies, gender did not matter, yet when our first born was assigned male, my husband sat up a little straighter with his chest puffed out a little more, as we grinned at the sonogram screen. Tobias was perfect, inquisitive, active, empathic, and once his sister was born, bothersome as he raided her closet. My darling Elly, often lamented that Tobias was wearing her dresses, fancy hats, long gloves, and jewelry. My husband and I grinned at each other. We did not mind this as much as Eliana did, and we encouraged Tobias to be himself without limits.

Eventually I asked Tobias if he wanted a dress of his own. He did not. He was happy to raid his sister’s closet. At age 8 he went to a birthday party of his sister’s friend. The entire family attended, and I arrived late. I searched for Tobias and could not find him; my husband lovingly laughed at my confusion as he pointed out our boy. It still took me a while to spot him. Tobias had on a feminine wig, frilly shirt, leggings, a full face of make-up, and was swishing around the house in such a feminine manner that I had mistaken him for one of the girls! He was having the time of his life, and was the hit of the party with all the other attendees. His joy filled my heart.

I wondered if Tobias might be transgender, so I researched. I watched too many documentaries, read too many articles and books, and watched too many transgender You-Tubers. I told my husband that we would be excellent parents of a transgender child. These words would return to me years later. I also learned a lot about the sexuality spectrum that I did not know. Something new I learned is that not all drag queens are gay. One day I cuddled with Tobias on the couch and talked with him about Pride Parades, since it was that time of year, and although we had not attended any, I wondered if kids at school would talk about them. I described the people we may see in a parade, and when I described drag queens, Tobias absolutely lit up and said, “Oh, like me!” I was a bit shocked, although I don’t know why. I explained that these men are not trying to look like women; their goal is to show off femininity in a spectacular way. My boy smiled up at me with jubilance and a look of inner knowing.

I asked Tobias if he wanted to be a girl. He told me no, he is 100% boy and he really likes girl things. He described himself to me as a tom-girl. I admire that description. He grew his hair long for 2 years with the intention of donating it, which he did. Towards the end he was often mistaken for a girl, and said he didn’t mind this at all. Some mornings he uses a bit of my makeup as he gets ready for school (5th grade). As I am writing this very paragraph, he just walked up and asked if I could buy him earrings. We recently discovered that the last weekend of every month, a drag show in the cities puts on a family friendly event. We plan to attend the next one scheduled. His father and I have never felt nervous, confused or scared about Tobias expressing his tom-girl self. This is not true of the way we felt with the youngest of our family. The youngest was born, and Tobias immediately called the new baby his book end! It turns out he was quite insightful.

We named our child Lucia Genevieve, she was born into the world with lots of thick hair, and we let it grow long and curly. She was darling and grumpy. She would not tolerate wearing her long hair up, even on the hottest of days. She hated any sort of up-do. At age two she raided Isaiah’s toy chest to get at cars, action figures, and to play super hero. January of 2017, she was three years old and informed me that she was a boy. She repeated this 6-8 times a day, every day (no exaggeration), week after week, and month after month, consistently in a matter of fact fashion. She never cried or got angry. She was a boy and that was a fact, just letting us know, again and again and again.

As I noted her consistency, persistency and insistency, I sobbed weekly. I wasn’t upset that she may be transgender. I was upset because I was all Mama Bear in my head, making up stories of my fists forward, fighting fundamentalist family, school bathroom rules, doctors, insurance companies, and protecting my child from bullies and discrimination. I quickly dove back into research and shared with friends that I thought my girl may be a transgender boy. These friends were kind, yet none of them knew anything about the gender spectrum. I shared with my husband, Elias. He literally informed me that he was diving into denial, and did not wish me to share anything I was learning with him. I felt very lonely.

Early March I was introduced to a married, transgender man. He encouraged me not to label my kid as transgender, and instead focus on looking deeply into my child’s eyes, and clearly seeing my child rather than a description of my child, and fiercely loving my kid in the present moment. His advice was a game changer and dissolved my anxieties. I stopped looking at my kid as a walking problem to solve, and I got back to observing my youngest as one of the great loves of my life. March was the first time I dared to call Lucia, my boy. I remember being slightly surprised when the earth did not explode. What happened instead was that my darling, beamed at me and melted in my arms in a silly pool of pure happiness. The number of times, daily, I was informed she was a boy, dropped dramatically after that. Mama finally got it!

April came and the reverend who married me, posted an article on Facebook (FB) about a 3 year old child, assigned male at birth, who transitioned to being a girl at age 4. The author mentioned a secret support group on FB of Christian mothers of LGBTQIA+ children, and I got a hunting until I found it, and then discovered there were multiple groups! I finally found people I could talk to, and this was the greatest gift! Around that time my husband slowly began calling our kiddo a boy, having listened to me do it here and there. I quietly smiled all over our house!

The month of May arrived and 3 year old Lucia announced to the family we were to call her Buddy from now on, and that we were to drop all female pronouns and use male pronouns only. A three year old who knew the significance of pronouns, impressed me! Getting our brains to switch names and pronouns was very difficult, and I got set right away teaching Buddy the skill of offering others patience, forgiveness, and understanding. His three older siblings all had different processes towards becoming affirming. It took lots of time for everybody. The month of May also brought Buddy his first package of requested, Lightning McQueen, male underwear. He was thrilled! I felt stretched giving it to him, yet having read an article about another mother facing this same challenge, helped me greatly. June brought him male swim wear, and buying clothing from the boys section. He wore his new swim shirt and trunks every day for a week, even to church!

July had me contacting the school to enroll him in pre-K as a boy, and to my relief he finally requested a very short hair cut. I shared the news of our new son with some extended family I thought would be affirming, and they were. This was the second greatest gift I received. My heart swelled as they championed him. The third best gift was Elias. Cuddling with Buddy one day, he looked me in the eye and told me that Buddy was a perfect son, and that our parental arms and laps would forever be open to him. I cried tears of love, and then had to get jokingly mad at Elias. Are you kidding me? I spent a great amount of time researching and networking and sobbing to finally move from accepting to affirming, while my darling husband transitioned from denial to affirming with a snap of the fingers. It just wasn’t fair!

Elias and I attended two sessions with a gender counselor to make sure we were parenting correctly. The counselor told us that the best way to parent was to muddle through, and we were doing this perfectly well. I loved the description of muddling through. It made me laugh and feel more confident. Our counselor, our clergy, friends, school educators, and our medical teams all supported Buddy in being himself. There is some family on both my and Elias’ sides that are opposed to Buddy’s transition, and do not believe in the reality of a gender and sexuality spectrum. This, in an odd way, is a gift too because it began my heart searching for a way to love them as they are, rather than build up barriers against them. If love is love is love is love, as my t-shirt says, I want love to win in every direction.

Buddy came home from preschool one day in August, and told me he has a best friend named Axel whom he is going to marry. Our darling boy is gay. Buddy told me theirs was to be a prince and prince wedding with absolutely no princesses! I told him I look forward to the day I can walk him down the aisle. Buddy turned 4 years old this past September, and getting ready to blow out all of his birthday candles, he enthusiastically shouted, “Now I am a real, true boy and will be forever!” Big brother Tobias was the first to respond with, “Hooray!”


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 2,400 members. For more info email

Mama Bear Story Project #25 – Deb Woodman


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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.

Woodman, Deb

Here I sit, on the longest night of the year, a woman who is somewhere in her forties who tells herself she can still ignore that unfortunate little reality. It’s the last blaring delusion I allow myself.

I have two wonderful children and a husband of 25 years. I grew up in a strict conservative Christian family. I married my husband when we were both too young to understand how crazy we were to think that we were old enough to marry. I was only 19-years-old when we married and then we immediately moved out of state and started the great adventure of growing up together and building our own little world on our own terms.

I escaped from my family’s dysfunctional and spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually abusive household (the Duggar family is not a freakish anomaly and hits way too close to my childhood reality). I was determined to create a stable environment, where love wasn’t something that I continually had to work so hard for. That’s a hard habit to break and it seems like a never ending process for me. My husband and I decided to strive for the perfect family environment that we always longed for. We are by no means perfect, but we continually aimed for unconditional love.

My husband is a keeper alright. His father walked out on his family when my husband was an infant. Despite the absence of a role model, Dan managed to become an amazing father to our children. His quiet strength never ceases to remind me that he will always be the love of my life. Plus, he somehow manages to put up with my goofy self.

We were blessed with two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. We worked hard and were fortunate enough to live in financial security. We had attained the American Dream. We raised our children in the south, in what is often jokingly referred to as the buckle of the Bible Belt and attempted to give our children a strong foundation built on a loving God and a loving family. The God of love that I was denied knowing in my childhood.

When my youngest started school, I went back to college and attained a degree in psychology at a well known southern Baptist university. I began working in nonprofit mental health organizations as a crisis counselor and then a mental health social worker. It was in this atmosphere that my son, Zak became a staunch Republican. I, myself, had always been a socially liberal leaning independent, rocking the boat sometimes in my university classroom discussions and within our southern conservative church. While I was working with the underprivileged and becoming more aware of my growing social liberal views, my son was listening to Rush Limbaugh and growing in a different direction. There were times my son and I butted heads concerning his political beliefs. However, he was such a good Christian kid, so morally upstanding, what parent in their right mind would argue with his strict moral code and convictions. I supported immigration, social welfare, and gay rights, but I kept my mouth shut in our home to avoid arguments with my son and husband. I should have argued. I wish I had argued more and forced him to see things other than in black and white…moral or sinful. My son once called me a cultural relativist, as though it were the worst thing he could think of.

By the age of twelve Zak was blogging about abstract political and economic concepts that I couldn’t completely comprehend. My husband and I monitored his internet use and observed that he was being followed by well known conservative politicians and journalists who discussed with him intense opinions on economic policies and political philosophies. We would shake our heads and laugh and then tell him it was past his bedtime and to turn off his computer, that we knew he was a kid even if his readers had no idea. Outside of his political writings, he was a nervous kid. He struggled with bullies at school. Always, he had problems relating with his peers and felt more confident talking to adults about issues that most kids were oblivious to. Looking back, I knew he was different…but I could never put my finger on how or why. When a group of boys called him a fag, I told him that he should ignore them. They were ridiculous. I should have stood up for LGBT rights then, but I didn’t. He found friendships in church youth groups and video gamers, he loved hockey and political blogging. I was always so worried about internet porn and online predators, I never imagined that it would be his strict conservative internet connections that would become his greatest predators.

Skip forward a few years…we relocated back to our home state of Michigan when my husband got an offer for his dream job and my son was in high school. My mother was immediately diagnosed with breast cancer and then my father had open heart surgery. Having forgiven my family for past abuses and having had been away so long, I felt it was my responsibility to come full circle and take care of my aging parents. They sold their own home and moved to the same small town that we had settled in. They became a daily fixture in our household and we offered whatever means we had to assist them with their financial and physical needs. I put my career on the back burner and became a full time care giver to the people that had given me life. I told myself that I was doing the right thing. What I didn’t realize was I was slipping right back into those old emotionally abusive patterns that I now see were generations old. I was so eager to find love and acceptance from my parents. For the first time in years, I began silently suffering from nightmares, panic attacks, and struggling with self confidence and depression.

My son graduated from high school and accepted an academic scholarship to attend his first pick college, Hillsdale College, an extremely conservative college. If you’re a Rush Limbaugh or a Sean Hannity fan, you’ve heard it advertised, no doubt. All of the sudden he blossomed socially, he was academically successful, and he was making amazing social connections with high profile people who were promising him a future of his choosing. He had finally found his fit. For a while.

The summer before his sophomore year, I noticed a change in him. He seemed depressed and more anxious than I’d ever seen him, he was questioning his religious faith and his political beliefs. I just threw it out there one day while we sat talking in the car that there was nothing that could ever make me love him less or make me freak out, even if he told me he were gay, I wouldn’t freak out. I have no idea why I blurted that out, but he immediately responded that he thought he was bisexual but that he didn’t really want to discuss it. I just told him it was all going to be okay and to let me know what he decided. I actually thought that it was something to decide, what kind of car to buy or what his college major would be. I left it alone. Meanwhile, inside, I guess that I kind of was freaking out, worried about what this meant in the conservative environment he had surrounded himself with. I began researching peer reviewed articles concerning how to help LGBT youth in crisis. I felt so helpless with this secret. Three months later he came out to my husband and me as gay, confirmed to us immediately that this was not his choice and then asked me if I thought God saw him as an abomination. Up until that moment, I had not really concerned myself with what that means. Was it a sin? Was it even possible that this beautiful child that God had given me was somehow an abomination? I couldn’t see that being feasible. I said a little prayer that if I was going to err, I was going to err on the side of unconditional love and told my son no. I saw him only as my son and if I loved him unconditionally then surely his creator loved him even more.

He decided that he was living a lie and that he had no choice but to come out at his college, but wasn’t ready to come out to our other family members. He came out of the closet to us and my husband and I promptly moved into our own lonely closet. He said that he had chosen this college despite knowing their view of homosexuality, but that he felt that his sexuality didn’t define him. He could just put off pursuing any relationships until after he had graduated. But that he now needed to live honestly, even if he was still unready for a relationship. He knew of no other gays there. He was so naive in his 19-year-old skin. I was terrified. I began to notice all of the anti gay statements other family members used. I watched the news and it was as though all that I could see was how hateful the world was towards the LGBT community. What was this gay agenda that they kept talking about? Would my own child ever be free to love another human being the way I loved his father without facing judgement and hate at every turn? Would I ever be able to have grandchildren? If I did, would they too suffer at the hands of unloving Christians who deemed them to be created in deviance and immorality? Why couldn’t people see that homosexuality was about love and companionship, instead of defining it narrowly as a choice of sexual position? How could anyone define the beautiful and multifaceted person that was my child, the amazing and unique human that I loved under one narrow, socially constructed label? Every homophobic comment felt like a new cut that I couldn’t protect myself from. I suddenly had a glimpse of what it felt to be in Zak’s world. It was excruciating.

His life in college quickly turned into a nightmare. Word traveled fast at that small college. He was shunned by his peers, the college administration deemed him a problem and the dean of men told incoming freshmen not to associate themselves with him because he was unstable. Despite the fact that he had not yet experienced his first kiss, he was called out as a sexual deviant at public speaking events and in the classroom. One “well meaning” student even took it upon himself to corner him in the dorm bathroom and attempt to cast out his homosexual demons because he had suffered a panic attack which had caused a stress induced nose bleed, apparently proof that he was under the influence of Satan. Another fellow student, who was the college academic superstar and was in his previous friend group, urged my son to kill himself so there would be “one less gay soiling the world”. (The majority of this I found out after the fact while in counseling) In a few short months, I watched my son slowly slip away. My husband and I tried to convince him to transfer schools and threatened to pull our financial backing if he didn’t…he refused to be a quitter. He thought that he could change them, make them see things differently. All of this took place in the midst the harsh political climate surrounding the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.

My son was the only openly gay student in a college that openly condemned the LGBT community and referred to them in a college wide email as an abomination that they prayed would be abolished by God. Zak became a target for all of their homophobic pent up religious, righteous rage. He was tortured, he received numerous internet threats by email, on his blog, on Facebook. He finally confided to me during a panic attack, middle of the night phone call that he was feeling suicidal. I dropped everything, drove three hours to find him curled up in his car. I took him off campus for the weekend, tried to talk sense to him. Still he would not come home. I wish I had forced him to come home.

I got him into counseling where he was, but that entire tiny little town seemed controlled by the same insane mentality. Even the counselor insisted that it was best that he continue his education at that “wonderful college, with their classical educational tradition and limitless opportunities and social connections”. It was a living nightmare. I was in constant fear for his emotional and physical safety.

In the midst of it all, he was outed by a friend to my family on Facebook. Regardless of his emotional state, my mother insisted that he had asked for it, everything that he was going through was of his own making. He was reaping what he had sown. Sinful nature equals a life of sorrow. She continually announced at family gatherings that she was praying for Zak’s healing from his homosexuality, as if it were some infection that God could remove. My abusive brother claimed that it was my soft parenting that had caused him to become homosexual, that and the fact that my husband didn’t hunt or fish with him and pursue manly activities. He pointed to the fact that we raised a daughter who was a strong female that could shoot a rifle better than most men and had a black belt in martial arts. We hadn’t stuck to culturally appropriate gender norms in our family and it had emasculated our son and made him think ungodly thoughts. My sister stated that she loved him despite of his “lifestyle choice” but told me that she hoped that he wasn’t going to be “one of those gays that pushed it in other people’s faces”. What in the hell did that even mean?

It finally clicked one Easter Sunday, while we gathered with the family that I was born into and bowed our heads to bless our meal. My mother said the prayer, which she promptly twisted into a plea for God to cast out the homosexual inclinations in my son so that our family could know peace in His love. My mother actually stood there and attempted to pray away the gay! She had judged my son to be a sexual deviant, while my unrepentant sexually abusive brother (her son) stood in the same room nodding in earnest agreement. Something clicked that day. Something broke in me. Or perhaps, something already broken within me finally began to heal. I saw that I had somehow permitted an all too common false Christian narrative the power over my own self worth. I had given an outright lie way too much space in my mind. I silently looked up from the prayer that I was passively accepting and took in the faces of my my lifelong abuser and the people who had enabled that abuse, the people who were now mislabeling my own child as the deviant, and the chains that bound me finally began to crumble. The hypocrisy of it all made me want to vomit on the meal I had slaved over all afternoon in order to feed the people around me who were starving my soul of love. I wish that I could say that I cast those chains away in one fell swoop, but it doesn’t happen that simply. I’ve had to perform countless emotional surgeries on my own heart, removing each link of the chain. It’s been a painful and tedious process. The current political climate and the constant barrage of social discussions concerning our nation’s vapid rape culture certainly haven’t made it any easier.

Regardless, I saw that I had no choice but to untangle my parents and siblings from my life. Not just for my son’s sake but for my own. How could I expect my son to leave his toxic environment within that conservative college, while I remained immersed in my toxic family who refused to respect my boundaries and continually held me frozen in emotional blackmail. How could we survive amongst those that condemned my son’s sexuality yet condoned and secreted their own history of sexual child abuse. To this day, my mother blames our severed relationship on my intolerance of their religious opinions concerning my son’s sexuality. That pains me, but I know the truth.

When I attempted to seek guidance from the pastor of the church we attended at that time, I was told that it would be better if I sought a different pastor from a different church for that “sort of problem”, this pastor was too busy to deal with this politically problematic subject. I called other churches, I couldn’t find anywhere in our community that was open to discussing the subject. I could not locate a house of God where we were affirmed as a loving family, rather that merely tolerated. For the first time in my life, I was spiritually homeless. I had become a refugee of sorts. I felt like a wounded victim in a ditch that day, no Good Samaritan in site to stanch the bleeding in my soul. I haven’t been to church since.

Meanwhile, my son was on the same quest three hours away from me in the little town of Hillsdale, Michigan. Church and his strong belief in God had always been his refuge and source of strength throughout the storms of his young life. No Christian church in the community would accept him. They all had no place for the LGBT community, especially with the political atmosphere that was going on. He grew bitter against Christianity, I couldn’t really blame him. I was having my own crisis of faith.

Finally, summer break came and my son came home to us a shell of the young man who had gone off to college two years before. He was rail thin and hunched over, he looked to me like a prisoner of war from a documentary on WWII. My husband and I decided to find him a therapist close to home and grew determined that he would never return to Hillsdale. A few days later, my son woke me up at six o’clock in the morning confused, delusional, scared, and told me that he wanted to hurt himself. He had received more internet threats the evening before. We had no choice but to take him to the hospital for a psych evaluation. It was a horror that no amount of education could ever prepare me for. Having worked in the mental health field, I understood the lingo too well. I knew the side effects of the antipsychotics they put him on. I feared their tentative diagnoses. I had professionally worked closely with mentally ill teens admitted to psychiatric hospitals…it was so different to see my own son there. He spent days curled into a ball, crying and confused. He was afraid to eat the food because it was the same food service company as at the college. He thought they were stalking him. He clung to me at visitation times. His one friend from college, who would later become his boyfriend, visited him and stayed with us. Together we held him, combed his hair, stroked his curled up back. His hospital roommate’s mother became outraged. She told the nurse that her son would not be roommates with a homosexual. She threatened him, saying that gays were sexual predators. How could this be happening? Couldn’t she see that he was broken? That his 105 lbs, emaciated frame was incapable of being any kind of threat to her football player sized son? Was there anyplace safe for him? I slipped into social worker gear, advocated for him, I had to get him out of there. Then bringing his friend into our home, I realized that I had two broken kids to deal with. At the time, his friend had no one who truly accepted him within his own family. He was scared and angry and sad, and my son’s breakdown triggered his own grief and anguish.

My son was eventually diagnosed with PTSD. With medication, outpatient therapy, and unconditional love, we watched him slowly come back to us. My husband and I had a whole lot of learning to do that year. In all of our parenting research and planning, we had never considered how to handle having a gay son. I felt so inept, so tired, so broken. We’ve adjusted, we’ve grown, and we’re both better for it. That first year though, it was a a tough one.

All throughout this long haul, my teenage daughter has grown into this amazing, empathetic young woman. After witnessing her brother’s struggles, she started a gay-straight alliance in her small, rural high school. It didn’t gain her any popularity points as we live in a very conservative area, but she has been able to reach out to and give support to some kids who truly needed it. My daughter is amazing and kind and she’s so much smarter and braver than her mom could ever imagine being. Earlier this year, she told me that she thinks she might be bisexual but that she’s still figuring it all out. She isn’t ready to act on it or come out in any grand way. She said that she’s unsure of what she feels, she just didn’t want to shock me if someday she fell in love with a woman. Whatever happens, she knows she’s loved and accepted. I suppose I’ll eventually see where that path leads when she’s ready to walk it.

My son fell in love with the other student who had also survived the torture of Hillsdale College and had graduated the year before Zak came out there. Together, he and Mason have found healing and acceptance in new communities, and unconditional love inside our home. They’ve had their trials, their own separate issues to work through. I don’t know if their relationship will withstand the difficulties of living separated by miles, as they live in different cities, but I have faith that they are each capable of greatness, whether it be together or apart. They also both claim to be atheists now and avid libertarians. The atheist title breaks my heart a little, but I am confident that the one who created their hearts, intimately knows their hearts, understands their responses to the social abuses that they’ve suffered, and loves them unconditionally. Mason comes home to us each holiday from his new adventures of living and working in Washington DC. As I look around at our crazy, silly group of laughing kids, I feel blessed in being surrounded by beautiful hearts.

Zak returned to college. This time at a public university in a beautifully diverse community. It’s an hour away from his previous school, yet it might as well be on an entirely different planet. I’ve successfully resisted most urges to be a helicopter mom since he moved into his new apartment and that struggle was somewhat painful. It’s been scary, wondering if he’s truly okay now. He finally seems to be putting all of it behind him and is slowly moving forward. Other closeted LGBT people from his college have connected with him, and he has offered himself as a safe haven from the oppressive storms when needed. He’s still an introvert and he sometimes struggles with anxiety (I do too), but he’s come a heck of a long way.

My daughter has also spread her wings and moved off to college. She’s a beautiful force to be reckoned with. She’s smart, she’s kind, and I cannot be more proud as I watch her blaze her own unique path. I watch in awe, as she demonstrates to me on a daily basis what modern women are capable of in this ever changing world. Whatever path she travels, I will always be there to cheer her on and applaud her strength and courage.

We’ve all come a long way. I’m such a proud and thankful mama bear. I’m still learning every day to be a stronger woman and a better parent than I was yesterday. I still struggle with the old concepts of God and all the fears that the evangelical church that I was raised in instilled in my mind. Sometimes it seems overwhelming and it brings me to my knees. But I keep fighting to get back up, determined to do my part in making the world a kinder and safer place for kids like my own.

There was a time when I thought I had it all figured out…religion, philosophical perspectives, parenting styles, psychology…ha how silly of me! Maybe I will never have it all figured out. Maybe it doesn’t need to be figured out. I am increasingly convinced that the greatest gifts in life cannot be neatly packaged and labeled by society’s standards. My greatest gifts have come in the midst of chaos and are packaged in asymmetrical boxes decorated in rainbow ribbons, reminding me that real love is immeasurable, undefinable, and timeless.

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 2,400 members. For more info email

Serendipitydodah for Moms – The Best of 2017


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Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids.

best of 2017

2017 has been another great year for Serendipitydodah for Moms!

We sent out 33 letters of support and thanks this year!!

We had 15 special guest events – 12 of those were Facebook Live Streaming events.

We added more than 950 moms to our community this year.

We continue to have tremendous levels of engagement. More than 75% of our members are active in the group each month and that is a very high percentage rate for any group.

We started the Mama Bear Story Project in January. The project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms. The portraits and essays are posted on a public Facebook page and on the Serendipitydodah blog. There were 24 essays published this year and those essays had a combined total of more than 90,000 views!!

In November we partnered with the Banner Blanket Project, which was started by Mama Bear Anita Cockrum, and more than 30 no sew fleece blankets have already been made and sent out to lgbtq teens and young adults who have lost the support of their family due to their lgbtq status.

AND we started two extension groups … Serendipitydodah MTK is an extension of the main group created especially for moms of trans kids and Serendipitydodah Blue Ocean Faith is an extension group that was created to serve as a space for members of Serendipitydodah for Moms to connect with and become a part of the Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor community via it’s online presence.

The Serendipitydodah Mama Bears continue to love their kids well, learn and grow together, share support and information with each other and people outside of the group, change hearts and minds, and support the lgbtq community and their advocates.

We are better together!!


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and as of December 2017 has more than 2,400 members. The space was especially created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. The members call themselves “Mama Bears” and their motto is “We are better together”  In addition to providing a space for members to share info and support one another, a special guest is added each month for a short time. The guests include authors, pastors, LGBTQ people, bloggers and public speakers.

Email for more info or to join the group

Come on, people! Let’s hand out some radical, extravagant love this holiday season!


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Every year at this time my heart breaks for so many of my lgbtq friends as they have to agonize over the kind of reception they will or will not receive from family. Will they be invited? Will their husband or wife be welcome? Will they be expected to act straight? Will they be gossiped about before, during and/or after the get together? Should they go? Should they decline? If they don’t go should they explain why? If they go should they act straight? If they go should they pretend that their boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife is nothing more than a good friend?

It’s easy to tell them to not have anything to do with people who don’t completely accept and affirm who they are but it’s so hard to be alienated from one’s family and this time of year accentuates the pain and sorrow.  I’ve noticed over the years that most people will go to great lengths to stay connected to family, even when it is hard or painful, and most kids will especially go to great lengths to stay connected to their parents.

So, when I feel my heart breaking over these things my next thought is not to tell them to stay away from the hurt and do their own thing, even though that may be good advice. No, my next thought is …

Come on, people!! Let’s demonstrate the spirit of love this season! Let’s hand out some radical, extravagant love and grace to the lgbtq people in our lives. Let’s make our homes a haven of love and acceptance this season. Let’s call them up and encourage them to bring their significant other … and call their significant other by their name and use the correct label (boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband). And when they arrive let’s hug them and tell them how happy we are they are with us and how much we love them just the way they are. If they are a couple let’s introduce them as the couple they are. Let’s ask them about their life and what has been going on. If they got engaged let’s congratulate them. If they are planning a wedding let’s find out all about it and let them know how happy we are for them and the life they are building together. If they got married let’s encourage them to tell us about all the wonderful details of their wedding. If they are new parents or hoping to be soon let’s join with them in their joy and excitement.

Let’s show them we are safe and loving people and that our homes are a place where they can relax and be themselves.

Let’s make sure when all the festivities are over and they are leaving our homes that they go away feeling happier and more loved than when they arrived.

#BeLove #BeKind #LoveIsTheMovement

I have a private Facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids. The group was created especially for open minded Christian moms who have lgbtq kids and want to learn to love and support their lgbtq kids in a way that helps them grow into the best version of who they were created to be. The group has more than 2,300 moms and is a place where a lot of support and information is shared each day. Our motto is “We Are Better Together” and we call ourselves “Mama Bears” because our love is both cuddly and fierce. If you are mom to an lgbtq kid and would like to join the community you can email

You can also click here to find out more info about the group.