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… and then came …

Posted: March 18th, 2016 | Cover stories, Features, Top Story | No Comments

By Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

Tips, stories and advice for filling that baby carriage

On June 26, 2015, as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage finally became the law of the land.

What comes next?

According to a famous jingle, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.”

Though same-sex couples across the country have been pursuing various methods to bring children into their lives for decades, a new book by a native San Diegan lays it all out for prospective parents.

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Novia and Chris Rowzee, with Christopher, chose open adoption.

Released March 15 by New Horizon Press, “Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples” is destined to be the resource book of the decade for LGBTQ couples.

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Steve and Duke Nelson first foster parented — then adopted — Willow, Sean and Luc.

Penned by Eric Rosswood, a co-parent himself, the book offers every same-sex couple who wish to bring a child into this world all the tools they need — and promises to help make whatever process they choose, easier.

Rosswood, who was raised in Escondido and started the first-ever Gay Straight Alliance at Orange Glen High School in 1997, lived in Hillcrest after graduation and moved to the Bay Area in 2005. There he got involved in the LGBT community and eventually wrote and self-published his first book, “My Uncle’s Wedding,” in 2011.

For this next endeavor, Rosswood spent nearly two years surveying and cultivating the 19 personal stories from couples who have gone through the process, and assembling all the resources found in the appendices. He was even able to get Melissa Gilbert to write the foreward.

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Sarah Ann Gilbert brought Wynn and Marlo both into the world through assisted reproduction.

The result is a very readable, relatable and personal book, but Rosswood doesn’t skimp on the very important and detailed legal requirements.

What sets this book apart from many others is that you get firsthand accounts from couples who went through the process — in some cases in the most minute detail — to put your mind at ease; which the dry but necessary legalese just can’t offer.

Each couple’s story is told through their own voice and words, something Rosswood said was important.

“I was drawn to each of their stories and feel like I’ve gotten to know them on a personal level,” he said. “I’m so grateful that each of them was willing to completely expose themselves in a raw and emotional way, discussing the good and the bad.”

Eric and Mat with Connor (Courtesy Eric Rosswood)

Eric (the author) and Mat Rosswood with a newborn Connor (Courtesy Eric Rosswood)

There are various ways to bring a child — newborn or otherwise — into a loving home. The options Rosswood explores include: “open” adoption; foster parenting and adopting from foster care; surrogacy; assisted reproduction; and co-parenting.

Rosswood’s own story of open adoption is told by his co-parent, Mat.

“I thought it was important to get as many different people as possible to tell their stories in their own words,” Rosswood said. “My voice was already being used to tie everything together and make a more cohesive projective, so having my husband tell our story in his own voice brought one more perspective to the book.”

Told through Mat’s eyes, Rosswood’s playful demeanor and comic relief is evident throughout, but he said his personal perspective was not without its challenges, too.

“The journey was extremely stressful for me as well,” Rosswood said. “I guess sometimes laughter and joking are my coping mechanisms. I try to see the bright and funny side in everything.”

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Josh and David grew their clan through surrogacy.

One of the 19 couples who share their story in the book is from San Diego. Elaine Boyd and Cathy Smith, native San Diegans who now live together in a vintage bungalow in North Park, chose assisted reproduction four years into their relationship.

The couple opted for a bare-bones, do-it-yourself insemination — think Ellen Degeneres and Sharon Stone in “If These Walls Could Talk” — over a doctor’s involvement. The resulting story is almost as fun to read as the movie was to watch.

“When done clinically, insemination happens under fluorescent lighting, in foreign surroundings, at the hands of strangers,” Boyd said. “An ungodly amount of paperwork probably figures in too. Doing it on our own time, in our own home was simple and comfortable. Really, it was so easy.”

(l to r) Cathy, Claire and Elaine, of North Park, share their story in the book. (Courtesy Elaine Boyd)

(l to r) Cathy, Claire and Elaine, of North Park, share their story in the book. (Courtesy Elaine Boyd)

Boyd said getting involved with the book was, in part, a result of their early bonding with Rosswood.

“When Eric approached me about this book, I knew instinctively that it was an idea that’s time had come,” she said. “He is a delightful and truly lovely person. He’s passionate about helping people and is an effective and outspoken activist for the queer community. You have probably heard the popular phrase, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ … that’s Eric.

“The other reason is that I wanted people to know that our DIY method is easy and doable, yet never mentioned as an option,” she said.

Screen shot 2016-03-17 at 1.14.01 PMRosswood, who is doing a radio tour and an online webinar to support the book, said feedback has already exceeded expectations.

“The No. 1 response I’ve gotten back has been ‘I wish something like this was available before we started’ and I think that’s probably the best feedback I can get,” he said.

To learn more about “Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood,” you can find it at Amazon, and your local bookstores. To learn more about Rosswood’s webinar, visit tinyurl.com/j9ccwfa or visit ericrosswood.com.

—Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at morgan@sdcnn.com.

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