Monday, June 18, 2012

Fathers Day edition

This is my first Father's Day away from my children.  It was HARD.  Those critics of my situation would say, "well you CHOSE to be on this path, suck it up" (yes I have heard this) does not make it easier to deal with the distance.  I visited with a couple new friends I have been able to connect with, called John numerous times, talked to be children, and cried a bit. 

I am used to the children making some sort of scrumptious breakfast, laying in bed with them, them eating most of my breakfast, then me cleaning it up.  This usually pertains to the younger children.  They light up my life every time I see them.  When I visited Kansas City over a week ago, it was nice to have Connor and Isaac both jump into my arms. 

Yesterday while I was at church, the young children usually sing Father's Day songs.  One of the regular songs is, "Daddy's Homecoming"

I’m so glad when daddy comes home,
Glad as I can be;
Clap my hands and shout for joy,
Then climb upon his knee,
Put my arms around his neck,
Hug him tight like this,
Pat his cheeks, then give him what?
A great big kiss.
I choked up over this song.  I always did before, so it really was not any different....other than I was by myself.  This song reminded me of the 2 youngest jumping in my arms.  They both are not shy about showing their unconditional love for everyone around them!  What I have learned from the children while they are young is to not be too concerned about what others think about your silliness, or honesty.  I got here to Orlando and need to remind myself of that....Be ME!  If people do not like what they see, then I move on to the next situation.  It really is freeing to think that way.

I spoke with some of the children on skype today over lunch.  It was comforting.  I wrote Zachary a letter....i wish i could talk with him.  He was always a person that I could trust and he would be honest with me.  I miss that interaction.  I am gratified that Paisley is this same way, talking to her is always refreshing. 

I was also reminded in church that my life did not fit the correct model that needs to be produced, and that I was am a sinner because I disbelieve.  I got up and walked out after that.  I called John and he asked me why I torture myself by listening to those things that are hurtful to my soul.  I told him I made a commitment to do this.....after thinking about it, maybe I am trying to pay some sort of internal penance.  I don't know!!!  Sunday was full of highs and lows.  I am leveling off somewhat today. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I had a friend I answered.....


Chris, I have a question for you- I pray that you will appreciate my honesty. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around homosexuality and the LDS church. Since both these topics are prevalent in your life, I'd thought I'd pick your brain. I guess I am wondering what your take on the church is- you support your kids going (and your son on a mission) and take them and sit with them, etc. How does that mesh with your gay life now? They seem in contradiction. Please know that this question comes from a place of love and seeking understanding. I always tell people I'd rather you ask the question than go on in ignorance. I believe that is a feeling we share.

Hoping you can shed some light on my quandary...



Zachary is in Mexico City on a mission, Paisley will attend BYU-I in the Fall, Ayden and Kaleb are at Scout camp this week with the ward, Isaac is at Day camp with the ward. This is not something that I can ignore. Being LDS means that your life is meshed with the church, its programs, systems, and culture. I have to accept that that will be the case for everyone in my family and to NOT rock the boat too much.

Me coming out was enough of a "rock the boat" situation. I think that if I was negative and persistent that my children have other experiences in a broader sense....would be more harmful to them. I do not agree with the doctrine of the church, PERIOD. I do not want to influence the children to be too critical of the system in which they are a part. That would be unfair and unnecessary.

I have attended church here in FL a couple of times. Good ward (noisy with lots of little children). I know that if the children visit me I need to continue that consistency for them regardless of my personal beliefs. The church is a helpful, useful, good organization. Individually people can be hateful and hurtful. I have stored up a lot of bitterness over the years for the church, but I have to remember that those were individuals. I know the church is not inclusive of people like me. Organizations and systems are set up based on common beliefs. The church has the right to be exclusive. Just like I have the right to exclude people from my life because of dissonance.

I do not like going to church, but I think it is necessary. First, for my children....second, to help people see that I truly am a normal person and not some evil aberration! I am the same person that I was in Idaho, Texas, Kansas and now Florida. I care, serve, love, listen, learn and laugh just as before. The unfortunate thing is that my bedroom activities now define me differently. Your bedroom activities define you too....but your activities are acceptable and the standard within most systems and organizations. I do not think it fair that that difference should be there....but that is up for political, emotional, controversial discussion.

I hope this makes sense.....I am probably will make this my next blog entry! Thank you for asking and for your love and kindness.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Here is what I believe a relationship is built on.  Trust...Communication...Love....Patience.  When you have lost or do not have these qualities in your relationship, the relationship will have difficulty.

We all come into relationships with different characteristics, values, practices, views and baggage.  When each party is honest and open about who they are and what needs they may possess, the relationship can grow bit by bit as experiences are shared. 

I am at a point in my life and relationship where my partner knows EVERYTHING.  I do not think there is a page unturned.  What was so hard in my prior relationship was that the system I was a part of would not accept me for who I am.  It would only try to cure me from my "perceived illness".  I do not think I could have obtained the same acceptance then that I have own insecurities did not allow me to. 

It truly is powerful when one has the ability to share and be open without the danger of being judged, scolded, or put on the defense.  I see that this has happened in others' lives too.  It is disappointing to witness the scolding and childish acts of others.  Maybe that is why people cannot open up....there is all kinds of fear attached to that, making one vulnerable!  I guess I did feel some of that in my experience. 

John and I have very different backgrounds and come from varied belief systems.  I think that we each need to demonstrate patience and understanding with each other to begin to mesh other things that we do have in common to build a strong foundation for our relationship.  That is happening and I am gratified for that.  We remind each other when we are experiencing some difficulty....that we are in this for the long haul.  It is good to trust and communicate those things to each other. 

This is not meant to diminish anything I had before, I am using the experiences that I have gleaned to become a better partner and companion.  Every transition is hard, but I am happy that I have John next to me to help me on this new path.  We have trust, we know each others' story completely and accept that, we have unconditional love, and patiently help each other navigate through life. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

things on my mind......

Isaac's birthday was yesterday.  I sent him a card and called him.  All he wants is a pocket knife.....funny boy.  I love him!!  :)  I fly home today to see him and the other children for the weekend.

This is a BIG week for Isaac.  Birthday, starts cub scouts, and he gets baptized as a member of the LDS church. 

Prior to my exit from the church and my heinous life....I would be the person baptizing Isaac.  I cannot perform this ordinance because I an not a member of the church, priesthood rights and power are gone, and all because I am his gay dad.  So my father is traveling from Idaho to perform the baptism.  For this I am grateful.  I am glad that Isaac has this opportunity to become part of the organization that he was born into.  I know it is important for each of my children to take this step, then to formulate their own beliefs and practices as they grow and learn. 

I know within the Mormon faith (I am generalizing) that there is this undercurrent of expectations.  Parents get married in the temple, have children, live faithful, conduct all doings according to church policy and doctrine, raise your children to repeat everything that you have done, go on a mission with your spouse, die, celestial kingdom.

In my script, I have deviated from it.  I am not the one baptizing my son (which I am OK with).  I do not sustain the principles of the church because it is an exclusive organization.  I appreciate the formal need for my son to be baptized.  I hope that through his life he can learn to be more inclusive than the organization that he is joining.  That does not require that he would have to leave the organization but to have an acceptance of diversity and differences. 

I do have wonderful children, that are independent, stubborn, opinionated, loving, compassionate individuals.  Isaac has these qualities.  I love him, and hope he has a great weekend!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Starting things

So last night I finally completed the first step in what I want to do with the rest of my life.....I created a website for gay fathers!!!  Here is why I am doing this:

Initial Phase......

Share stories of other gay men whether they choose to stay in the situations that they are in, or do something different
Show the progress that can be made with individual people
Provide online and some personal resources for men that are struggling
Become an advocate for men in these situations

Long term goals.......

Be financially supported by grant projects, health advocacy groups and philanthropic organizations
Be in a place to help men in need financially
Be able to connect men immediately with local groups and organizations that will assist in their lives
Advocate to change laws to be fair and reasonable with divorce, custody and alimony for all parties involved
Advocate for change to federal and state laws that are discriminatory against the GLBT population
Have a speakers bureau of individuals that are wanting to tell their story, to show that we are not so uncommon
Have legal counsel that can assist in cases where parties are clearly being discriminated against

So after I created this website and posted it on Facebook, I received multiple messages from individuals that were VERY encouraging.  I reflected on the many men that I have met and hear their stories.....I began to cry.  There are thousands out there floundering, not knowing where to turn.  They are seen as the instigator of pain, the pariah, the mentally challenged, the confused one, the evil one, the sinful one......there are guilt, shame, pain, anguish, hatred, loneliness, worthlessness, heartache associated with all of these labels.  These men need a place to turn.  I want to create that place.  I have to create that place.  I am driven to create that place. 

The other day I was extremely distraught from hearing a man's story of not being able to see his children over the summer.  He was scheduled to have his children for much of the summer and days before they were to visit, his Ex filed an injunction to the court indicating that he was harming his children because of his "gay lifestyle".  The childrens' court advocate did the same.  Now he cannot see his children.  He has no legal help, no money, and is in a hopeless place.  People like this need an organization behind them to so "STOP THE MADNESS"! 

I cannot and will not go to court and indicate that my childrens' mother is harming my children because of her "hetero lifestyle".  That sounds ludicrous....right!  Well of course it does.  This man still loves his children, treats them right, and just wants time with them.  Now he can't. 

I hear of stories like this ALL the time.  I need to be the one to affect change.  That is what this blog is about anyway.  Here it goes.......

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Someone mentioned to me a while ago about my situation and how people were expressing that they were "Team Rachel" or "Team Chris".  I have taken some time to ponder that immediate divisiveness.  Here is my take......(and I will not even go down the route of the RIDICULOUS, JUVENILE, DEMORALIZING series of Twilight)

Instead, I am taken back to grade school, when choosing teams.  No one would really think that that ONE action of choice could have such a profound impact on an individual.  To set the stage, I will reenact a scenario: 

13 children....2 of the more sporty, popular kids are by default the "team captains" and get to choose their teams from the remaining 11 kids.  One by one the teams are chosen

  1. the friends of the captains are chosen first regardless of performance
  2. the mediocre kids go next, usually based on performance
  3. last to go are the kids who are "perceived" as the under-performers, under-achievers, less popular

The last group just wants to be included.  They want to play.  They hope that they can find connections with the other kids by staying involved.  They want to be noticed and felt like they are part of the group. 

At one point or another each of us fall into the few that were chosen last.  Recall how it felt?  What was going through your mind?  Where there other chosen even after you?  How do you think they felt?  How is it that you are immediately able to recall this situation?  Think of the impact it had on you?  Are you mimicking a behavior that is undesirable for future generations?

Now having gone through that self-reflection.  What are you doing today to either continue this hurtful cycle.....or are you on the other side, trying to include people when you can and when appropriate?  Are there things in your experience that you need to modify so that "TEAMS" are not chosen, compared, and judged?  If so, change them!

I hope the offending parties read this.  I hope they realize how childish and degrading this practice really is.  I keep hoping.........

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trying to normalize

I went to church today….in FL for the first time since moving here.  I called the Bishop earlier in the week.  Asking when church started and the address.  Instead of the usual benefit that members give when they move to a new ward….I will probably become an unwanted burden (this may not happen, I am only expressing how I feel).  John went with me also.  This was his first experience in an LDS service. 

General observations were, it was rather loud and irreverent during the service, John even mentioned how loud it was.  We really could not even hear the speakers.  We left sacrament meeting, passed the Bishop and his 2 Counselors in the hallway.  No acknowledgment, they probably see tons of people come and go.  I will reach out to them the next time and see what comes of it.

I desire to accomplish 2 things as I reach out to the LDS community locally....1)  to have a place for my children to connect when they are with me.....2)  to advocate for change or inclusion or tolerance, or acceptance, or compassion, or caring, or simply being Christ-like.  My second aspiration might be a bit lofty.  

Getting settled in any place is always a HUGE undertaking.  Expenses for set up, deposits, rent, and other things you don't think of.  I have exhausted my resources to the Nth degree.  Moved into a cute little place that will fit my needs for a while.  I agonized over finding a place.  Glad I found this one.

Glad summer is here for the kids in KS.  I don't worry about them as much....making sure that they get off to school.  I am gratified that my children are so strong.  They are such great examples to me.  I love them desperately.  I have my crying fit daily because I miss them so.  It usually happens early in the morning or late at night....when I have time to think about it.  I am trying to make their life better, but there are so many times I think I am failing them miserably.  In reality I felt the same way when I was with them 24/7.  Somehow I need to find out where the balance is and move forward with that comfort.