Seguimi Via Mail!

Sotto alla Corona

My photo
Se avete voglia di parlare o se sentite che qualcosa che scrivo vi tocca da vicino, non siate timidi e mandatemi due righe... Scrivete a thequeenfather@me.com Mi fa sempre piacere!

Blog Archive

Archivio Reale


Ero indaffarato con mio figlio G, 16 mesi, ed il suo pranzetto a base di pasta con broccoli, spinaci e pollo (tutti cucinati da zero, perché sono un vero e proprio Bree Van De Kamp di “Casalinghe Disperate” se non lo sapevate ... Magari pero’ senza le manie di precisione.... No, vabbe’… Ho pure quelle ... Pero’ non ho I capelli rossi e non indosso I collier di perle…), quando ho notato una piccola rivoluzione in TV....

Durante una puntata di "Humf" (uno dei cartoni preferiti di G ...), il protagonista, un esserino peloso che dovrebbe essere un maschietto, insisteva a voler giocare a 'principesse' con la sua amichetta Loon, perche’ anche ad Humf “piaceva sedersi su una montagna di cuscini come una principessa, almeno quanto piaceva a Loon”.

Benedetta ingenuita’.

Pensavo che il risultato di questa richiesta sarebbe stato un categorico “NO!”, dal momento che i maschietti devono giocare a fare i maschietti e non le principesse (almeno ai miei tempi era cosi’…), ma stavo per essere piacevolmente sorpreso.

“Certo Humf!” il suo papà gli risponde “puoi essere ciò che vuoi!”.

Che meraviglia!

Non tanto per l’inaspettato affronto al dogma dei ruoli legati alla sessualita’ di un individuo (dopo tutto, una principessa sarà sempre femmina, e un principe maschio ... Grazie a Dio ... O a Pippo Baudo…), ma per il riconoscimento della libertà educativa che ogni bambino dovrebbe avere di esplorare la loro fantasia ed il proprio mondo lontano dai fumi nocivi dei parametri e dagli standard prefissati.

Mentre nel cervello mi stavo godendo questo piccolo trionfo, un’altra cosa mi e’ venuta in mente.

Una domanda che pende sulle teste di tutte le coppie gay con figli e che rischia di smorzare i nostri spiriti.

"Ci pensiamo alle difficoltà che i nostri ragazzi dovranno affrontare crescendo in una società di famiglie eterosessuali?"

Naturalmente ci potrebbero essere difficoltà e barriere da infrangere.

Quello che mi stupisce e’ che tanta gente si aspetta che una coppia gay, o comunque un qualunque altro nucleo familiare ‘anomalo’, rinunci ad avere figli in luce delle difficolta’ che la societa’ promette loro ogni giorno.

Ma ascoltate.

I nostri figli, come i vostri, sono pionieri, stanno plasmando il futuro della società.

Pensate un atttimo, all'inizio del secolo scorso, negli Stati Uniti, avreste detto ad una coppia di colore di non avere figli, ma di pensare invece alle difficoltà che avrebbero dovuto affrontare crescendo in una società bianca ed ostile?

Vi avrebbero di sicuro risposto parlandovi della speranza che avevano nel cuore. La speranza che nella società del futuro, i loro figli non avrebbero dovuto sopportare lo stesso disagio e le stesse ingiustizie.

Avreste detto, neanche quarant'anni fa, ad una coppia interrazziale qui a Londra di non avere figli, ma di pensare alla difficoltà di crescere in una società di "bianchi o neri"?

Anche loro vi avrebbero parlato della speranza che avevano nel cuore. La speranza che, nella società del futuro, i loro figli non avrebbero dovuto essere trattati in modo diverso a causa del loro "background etnico misto".

La società attuale è cambiata molto, ora viviamo in un mondo multi-culturale, in una società multi-razziale.

Per alcuni di noi, la speranza rimane la stessa.

Quando il presidente Obama salì sul palco per il suo primo discorso presidenziale, molti dei membri neri del pubblico piangevano lacrime di gioia.

Pensavano ai tempi in cui i loro genitori dovevano battersi anche solo per entrare in un edificio universitario o in qualsiasi altra struttura pubblica mirata al servizio della parte bianca della società.

Allo stesso modo, quando guardo mio figlio, mi commuovo a pensare ai tempi in cui essere omosessuale era un reato penale punito con la reclusione.

Penso a tutte quelle persone che hanno dovuto sopportare i manganelli della polizia che rompevano loro le ossa, la folla beffarda, i ministri recriminanti della chiesa, l'indifferenza dei politici.

Guardateci adesso.

Qui nel Regno Unito noi coppie gay possiamo sposarci, abbiamo la possibilita’ di adottare e perfino di avere figli attraverso la maternità surrogata (anche se ancora il siistema legislativo che circonda la maternità surrogata ha bisogno di un sacco di lavoro ...).

Indiscutibilmente, abbiamo fatto passi da gigante.

Grazie agli sforzi e al coraggio di tutti gli uomini e le donne che non hanno mai avuto paura di mettersi in gioco, di essere giudicati, di essere ridicolizzati.

Anche loro hanno sperato.

Ci hanno spinto in avanti.

Quello che una volta era percepito come un attacco alla società, alla moralità ed alla decenza, ha invece contribuito a costruire tolleranza e comprensione.

Quello che un tempo è stato considerato un atto di distruzione dei valori della società, si è rivelato invece un’impresa di costruzione.

La costruzione di un ponte tra il fanatismo e la natura umana.

Quindi, ancora: "Ci pensiamo alle difficoltà che i nostri ragazzi dovranno affrontare crescendo in una società di famiglie eterosessuali?"

Certo che ci penso, non sono un imbecille o un illuso.

Gli ostacoli sono ancora lì, ma so anche che sono lì per aiutarci a creare un futuro migliore.

Per tutti.

Un bambino come il nostro, nato dalla speranza, non può che essere un regalo per una società di sedicenti giusti e cosi’ malata

di egoismo.

Q





Hi everyone!

With the forthcoming "Alternative Family Show" this weekend, I thought of shedding some light over the trials and tribulations some of us have to endure to reach the ultimate goal of having a child.

As this weekend me and Steven celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, I have made some plans and wont be able to attend the seminar. Through this post I hope that I can still be of service to my fellow aspiring parents, gay and straight. (For more info on the seminar, please visit this link:

So, I was saying, 'A Recipe'.
Mmmhh.... let's see.... As any recipe, we all have different takes on the original, we all like different things and we will ultimately cook the dish as we know we like it.
I will just tell you how me and Steven got the the final dish, so that you'll have a better understanding of the work and difficulties involved with the process.
I'm going to talk to you about a "Triangle Surrogacy", which differs from a "Straight Surrogacy" in the fact that the gestational mother is NOT the biological mother, as the eggs are donated by a third party donor. Ultimately this kind of surrogacy, simplifies legalities a lot.

Surrogacy Abroad, Main Ingredients:

A reliable Surrogacy Agency: in our case, we did some research online and opted for the services of CSP (Center for Surrogate Parenting). They have an office in Encino, LA California and another in Annapolis, Maryland. This latest office is definitely more suitable for European couples, as it is closer and will help half the flight expense in the long run, BUT, as a gay couple we found it more reassuring to work in California, where the laws regarding surrogacy are more lenient and the system is in general more supportive towards gay families than anywhere else in the US.
The main task for the agency is to put you in touch with potential surrogate-mums. Now, be assured, the way CSP works, you will NEVER get to choose a surrogate mum. It's in fact her that chooses the couple.
She does that with the help of a 'couple's profile' you will need to put together. I don't need to tell you (or maybe I do..) that I took on this task with gusto and produced the equivalent of the Gutenberg Bible for the gay community.....
The profile is in the form of a very artsy-fartsy booklet where you talk about yourselves as a couple, your lives, your respective families and so on.
The profile must include pictures! The agency requires you to produce 5 copies; they will be sent to all the available candidates to become your surrogate mum (even if the real candidates are the prospective parents really......). Then you wait.
In our case, we submitted our couple profile in september 2007 and already by november we received a proposal from a candidate surrogate from Illinois. After consulting our lawyer ( I will get to this later) it turned out that surrogacy laws in Illinois do not support gay families and we were advised to drop her. So we did.
Then in february 2008, we flew back to LA to meet our second potential surrogate mum, a lovely lady from Los Angeles. Bingo! :0)
Other things you must know about working with this agency are:

-You are going to be paying for a psychiatric counselor that 'follows' the whole process and it's there to give advise (ours, only pissed us off as she was totally removed from reality and was not really in touch with our emotions or needs as prospective parents). The counselor also follows the surrogate in all the delicate stages of the gestation and makes sure that the psychological welfare of the surrogate is respected by all parties. The intention is good.
Our surrogate mum was the coolest woman on earth and she could not stand this sixty-something woman calling her just to find out at what stage we were and neither could we... (How does this work? We pay for your 'services', but you call me to have information on what's happening to the point that you don't even realize we are already 4 months pregnant? Bah...).

-You are going to have to deposit quite a large amount of cash in the agency bank account as your trust-fund, from which all is paid (surrogate's medical bills, travel expenses for check ups, monthly health insurance bill, medication costs and ultimately her fee).

-The amount of funds they request is only indicative. Multiple attempts at achieving a pregnancy will result in more medication, more medical bills and more expenses. You will probably need to 'refuel'.

-As an overseas couple we tried repeatedly to obtain information regarding places to stay, hotels, friendly neighborhood and potential difficulties bringing the baby back home.
None of these requests were ever met with a satisfactory answer from the agency. "It's still too early" or "We don't know of any problems with immigration... Anyway, when it's time we will look at it..". This attitude left us to our own devices, with a newborn baby and only 3 weeks to sort out all the necessary paperwork to bring him home. Hell!
Everything we found out we did by ourselves. Including the very necessary health insurance.

Health insurance that covers surrogacy: now, this is difficult. The agency had no idea how to advise us as we were an overseas couple. The surrogate mum health insurance (MRMIP) would cover her and her hospital stay, but for our baby we had to subscribe with another health insurance provider to cover his first 90 days in the US. We went with Bupa International, but they have now stopped offering surrogacy cover, so I really don't know what to suggest. Somebody told us about Lloyds of London, but you need to check this out. Bear in mind, health insurance is of paramount importance and, if you don't have it, costs can be really, really high. (We know of a couple that ended up with a $250.000 bill for their premature twins hospital treatment...). Also, most health insurance providers will ask for a minimum subscription period of at least 10 months prior to the baby's birth, so, as soon as you start the process, sometimes months before even getting pregnant (because you don't know when it will happen...), make sure you enroll with a health insurance provider that covers babies born through surrogacy. You cannot enroll the baby, as he/she is not born yet and technically does not exist, so you will have to do it under your name and ensure it will also cover your surrogacy baby when he/she will be born. Steven ended up running two health insurances at once, the one he has through work and the one necessary for the baby. Crazy stuff.

A reliable Egg-Donor Agency: in our case, after two failed attempts with our first agency (EDI, Egg Donor Inc.), we used the services of EDSI (Egg Donation and Surrogacy Clinic), whose offices are also in Los Angeles. We met our egg donor through EDSI and, for our next child, we will most definitely use them to find our new surrogate mum as well, as they also cover this aspect with their services and not only egg donation.

Note: with regards to the egg donor I must stress the following.
It might seem to you, aspiring parents, that the real pickle would be to find a surrogate mum, but in reality, the true difficulty arises when you start searching for a suitable egg donor.
Yes, it's true, you will find that most egg donation agencies have an online database of donor information that, once you've registered, you can browse until your heart's content, but, often, the girl you set your hopes upon, comes up unavailable, unsuitable or totally different from her pictures when you meet her in person (if you will want to. We did, we met all of our candidate donors). Not to mention the scams of model-girls, posing just to attract clients!!
In our case, the first donor, after we paid for genetic screening (yes, you'll have to pay for it as no girl comes with a guarantee of being free from genetic problems.....)and medication, became unsuitable as her ovaries responded badly to stimulation and became polycistic.
So we had to drop her as we did not want to wait 1 more year for her condition to clear. In doing so, we had to pay her the contractual 'dropped cycle compensation'.
The second donor (a truly stunning girl and an aspiring Victoria's Secret model...), did not work out because from genetic screening it turned out that she had 'Fragile X' syndrome in her family.
Another heartbreak and six more months of waiting.
We switched agencies and, thanks to EDSI, we found our perfect donor.
Start your search for the egg donor early, it's my suggestion, and give yourselves more than one option.
Do not put all your eggs in one basket! (Sorry, I could not resist.....)

-A good Lawyer specialised in embryology and surrogacy law. We used the services of Andrew Vorzimer, from Vorzimer Massermann, in Encino, LA.
Don't assume that the lawyer you choose will know absolutely everything about immigration law in your country. Your baby will need all his travel documents in order for you to bring him back home! Do your homework, speak to the Consulate of your country in LA, ask questions and be prepared for complications. I would advise you to use the services of a 'passport expediting' agency. They have direct access to the passport offices and, provided you have all the necessary documents in place, they can wrap up your travel documents within a few days for a relatively small fee.

-A respectable reproductive surgeon: We used one of the best in Beverly Hills, Dr Mark Surrey, at the Roxbury Reproductive Centre. He takes care of fertilisation, embryo transfer and the first check ups (usually all the check ups leading to the 'big one' at three months, done at the hospital...).
With regards to the birthing hospital and the midwife, the surrogate mum will generally choose a hospital she is comfortable with, also fairly close to her house and a midwife and surgeon she knows and/or she has worked with previously. It's really her choice.
As from the third month check up, all the subsequent monitoring will be carried out at the hospital and no longer at the embryology clinic you chose.

-An american Bank Account: it will simplify doing fund transfers or making last minute payments. It's not necessary, but it's advisable and cost effective.


The main ingredients are all listed above, but there is much more involved in the process.
Money for instance!
Every party listed above, will require that you register with them and pay them a retainer fee.
We ended up flying to LA eight times within two years. That costs money. The hotel stays, the travel to and from the hospital that was one and a half hours drive outside LA (Loma Linda Hospital). All adds up to medication, procedure costs, paperwork costs.
Finally, the three weeks after the delivery we had to stay. They costed money.
If I had to put down an estimate of how much I think you'll need, I can only say that you need more than you think. Things can go wrong, times can get longer on occasion and funds disappear sometimes before you get to the finishing line. Always allow for a good margin.
Make sure you check and re-check with all the parties involved the invoices and the estimates, don't cut corners. We didn't. Don't be afraid of the mountain of paperwork involved.
Always remember that you are in a foreign country that you might not be familiar with and you need to be safe and informed, rather than sorry and scared when you should be enjoying your first moments as parents. Trust me, I've been there!

All my best wishes of good luck in what will most definitely be the greatest thing you'll ever do in your lives.




Love,


Q




P.S.
Obviously, the above is a product of my own experience with surrogacy in the US. It only applies if you are contemplating having a surrogate baby in the US. I must have omitted some things, but please feel free to ask whatever pops into your mind and I will do my best to answer.










No need to explain really..... Awesome stuff! Thanks to Mickey for sharing!


Q

P.S.
Doesn't this video look good in my blog? With the pink background and stuff..... I'm gay, which means that I'm also good with colours. Duh.
:0)

I was feeding Gabriel his lunch of broccoli, spinach and chicken pasta ( all made from scratch because I am a fully fledged Bree Van De Kamp if you did not know... Minus the controlling issues.... No, ok, I'm lying... Throw those in as well...), when I 'happened' to be watching cartoons.

During an episode of "Humf" (one of Gabriel's new favourites...), the little furry character that happens to be a boy, wanted to play 'princesses' with his little girl friend Loon because 'He liked to sit on a lot of cushions like a princess, as much as Loon did'.
Fair point.
I thought the outcome would have been Humf being told that as a boy he could not play at being a princess, but I was to be pleasantly surprised.
'Of course Humf!' said daddy 'you can be whatever you want to be!'.
Refreshing.
Not so much for the gender roles and stuff (after all, a Princess will ALWAYS be a girl, and a Prince a boy... Thank God...), but for recognising the educational freedom that every child should have to explore their own fantasy world away from the noxious fumes of parameters and pre-set standards.

As I was enjoying this little triumph inside my head, something came into my mind.
A question that hangs upon our heads and threatens to dampen our spirits.
"What about the difficulties our kids will have to face growing up in a society of heterosexual families?"
Of course potentially there could be difficulties and boundaries to break.
Our children are trailblazers, they are shaping our society's future.
Back at the beginning of the last century, in the United States, would you have told a black couple not to have a child, but to think instead about the difficulties he/she would have had to face growing up in a hostile white society?
They would have told you about the hope they had in their hearts that, in future's society, their children would not have to endure the same hardship they had to endure.
Would you have told, about forty years ago, to an interracial couple here in London not to have children, but to think of the difficulties of growing up in a "black or white" society?
They would have told you about the hope they had in their hearts that, in future's society, their children would not have to be treated differently because of their "mixed ethnic background".
Society has changed much, we now live in a multi-cultural, multi-racial society.
For some of us, hope remains the same.

When President Obama climbed that podium to deliver his first presidential speech, many of the black members of the public cried tears of joy.
They were thinking of the times when their parents fought to even get into a university building or any other public structure catering only for the white part of society.
In the same way, when I look at my son, I feel moved thinking of the times when being a homosexual was a criminal offence punished by imprisonment.
I think of all those people that had to endure the police truncheons cracking their bones, the jeering crowds, the recriminating church ministers, the indifference of the politicians.
Look at us now.
Here in the UK we can get married (or, more correctly, we can get "Civil Partnered"...), we can adopt and even have children through surrogacy (albeit, the laws surrounding surrogacy are still a grey area and in need of a lot of work...).
We have inarguably moved very far.
We have moved so far only thanks to the efforts and the courage of all the men and women that have never been afraid of putting themselves on the line, of being judged, of being ridiculed.
They hoped.
They pushed us forward.
What was then perceived as an attack to society, morality and decency, has instead contributed to build tolerance and understanding.
What was considered an act of destruction of society's values, turned out to be instead a building effort.
The building of a bridge between bigotry and human nature.
So, again: "What about the difficulties our kids will have to face growing up in a society of heterosexual families?"
They are still there, I know, but I also know that they are there to help us shape a better future for us all.
A child like ours, born out of hope, can only be a gift to a society so ridden with egoism.

Q


My old skin has packed up on me, so I had to re-invent my blog's look and I hope you guys like it.... I know that it's camper than a row of pink tents, but that's the point! I find it very "a' propos" and even "french" and "Oh la la..".
Now, those of you that know me well will smile remembering that I am slightly obsessed with all that it's french, starting with the kissing, all the way down to architecture, art and food.... End of introduction.

This summer I treated myself and my son to a lovely 6 weeks break in Italy and a lot has happened, but I really cannot be asked to write it all down... I still have not finished writing the Easter saga! I'm bored of it now though, the main facts have been told and somehow, the stuff that was winding me up then, seems very unimportant now, so I will let it slip away at the back of my brain, together with Trinny and Susannah's pitiful attempt at conquering prime-time TV space this week.
It's been a gorgeous family holiday, we've been basking in the constant hot sunshine surrounded by old friends and family (all of it!). I had the chance to re-connect with some cousins of mine that have shown me and my family so much warmth and affection that I ended up wondering why we had lost touch in the first place....
I also helped my parents a lot with the day to day chores, I have happily stacked 4 cubic metres of chopped wood by myself, indulged in a lot of heavy-duty gardening and managed to stick to my diet throughout the stay. I am now back within the realm of the 30" waists and loving it.

Frivolities aside, coming back home after six weeks of being surrounded by the people I know and, in spite of everything, love, had me more than a little thrown....
It's almost as if I left back in july with a baby, being able to predict every little whim of his and to schedule my day-to-day life to almost perfection, and came back in september with someone else's child.
Now, I promise that I am not in the habit of snatching children during my vacations, my similarities with Angelina end with a mouth the size of a small sofa and nothing more ( What? Shut up...).
However, in six weeks, Gabriel underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, going from baby to toddler, to my total and utter dismay.
I know, I know.... I am very happy that my son is growing up and reaching new goals and stuff, but the baby that used to nap twice a day and sleep 12 hours straight at night? He is gone!
The baby that used to eat EVERYTHING whenever he had to? He is gone.
The baby that was very quiet, easy to entertain and that could be taken everywhere? He is most definitely gone too!
Gabriel's face is now lit with a different light.... A beautiful light.... I think it comes from the inner curiosity and intelligence a little one possesses.
Every day it's a voyage of discovery that makes him understand more about his surroundings and it all started when my mum taught him how to sit up from a laying down position.
She would put him on the big bed, belly up, with her and my dad on either side and make him roll on to his tummy and then would make him push on his arms to sit up. Great success!
The only down-side after that, has been trying to put him down at night. Obviously, being laid down on his back, or front, was a signal for Gabriel to perform his "sitting up" routine, over and over and over..... Sometimes it took until to 22.30 before he finally decided to pass out.
Furthermore, his vocabulary got quite impressive for a 14 months old (back then...).
He learnt how to say "Grazie" (thank you) after receiving things in his hands, he learnt that I am "papa'", even if he calls me papapa'.
When asked 'How old are you?' he shows you '1' with his index finger and when asked 'How does the lion go?' he goes into the cutest "GGRRROOOOAAARRRRRR!!" you'll ever hear.
All of this he understands in both english and italian. He can recognise and point at people from pictures too....
With regards to how more and more beautiful he is getting every day, I will only say that (bearing in mind that one must never brag as it is tasteless... apparently....), if he carries on like this, by the time he reaches his second birthday I will need sunglasses to look at him....
So, I am literally bursting with pride.
I'm also bursting with something else, as you'll find out reading below....

Gabriel is definitely my jewel to the crown, my medal of honor.
Sadly though, even my medal has two faces: one smiles, whilst the other one is too busy covering up dark circles to give a shit about anything else...
Since the new Gabriel showed up, I make do with about four hours of sleep at night and almost no rest during the day.
A good night means being able to sleep with only one or two brief interruptions; a bad one means that every hour I am rushed downstairs to give Gabriel back his dummy, put some soothing gel on his gums and calm him down.
A good day means that he will nap at least once, for about an hour and a half; a bad day means that he will go relentlessly from morning to bed-time without giving me the time to shower, clean the house or even empty my bowels if not in his presence.
So, the face on the other side of the medal I was telling you about? Not only is it busy covering up dark circles, but it is also bloated and needs to have a good clear-out.... In private!

Another thing that is getting to me (I am being totally honest here...) is the fact that some days I get so bored and lonely that I can barely stand it....
I know that a child should fill up your days with joy and excitement, but let's be honest here... How long can any of you go playing on the floor some silly game of spinning balls and peek-a-boo to the sound of nursery rhymes without getting an attack of narcolepsy?
To date I can proudly say that I don't really know what is happening to the world, I have no idea if Palestine and Israel have agreed to build a theme park on the Gaza strip or if the Vatican has been finally turned into a legalized underage boy brothel for the clergy ( kind of "All you can eat for €10"...), but I know back to back every episode of 'Peppa Pig" and "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom"....
I am working hard to get used to this new routine, I even think I got to like cartoons...
The problem is that Gabriel will soon be on to some other thing, some other trick, and I will be left trailing behind him, trying to get used to the new regime, once again hoping that it will include some extra hours of sleep at night.
He will become more and more independent and, when the moment will come to go to school or nursery, I will be struggling to cope with separation anxieties and to jump-start my professional life from where I left it, when he was born.
Risky thing having children.
I annihilated what I am hoping to find myself back at the end of the trip. And it's a gamble and an opportunity.
A gamble because I could wake up one day and find that there is nothing left in me to give to a meaningful career.
An opportunity because I could discover what an amazing person I am and what I can achieve on my own. Like raising and educating a wonderful human being. I could even discover that I don't need to find myself at the end of the trip after all.
I will find myself everyday during the whole voyage. I will find myself in my son's beautiful eyes.
Can I imagine my life without my son? Absolutely!
Do I like what I see? No way!
This makes all the difference.
But I guess you all know that.

Ciao!

Q