MBH (my better half) and I contribute to society. We own a house, a car and pay our taxes. We value the sanctity of marriage and, despite our union not being recognised by Australian law, we define ourselves as a family.

You might say we are as boringly normal as it is possible to get. So normal in fact that, years ago, we considered filling our home with the pitter patter of tiny feet.

As MBH and I found out doing our research, welcoming a child into your life can be a journey filled with obstacles.

The major stumbling block with adoption is the waiting game. Although it is legal for same-sex couples to adopt in New South Wales, the process is lengthy and costly. It can take up to eight years or more from start to finish and may cost anywhere up to $40,000. Surrogacy can be just as complicated.

Commercial surrogacy in some states is a criminal offence which leaves same-sex couples with two choices, either to discreetly go ahead with an overseas commercial arrangement and risk prosecution or opt for an altruistic surrogacy (finding a birth mother who may be willing to carry your child without payment other than the costs associated with the pregnancy). A challenge in itself.

MBH and I met relatively late in life. We were both in our 40s which, for many of the nations participating in the inter-country adoption program, is considered past the cut-off point age-wise. Ultimately, we made an informed choice, taking into account both the child’s needs and what was best for us, and decided with heavy hearts to forgo parenthood.

It is, however, heartening to see the number of same-sex families in Australia increasing year by year despite strong objections by traditionalists and religious groups who seem to believe that heterosexual couples make better parents than same-sex couples.

In reality, any couple, gay or straight, who provides a stable and secure environment for their child to grow up in, qualifies for the job. To MBH and I, being a good parent doesn’t boil down to gender. It is about dedication and teaching kids core values whilst making them feel wanted, loved and cherished.

By LUKE BRIGHTY.

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