Dear Jen Hatmaker,

I have long admired you- your heart for the orphan, your humorous-without-being-demeaning writing… but I mostly admire your big earrings.  I have watched you tackle hard subjects, and do so with fairness. But I’m at a loss over your post yesterday about the horror in Orlando.  The one that stated:

It is very difficult to accept the Christian lament for LGBTQ folks in their deaths when we’ve done such a brutal job of honoring them in their lives. It kind of feels like:

“We don’t like you, we don’t support you, we think you are a mess, we don’t agree with you, we don’t welcome you, we don’t approve of you, we don’t listen to you, we don’t affirm you. But please accept our comfort and kind words this week.”

So, if I’m reading this right, it seems to me that you are communicating that there has been no “honor”, “support”, or “welcome” extended to the gay community even though many of us have given explicit encouragement (I beat you to the “go hug your gay friend, they might be feeling scared after Orlando” directive) to do everything we can to love and serve our LGBT neighbors.  I have made suggestions about how Christians can walk beside them through hard times, including offering a listening ear here and here.  Maybe things are different in Texas, but I’d say that a good chunk of my Christian friends in Seattle and across the nation do most of those things better than I do.

Jen_Hatmaker_2015-e1426706314583But it seems you are saying that those actions aren’t enough.  That none of this amounts to approval of the person and therefore we are guilty of “disavowing” an entire community.   That our efforts to sacrifice, promises to pray, and genuine expression of horror and sadness at the shocking loss of life are. not. enough.  

So what is left for us to do, in your opinion?  All I can conclude is that you are pressuring your faithful readers (among whom I am grateful to be counted) to affirm behaviors and choices that go against what scripture clearly teaches.  If I have somehow gotten the wrong idea, please correct me.

However, those weren’t the words that got me out of bed and to my laptop at 3:00am.  What actually sickened me about your post was this:

Anti-LGBTQ sentiment has paved a long runway to hate crimes. When the gay community is denied civil liberties and respect and dignity, when we make gay jokes, when we say ‘that’s so gay’, when we turn our noses up or down, when we qualify every solitary statement of love with a caveat of disapproval, when we consistently disavow everything about the LGBTQ community, we create a culture ripe for hate. We are complicit.

Are you saying that people who promote man/woman marriage (the denied “civil liberties” to which I’m guessing you refer) have “created a culture ripe for hate” and are “complicit” in mass murder?  

If that’s what you’re saying, it’s irresponsible, shocking, and totally misses the point of why most of us are willing to stand on this side of the most unpopular issue of our time.  Trust me, I’d rather be reading Interrupted and sipping coffee than being called a bigot in my off-hours.

Jen (can I call you Jen?), I understand that you love the gay community.  Guess what?  So do I.  And I have been honored to listen to many L.G.B and T friends open their hearts and share the struggles as they process deep wounds from their families, friends and yes, sometimes the church.  But the church has also been a wellspring of healing and safety for many of them- especially the churches who embrace Jesus’s teaching on marriage.

I love the LGBT community.  

AND I support traditional marriage.

When I started blogging, I wasn’t an expert on marriage or children- I’m still not.  But my husband and I had worked with kids long enough for me to know that whenever a parent is absent, whether through death, divorce, abandonment or being donor-conceived, the child suffers.  At the least, there is a curiosity around why their mother left or who that missing father is. But much of the time, the loss of their parent means children are saddled with a life-long woundedness, and often times blame themselves. As adoptive mothers, you and I understand this truth better than we’d like.

When I did decide to start writing- with fear and trembling because I love to be loved and I hate to be hated and I knew that even respected Christian leaders would likely condemn me for being too soft in one line and too harsh in the very next breath- it was because I understood that marriage is not just about an emotional connection between adults.  Marriage is actually the most effective way to preserve a child’s right to be permanently connected to both parents, and stack the deck in their favor in terms of child-wellbing. It also gifts the child with both halves of humanity- man and woman- in their home.  It also supplies the male and female love that they crave and connects them to both sides of their genetics and heritage.  

Redefining marriage isn’t about whether or not our gay brothers and sisters are worthy of dignity and respect.  They are.  They are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God like the rest of us. And it’s not a commentary on LGBT people’s capacity to love and commit.  They can do both, sometimes better than heterosexuals.  

The problem with the redefinition of marriage into a same-sex institution, is that it redefines parenthood along with itmaking mothers and fathers optional. Because governments interesting in marriage isn’t romance, it’s children. While by no means is gay marriage responsible for the sorry state of marriage today, what it did do was – officially and legally – remove any kind of expectation that children should be raised by both their mother and father. It ought be our expectation that all adults- heterosexual or homosexual-  recognize and conform the the rights of children even if it conflicts with the desire of the adults.

Now that marriage has been redefined, do you know that now there is no longer any government or legal institution in the US that recognizes a child’s right to her mother and father?  Do you understand what an injustice that is to a child?  We have normalized fatherlessness and motherlessness.  And not only normalized it, but celebrated it.

Once I began blogging the stories from children with LGBT parents started coming in. And they’re not the stories that will earn them a front-row seat at the parade.  Many have been shared with me privately, but here are some public samplings.  Please read them all.

“Growing up without a father sucks. I can’t really have this conversation with my mom without hurting her. If my mom and I ever have a disagreement I have no one else to talk to. I feel so alone. I feel like I have missed out on all of the little things, like having your dad give you piggy backs or teaching me how to ride a bike or getting over protective when I show an interest in boys. I don’t miss my donor personally, i mourn the loss of a childhood without a dad.”

I have two moms and am constantly wondering what it would be like to have a father and who my biological dad is. I’m wondering is there any way to find who he is? im not expecting him to jump and and be some sort of active dad to me i just want to know who he is…

I’m a 15 year old girl and I have two moms. They’re wonderful and the best parents my sister and i could have asked for. But still, I want a dad. I’m not saying that I’m against gay marriage or gay parenting. I just want a dad, and I feel bad for saying that.

I don’t really know if people understand how kick-ass it is that moms like mine had the strength to bring a child into this world on their own. You know, at first, that’s the only way I would look at my situation, that way things were more positive. But in reality, my kick-ass mom never knew and never will know the damage that not having a father has caused me.

Father’s Day sucks, and my mom thinks its society when really it’s just her. I love her but yeesh. She talks about genders like they don’t matter when raising kids. If they don’t why does she wants me to spend so much time with her guy friends so I can have a father-figure? (JK as if her guy friends love me or relate to me as much as they love and relate with their actual children. Yeah right) … I want to know who my dad is, and a donor# and some basic layout isn’t going to cut it. I need to KNOW him. I need to bond with him and do daddy-daughter things. He’s half of who I am…

All my moms want is to have a baby, and have a biological family like everyone else. So I always thought what a terrible bitch (yes bitch) I am to destroy their happiness too, because I wished I just had a dad in my life and not a donor fake uncle. You have no idea how lonely and guilty I feel about this, but maybe you do? I feel like a bad child, especially when I look on TV and I see the good kids of gay parents say they have the perfect family and they don’t need a mom or dad, but you’re all like ‘but I want a dad…sometimes?’

I am the daughter (not biological) of two moms. I love them both sooo sooo much but there is not a day that goes by that i didn’t wish i had a dad. it is very hard for kids like me that are different. no matter how accetping society is. i have men in my life my moms’ friends but it is not the same. I love my parents but I don’t agree with the fact that I will never know half of my biology or my siblings. I will never do that to a child. If I can’t have them, I will adopt. I hope more couples, gay and straight, consider adoption and foster care.

My Moms always made a good image. Smile everybody and pertend to be happy that was our family motto. But I didnt feel happy every time I came home from a friends house and saw how diffrent it was in their homes. My best friends dad was the greatest guy he was funny and nice and always taking us places. He listened to us. I was jealous of my friend and wrote the word Daddy on a peice of paper and put it under my pillow. I wanted a Daddy like my friend had. My friends family all knew how much I liked their Dad cuz I was always asking if I could help him. One day my friends mom asks me are you a Daddys Girl? It means you are the kind of girl who realy loves her Daddy and is real close to him. Well I went home and cried becuz I dont have that and never will know what thats like.

Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I a bad daughter because I wish I had a Dad? Is there anyone else who has 2 Moms or 2 Dads who wonders what it would be like if they were born into a normal family? Is ther anyone else who wants to be able to use the word normal without gettin a lecture on what is normal??? I dont know my real father and never will. Its weird but I miss him. I miss this man I will never know. Is it wrong for me to long for a father like my friends have? She has two brothers I play basketball with all the time. It feels so amazing to be included in their family. When I am there I think this is what its like to be in a family that has a Mom and a Dad.

I’m female and 16-ish. I have gay moms (well had, they’re divorced and remarried, but they’re still cool and all). They wanted to basically pretend (in a sense?) they had a biological child together since it’s impossible for gay couples to have kids. So they asked my uncle (father?) for sperm and he donated. I always knew I came from donated sperm, but I thought (hoped) it was some stranger or something , so then I could find him, meet him, and seek him for mentorship from him in my college years. And it can be like when adoptees meet their birth parents. I had no idea it was a relative. When I asked my mom for info about my donor, she said it was. It feels weird and incestuous and NOT cool. My mom tried to make it seem “cool” but it just seems wrong and gross. Who the hell does this? Just ew. How could he just pretend I wasn’t his? We have family reunions and stuff, and he just calls me “niece”. I’m his daughter. How can people just pretend their kids aren’t theirs when they decide they don’t want them? Is that how it works now? ‘Oh I got some half-babies left, let me just give them away to this person’. What the hell! 

I have two moms and it sucks. My dad was a donor and I’ll probably never meet him. Anyways, I’m now at the age where it really sucks to be the only guy in my house (I have a sister along with my two moms). Oh, also, they’ve been divorced since I was three and still don’t get along. Neither of them understand how to give me some space every now and then. They don’t get it when I just want to hang out with my friends and not with them all the time. Honestly, I hate it. I hate everything about not having a dad or at least a brother in my family. Even if my sister was even a little fun to be around, it would be better. I have nothing in common with her, and even less with her birth mom who I do not get along with at all. If it was just me and my birth mom I’d be a lot happier. She is the only one in my family who really cares about me and who really likes having me around and I like being around. My other mom’s side of the family is so cynical and mean to each other, and just being over at her house gives me bad vibes.

I even write stories about it, or even rewrite books that have to do with father and daughter stuff. I know I must sound crazy to you guys but I just cant help feeling that way. I’ve seen “What a girl wants” so many times I know all the scenes and the words to the whole movie. It doesn’t help any that my mom is gay, and freaks out every time I try to bring it up. She wont tell me anything about him. Its like she wants to be my dad, and she wants her girlfriend to be my mom, they want to be this big happy family. But we cant because its wrong, it even feels wrong. I want my mom to be the person I talk to with boys not the one to hate them. I want her to wear dresses and date guys. I want a father figure that is a guy not a woman. Please help me anyone.

It’s almost 1 am and can’t stop thinking about all the family I have out there 6 brothers 6 sisters 1 dad I may never know. I have the paper work I know my donor number my mom had kept nothing from me but still that’s all I know. I payed $75 dollars out of my less than $10 salary for the sibling donor registry and nothing. It’s only been 2 months but the membership only lasts a year. I tell my self I just want to know something but that’s a lie I know allot of somethings, more than many. What I really want is to find a sibling who knows what I’m going through. I feel like my priority should be my donor but it’s not I grew up with 2 moms and 1 brother now it’s just the 1 mom, the idea of a father is a forien concept. All I have from him is half my Dna 12 siblings and the words “I hope your child will be a free-thinker and a free-feeler as I have preserved to be”.

Hi . . . I’m a boy of 14I live with 2 dads . . . one of them is my biological dad and one of them isn’t. My biological mother (who gave my dads her ovum for my birth . . .) comes my house often. She’s 38 and my dads’ long time best friend . . . I want to call her my mom but my dads always get mad when I try . . . actually I’ve already call her mom when my dads are not around and she liked it . . . she and I have lots of connections with each other . . . 

I grew up surrounded by women who said they didn’t need or want a man. Yet, as a little girl, I so desperately wanted a daddy. It is a strange and confusing thing to walk around with this deep-down unquenchable ache for a father, for a man, in a community that says that men are unnecessary. There were times I felt so angry with my dad for not being there for me, and then times I felt angry with myself for even wanting a father to begin with. – Heather Barwick

I knew from a young age that living with two women was not natural. I could especially see it in the homes of my friends who had a mom and a dad. I spent as much time with those friends as I possibly could. I yearned for the affection that my friends received from their dads. I wanted to know what it was like to be held and cherished by a man, what it was like to live with one from day to day. –Brandi Walton

Do you know what’s wrong with the moms in the stories above?  

Nothing.  What’s “wrong” is that they can’t be fathers.  

While these kids love their lesbian parent(s), they want their missing father (or mother, in the case of the 14-year-old son of an egg-donor).  Do you know why?  Because that’s what every child who has the space to be honest will say.  We may be able to look at the lives of children we know who have lost a parent through death, divorce, estrangement, or abandonment and observe similar sentiments.  But in those other circumstances, the Whitehouse doesn’t splash a celebratory rainbow across it’s face to honor the event.  And usually kids who have lost a parent to death, divorce or abandonment aren’t told that it’s because “love wins”, or their missing parents is a hallmark of “progress,” or that their segregation from one of their parents amounts to a “civil right” for the other. Those other forms of parental separation usually don’t leave kids wondering “something must be wrong with me” when they crave what the gay marriage narrative tells them they shouldn’t need.

Gay marriage promotes a family structure that necessitates loss for children. You can see that loss expressed by the kids above as they voice one of the most universal of all human longings: to be known and loved by their mother and father.

And that’s why I have challenged what your post refers to as “civil liberties,” because redefining marriage places a higher value on adult desires than on child rights.  Scripture speaks of protecting the orphan and fatherless over 40 times.  Redefining marriage endorses, promotes, and encourages fatherlessness. As I Christian and a citizen, I must stand with the most vulnerable- children.

So, maybe this is all one big misunderstanding, Jen (that still sounds weird, seriously, no sass intended).  Maybe I mis-read your post. Because even as I look back at it now, it reads like emotional black-mail: “embrace gay marriage or you are complicit in mass-murder.”  Fingers crossed that I’m wrong about that.

But if I did read it right, I hope now you understand why I stand where I stand on this issue.  Adults can decide to live as they please. And regardless of their decisions, with God’s help, it will not hinder my commitment to extend love and friendship to them.

But in the public policy debate if I have to side with adult feelings or child rights, I’m going to side with the kids.



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