Karen and laura's story
We met in 2003 in a popular lesbian bar in London’s Soho. The location was deeply out of character for both of us, which broke the ice. So successfully so, that in March 2008 we had a Civil Partnership. We’d intended for Karen to be pregnant by the time of our Civil Partnership, but it wasn’t to be. Eventually, in 2009, Karen became pregnant using a frozen embryo. Living in Surrey, we felt quite isolated from the abundant Jewish culture of North West London. We made frequent trips around the M25 to stock up on bagels and meet up with our gay and straight Jewish friends, but somehow that wasn’t enough to give our daughter her Jewish, donor-conceived identity. Together with two other families in our friendship group who identified as Jewish and Lesbian, we agreed that we wanted our children to grow up knowing other families like theirs, and so decided to meet informally and spread the word that our group was forming and other families (of any constellation) who self-defined as Jewish and LGBTQQ parents would be welcome to join. Imahot V’Avot was created, and quickly grew from an informal friendship group to an established network of over 20 families. In 2011, I became pregnant using the same donor sperm, so creating a genetic half-sibling for our daughter and, connecting me biologically to her, through carrying her sibling. Our second daughter, Neve was born in November 2012. It is important to us as parents that our kids feel that their family is as ‘normal’, in the sense that we are no more or less ‘abnormal’ than any other of the many family constellations our kids already see on a daily basis at nursery and within our social network – step families, single parent families, grandparent led families e.t.c. That is to say, our family is a happy one, secure in its identity and encouraging of our children’s explorations about their roots, both known and unknown as and when they are ready and legally able. We want our children to be infinitely curious about the concept of family, what this means to them and how other families have come into being. We are grateful that Imahot V’Avot exists as an unapologetically informal, lovely way to meet other families with ‘Jewish’ and ‘gay’ as part of their family story.