"These Five People Are About to Have a Baby Together"
An interesting thing about this story is that it treats nonmonogamy as a minor component. The five people are a couple and a triad. They're treated as friends who decided to commit to live as a family.
The media are seeing a trend toward such arrangements: millennials who, partly driven by economic forces, are turning group houses into true long-term communities, families even. Three days ago the New York Times ran a feature on the trend and on real estate developers' efforts to cash in on it: The Millennial Commune.
But this bunch takes it further (even though they live in two domiciles).
Vice picked up the story from its Netherlands edition. I guess that means Vice's other recent group-relationship stories have done well.
These Five People Are About to Have a Baby Together
By Noor Spanjer
Clockwise from top: Dewi, Sjoerd, Jaco, Sean, and Daantje in front. (Photo: Raymond van Mil)
...Another new, lesser known family structure that has emerged is that of multi-parenting — or raising a child with more than two legal parents. For instance, a lesbian couple and a gay couple bringing up a child together as a single family, but in separate households.
That's more or less the family unit that two couples — Jaco and Sjoerd, and Daantje and Dewi — have decided upon. The four have known each other for ten years, and have been considering the possibility of having a child together for about six. That possibility is going to become a reality this week, when Daantje gives birth.
Both couples are married, but Jaco and Sjoerd's relationship also involves a third person: an Australian named Sean who's been their partner for the last three years. "Three and a half," Sean shouts from the kitchen when he hears me asking Sjoerd how long they have been together. Sean is such a big part of their relationship that he will play an equal role in raising the gang's future son.
"Five parents with equal rights and responsibilities, divided across two households — those are the terms of the agreement that we all signed and had notarized," says Dewi....
The laws surrounding parental rights have improved significantly for gay parents in the Netherlands over the past few years, but the issue of multi-parenthood is still a complicated one. In the case of this particular five-parent family, Jaco has taken on the role of legal parent number two — replacing Dewi, who initially held the position because of her marriage to Daantje.
"We wanted to make sure that there was one legal parent in both households, because we're splitting the upbringing equally," explains Dewi.
"The advantage of that is that us men can take our son on vacation without customs stopping us for traveling with a child that, legally speaking, isn't ours," agrees Sjoerd.
The vast family (the baby will have five parents, 11 enthusiastic grandparents, and 21 aunts and uncles) seem to be ready for whatever issues that may arise while they're raising the child together. "We're ridiculously well-prepared," says Sjoerd. "We've already picked out schools. It's mainly people around us that expect problems, but that whole myth about the more people being involved with something the harder it being to come to a decision, isn't true. With us, there isn't a lot of room to be irrational — if it's just the two of you, you can easily get stuck in an emotional discussion which you both want to win. But when there's five of you, you're forced to reach a reasonable consensus."
Dewi tells us that she was surprised about the criticism they'd been getting from the LGBT community. "People say things to Daantje and I, like: 'You shouldn't get the men involved,' and to the boys: 'Be careful with those lesbians, they'll take your child away from you.' It is all about ownership, about fears, and ego."...
The baby is due this week and all parents plan to be present for the delivery....
Read the whole article with more pix (August 4, 2015). Here's the original in Nederlands.