Sarita Hatcher and Jamie Miranda are working moms juggling a busy life in New York City. Their lives can get hectic with 6-year-old twins and a two-month-old, but their survival boils down to love. The couple share snapshots of their family on Instagram via @Moms_Outnumbered as a way to address the many questions they get about how they started their family. Here, Hatcher shares how she and her wife started their journey through motherhood and how the support they get from their personal community makes life sweeter.
I battled with whether I wanted to put our family out there for the public to see because when you make a page public, you’re vulnerable. But ultimately, I got positive feedback from my colleagues and community. I wanted to share our experience on Instagram as a way to normalize same-sex families. I talked to my wife about it and she was supportive.
For the most part, we haven’t had any issues with our family. It’s just, ‘Noelle and Ava (our children) have two moms. Some people have one mom and some people have one dad, some people don’t.’ This is who we are.
We have a lot of the same core values. My wife Jamie comes from a big family, I come from a big family; we’re both grounded in family. We both grew up in Catholic environments, which a lot of people don’t understand given that we’re lesbians, but we’re Roman Catholic. We attend church. The girls are baptized, and Charlotte, our youngest, will be baptized. Before my wife and I even spoke about marriage and kids, we both knew that our roots were the same. We knew we both wanted to carry children early on.
Why We Chose An Anonymous Donor
When you’re in a same-sex relationship, you have to decide where the [sperm] is coming from. We decided to go with an anonymous donor because we didn’t want to have to deal with all the things that could come with a known donor. It’s like, ‘Yeah, you’re okay with doing this right now, but when you see the child, are you going to try to claim any type of parental rights? When you go through a reputable sperm bank, all that legal stuff is already taken care of.
It’s actually a really cool process. You have a catalog and you pick your donor. You start with the features, and then they do a medical history. They won’t accept a donor without running a rigorous set of tests. We saw a handwriting sample, we could hear a voice sample, we saw what his great-grandmother died of—you get all the history. It probably took us about a month to pick a donor because there aren’t a lot of African-American or Hispanic donors in these banks, which was our preference. There were some [concerning] things we noted in the histories of the limited African American or Hispanic donors that factored into our final decision, a decision we spent a lot of time on. We decided to pick the most diverse Caucasian person that we could. His ethnicity is multifaceted although mostly under the category of Caucasian. Our donor is German, Scottish, Irish and Native American. That was really our option. We bought 10 vials of this person because we knew we both wanted to carry, and we wanted the children to be related.
Once you pick the donor, there are a few ways to get pregnant. You can do what’s called the IUI, which is intrauterine insemination. That’s probably the least invasive of the different processes. Some people want to do it at home, maybe for the intimacy of it. For us it was like, nah, this is a lot of money so we want to get it right. The sperm was straight out-of-pocket. Vials were approximately $700 each. We purchased 10 and we paid for one year of storage, which was about $2,700, and then $1,000 in shipping fees. Luckily, my job is a great place. The blood work and the ultrasound and all those things that I needed for my IUI were covered by my insurance so we paid about $10,700 in sperm-related costs.
The Insanity of Adoption
You’re allowed to include two people of the same sex on a birth certificate. However, you have to bring your marriage certificate to prove that you are married, which blows my mind because if we were a female-male couple, if I tell you that male B is the father, you’re not then going to ask me for a marriage certificate; you’re not going to ask me for a DNA test. You’re just going to say, ‘Okay, put B’s name on the certificate.’
Jamie’s name is on our children’s birth certificates. That works because we’re in New York now, but if, for some reason, we were to move to another state that doesn’t recognize our marriage, we would really have to think about that stuff, especially in the world we live in today. Who knows what rules are going to be retracted with this Supreme Court?
Jamie legally adopted the girls. We had to go through an adoption process that involved a social worker coming to our house to evaluate our living situation. Jamie had to get letters of recommendation to say that she was a good person, to say that she was fit to be someone’s mother. The adoption procedures and protocols haven’t accounted for the fact that you now have same-sex families. As a result, even though you may have birthed a child, as a same-sex couple you’re put through the same level of scrutiny as a family that’s not biologically kin to the child. I birthed the twins, but there’s no doubt that Jamie’s been there the whole time. With our youngest, Charlotte, we’ll have to go through the same adoption procedure. It’s such a draining process that we’re trying to give ourselves a couple of months to just adjust to the three-child house.
Empowerment, Passion and Good Vibes
I love how Jamie and I are motivated to push each other. Both of us have careers, and neither of us wants to put that down. We are truly a team. She works nights and as a nurse three nights a week. A lot of times we’re doing a high-five handover. I love that we can vibe like that. I love how sweet Noelle and Ava are. They could just play with each other and that’d be the end of it because they’re twins, so they have a built-in playmate.
My mom passed away. Both of my aunties look after the girls. My 94-year-old grandma is still going to that church. Yes, we are lesbians, but we are very much rooted in spirituality. Jamie’s parents are around. My dad is around and very active. It sucks that my mom isn’t here, but at the same time, we’re still very blessed and fortunate to have family around us to help us raise these kids.
There’s definitely anxiety about where our world is going. You look around for all these things that are happening to women, and it’s just so upsetting. Add to that the fact that my daughters are multiracial and that they have two moms. When we think about it all at once, it really is too much, so I just try to take it in pieces.
We try to stay the course of raising empowered girls. That means having those conversations like, if somebody’s speaking to you in a way that you’re not comfortable with, then you need to not only tell an adult that’s with you but [also] let us know. We’re lucky that they’re not old enough to ask us questions about what is going on, but we are trying to instill in them a curiosity and a sense that you can ask questions—just do so respectfully.
I really want them to have a sense of self. I want them to find their passion. Whatever that passion is, that’s what I want for them. I want them to feel empowered. I wish good vibes. I want us to be happy.