Five people are about to become parents to one baby in The Netherlands.
All five parents spoke to Vice about their arrangement, which will see the child raised in two separate homes – with two married couples (one gay, one lesbian) acting as its parents.
Dewi is married to Daantje, who is carrying the baby and is due to give birth this week.
Husbands Jaco and Sjoerd have a third member of their relationship – Sean – who will also serve as a parent. Sjoerd notes that the three would be married to one another if it were possible: “Unfortunately we can’t marry Sean as well, otherwise we’d have done it in a heartbeat.”
Jaco, Sean, and Sjoerd do not wish to reveal who is the biological father of the child.
The law in The Netherlands allows a child to have a maximum of two parents, so Daantje and Jaco will be the child’s ‘official’ parents, with a legal agreement in place to protect the rights of the others: “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,” noted Dewi.
“The laws weren’t written for people like us, so we’re constantly looking for ways to make things work,” said Sjoerd.
“I don’t have any legal connection to my son, so I’m not entitled to any parental leave when he’s born. But I want to be there, so now I have a statement from Daantje and the ‘father’ that says I take care of ‘their’ child, which will grant me the right to foster care-leave; even though I am not a foster parent.
“It’s very complex for everyone involved and isn’t ideal for any of us. I mean that legally because, in practice, I think our situation is ideal.”
The couples also revealed that they have faced criticism for their decision to have a child together, even from within the LGBT community.
“People say things to Daantje and I, like: ‘You shouldn’t get the men involved,” said Dewi. “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.”
However, with five parents in the mix, it’s likely that the child is going to have everything it needs and more.
“We’re ridiculously well-prepared,” said Sjoerd. “We’ve already picked out schools.”