Nashville is growing in a great way, with strong lively communities, including our LGBT community. Increasingly, the Nashville LGBT community includes robust and diverse family structures.  We are creating loving homes and safe spaces, challenging not only laws but also traditional opinions. This column will be a space to meet Nashville's LGBT families, to hear and share each other’s stories.

The Stantons, Amber, Rachel, and Ryman (7 months), arrived for their interview full of smiles and eager to share their story. Here is a glimpse into their life as an LGBT family.

O&AN: So how did you two meet?

Amber: We met through a Business Networking International (BNI) meeting in Green Hills, when I was looking for a new job. After the meeting, Rachel and I were intrigued with each other, but kept things at a friend level, as we were both in long term relationships. I was offered three jobs from that BNI meeting, but the best thing I found there was Rachel. Rachel and I connected again several months later, when Rachel contacted me about Nashville in Harmony tickets. Both of us were now single and what had been intriguing all those months ago turned into mutual attraction. The rest, as they say, is history.

O&AN: When did you two decide to expand your family?

Amber: We got married in Tennessee in 2011 and in 2012 we got legally married in Massachusetts.  Once we were legally married, we decided to have a baby together.

O&AN: What challenges have you found so far as an LGBT family and/or couple?

Amber: The adoption process was expensive and we just completed that last week! Rachel is on Ryman’s birth certificate now. But doing the home study, getting all of the financial documents, finger printing, and investigation was kind of crazy. I don’t think we’ve run into much outside of that.

Rachel: People tend to assume a lot about our relationship, and everyone has questions that are a bit personal. For instance, I wouldn’t just ask a family how they had their baby.

O&AN: If you would ask for any change for LBGT families, what would it be?

Amber: We had to go through a lot to make sure Rachel had legal rights to Ryman. We just want to be a family, just like anyone else. Having our union recognized everywhere would be huge for us and for him.

O&AN: How did you two choose the name Ryman?

Amber: Rachel and I went to a nursing home on Valentine's Day, as we both realized that while we got to spend every day with our sweetheart, most of the people in the nursing home had lost theirs. We brought treats and balloons and sang and just hung out. One lady we met, who really stood out, was Ryman. Even though we weren't even trying to conceive at that time, Rachel and I both said together that we wanted to name our child that. We later found out that Ryman was actually her last name, but we still loved it, and it was never a question that it would be our child's name.

O&AN: Any plans for expanding your family further?

Amber: Well right now I’m breastfeeding Ryman, so for right now that's on hold, but once that's over we are considering one more.

O&AN: What have you found as your best Nashville parent/family resource?

Rachel: Nashville in Harmony, a large LGBT & allies choir, has been helpful. There are many parents like us and a lot of supportive people, not only on the LGBT end of it, but just on parenthood in general.





This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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