Picnics, Playmates and Resources
March 1, 2012
by Bradley Osborn
Families ally themselves with different groups for specific reasons, such as school, sports or church. The Midwest Alternative Family Alliance (MAFA) brings together lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents and families for networking, mentoring, resource-sharing and social events.
Sometimes referred to as KCMAFA, the group includes members from the Kansas City metropolitan area and outlying towns and cities in Missouri and Kansas. Starting as a very small group 10 years ago, it later became a 501(c)3 organization, primarily based on social and support needs.
The alliance seeks to remain a grass-roots organization, keeping the group intimate so that all members may know each other and allowing kids with LGBT parents to see other moms and dads who are similar to their own. LGBT parents (single or partnered), extended family and supportive community members may join.
Prospective parents can learn from those already familiar with LGBT parenting. Members might have children from previous relationships, insemination or adoption. Foster parents will also receive a warm welcome; foster children are sometimes candidates for adoption.
Since Johnston v. Missouri Department of Social Services was decided in 2006, lesbians and gays cannot be denied service as foster parents in the Show-Me State based on their sexual orientation. But LGBT parents in Missouri and Kansas still do not enjoy full legal protections, such as in the workplace and public accommodations, except in a handful of municipalities.
“We continue to remain committed to our members in providing a fun, nurturing environment for our members to socialize and network,” said president Mike Malone.
Growing and nurturing family are key values at MAFA. It can be helpful to talk to others who have been through some of the legal twists and turns involved with LGBT parenting and growing a family. Shared resources and information at MAFA include access to member-preferred pediatricians, financial advisers, therapists, attorneys and more.
MAFA held its first family picnic in 2007. It was so successful that the group now hosts two picnics per year. Dinner for 8 is a chance for the adults to get together in small groups while someone else baby-sits. Other activities have included Parents’ Night Out, bowling, skating, trips to the zoo, sporting events and play dates. As a social network, MAFA helps parents find playmates for the children and new friendships among the adults.
The Mamas and the Papas is a new support group for LGBT couples who are parenting children through adoption or foster care. See the Facebook or Yahoo! pages for details.
Learn more about MAFA at the links below.
Facebook page: goo.gl/0blFC
Yahoo! discussion group: goo.gl/aCOVn