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Lesbian Moms’ Network holds second annual parenting conference

By |2005-10-20T09:00:00-04:00October 20th, 2005|News|

By Sara Holwerda

ANN ARBOR – This past Sunday was the second annual parenting conference of the Lesbian Moms’ Network of Washtenaw County for LGBT families.
The conference kicked off with keynote speaker Tamara Kolton’s presentation; “Being the Parent You Wanted to Have,” which focused on healing “intergenerational cycles of parenting.”
The keynote address took place in the Vandenberg room in the Michigan League with the two-dozen attendees sitting in an intimate circle with Kolton.
After everyone had been introduced and had shared their concerns about parenting, Kolton acknowledged the tenderness of the topic of being a good parent, saying that it’s like “a teen being commented to on their weight.” She then assured that everyone had what he or she needed to be a good parent. “What resource you already have for being a good parent is gratitude…a thank you that doesn’t go away…children are gifts from the universe.”
Kolton’s second point was that couples need to “chart their own course” rather than follow the “program.”
“Why go mainstream now?” Kolton asked with a smile. “Mainstream created neurotic children.”
Trusting in the resilience of your children was another point stressed by Kolton. She also said that recognition of the “intergenerational cycle” is important to conscious parenting.
People are “programmed to seek out what is familiar,” she said, so taking the time to examine your past and release old issues is imperative to creating healthy situations, rather than finding yourself stuck in something familiar, but unhealthy.
Kolton stressed that it’s okay to have past issues. “We’re all wounded healers,” she said, adding that there’s no pride in being the healer and no shame in being wounded. “Sadness opens us up to each other.”
Kolton encouraged everyone to forgive his or her own parents. “Forgiveness gives you your life back,” she said.
Kolton is a Rabbi at the Birmingham Temple and holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, a Ph.D. in Judaic Studies and Humanistic Psychology, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a mother of two.
Bev Davison, President of the Coalition for Adoption Rights Equality, also spoke at the conference, and throughout the day there were workshops for the parents to attend. These included “Advocating for Children,” “Missing Links: The Importance of Birth Parents/Donors in Adoption and Donor Insemination,” the well-attended “Keeping Love Alive” “Lesbians Raising Boys,” “Becoming an Anti-Racist White Parent,” “Honoring Gender Expression in Kids” and “A Do-It Yourself Guide to Getting Pregnant Using Fertility Awareness and Donor Insemination.”
Childcare was provided for parents for the duration of the conference. In the first hour children were entertained by The Amazing Clark Magic Program in the Hussey Room of the Michigan League.
After the day of workshops, there was a family dance and pizza party.
This year’s conference had about fifty attendees, half of last year’s turnout.
Kelly Hammill of the Lesbian Moms’ Network said that not advertising sooner as well as similar offered workshops from the previous year probably hurt conference attendance. Low attendance and the difficulty of being single mothers organizing the event may contribute to the conference being held every other year, Hammill said.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.