Parenting a Transgender Child
"Mom, I want to be a boy!' Wow-what did I even say? I was taking my daughter to her work that summer a year ago when she revealed this deep truth about who he needed to be. Honestly I could not wrap myself around this concept. What did this mean? The only awareness was from my reading Middlesex. I was truly in the dark. I was plunged into the wilderness for several months.
My daughter revealed his wishes to his sister then my husband and then myself. My husband and I talked and talked. I prayed and I worried. We started traveling into the unknown.
Being a mother of a LGBT+ means taking a journey. A step of faith into the unknown. But along the journey there have been signs of welcome: The GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at the high school where my son feels welcomed and accepted. The Harbinger (high school newspaper) where several articles have been written about Transgenders. The Transgender Institute where our family has been counseled. The FTM support group. (A group of young people supporting each other during their transition from Female to Male.) Family and friends who have accepted, loved and supported us with articles and resources. His sisters who have reminded my husband and I to use the proper pronoun. My son, himself for having patience for his father and myself for trying to get it right. Children's Mercy Hospital and the care Dr. Jacobsen (his endocrinologist) has given. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who adopted the resolution: ALL is ALL!
( Note: this happened the summer my son revealed his identity to us near the 17th anniversary of his birth. )
Recently in a gathering of family friends from school, a mother of a classmate revealed to me with tears in her eyes that she could not help but notice the confidence that my son now had. She had never seen this before in my daughter and was overwhelmed by the change. Our family felt welcomed and accepted in our community. Thank You!
I still worry. I am still praying. I know that everything will be ok!
Lisa Engelken's life motto is life is all about Plan B." When you think have everything planned, organized, and ready to go-God calls us elsewhere. Lisa, along with her husband Bill, has four beautiful children and has hosted three courageous daughters from Germany and Brazil. Her life is wonderfully crazy. In the midst of the chaos of raising children, Lisa was called into ministry to help share story - the people of God's faithful stories - not to just children but to their families. When she is not sharing the story, you will find her at the school, the office, the sports fields, or at the grocery store!
Lisa Engelken is a trainer in Children Worship & Wonder, a Montessori-based worship with children. She serves on this team with 20 other trainers through Disciples Home Missions. She is a license minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) serving in the Greater Kansas City Region. Children and Family Ministry is her passion and she has led families to explore their faith together through the house church model for the last several years.