How We Do Family: From Adoption to Trans Pregnancy, What We Learned about Love and LGBTQ Parenthood by Trystan Reese

One LGBTQ family's inspiring, heartfelt story of the many alternative paths that lead to a loving family, with lessons for every parent.

Synopsis -
Trystan and Biff had been dating for just a year when the couple learned that Biff's niece and nephew were about to be removed from their home by Child Protective Services. Immediately, Trystan and Biff took in one-year-old Hailey and three-year-old Lucas, becoming caregivers overnight to two tiny survivors of abuse and neglect.

From this unexpected start, the young couple built a loving marriage and happy home-learning to parent on the job. They adopted Hailey and Lucas, tied the knot, and soon decided to try for a baby that Trystan, who is transgender, would carry. Trystan's groundbreaking pregnancy attracted media fanfare, and the family welcomed baby Leo in 2017.

In this inspiring memoir, Trystan shares his unique story alongside universal lessons that will help all parents through the trials of raising children. How We Do Family is a refreshing new take on family life for the LGBTQ community and beyond. Through every tough moment and touching memory, Trystan shows that more important than getting things right is doing them with love.

Review -

How We Do Family is another fabulous title I found at my local library. I needed a new audio book and couldn't resist. I love memoirs that share from the heart, especially ones that open the door for me on unique lives beyond what I have personally experienced. I believe strongly in celebrating diversity and this book does just that.  Here is a marriage and family full of love that is truly unique. I am so glad in North America the freedom for them to build this life together exists.

This book is about more than just celebrating their family, though.  It is an open and honest discussion of what the journey of finding each other and building this life together was like - both the highs and the lows. Meeting, falling into an instant family not long into their relationship, the changes to their relationship parenthood brought, and the financial and many step process to full adoption is covered.  Trystan shares openly about their roller coaster ride and how they continued to find their way together.  What he shares holds a lot of truth for all couples.

When they chose to share Trystan's pregnancy publicly, the social media trolls came out in full force.  Anyone who has been pregnant knows the emotional ride it is even when uneventful. Add in being judged in the court of public opinion, trying to protect your two adopted kids, and working to build a positive birthing team that would supportive of a trans man's unique pregnancy journey, and you get a glimpse into the pressure they were under. 

This is a book I will be revisiting as it's a story of love and joy. Deep in my heart I hope more and more people who have chosen unique paths will chose to step bravely out of the shadows to share.  It's not easy, but it is the only way to help others see how beautiful humanity's diversity is. Love is a constant, not owned by one segment of society.  And it will continue to find new ways of expression.

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Meet the Author -

I've taken an unconventional path to become the man I am today. And an unconventional path means a different kind of biography. Join me on the journey.

When my partner and I became parents (overnight) to our niece and nephew, I wanted to find a way to tell our story— our uniquely queer story of hope when there’s hardship— to anyone who might benefit from it. I had seen firsthand how powerful stories could be, had witnessed the seismic shift that my own story could make in the lives of voters I spoke with during political campaigns. I analyzed the media landscape and decided to partner with the beloved parenting podcast The Longest Shortest Time. They told our adoption story over several episodes, one of which won a Best Documentary award at the Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award celebrating the best in audio storytelling.

When we decided to grow our family by having a biological child, my trans pregnancy became a unique opportunity to educate millions of people on family and love and community possibilities for LGBTQ folks. By partnering with reputable media outlets that were willing to tell the story with care and compassion, we were invited into homes across the globe. From news sites like CNN and NBC to TV shows like Good Morning UK and CBS This Morning, we were able to share our story in our words.
I partnered with GLAAD’s Trans Messaging Director throughout the entire process to ensure that my interviews would have the biggest positive impact possible while avoiding common myths and misconceptions about trans folks along the way.