A new service, founded by a queer mom and attorney, aims to provide LGBTQ parents and prospective parents with family building resources and a personally vetted directory of family lawyers.

Gena Jaffe (L), wife Jordana (R) and their two children. Used with permission.

Gena Jaffe (L), wife Jordana (R) and their two children. Used with permission.

Gena Jaffe, a Philadelphia-based lawyer and mom, founded connecting rainbows after posting on social media about her and her spouse’s own journey to parenthood and receiving lots of questions. She told me via e-mail, “My wife and I have openly shared our fertility journeys on Instagram, as well as the second parent adoption process we had to go through. As a result, I have received a ton of questions over the years. While I am a practicing attorney, I do not specialize in estate planning or adoption, so I could never help anyone who came to me. Further, fertility is near and dear to my heart, and I feel a special connection to all those going through the treatments.”

After Amy Coney Barrett was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court last October, too, Jaffe said, “I started to talk more on my Instagram about the things same sex families should consider putting into place, God forbid same sex marriage was overturned.” She realized many prospective LGBTQ parents were encountering both a lack of information and misinformation. “I cannot even tell you how many people told me that lawyers either (1) would not work with them because they were a same sex couple or (2) gave them completely false information,” such as telling them that being on the birth certificate is enough to grant full legal rights to both same-sex parents. (As I’ve said myself many times, it’s not.) Jaffe then got the idea “to create a directory of attorneys across the US and Canada who specialize in working with LGBTQ+ couples on fertility law, adoption and estate planning.”

The LGBTQ Law Association already maintains a Family Law Attorney Directory and Family Equality has an LGBTQ+ Family Building Directory of fertility clinics, cryobanks, midwives, doulas, surrogacy clinics, and more who have completed one or more of the organization’s Open Door Professional Training Courses, but Jaffe says her directory will be different in having both legal and fertility resources in one place. In addition, she said, “My database will be unique in that it will be personal. I am limiting how many attorneys I recommend so that I can ensure that the people listed are (1) well-versed in working with the LGBTQ+ community and (2) it’s not overwhelming for people to decide who to call. I have garnered trust with my audience over the years, so they can feel confident in whom I am recommending.”

She explained further:

I will be capping it around five lawyers per state (in the larger states)—closer to three in the smaller states. I want to take the stress, overwhelm + research out of the equation for the individuals who are coming to the site. I am personally speaking to every lawyer who is listed on the site. I want to get a good sense of who they are, how they operate and how they will care for my community. I don’t need someone who has the most experience. I want someone who is not only competent but also compassionate. Someone who gets the younger generation.

The new website will include not only a directory of lawyers and fertility resources, but also expert interviews and a blog where “families can share their own fertility or adoption journeys, coming out stories and transition experiences.” She asserted, “I believe education is empowering, and I want to help people understand the journey and what to expect. My vision is that this space will help people feel less alone in whatever it is they are going through; a space where they can find comfort and hope.”

Informative and trustworthy resources are vital for us LGBTQ parents and parents-to-be. That’s why for years I’ve also maintained my own Mombian Resource Directory—which is in some ways a meta-directory of resources like connecting rainbows and the other directories mentioned above—on LGBTQ family building, legal issues, raising kids, caring for ourselves, and more. I appreciate that Jaffe is bringing her professional expertise to bear in offering LGBTQ folks a more focused approach to finding legal and family creation help, and I look forward to seeing how her site evolves.