Sorry, you don't get pictures:</i>
A New Year's Baby With an Additional Difference: 2 Moms
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 2, 2003; Page A01
The 5-pound 2-ounce girl emerged into this world one minute after midnight, and by yesterday afternoon, all the usual "First Baby of the Year" celebratory trappings had been assembled in the hospital lobby.
The reporters and microphones and cameras and tripods. The proud hospital staff. And at the center of all the attention, amid family members, the snoozing, swaddled being who knows little of the world beyond the new year.
There were the usual words, too.
"She's adorable. She's perfect. She's brilliant. All those good things."
Yet for all the ways in which the scene at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital was a familiar one, neither the media crowd that had gathered nor the legal system in Virginia was fully ready for this baby and its family.
The infant girl, conceived through artificial insemination, will have two mommies: Helen Rubin, 33, who gave birth, and Joanna Bare, 35, her partner.
"Can we get a picture of the baby with its mother?" someone from the media pack asked.
"Sure -- which mother would you like?" Bare responded.
Photos were taken both ways.
But while the media barrage provided a few awkward moments yesterday afternoon -- the biological father is a family friend whom the couple declined to identify -- Virginia's legal system has proved less hospitable.
Just last week, the couple moved from Vienna to Bethesda because in Virginia, they said, it would be impossible for the couple to share full parental rights. Bare is seeking to adopt the child, giving her parental rights along with Rubin, the birth mother.
"Virginia does not permit second-parent adoption," said the couple's attorney, Mina Ketchie of Arlington, whose practice focuses on alternative family law. "Quite frankly, in these matters of law, Virginia is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century -- and we're in the 21st century. It is not a very gay-friendly state."
Census figures and other studies show that a significant number of lesbian couples have children living with them. The fact that a baby touted as the year's first in the Washington area was born into an "alternative family" reflects the growing trend, some said.
Ketchie recommends that clients in similar situations with similar aspirations for sharing parental duties move from Virginia to Maryland, the District or Pennsylvania.
Because of the legal barriers in Virginia, Bare, a management consultant who works in Vienna, said she now chooses to commute.
"We're not interested in any legal battles -- that's why we moved," she said. "I really like living in Virginia. But it's more important to be a parent."
Rubin and Bare have been together for 12 years.
"We eventually decided it was time to have kids, like anyone else would," Rubin said. "Hopefully, we'll be like any family."
Asked what they will tell their child, who is not yet named, about the birth, Bare said: "We'll answer her questions when she starts asking them. What else can we do?"
The couple arrived at the hospital Monday night with no intentions of having the first baby born in the Washington area in 2003 -- nor, for that matter, of becoming a symbol of alternative families.
"She has a traditional family," said Howard Rubin, proud grandfather. "There are grandparents on both sides. . . . Their decision to have a child was a great boost for us. We just consider ourselves to be grandparents just as much as our friends who have grandchildren."
For medical reasons, labor was induced Tuesday morning. There were 15 hours of labor, and as the new year approached, some in the hospital room began to talk about the prospect of having one of the first babies of 2003.
Rubin said she had other priorities.
"When it was getting close to midnight, people were talking about it," Rubin said. "But I really hoped it wouldn't take that long. It just so happened that it did."
Shorter, non registration, no picture version: http://www.bayarea.com/mld/cctimes/news/breaking_news/4859275.htm