All across the United States, alternative families are modernizing the American dream. In a new take on traditional household arrangements, “Daddy” and “Papa” trade off walking the dog, driving the kids to soccer practice, and juggling household chores. However, there is complexity hidden in the mundane—it is unlikely that this idyllic snippet of family life came so easily into being.

While many heterosexual couples take for granted the ability to conceive their own children, same-sex couples know just how difficult it can be to expand their families. A single episode of ABC’s hit show “Modern Family” portrays the heartache of a failed adoption attempt, when same-sex partners Mitchell and Cam drive for hours to pick up a new baby boy, only to find that his birth mother has changed her mind. While it is true that the process of bringing new children into the family can be daunting and disheartening, it is entirely doable and completely worth the work.

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