We are finally seeing some green sprouts in Massachusetts, and our support group gathering is now four months away. It is always such an exciting time for our group as we see registrations coming in and can start to anticipate seeing each other!
Camp Orchid 2019 in Little Rock is going to be a blast…camp fires, a lake to canoe and fish in, an accessible pool, walking trails on site, and hiking nearby, basketball court, and lots of indoor space for member-led sessions and conversations, not to mention karaoke and the usual fun we all get up to!
By way of introduction -- I’m Meg and am a mom of two intersex children. I have been a Board Member for 6 years, and a part of the Welcome Committee for longer than that. We have appreciated this support community for a long time now!
Our first contact was through the old Yahoo group for parents – and Arlene Baratz and Jane Goto were two of the welcoming, generous people we met in those early days. Back then, my concern was learning how to be a good parent to our kids – both toddlers when we brought them home – as we navigated this new world of being parents of intersex kids. Through talking with other parents and with intersex adults, we learned how to start talking with our kids about their intersex traits when they were just 3-4 years old. At every stage of their lives we have reached out to the group for advice – and have been met with such thoughtful, caring, generous help.
When our oldest was 11 years old, and youngest was 8, we felt like they were old enough to come to their first annual conference. We knew the kids needed to meet people like them, to know that there was a community there for them. We were all pretty nervous – but within a few hours our shy one had been drawn into the teens group – the youngest member by far, but welcomed nevertheless! Later that night, they said it was the “best day of my life!” Music to our ears for sure! Even at just 8 years old, our youngest had a meaningful experience, too – meeting intersex men (“the Jims”) who we could refer to over the years to remind him that there are other boys and men like him. At later conferences, he met some other boys his age, and that awareness of not being “the only one” has been a solid foundation through the years.
Through the Yahoo group (then Orchid Connect, and now Facebook groups) and the annual conferences our relationship with this community has deepened and expanded through the years. Our eldest has a crew of teens around the same age that are a part of their life, invaluable during the ups and downs, and has been able to reach out to young adults at times when there were decisions to make, or they just needed support and understanding we couldn’t provide. I can’t imagine our lives without this community!