By Daniel A. Kusner – Life+Style Editor

For the Davis-Hall tribe, Mother’s Day is twice as nice

WE ARE FAMILY: The Davis-Hall clan — from left, Mister, Nique, LaShun, Landon and Sir Christopher. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

On Saturday, Seagoville residents Nique and LaShun Davis-Hall are getting kicked out of their house. Their three children — Sir Christopher, 16, Mister, 15 and Landon, 5 — need to prepare for Mother’s Day. When it comes to Mexican fare, Sir Christopher is apparently quite the gourmet — known for his honey-mustard-glazed tilapia, steamed green beans and fresh biscuits. And it looks like Sir Christopher will be whipping up a mega-feast, since his grandparents are also attending.

What’s it like being lesbian co-parents in Seagoville, Texas?

"Honestly? No one ever treats us like we’re different. The neighborhood kids come over all the time. And since I’m the one who’s always cooking goodies, I’m known as Mama Q — the ‘cool mom’," Nique explains.

About 10 years ago, Nique first met LaShun when she showed up for a new job at a customer services company in Ennis. On her second day of training, Nique secured seat next to LaShun, and the women immediately hit it off.

Sir Christopher and Mister actually have a different last name — Reames — from Nique’s first marriage. LaShun always wanted to experience motherhood as well, so they started researching adoption and in vitro conception.

"But we’re lower middle-class black women, and we’re lesbians. We already had two kids, and we just couldn’t afford it — the prices and legal fees. We lost hope. Either you spit the kid out yourself or it just wasn’t going to happen. Maybe one day we’ll get to be grandmothers together," Nique remembers.

Word spread on the grapevine that Nique and LaShun were hoping to adopt. And one of Nique’s co-workers knew a young mother who was expecting another child. The woman was two months pregnant and planning on giving up the child for adoption. Nique and LaShun began building a type of friendship with the pregnant woman. They introduced her to Sir Christopher and Mister. They ate together, rubbed the woman’s belly and spoke to the baby during in utero development.

When the biological mother went into labor, Nique and LaShun were the first ones called. LaShun brought Landon home from the hospital, and Nique made the pregnant woman a promise. "That Landon would always know she was adopted, and that her biological mother had made Landon for her two mommies," Nique said.

The adoption process was challenging. For six months, Landon was a ward of the state. During the interview process, LaShun was going to be the adoptive parent. And Nique was portrayed as Landon’s legal guardian and godmother. The Davis-Hall family had just been approved for a four-bedroom house. Nique would have the master bedroom; Mister and Sir Christopher would shared a bedroom; LaShun would have her own bedroom, and Landon’s nursery would be the fourth bedroom. It was like two single women in one house.

"This is Texas. And we wanted to avoid a lot of red tape. So we learned to keep our mouths closed and do what we had to do. We never lied. But during the home study, we never mentioned that LaShun and I were partners," Nique explains.

"During those first six months, we were scared to death," Nique continues.

The biological mother was having pangs of guilt. And Nique says the communication they established during the pregnancy was a tremendous help. Nique says she became like an older sister to the woman. And some of the biological mother’s stress was alleviated when she saw that Landon was going to have two polite older brothers and two loving moms.

Every now and then, Nique crosses paths with Landon’s biological mother.

"At the beginning of the year, I saw her at Wal-Mart. She ran up to me and hugged me. It’s funny how God does things. Every time we’re run into each other, I’ve never been with Landon," Nique says.

Since Nique has been a mother in a heterosexual family and a lesbian-run family, is there a noticeable difference?

"Ummm …. PMS?" she laughs. "To be perfectly honest, there really is no difference whatsoever."

— Daniel A. Kusner

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 9, 2008.
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