What’s Different?

Published on: September 25, 2018

Families come in many shapes and sizes. We were happy to catch up with Nat and Gina, moms to two boys, who shared some of their perspectives on living in Thailand. (Note: The names of the interviewees have been changed to maintain confidentiality) As shared with Assistant Editor Rika Gupta Thank you, Nat and Gina, for taking the time out to answer a few questions and giving us some insight into your family’s expat life in Thailand. First, can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your family here?  Gina: We met 15 years ago and have been in an official domestic partnership since 2010. We have 2 sons (8 and 6 years old). Nat was working for the UN but quit after our first child was born; I work for a UN specialized agency in Bangkok. How long have you been in Thailand and when did you move here? How many places has your family lived in as expats?  Nat: We moved to Thailand in June 2013, so have been here five years. It’s our fourth duty station together; the second with kids. What do you like about living in Thailand?  Nat: The weather—no winter! We live in Nichada Thani and this makes it very easy for the kids to go to school nearby, and it’s also very safe.  We like that it’s easy to fly to different parts of Thailand or even the region. We’ve been to many places in Thailand, plus  Siem Reap, Luang Prabang, Hong Kong, Singapore….  Can you give us some insights about raising children in Thailand? Anything specific to being a family with two moms?  Gina: Raising children in Thailand is quite easy. There are good international schools and a good choice of indoor and outdoor activities. If you go to a private hospital, you never have to take appointments long in advance; they are much more flexible than in Europe. There’s nothing specific about being a family with two moms; we’ve never encountered any problem. At school, teachers and parents are generally very tolerant and open. As a same-sex couple, did you have any particular considerations to make before deciding to move to Thailand? Gina: The only consideration was regarding visas, but we were told that there wouldn’t be any problem. For UN staff and their recognized dependents, stay permits and visas are free and the respective offices can apply on their behalf. But Nat is not considered my spouse for the Thai authorities, so she does not have the same visa as our family. She must apply herself to Immigration, pay for stay permits and reentry visas, and report her residence every 90 days.  Do you worry about your children encountering questions or comments from other children? How do you prepare your children for this?  Nat: No, we do not worry about this. We raise our kids with love and tell them that there is nothing wrong with having two moms. So far, they have never had any problems. They usually know how to respond to someone asking about their father. And when they don’t know, they ask us. Any advice you can share with other same-sex expat parents recently moved or looking to move to Thailand?  Gina: Nothing specific, except that they need to know the Thai authorities will not recognize the union of the parents, whether it’s marriage or domestic partnership, and this may have implications on the visa status of the accompanying parent if that parent does not work. Thank you for sharing!
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