The third annual MEGA Family Conference gets underway Saturday, promising a full day of workshops and discussions for LGBT parents and those considering parenthood. The event, hosted by MEGA Family Project, is set for 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta.

“It is the only opportunity in the Southeast for families to come together to discuss the unique challenges and issues we face. It is aimed to give parents the tools they need to help their children through various issues they may encounter. It is also an excellent opportunity for people considering adding children to their family to learn about the options, the cost, and the practical issues involved in having kids,” said Kathy Kelly, MEGA Family Project executive director.

“We offer older kids the opportunity to participate in an all-day program to discuss their feelings and any challenges they may be experiencing in their families. And finally, it is an excellent opportunity for families to come together to get to know one another and to give our kids the opportunity to spend the day with other kids from families like theirs,” she said.

About 150 attendees and 40 presenters are expected, Kelly said. The conference offers childcare for younger children, Kid’s Camp for ages 3 to 8, and a special track of discussions and special events like rock climbing for kids ages 9 and older. Registration is still available online at www.megafamilyproject.org. Participants may also attend without registering in advance if they do not need childcare.

You don’t have to be a parent to attend. “We have an entire day of workshops geared toward creating a family, and we also offer four workshops about relationships, sex, legal protections, and money that don’t have anything to do with kids,” Kelly said.

The relationship-oriented workshops were among the most popular last year.

“Last year we heard from many participants how amazing they thought the day was. The common theme was that it exceeded their expectations,” Kelly said. “People loved the workshop about sex, and the other favorite was about disciplining your kids. The older kids loved going rock climbing, and the younger kids got to meet a police officer.”

This year’s workshops include the following:

Creating a Family Track
Prospective Parents: Professionals Discuss Options for Becoming an LGBT Parent
Prospective Parents: Parents Share Their Journey to Parenthood
Prospective Parents: Legal Issues for Prospective Parents 
Do I Really Want Kids?: Money, Time, Lifestyle & Love

Relationship Topics
Strengthening Your Relationship
Legal Protections for Couples

Parenting/Family Topics
Anti-gay Politics and Our Kids
Childhood Obesity
Talking to Kids About Sperm and Egg Donors
Moms Raising Sons
Dads Raising Daughters
Disciplining Kids
Families of Color: Our Unique Experience
Helping Our Children With Adoption Grief
White Parents Raising Kids of Color (panel discussion)
Helping Our Children in a Culture of Homophobia
Combatting Heterosexist Messages from School, TV, & Society
Unique Challenges of Raising Kids from Foster Care
Teaching Your Child About Race, Homophobia, & Discrimination
Negotiating Parenting Roles for Same-Gender Parents: Is Equality a Myth?
Parenting on the Same Page, Or At Least From the Same Book!
Everyone’s Watching: LGBT Super Parent Syndrome
Being “Out” or “In” as a Parent
Single Parents: Unique Challenges and Blessings

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