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Old 14.11.2013, 20:56
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Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Hi,

My partner and I will be moving to Basel in the new year. We have two adopted, mixed race children and we currently live in Manchester. Living here, our distinct family make up is fairly normalised. The kids have other friends at school who are adopted and friends who have gay parents.

I am interested in finding out what people think perceptions of this type of family might be like in Basel. I am also aware that it is not currently possible for gay couples to adopt in Switzerland due to legal restrictions. It is however, legal in France. We haven't decided yet whether to live in Switzerland or France so any ideas regarding this would be appreciated.

We are planning on this being a long term move and will send the kids into the state run education system, Swiss or French.

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
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Old 14.11.2013, 21:11
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Considering that you are not Swiss and neither is your partner, then I guess it does not matter if you have adopted kids as a gay couple as this did not take place here and in my best opinion the same rules will not apply. Secondly, Basel is a very relaxed city when it comes to such factors. There will be no issue at all. Have a good move and a good time in basel. .
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Old 14.11.2013, 21:18
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

I know 3 Swiss families in this area (Jura - bordering Baselland) with adopted children of different races - so whilst it certainly isn't terribly usual, it's not unheard of.

I can't answer to the gay couple with kids aspect unfortunately but have been pleasantly surprised by the tolerance of rural Swiss society with regard to gay couples (well this was when we lived in a small village in Baselland) as tolerance is sometimes something that is missing in rural areas - of most countries.

Basel itself is tolerant and left wing leaning. I am not sure as to Alsace.
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Old 14.11.2013, 21:38
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

We live in a very small vilage in Alsace. I often feel like I live amongst the kindest 1000 people of France.
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Old 14.11.2013, 22:10
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Brutal answer: French school and Swiss school have little in common. Two very!! different school careers ahead of children. The younger the kids the less you notice, so when you do, it's too late to change. And a fact you must understand quickly: Alsace is Alsace, forget France.

Hard core answer: Being foreigner and mixed race will bring the usual crap reactions and stupidity that you know from other places. The gay part is the least of the issues there. Bullying takes place in every school for all kinds of reasons. at least you know the one kids will misuse to try the usual school yeard power game so your children are probably the best prepared kids in the country to deal with mockery anyway.

Soft core answer: You are not the only gay couple with children in the area, and it is all right for people. You would also be amazed how gay teachers keep a close eye on those things in schols even if it is not made public. If you choose international schooling, the acceptance is very high. If you choose French school and village, it is a question of time and live let live attitude. In Basel local school, the gay issue is a non issue, nobody sees it as an issue to deal with and at the same time, the usual daily common intolerence meets the usual common openness and one finds a balance one way or another.
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Old 15.11.2013, 10:57
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

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Brutal answer: French school and Swiss school have little in common. Two very!! different school careers ahead of children. The younger the kids the less you notice, so when you do, it's too late to change. And a fact you must understand quickly: Alsace is Alsace, forget France.

Hard core answer: Being foreigner and mixed race will bring the usual crap reactions and stupidity that you know from other places. The gay part is the least of the issues there. Bullying takes place in every school for all kinds of reasons. at least you know the one kids will misuse to try the usual school yeard power game so your children are probably the best prepared kids in the country to deal with mockery anyway.

Soft core answer: You are not the only gay couple with children in the area, and it is all right for people. You would also be amazed how gay teachers keep a close eye on those things in schols even if it is not made public. If you choose international schooling, the acceptance is very high. If you choose French school and village, it is a question of time and live let live attitude. In Basel local school, the gay issue is a non issue, nobody sees it as an issue to deal with and at the same time, the usual daily common intolerence meets the usual common openness and one finds a balance one way or another.
I was going to say exactly the opposite!

In our parts we are used to mixed-race kids and adopted children as well, and I don't think anybody would bat an eyelid.

The gay adoptive parents, on the other hand, might be more tricky. This can be an emotional topic for some people, and kids can be cruel as soon as you don't correspond to their 'norm'.

Considering gay couples can't (yet) adopt in CH, it's not 'normal' yet.

Not to say that things will go awfully wrong. You might very well be pleasantly surprised!

Best of luck with your move!
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Old 15.11.2013, 11:18
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

I find Alsace very reactionary - I live in Saint Louis, maybe it is better elsewhere, but politically the whole area is very conservative. It doesn't generally bother me in my daily life, but I would imagine it might be difficult. Unfortunately there is also racism. My daughter has told me about black children being called horrible names. They are very much the minority - although there are a large number of other nationalities - eg Turkish, North African - and unfortunately these can often be the most racist, in my experience, which I really find ironic - I would imagine a little more tolerance from other 'newcomers'. Sorry to be negative
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Old 15.11.2013, 11:26
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

I can't speak for Basel as I don't live there but here in Neuchatel I know of one female gay German couple with three adopted kids ( although not mixed race) and they don't have any problems at all. They are just treated like any other family around here.
We also have white friends with two adopted kids who are not mixed race but one is Chinese and the other from Cameroon so both very different from the parents and indeed each other and they've not had any issues either.

It's not unusual to see mixed race kids around here and there are people if all nationalities around here. I think in the larger more liberal areas ( like Basel) people are generally more open and tolerant of people who could be considered 'different'.
If you were moving to a small village in one of the smaller canton like Apenzell, or Uri or Schwyz for example things may be a bit different.
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Old 15.11.2013, 13:22
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Thanks very much to you all for your responses, it's really helpful for us to get some ideas from people who are living in the region and have some insights into these things. We are very excited about the prospect of moving and are really looking forward to the experience - I'm sure it will be tricky for the kids to adapt at the beginning however, I have every confidence in their adaptability and resilience. Thanks again.
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Old 15.11.2013, 19:25
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

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I was going to say exactly the opposite!
That's OK. and not really that opposite anyway. Anything will do when it comes to find a pretext to bully, discriminate or just make fun of. Which of the three will kick in first (foreigner, gay mixed race)... or none at all, that will time show.
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Old 16.11.2013, 01:34
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Hi, I think your attitude is great. Maybe I was exaggerating, in the sense that my daughter's best friend is mixed race, and she doesn't seem to experience any aggro. It might be the case that when kids want to bully they use the race card as an excuse. I'm sure you will be fine wherever you choose. Good luck!
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Old 16.11.2013, 09:30
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

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...Hard core answer: Being foreigner and mixed race will bring the usual crap reactions and stupidity that you know from other places. The gay part is the least of the issues there. ...
That's what my kids just said as well (mixed race).

The question seems though also not just to about tolerance, but the legal situation. Will the adoption be recognised in Switzerland?
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Old 16.11.2013, 11:45
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

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That's what my kids just said as well (mixed race).

The question seems though also not just to about tolerance, but the legal situation. Will the adoption be recognised in Switzerland?
Oh I don't doubt it at all, we agree that children inthe school yeard will find something to make fun of each other, this or something else, equal danger but also equal chance to get a smoothe transition.

Adoption is not a topoc of discussion. If it becomes one, it takes a couple of years to get through the process because for this kind of topic, there would surely be a referendum.
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Old 16.11.2013, 15:22
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Basically, you've gotten the bingo in "things swiss people don't like". Seriously, I couldn't imagine anything that would upset Swiss people more. Well, you could be either a Muslim or anything but catholic/reformed. Then everyone in this country would dislike you to one extent or another.

Will this make your life here a living hell?

No.

And this is very important. Swiss people are friendly and polite to everyone. However, the second you're out of the room, they'll talk about you. Just to be clear on this: You will never escape the stigma or the gay foreigner. Never. There won't be any crosses burned in your yard and nobody will spit in your face. But you will be on the fringes of Swiss society.

Your kids, however, they will have a bit of a harder time. As you know, kids are cruel. And foreigners are generally disliked, especially if they don't know the language. However, I'm not sure about the skin colour thing. When I went to school, the few black kids we had were ostracized but not outright bullied. They were called names, yeah, and nobody wanted to be their friend out in the open, but they were not hated. This, however, seems to have changed a lot in the last fifteen years. So that might not be the big issue here. There still will be the gay-thing, though. The Swiss aren't quite that far yet.

I would, however, recommend sending the kids to Swiss schools, because a Swiss education does hold some prestige. Also, it's not too cool if your kids have all their school-friends in a completely different country. Visits after school have to be some sort of huge orchestrated event that needs some planning. None of the "Hey, dad, I'm going to play some XBox over at Sam's!" which might make your kids somewhat lonely in the long run. Because they don't really interact with the neighbours and the kids from school outside of school. And, seriously, don't do that to them.

tl;dr: Will you be fine? Yeah, most likely. Unless you're being a twit, you'll be okay. Will you have to face obstacles? Just repeat your current family situation to yourself and make an educated guess.
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Old 16.11.2013, 16:12
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

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... There still will be the gay-thing, though. The Swiss aren't quite that far yet...
Two lads in my daughter's class came out in the last weeks of their last term a few years ago. There wasn't any problem.
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Old 16.11.2013, 16:20
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

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Two lads in my daughter's class came out in the last weeks of their last term a few years ago. There wasn't any problem.
I havn't seen any issue with older students either. Although the secret seems to be to have more selfconfidence as gay than the homophobics as homophobics. Kind of classic Teflon-Kevlar case.
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Old 16.11.2013, 17:45
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

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Hi,

My partner and I will be moving to Basel in the new year. We have two adopted, mixed race children and we currently live in Manchester. Living here, our distinct family make up is fairly normalised. The kids have other friends at school who are adopted and friends who have gay parents.

I am interested in finding out what people think perceptions of this type of family might be like in Basel. I am also aware that it is not currently possible for gay couples to adopt in Switzerland due to legal restrictions. It is however, legal in France. We haven't decided yet whether to live in Switzerland or France so any ideas regarding this would be appreciated.

We are planning on this being a long term move and will send the kids into the state run education system, Swiss or French.

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated.
You must also remember that Switzerland has recently put restrictions on immigration to the country. In addition, do you have a job lined up? What about finances? I don't think it is as easy a matter of moving to Switzerland as you might think. Are one of you Swiss? Check out the legalities first...Good Luck
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Old 16.11.2013, 19:46
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

We are moving because my partner has been offered a job. We are both EU citizens and the company will be arranging residence permits etc... As it is legal in Switzerland for Gay people to adopt their partner's existing children we do not foresee any serious legal implications regarding our status. We may be something of an anomaly but we certainly won't be the only gay couple with children whose family formation has involved adoption. Once again, thank you all for your encouragement, warnings and insights.
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Old 16.11.2013, 20:08
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Take contact with Pink Cross for questions. They know their stuff, but don't expect any significant problems in Basel for being a gay familly.
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Old 16.11.2013, 23:05
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Re: Gay couple & adopted kids moving to Basel

Interesting questions. I know gay couples, I know mixed race kids, I know adopted kids (being one myself), and I know immigrants (again one of them). But the combination of all of these is new to me...

I will go one by one...

Gay parents, now there is something that is still "out of the ordinary" here around Basel. Of course you will not be the first, and definitely not the last. But it is not like 30% of parents are gay, so you will still stand out. However, I don't think it is a problem. Baselland, Baselstadt, and the Basel-side of Solothurn are very international, and I really don't think anyone will act queer when they hear you are gay. I don't know about the French side.

For the kids, having gay parents, I don't know. Your kids may be bullied. Bullies take anything to throw at their victims. Of course, kids can be and are being bullied even if their parents are not gay....

Having mixed race kids should really not be an issue around here. My kids are mixed race. They really fit in with the crowd from Austria, Italy, France, UK, etc.... And now that we have lived here for 5 years, their Swiss German is as good as and usually better than their "real" Swiss friends. Nothing to worry from that side.

The adopted part is a bit more difficult. Not with the Swiss, but because of the intrinsic difficulties of adoption. To keep it simple, I just tell (Swiss) people my nationality but also tell them that I have been adopted from a country in the far east when I was a baby. To most Swiss people, that makes me European, and the color of my skin is explained by my adoption, and that usually satisfies their curiosity. Most Swiss people know families who have adopted kids. The adoption process is usually very thorough, and the adoptive parents are really scrutinized. Therefore, if anything, if you managed to adopt kids, especially when you are gay, odds are that they think you must be really good parents !!! (kidding, but don't exclude the possiblity!)

No, for me the most important thing would be to learn German as soon as possible. Knowing the lingo means you can deal with any of the many issues that will come your way directly. It means you will be able to talk to the teachers, to the city hall administrators, etc. Buy the book "Living and working in Switzerland", memorize it, and follow the recommendations.

You mention that this would be a long term plan. To me, that sounds like a good plan, because it will allow your kids to integrate in the best possible way. If they are young enough, put them in the local Swiss school. When looking for a place to live, first find out where the schools are. It makes everybody's life much easier if you rent a place where your kids don't need to cross a dangerous road on their way to school, as they are expected to walk to school as soon as kindergarten. I walked my daughter to school when she was 5. Now she is 6, and walks by herself (only one dangerous road).

Regarding living in Switzerland or France, I prefer Switzerland as my German is much better than my French. Also, I like the Swiss society better than the French one, although the rules around here can be a bit... over the top. Then again, just follow the rules, and you are fine. Knowing German may help understanding the rules in the first place....

Regarding housing, first get yourself a temporary "Wohnung" (appartment) for three months or so. Use that time to thoroughly orientate yourself where you would like to live. Make sure you have a car, so that you can drive around on a daily basis to explore the neighbourhood. On the usual monday morning, kids should be in school, not on the street. Wednesday afternoon it is the other way around. Kids are then free from school, so they should be playing outside. Watch were they are playing, and how the ambiance feels to you. Where there is a lot of honest playing of kids with the occasional parent taking a look, that is probably where you want your kids to grow up.
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