Sateenkaariperheet – Rainbow Families Finland is a joint organisation of all rainbow families and those planning a rainbow family. We represent and support different families where one or more parents belong to a gender or sexual minority. The range of rainbow families is wide and includes all genders, sexual orientations and family forms – for instance, blended families, foster families, adoption families, families including one, two or more parents, and polyamorous rainbow families.
Sateenkaariperheet – Rainbow Families Finland in English
Sateenkaariperheet operates mostly in Finnish. We can also offer personal counselling and other support in English as well. From time to time, there are also English-speaking peer support groups. Our group activities depend on our volunteers – come and join us and initiate activities in your own language!
On this page
- Counselling and support
- Groups and events
- Safer Space
- The status of rainbow families in Finland
- Come and join!
Counselling and support
Be in touch and tell us about your needs. Let’s consider together what we could offer you in your own language or in another language familiar to you.
If you are looking for information about legal rights, family formation or our activities for rainbow families, you can be in touch with our help desk. The service can be accessed via email or telephone. You can send an e-mail to email@example.com. Our phoneline is open on Wednesdays 12pm-1pm and on Thursdays 9am-10am. Our telephone number is +358 50 321 0048. The service is closed during the holidays.
We also offer short-term support in various difficult family situations.
Groups and events
Our volunteers in more than ten regional chapters around Finland organise various group activities. Most local chapters organise at least informal family meet-ups where families can gather to play, chat and drink coffee together. Bigger municipalities also host discussion groups for adults on different topics as well as activities for school children. Those planning a family of their own have their own thematic groups in some regions. Our local volunteers also organise different kinds of family events, excursions and camp activities.
You can find information on local groups and events in our newsletter >> which is unfortunately currently available only in Finnish. You can find further information on events by being in touch with your own region’s local team >> Our informal family meet-ups and excursions usually always also have English-speaking participants. You can turn to your region’s local team to inquire about the language skills of the local discussion groups and their hosts.
You can find all our events on the Finnish-language event calendar >>
Safer space principles
It is important that everyone taking part in any activities by Rainbow Families Finland has the opportunity to feel comfortable and welcomed as themselves. The responsibility for the creation of a safer space falls on everyone collectively. This is why we have developed the following principles to be followed at all moments of coming together.
Act with sensitivity.
There are many kinds of people, families, and relationships. Don’t assume the gender of another participant, or their family member, based on their appearance or name. Make a choice to not call children boys or girls, and don’t try to guess what a parent wants to be called. Don’t make assumptions or generalisations about the sexual orientation, family and love relationships, parenthood, bodies, or backgrounds of others. Respect everyone’s right to self-determination and indeterminacy, meaning the right to decide and share with others who and what they are.
Everything that is shared in a meeting is absolutely confidential. It is also confidential who is in a meeting at a certain moment. Don’t take or publish photos without the permission of everyone visible in the picture.
Give everyone an equal chance to use their voice, or to remain in the background if they choose to. Everyone can only ever speak for themselves. We learn from one another by truly listening.
You can participate according to your own needs.
Feel free to share as much or as little about things important to you as you wish. You do not need to share anything. Remember to take your own wellbeing into account.
Be respectful and friendly.
Show respect to others and to their experiences. Value the borders set by others. Please don’t touch another person without their consent, for example.
Give and receive feedback.
Some individuals may have practised sensitive ways of talking and actions for quite some time, while others are only at the beginning of this journey. Attitude is key, along with a desire to learn to act sensitively. If someone uses a term that is offensive, or which misrepresents a certain situation, correct it matter-of-factly. When making a mistake, take in the feedback. You can say, for instance: “Sorry. Thank you for correcting me.”
We do not tolerate harassment, racism, or discrimination. If you notice some form of harassment or other inappropriate conduct taking place, don’t remain a silent bystander. Go to the person experiencing the harassment for support, and inform the harasser of the reason: “What you just did is not ok”, for example. If you are unable to intervene in the situation yourself, please inform the event organisers immediately.
If you experience or witness harassment, discrimination, or inappropriate behaviour, please inform the event organisers. If you want to get in touch about a situation later, please get in touch with Rainbow Families Finland’s equality coordinators R Räihä and Sanna Metsäpuu. You can reach them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The status of rainbow families in Finland
Finnish rainbow families are very diverse and children become part of families in many different ways.
- Infertility treatments using donor cells are available to female couples and single females, also at public health clinics where treatments are significantly more affordable but also limited in quantity. Transgender and non-binary individuals should access these services on the same terms. Some families make the insemination at home.
- Co-parenting is a common way to become a family with children in Finland. It is the most common path to parenthood for male couples and single men. Co-parenting involves parenting a child according to a defined plan in two homes from the birth of the child, for instance when a male-male and female-female couple make an agreement to divide parenting between themselves.
- Foster parenting is possible for also same-sex couples and single individuals. A child in foster care is placed in a family of assessed and trained foster parents. Rainbow Families Finland association carried out an initiative in 2018-2020 where foster parenting practices within the sphere of child welfare were developed and staff skills were improved in order to better take into account the status of rainbow families in foster care
- Adoption became legal for same-sex couples in 2017 and the first adoptions were confirmed in 2019. Both domestic and international adoptions are now theoretically possible, although in Finland the number of adoptions is very small.
- Surrogacy is prohibited in Finland in two ways. Doctors are forbidden to supply fertility treatments if they suspect a surrogacy birth. The court cannot approve an adoption if the adoptive parents have paid for it. Informal arrangements in Finland are possible, for example, by attending fertility treatments abroad or performing a home insemination. Second-parent adoption can be made after the birth of a child as long as no payment has been paid to the surrogate. Some families also travel abroad for commercial arrangements. The current legal situation makes all the arrangements very vulnerable by nature.
You can ask for more information regarding different possibilities for starting a family through our counselling service >> Our website also includes an English-language overview of the legal status of rainbow families in summer 2019 >> Here is the essential family legislation in a nutshell:
- Marriage is possible for both same-sex couples and couples of different sexes
- Second-parent adoption is possible for also same-sex parents
- Joint adoption is possible for also same-sex parents and singles
- A female couple who has received fertility treatment can be confirmed as parents by giving mutual consent to the treatment without the need for second-parent adoption
- Unfortunately, legal parenting is not possible for families with more than two parents, but custody of a child can usually be obtained for at least three people.
- The child can have a legally established right of access to a third de facto parent by court ruling or after open adoption.
- The child’s parents and guardians can enter into legally binding agreements on the child’s custody, housing, division of responsibilities, and access to information.
In Finland, families have relatively broad opportunities for various services and benefits. Most services and benefits also take rainbow families into account either well or moderately well. There are however unfortunate exceptions depending on individual caseworkers and, in part, inadequate legislation. Rainbow Families Finland has compiled Finnish-language materials for professionals in various fields >> about acknowledging the diversity of families. Many parents in rainbow families have found it helpful to bring these materials to their child’s daycare place, for example.
Parental leave rights have been renewed numerous times and a further reform is expected in 2021. Parental leave is available on the same terms to couples of different sexes and same-sex couples. The system does not yet (situation in 2020) allow for the distribution of parental leave in families with more than two parents. The titles of the benefits are still gendered, which sometimes complicates the situation of transgender and non-binary parents.
Our counselling service >> has more information about family formation opportunities, legislation, and available services and benefits.
Come and join us!
We would like to wish a warm welcome to everyone who wants to join us