First Name: Mitch, 53
Partner’s First Name: Peter, 47
Hometown/City: New York, NY
Number of Children: 1, Paul Nunzio (named for both living grandfathers)
When did you decide you wanted children?
When I was a teenager I used to fantasize about having a family, partly to deny my homosexuality. Later, it was really cemented for me when my younger brother became a dad accidentally, I knew if he could do it, so could I. Plus the reality of my own younger sibling having a baby made it seem more real to me.
My spouse comes from a large, close knit Italian family and it is something he always wanted as well but thought he could not have until we met and I told him I planned on becoming a dad.
How did you decide to either do surrogacy or adopt a child?
Money. We could not afford surrogacy.
Did you share your journey with your family and friends? If so, have they been supportive?
Yes. We spoke about it with everyone we knew, although not in great detail so as to not “jinx” it.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced raising a child as a gay man?
None. That’s why we chose to raise our son in Manhattan. The area is very diverse ethnically. Also, people are so progressive here that it felt like they were trying even harder to support us than a straight couple.
What do you wish you would have known before you started?
Nothing. We adopted the perfect child and if we had done it any other time or any other way, that might not have happened. I do regret that I did not do this at a younger age, but I was not prepared for it until I did it.
What was your biggest setback in the process?
No setbacks. We started advertising in early April, 2003 and our son was born on May 29th with us present. Except when the birth mom’s phone went missing for 2 weeks, we were pretty lucky.
Did you ever consider giving up?
No. I work a spiritual program in a 12 step fellowship and was really ready to “turn it over” to a higher power, so I had a lot of trust in the process. Also, we had been going to a support group. At the first meeting of the support group there were 2 different gay families with infants and we were told there was a 100% success rate. We felt we saw the proof and did not worry.
How has your life changed during this process? Before having kids and after having kids?
The marriage is tremendously strained, just like with the straights! We were together for 11 years before our son was born so we don’t miss our couple time, we had a decade to do all of that.
How much did you budget for the process?
We took it 1 day at a time, paid 35,000 which was paid over 2 years and some on credit cards. Financially we never felt a huge strain happening all at once. We never had a budget, we just did what we had to do.
Was your state/location a challenge to the process? How did it impact your decisions, if at all?
NY was no challenge. Advertising was done in states with easy adoption laws, i.e., we adopted in Arizona where the birth mom can sign away her rights 3 days after the birth.
Will you prepare your children to answer questions about his biological parent(s)?
We tell the truth when asked, and were told never to give more than the child is asking. The adults are the ones who tend to overshare and give more info than was requested, the kids are resilient and move on after 1-2 sentences. With the birth father, that was never discussed and I do feel that will be awkward. He has 2 dads, I never wanted to bring up a third. The mom is the piece that he occasionally asks about. I am waiting for the sex talk down the road to explain how he was made.
Would you be willing to share the name of the agency/sperm bank/other resources you used and why?
I would recommend everyone I dealt with, but not in this public forum. I do that with individuals privately. Our experience was terrific, as was the friends we recommended after us.
Any other advice, comments, or misc. wisdom about the gay parenting process?
We are not pioneers raising our child near our families in suburbia where our son’s family would be more noticeably different. We are just thrilled to be able to be in this awesome club with a child that seems to fit in perfectly with us and our families. Adopting an infant was also a blessing, no one else got to form this child except us.
Mitch is a Stay-At-Home-Dad blogging about parenting, adoption, giveaways, and product reviews at the blog Gay NYC Dad.