They say it takes a village to raise a child. For us gay dads, it takes a village to MAKE a child, so my first piece of advice to any gay dads-to-be is to start recruiting members to your village. NOW!
Funny enough, our story begins when I was recruited into Andrea and Emily’s village, whom I met as they were hoop-jumping on their own journey to motherhood. They were looking for a known donor, someone who would provide sperm and then possibly disappear (if that was my preference). During the ensuing year, we all became good friends and creating this child together meant a great deal to each of us. When Tobin was born and my partner and I were referred to as Uncle Norm and Uncle Frank, our world changed. We knew then that it was time for us to get started with a family of our own.
Andrea’s family became the inaugural members of OUR village. They connected us with our fertility doctor. They helped map out our journey, they cheered along with our successes and they cried with us when we hit roadblocks. The village grew as we added lawyers, psychologists, nurses and a surrogacy agency into the mix.
Another great friend of ours, Nicole, agreed to be our egg donor. Having a separate donor and surrogate was important to us, as we thought it would help minimize attachment between the baby and the women who’d help us along the way. Having said that, our son is constantly bathed with love from both these amazing women and we couldn’t be happier about that!
Finding a surrogate who matched our criteria was the most challenging part. We were looking for a young, healthy mom who was done having her own kids. It was important that she was in a stable relationship and she lived nearby so we could attend appointments together. Going through a surrogacy agency felt a bit like online dating at times, and after months of searching, the universe delivered Angela to us. The first time we met Angela with her four kids under the age of five, we knew we hit the jackpot! Her kind, loving, straight-forward and energetic personality made the rest of the journey memorable and enjoyable.
Since Luca came into our lives, our village continues to grow. We now refer to Andrea, Emily, Nicole and Angela’s families as part of our own. Distant family members now keep in touch more often. People who heard our story are reaching out to us with words of congratulations or advice on their own paths. Other same-sex couples and surrogates we met along the way keep in touch.
Looking back just a couple of years ago, there was no way we could have imagined how many new people would play such an important role in our lives. We know that the love that surrounds our son is helping him grow into a beautiful and healthy baby, and for this we are humbled and incredibly grateful. —Frank Emanuele, London, Ont.
Pictured above from left: Angela, Nicole holding baby Luca, Frank and Norm. This post originally appeared on Gay With Kids, a great website you should definitely check out.