Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SX - "A gay dad's journey"

How altruistic surrogacy helped Aussie expat, Jonathan Melrose, become a proud dad.

“Hurry up, she’s here,” Naomi yelled through the cubicle wall.

I was taking a piss at precisely the time that our daughter, her birth mother, Naomi, her partner, Jennifer, and my partner, Derek, were coming back from the delivery suite.

Here was our daughter, the most precious thing I had ever seen in my entire life – newly born, all wrinkly, yellow and with a most pissed off look on her face.

But let me go back to the beginning.

Derek and I met in 2000, and pretty soon realised that we were a great team and that this was for keeps.

As all our straight friends started getting married and having children we pondered our own futures. Would we be forever the Uncles? We knew we wanted to create a family, but how?

When the UK introduced Civil Partnerships it also lifted the ban on same sex adoption. We thought this was the route for us.

In the middle of this adoption process, Derek’s first cousin, Jennifer, and her partner, Naomi, were visiting us. At breakfast on their second day, Naomi opened a conversation about surrogacy.

“We’ve been thinking about things,” she said, “and we feel that we can help you with creating your family”.

We were gob-smacked. They had thought through all of the associated issues from conception, pre and post natal, legal and health issues and presented us with an almost complete package. All we had to do was say yes. And of course, we said yes!

The following nine months seemed to drag on forever. We spent a lot of time finalising details around the surrogacy and transference of parental rights.

Jennifer was carrying the baby and all of her medical requirements were taken care of by the National Health Service (NHS). They were incredibly supportive.

Finally, the day arrived. I was at work in London and got the call that Jennifer had been taken to hospital. She was fine and the baby was fine but to be safe we’d better get there – soon. I called Derek and within hours we were off.

On June 27, 2006 our beautiful daughter was born via c-section at Irvine Hospital in Scotland.

Derek went into the delivery suite with Jennifer for the birth. He was so overcome he mistook the time, 10:40, for her birth weight!

Since then it’s been a roller coaster ride: late nights, early mornings, vomit and some of the most amazing nappies you have ever seen. But she melts my heart each day when I pick her up from the child minders and she looks at me and says, “I missed you today, Daddy”.

Ever since she was able to focus on faces she has clearly differentiated between her Dada (Derek) and Daddy (me).

One thing we hadn’t considered was how much our daughter would “out” us once she stared talking.

She’s as proud of us as we are of her – as she points us out to strangers saying, “This is my Daddy and this is my Dada”. Sweet.

The great thing about this is just how much people don’t seem to care – they smile sweetly at her and say that’s great, and tell us that we must be very proud. And we are. We are very proud of her.

She is the future. She and her peers will grow up surrounded by all kinds of families, same-sex families will be just another kind.

[Link: Original Article]

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