Glen and Ricky: Gay Dads with Heart

The aspiration for establishing a family started for Ricky and myself during the early stages of our relationship, building a strong, enduring connection over time. Before we met in the late nineties, we each were seeking more than just a partner—we each wanted a life-companion to share and develop a sense of positive familial traditions, create the same occasions which shaped our individual energies and ideals.

For a few years we kept this focus in the background. Maybe I should say we kept the idea as a small photograph tucked in a compartment of our wallets, on rare moments taking it out of our back pockets to discuss possible, future plans. The slight hesitancy existed primarily due to my own indecisions whether I was ready to assume a new phase in my life. The title of “father” implied a figure of authority and responsibility. Accepting this role implied changes in my conception of self-identity— a process difficult to assume.

Ricky and Glen

Difficult that is, until late 2005 when a short event over the Christmas holidays shifted the importance of our ideal, bringing the notion out into the foreground. Ironic how small actions trigger large epiphanies.

That December we spent time in Houston with my extended relatives, the house ebbing and flowing with various relations and generations, a loud tribe of people, as the writer Isabel Allende once described her own family, a manner of celebrating the boisterous collection of people who make up who we are, a sundry of elements, a river of personalities.

The memory stays strong with me when the realization emerged into being: I had stepped outdoors to relax on the back porch, drawing in my sketchbook by myself, a time for meditative, self-reflection. Unexpectedly my cousin’s 10 year old boy, Kris, sat with me and started talking as I worked, asking questions about art and the college where I teach. He chatted aimlessly about his goals and ideas, and proudly told me about his first crush on a girl in his class. He began drawing as well, sketching trucks with intense detail. For over an hour we sat talking and drawing — this was the pivotal point, this shared scene, when I realized that this moment mirrored Ricky and my objective, an insistence to seek out a child of our own.

Stepping from that sudden awareness, we motioned into the adoption arena, gathering references on the subject, collecting resources. Ricky discovered the Independent Adoption Center (IAC), an agency working with the concept of “open” adoption, a fairly new approach which allows the birth mother herself to choose the family to raise her baby. From the beginning they supported us as potential parents, publicly promoting the positive aspects of two men raising a family together.

Their philosophy, based not on restrictions, permits a multi-definition of the word “parent.” The IAC believes anyone deserves the right to establish a family. They act as social workers with the birth mothers and with the potential adoptive parents, in order so the child benefits from the arrangement.

Currently, after a brief interval of preparatory paperwork and discussions, we exist now in a slight limbo, waiting for the next step. But what is important to realize, the process has begun. We move forward with the flow of events, slowly preparing for the potential child and the responsibilities of the future.

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