The Next Family: How did you start your family?
Jeremy and Matt: We had been talking about how to start a family for a while, and we had seen an ad in the Dallas Voice (our local LGBT weekly) about an agency that focused on LGBT adoption. One July morning Matt woke up, thought “Today is the day” and (without telling Jeremy) reached out to the agency. After a lot of phone calls, meetings, and asking a lot of questions, we decided that this was the way to go.
We were connected with Audrey’s birth mom about 6 weeks before her due date. She invited us to all the sonogram and check-up appointments leading up to Audrey’s birth. She insisted we take the sonogram photos home with us.
The night before Audrey’s birth mom checked into the hospital, at her request, we brought our parents to dinner to meet her. We were all at the hospital the next morning, and 26 hours later we had a little girl! We were both in the delivery room for the entire delivery — Matt holding birth mom’s leg while she pushed, and Jeremy behind a curtain praying and texting our moms outside. Thanks to some fantastic social workers, the hospital staff were aware of our birth plan and were very supportive and encouraging. We were the first to hold Audrey, and we were provided a separate room to bond with her. Her birth mom also got to spend some time with her too. We were very fortunate to have such an incredibly perfect adoption and birth experience. We will forever be grateful to Audrey’s birth mom for choosing us to love and care for this little girl. Her courage and the love she has for Audrey are truly inspiring.
Our adoption was finalized a few short months later — on a fast track. We needed to get a passport for 5-month-old Audrey to go on a long-planned family vacation through Canada to Alaska.
The Next Family: How did you two meet?
Jeremy: We met the old fashioned way — at a bar. Matt’s friends introduced us. We hit it off talking about books we loved and getting to know each other. Don’t think we spoke to anyone else the entire evening. We had our first date the next night. A couple of months later we were crazy in love and have been together since. After 11 years, 2 mortgages, 2 dogs, 1 child, and 1 marriage, we finally made it official and opened a joint checking account in 2015.
The Next Family: Did you always want to have kids?
Jeremy: Once I accepted that I was gay, having a family didn’t really seem to be an option at the time. The only gay people that I knew with kids at that point had them with their wife before coming out. My how times have changed! As our relationship progressed we would occasionally discuss having children, but the timing never seemed right. Over the years we attended adoption seminars, foster family events, and surrogacy presentations. Then Matt contacted the adoption agency and we decided that was the right approach for our family.
Matt: Having a family was never something I dreamed about. But we arrived at a place in our relationship where we knew it was the right decision for us. And once we decided, I never questioned or doubted it. I just knew it was right.
The Next Family: Where do you live?
Jeremy: Dallas, Texas
The Next Family: What is the greatest (and the toughest) thing about being a parent?
Greatest (Jeremy): The joy she brings to our lives and the wonderful feeling you get to care for a little human, providing for and guiding her as she grows.
Greatest (Matt): For me it’s when she really shows us her personality — makes us laugh, dances, asks a question. She’s not yet 3, so some of those things are just starting to show up and I love discovering who she is.
Toughest (Jeremy): Lack of sleep when caring for a newborn. ☺
Toughest (Matt): Having an opinionated and strong-willed (but very kind and sweet) toddler.
The Next Family: Does your family feel adversity?
Jeremy: Honestly I can’t think of I time I felt adversity for our two-dad family. What has been surprising is how often people, even strangers, come up to talk with us about our family. Overwhelmingly the response has been very positive, but we have had to deal with a number of difficult (sometimes intrusive) questions from adults and children: Is she yours or did you adopt?, Who is the dad?, Where is her Mommy?, Babysitting while Mom is out? We are both the dads. She’s ours. There are all different kinds of families and ours has 2 dads. Dads don’t babysit. It is a great opportunity to advocate for adoption and for other modern families like ours.
The Next Family: Do you have any advice for LGBTQ youth?
Jeremy and Matt: If in doubt, err on the side of love. Be yourself and seek out family and friends to support, encourage, motivate and love you. Be this for others as well.
Getting married and having a family was the right decision for us — and you absolutely can do exactly that if it’s what makes you happy! But don’t feel pressured to “legitimize” your life for anyone else. Just because you can get married doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you can adopt doesn’t mean you should. There are MANY options for living a fulfilling life as an LGBTQ person.
The Next Family: What’s one life lesson you want to teach your children?
Jeremy and Matt: We want her to know we will always love her without condition; she doesn’t have to do anything or be anything in order to be loved by us. We also want to guide Audrey to be strong in standing up for herself and have that same strength, caring, and compassion when standing up for others.