Spotlight Series sponsored by Quinny, a European stroller brand available in the United States.
TNF: Tell me about your family. How did you meet your husband/partner?
MANUEL: Jason and I met 4.5 years ago on an online dating site. Never would I have imagined that I would meet love on Grindr. But I did. And the great thing is we inspired others to find love online, and even my best friend met his current husband on Grindr as well. I always encourage all my single friends to join online dating sites, as I can attest to their success. We have been married since it became legal last year in California, so for a year now. The best thing about my first date with Jason was that, since Grindr tells you the distance of the person you are speaking to, we both happened to be near one another and decided to meet…. at Dennys! And that meeting lasted 3 hours. I was instantly into Jason. He was a little more guarded, but it only took him a month before he was hooked. And here we are today, waiting for our second child.
TNF: Do you have any kids? What do your children call you?
MANUEL: We have one son, Mason, who was born on Halloween in 2012. We had him via surrogate and a friend of ours carried him for us. We used donor eggs and my sperm. Mason calls me (Manuel) Papa, and Jason is Dad/Dada. We are currently on the waiting list to adopt one more child. Preferably a girl, but not mandatory. We have been on that waiting list for a year now. The surrogacy process was MUCH different from the adoption process. In many ways the surrogacy process is very much like an “ordinary man and women” having a child the traditional way. Despite the clinic visits to impregnate the surrogate, everything else was relatively normal experience. The adoption process is a whole other story. You need to be live scanned, back ground checks, you need to have social workers, you need to have any attorney, a home study, home inspection, job verification, sufficient income, physicals, etc etc etc. There are a lot more hurdles to go through in an adoption process than anything. In some ways, the adoption process has (slightly) saddened me in the way that it seems so unfair how difficult is for people to adopt a baby these days, where ANY couple can just go out and get pregnant and have a child WITHOUT any of the qualification, obstacles and hurdles that people adopting have to go through. They do make it quite challenging, and that saddens me because there are so many kids in this world who would LOVE to have a home, but many times people are put off by the amount of “work” and obstacles that go into adopting.
TNF: Do you feel different than other families?
MANUEL: Not really. I mean…. we ARE different than other families in that we are unconventional, modern, etc. But we very much have similar dynamics as your “typical” family. I am very “mom” and Jason is very “dad.” I am a stay at home “mom” and Jason is the primary bread winner. But we are so fortunate to have family and friends that are 101% accepting of us and see us just like anyone else.
TNF: Where do you live? Is it tough being a gay couple where you live?
MANUEL: We live in a city called Glendora, which is just outside Los Angeles (about 25 miles outside of the city). Our city is predominately conservative, so we are in the process of saving money with aspirations to move to Pasadena, which is our ideal location to raise our children. Not that Glendora has been bad to us, but rather, we know that Mason would be around more similar family types out in Pasadena or West of Pasadena. So we don’t feel entirely comfortable, but it’s not unsafe either. Its just that we see the big picture, and while times are progressing, they still progress slower in conservative towns such as ours, while there are MANY more “modern families” in a city like Pasadena, which is right near Los Angeles. A small example of how conservative Glendora is…. while walking in a parking lot a few months ago, someone called me a “faggot” from their car as they drove off. Not that this wont happen anywhere in the world, but its more likely to happen in very religious, non diverse cities.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
Having a family means THE WORLD to us. Being two men, its VERY difficult to just “have a baby.” Unlike any couple where a female is involved, its much more accessible to create a child. We had to work HARD, plan, save, and ensure we were completely ready to start a family. It’s our dream and we are ecstatic!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us! Congratulations on your newest addition to the family, welcome to the world Miranda, you are one lucky little girl.