By Henry Amador
This time of year always finds me giving thanks.
I give thanks for the life I have, the family and friends I have and for the moments that define me.
I wanted to reach out to just a few of the dads in my life, a few heroes that have pursued their dreams to become fathers. They have pursued those dreams against great odds and are opening doors, minds and hearts so that others will follow.
All around this world, the number of gay men choosing to become fathers is increasing, rapidly.
They are setting goals, taking out loans, loosing friends, family and sometimes faith in order to have the honor and the privilege to raise a child.
This journey is aw inspiring and at times emotional beyond comprehension.
The journey, the destination called parenthood comes at a great cost for many of us and yet gives birth to moments of both sheer beauty and devastating pain.
Moments that at their finest and at their saddest, take our breaths away.
1.Tony and John.. DeLand, Florida.
When asked to write something about our Family’s experiences, I thought that’s almost impossible! There are too many moving situations that brought us all to where we are today. However, I am going to give it a shot. After our daughter’s birth in Nov of 2012, we decided to ask for a third blessing and attempted (via surrogate) to complete our Family. So in Dec 2013 we indeed found out we were definitely pregnant with one unexpected surprise, TWINS! Needless to say, our entire Family was very excited. Our pregnancy seemed to be sailing along nicely just as it did with our son Nate who the same surrogate carried full term. John or myself would take the red-eye to CA every month to attend all Dr appointments and ultrasounds. I (Tony) flew out in March for our routine Dr visit, however nothing about it was routine. At the office we had discovered that our surrogate’s body was starting preparations for delivery at only 25 weeks, an extremely crucial time for development. She was immediately admitted to the hospital and I phoned my employer to arrange things so that I could stay in CA until the children arrive. They kept our surrogate mostly bedridden with me in the bed next to her all the time. Then three weeks later (28 wks) one of the amniotic sacs ruptured and started contractions immediately. The advanced team of Dr’s stopped her contractions with medications and closely monitored the child with the ruptured amniotic sac reassuring us that children can be carried healthy with no amniotic fluid. Then at 31 wks and 6 days at approx. 5am, I was taking her temp and vitals and noticed some changes. So I asked our nurse to page our OB Doctor to come up and check things out. When the Dr arrived he check her dilation to determine that she was fully dilated and baby A was crowning. Within minutes we where in delivery with 15 Doctors and specialized Nurses with us and two completely different teams of Neonatal Intensive Care Doctors for each child. Both children were born within minutes but in need of some additional help with their early arrival, our surrogate received 3 blood transfusions and one of the children required one as well. It was a very scary delivery with a lot of signatures required of me immediately for blood and special care. My husband had just been out for a visit two days earlier but all seemed stable so he returned to FL to be with our son and daughter there. After delivery and stabilization of both children and surrogate I made all the calls needed and stayed with the twins in the NICU for 4 weeks until their discharge at 36 weeks. My husband arrived and all four of us flew home together to unite the twins with their older brother and sister. Our son Nathaniel was 5 yrs old when he finally met his two youngest siblings. John and I where in the kitchen discussing all the amazing steps it took to get these two beautiful twins home healthy when we walked in on our son saying to his new brother and sister “Christian and Analiese, I am so happy you finally made it home, I’m your big brother and I will help daddy and papi take care of you for always.” This brought tears to my husband and myself, not for the words Nate spoke but for the Love he cast over his new Family. We learn everyday from our children and try to teach Love in all we do and say. But the feeling you get witnessing your children living it, is priceless and truly breath taking.
2.Rob Watson.. Santa Cruz, California.
I remember the first moment that I looked into the eyes of each of my sons. In both instances, one was 4 days old and in an incubator, the other was 11 months old and crawling by my dishwasher, we held a look, a cosmic connection that said…yes, this is real, I am your dad. But that is not the breath taking moment I want to share with you. There was a moment of profound coincidence, kismet, that was like a secret wink from the universe telling me that my adoptive relationship with my sons was as meant-to-be as any biological parent’s connection is.
For some reason, nick names have a special place in my family. My dad had one for me. When I was three, he called me “Pal”. That was a name he had for me and no one else. It was like a special definition between us. Years later when my partner left me and broke up our relationship, he felt the blow was so profound that he hinted to my dad that I might be suicidal over it. I wasn’t, but I will never forget my dad grabbing me and declaring, “I need you to take care of YOU, you are my PAL.”
For my oldest son, his nickname came easily. His first word was “boo” and he slept under a little ghost angel figure that had “boo” written on it. I got into the habit of calling him “boo” and it stuck. He was, and is, my Boo. With my younger son, I developed a deep soul connection from day one. We just have always seemed intuitively connected. One night as I was putting him to bed when he was about 4 years old, he remarked that I did not have a nickname for him as I did for his brother. I acknowledged that was true. “What nickname would you like?” I asked him. He looked at me right in the eye, and unflinchingly said… “Pal. I want you to call me Pal.” That took my breath away. He had not been around in moments when my dad and I referred to each other that way, and had no way of knowing what that name meant to me. It was fitting however, it was his legacy as my son. I said quietly, “Well, you know, I do have someone who calls me that… my daddy. It is our special name. I think though that it is perfect, and I will always call you it.” “And NO ONE else, but grandpa, “ he shot back. Which was the same directive I gave my dad when I was little. I tucked him in, and then went into the hall and caught my breath. For whatever reason, in that moment, it all caught up with me and I deeply felt connected to having fallen into my destiny to be a dad, the dad, for my Boo…and my Pal.
3. Tom and Tod McMillen-Oakley.. Jackson, MI.
When we walked into the Jackson Parks and Rec’s Annual Daddy/Daughter Dance this weekend, Beyoncé’s Single Ladies was thumping from the speakers on the dance floor. I had to giggle as I peered into the darkened convention center and saw a teeming mass of cuteness bobbing up and down to this tiresome song. Oh sure, it was fun the first time you heard it, and the first 4,000 tribute dance videos were fun too, but to see this much unbridled glee was energizing and brought new life to the song. I questioned the appropriateness of this song for a dance aimed at 3 to 16-year-olds, but I quickly reminded myself not to be one of those dads. We got in line and had our picture taken, after all, we did look pretty spiffy. We then headed into the noise and began looking for Anna’s BFF Chloe (who, it turns out, didn’t get a ticket in time). Instead we found a friend from school and all was good. We danced, we ran around, we lost Anna for a brief and terrifying moment, and we wished we would have brought earplugs. Honestly Miley Cyrus sucks at any level, but when cranked up to 11, the suck hurts.
The past few weeks had been rough at home as the crud that was going around had been lingering at our house longer than I expected. One got better, another got sick. We were tired, we were sick; we were not feeling all the best, and that can make things tense and crazy. However, this night, with Eli at home with the grandparents, we were able to go out and have a good time together. As we moved around the hall dancing and bobbing along to the music, I saw so many different daddies and daughters, some were older, and some were younger. Some were all spiffed up; others apparently rolled out of bed and came as they were. I saw a young girl of about 15 in a red carpet worthy gown, her hair done up in a perfect glamour girl ’do topped with a lovely tiara. Her father followed behind this young diva with a smile that said “I am so proud of my daughter right now I could burst!” Never mind the fact that the girl had Down syndrome, she was rockin’ the look and was takin’ names with her fabulousness. I had to turn away as I saw another dad holding his daughter as they danced. The chemotherapy was obviously taking its toll on this girl’s body, she was so little, had lost all her hair and seemed so frail yet there, in her lovely dress and father’s arms, she looked so happy and joyful. A lump rose up in my throat as I could only imagine what must have been going through her dad’s mind. I said a quick prayer of thanks that my girl was healthy and well and chided myself for all the times I yelled at her. There was also a dad with the back of his shaved head tattooed with a flaming skull. From the front, he and his 13-year-old or so daughter looked like any other daddy/daughter combo in the room. They hung back against the wall, and danced to that Miley Party in the USA song with abandon when it came on for the fifth time that night.
Love is unconditional, and love is something we often forget to express to those around us. As we drove to the restaurant downtown for after dance drinks and to show off our outfits, Anna burst out an “I LOVE YOU GUYS!” from the backseat of the car. I had to steady my hands on the wheel as I stole a look at my little girl, all grown up all in her pink Sunday-go-to-church coat. That moment took my breath away. Parenting isn’t easy, but loving your kids is.
4. Alan Ibbotson and Steven Greenfield.. Ridgefield, CT.
We took 7 year old Christina and her 11 year old brother in 2011 from the foster care system before adopting them in the summer of 2012.
When they first arrived, Christina in particular was suffering from PTSD as a result of her prior experiences. It would manifest in a variety of ways, but the most common were fits of hysterical screaming and crying, generally driven by irrational fears. The only thing we could do was hold her and love her through these episodes, most often occurring in the evenings and at bedtime. It was heartbreaking and exhausting to go through this almost every night in those early days.
One day I came home from work and she was in the bathtub. I went in to say hi. She was smiling and happy, splashing around and playing with her rubber duck. We decided to wash her hair together. Within a couple of minutes she had a very soapy set of long black curly locks. No sooner had she soaped up than one of her episodes began. I will never know what triggered it, but she began to scream about a shark in the bathtub. She curled up in a ball and began screaming and crying at the top of her lungs. I tried to console her, to no avail. I tried to distract her. That didn’t work either. To make things more difficult she wouldn’t let me touch her and she wouldn’t move, even to get out of the tub. We were both trapped in this horrible, traumatizing moment – her with a head full of shampoo and me rapidly running out of options. She wouldn’t let me anywhere inside the tub, so I couldn’t even flip the drain and empty it.
In a moment of desperation (or inspiration, I still haven’t decided), I did the only thing I could think of at that moment, I jumped, fully clothed into the bathtub and sat down opposite her. She immediately stopped crying and just looked at me. After a moment she exclaimed “DADDY!” and started to laugh as hysterically as she had been screaming only moments before.
I stayed in the tub and splashed around with her for a while, we laughed and played.
The shower curtain then came crashing down and that just made us laugh even more. Eventually, I was able to calm her to the point where Christina felt safe enough that we could rinse her hair, which we did together. We climbed out together, I dried her off and she went to eat dinner as if absolutely nothing had ever happened.
That moment, that breath-taking moment truly showed me what love and sacrifice are all about, it took me somewhere only a parent could go, could understand.
That night I realized that my phone had been in my pocket and was completely soaked. I went to the Apple store the next day in Grand Central on my way to work. I walked up and explained my phone had water damage. “How bad?” replied Jane, the keeper of the clipboard. I replied “about as bad as it gets”. She asked me how it happened. “You really want to know?” I said. The store was quiet, so she clearly had time and interest in hearing the story. So I told her. By the time I had finished telling the story, she was wiping away tears and asked me if she could give me a hug, as she let go of me she told me that she had been a foster kid herself and thanked me for being Christina’s dad.
5. Luis Santiago and Demitrious Baird.. Troy, MI.
My/our breathtaking moment would have to be the moment we turned the
corner in the NICU and saw our boys for the very first time, no one and nothing can really prepare you for that feeling, that overwhelming feeling of dreams finally coming true.
They were premature at 35 weeks so we knew they were going to be small but as we turned the corner and saw our sons, our world and our hearts just stood still.
Our boys are our life, they are our everything.
Vasilios Mateo “baby A” and Kostas Danilo “baby B”
6. Frank Emanuele.. London, Ontario, Canada.
As I’m evaluating this new height in sleeplessness, my mind begins to wander.
You’re finally fast asleep on my chest but I’m too worn-out to get up and put you to
bed. Let’s just stay here and enjoy this peaceful moment for a while… this
moment of tranquility and calm… just the two of us… and the sounds of our
breaths and heartbeats.
for almost 2 years our months were filled with extra long work shifts and appointments
with doctors, lawyers, and agencies, all in preparation for you. We got to know Auntie Angela and her family while you grew you in her belly. We made lists, painted rooms,
assembled furniture, and did loads of shopping. Everything to get ready for the
moment you’d be part of our family.
I remember when the nurse suddenly told us you were coming. Everyone was moving around and getting ready.
There was a bright buzz all over the room and I couldn’t believe you were about to
It only took seconds for you to finally be born. As your body squirmed it’s way into
existence, time began slowing down for me, all the voices in the room faded away.
All I could feel was your new presence, my heaving chest, and the pounding of
my heart. Someone guided me towards you and placed your warm body on mine. I felt your skin against mine. I felt every one of your tiny movements as you lay there on my chest. Nothing else existed. Nothing else mattered. Your face moved up to look at mine. Your eyes were barely adjusting to the light of the world yet, they opened and you stared right at me.
I had barely scratched the surface of understanding the true meaning of love until you came. As the room slowly came back into existence I felt your papa cradling his arm around us with tears in his eyes. Life was forever transformed that night, the night we finally
became your daddy and papa.
7. Steve and Ray Naldi.. Bloomington IND.
My husband and I had taken our then-foster, now-adopted, children out to breakfast.
Our 4 month old daughter was asleep in her car seat carrier and son was 15 months and just beginning to walk. The hostess sat us in the corner. It happens often and we always wonder if it is to separate us because we have children or because we are gay dads and they want to hide us away from the rest of the guests.
Midway through the meal, a woman approached us and just wanted to tell us what a beautiful family we made. I was beaming ear-to-ear.
As we got in the car, my husband said he was surprised I could keep my emotions in check in there. I was so happy to have received that unsolicited comment and we were recognized as a family.
He waited until the door shut and I started the car to explain that on our way out, a mom two tables away had pointed to us as we walked by and told her son that we were sick, not normal, and for him not to grow up that way. I hadn’t heard them. It was an absolute punch in the gut. I had never been bullied, never been a victim of hate speech, not discriminated at work. The pain I felt rushed over me. My husband knew to wait to tell me in the car rather than confront her. I wanted to go back into the restaurant, to let her know how her words hurt he reminded me that she did not define us AND that we still needed to hit the grocery store.
Not thirty minutes later, we were back to our lives….. two guys, two kids, one shopping cart when a mom and a little 5 year old boy approached us and she asked if it was okay if he asked us a question. I immediately tensed up, prepared for some more West Michigan hate when he said, “Do your kids have two dads?”.
We looked at each other and wondered how do we answer to this little kid. I replied, “Why yes they do!” “That’s cool” he said, “because I have two moms and a sister and I’ve never met kids that had two dads instead of two moms and that’s awesome”. That little boys words were just breath taking and just what this guy needed to hear!
8.Brent Almond.. Kensington, Maryland.
I’m exactly 40 years older than my son (and my husband is 2 years older than me); so keeping up with our almost 5-year-old son is an ongoing Olympic event. One of the most amazing things is seeing him in water. We spent a lot of time at the pool this summer, and he was non-stop — swimming, practicing holding his breath, paddling with various toys and floating devices — all the while yelling for Daddy and Papa to watch him. And then when he jumped off the diving board for the first time? Amazing to see his fearlessness, and breathtaking to see the joy on his face. And very literally breathtaking, as I dog-paddled in the deep end to catch him, over and over and over. Luckily now he doesn’t need us (or want us) waiting to catch him, but he still yells for us to watch. And we always will.
9. Joel Batten.. Durham, NC.
We took him to daycare that day just like normal. My husband, Henry, and I went to work as usual. I had witty conversations with people at work, talked about current events, and tried to pretend like today was just like any other day. But today would be different than anything else that I’d experienced in my whole life.
I always knew that it would happen. I had always known that this day was coming.
Henry and I had been to every hearing, we had been in contact with the Guardian Ad-Litem, and had worked very closely with our Child Advocate whilst fostering this beautiful boy.
” Z” was going home to his Grandmother.We came home from work, both knowing what we had to do. I think that I remember both of going into separate rooms to begin the work of gathering his belongings. I think that I was trying to pretend like it was no big deal and that I was hoping that my
emotions wouldn’t get the best of me. I packed bag after bag of everything from clothes, to diapers, his favorite toys, blankets, and even some photos for his family that I had taken during his time in our home.
I got a little emotional as I was listening to what would be the last hour or so that I’d ever get to hear his little voice. He was less than a year old so he sounded quite a bit like one of those velociraptors from Jurassic Park, and I loved it. He loved the sound of his own voice and would carry on for hours!
He was just beginning to make happy word-type sounds when he saw us. You know the ones…mama, dada, baba, etc…
Once we’d gotten all of his stuff all packed up and loaded into the car I told Henry that I’d like to say my good-byes here at our home, and that I wanted him to take Z to his Grandmother’s for the exchange of custody. I did this in part because I am a private person(who was on very much on the edge of breaking down), but also because a saw no need in packing our son Benjamin(who was only a few months old at the time) into the loaded car that was headed across town to Z’s homecoming. I also knew that, quite surely, Henry would be a much better ambassador for our family on this day than I.
I hugged Z and held him and thought of the time that we had been lucky enough to spend with this little boy. I kissed his little face, held his hands, and looked into the most beautiful brown eyes that I’d ever seen a few last times. I told him that I loved him, that I would always remember him, and I told him that he had changed the course of my life. I promised that I would talk about him as often as I got the chance for the rest of my life and that he would always live in my heart.
When I was done with my good-byes my loving husband hugged and kissed me and told me that he would be back home soon and that everything would be alright.
I watched the car drive away and walked back into our house where my son sat googo-ga-ga-ing at some wonderful hand-puppet on the television from his seat in his swing. He was happy and beautiful and smiling oblivious to the sadness that had crept into our house that afternoon.
My heart was broken.
I cried. I cried for the loss of the very first baby that I had ever brought home to my house. I cried because I remembered the tiny bag of clothes that he had come into our house with and because I was happy that we were sending him home to his family with so much more. I wept for the violent reasons that had led him to be in our care and for the amazement that I had in my heart for how far he had come some since he came into our home. I cried at the thought of all of the happy times that we had spent. I cried for the times when his future had seemed uncertain and for the hope that I had once harbored that he might stay a part of our family forever. I had imagined raising two sons instead of just the one.
But I cried most of all because all I could think about was the fact that, because he was still so small and not yet verbal, that he would never ever be able to tell anyone that he missed us. That took my breath away, it still does and always will.
10. Jerry Mahoney.. New Rochelle, NY.
I’ve had so many breathtaking moments as a gay dad, but one of my favorites was last year at Thanksgiving. My son had to make a turkey in preschool and write on it what he was thankful for. When I picked him up at school, I saw it hanging outside his classroom, and it read, “I am thankful for my daddies.””
11. John Duffy.. Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
I’d always wanted to be a father. So when my partner and I we told we were officially licensed foster parents it was very exciting. It had been a tedious nine months of classes, paperwork, and emotional starts and stops – we were never really sure what we were doing – but when it finally happened it felt right. Little did I know the frustration that lay ahead.
I remember getting the call at work for a little baby boy who needed a home. They said he just been born, “We’re gonna go get him, and as soon as he’s here we’ll call you to come pick him up, so be ready.”
I raced home, called my partner Franky, and blitzed Publix grabbing anything and everything we would need for a baby. Diapers! Bottles! Formula! Sucky things! Shiny objects! Go! Then we ran home and waited.
And waited. Staring at my phone. Was it broken? Four o’clock rolled around, then five o’clock. By six- thirty I finally called the agency to find out what’s going on. It rang, then a voice-mail picked up that told me they had closed.
We were bewildered. Apparently this whole process of becoming a new parent was slightly more important to me than the agency receptionist. I called the next morning to find out what happened; the receptionist echoed yesterday’s plan as if she was following some unrehearsed script. “Oh, baby Zachary?” She said her lines, “We’re gonna go get him, and as soon as he’s here we’ll call you to come pick him up, so be ready.”
“Uh, I was ready YESTERDAY bitch!” is what I wanted to say, but I stayed cool and just thanked her. When I hung up the phone I started remembering things people had told me about the foster care industry and this agency – how it’s fragmented and super disorganized – and I started getting frustrated. Did someone just not feel like getting him yesterday? Is there some girl somewhere just chatting away with her feet up in her cubicle because she thinks the baby’s okay? So as the day went on, hour after hour, I got more and more frustrated. Three o’clock came around again. Then four o’clock. Finally by five o’clock, I just thought, F#ck this crazy sh!t, I have to take matters into my own hands. “Franky, get in the car, we’re going to get our baby.” Mahatma Gandhi always preached nonviolent forms of protest, so I decided to go all Gandhi on these bitches.
It was dark out by the time we arrived. Ten minutes before the agency was supposed to close we sat down in the lobby. The receptionist looked like she was getting ready to leave.
“Hi, can I help you?”
“We’re here to pick up Zachary?”
“Oh. Wait. Did we… call you?”
“No, but no biggie, we know you’re busy. We can wait.”
“Okay but,” She looked confused, “I don’t think he’s ready-…”
“…oh that’s okay, no worries, we know you all have a lot going on.”
“..Seriously, it’s no worries. We don’t mind waiting. We brought books, magazines, snacks, so, really, take your time. We’ll camp here all night.” I said as delightful as ever. “We have no plans.”
Yeah, that’s right honey, put your giant fake purse down ‘cause you’ll be working late tonight.
“Oh. Um… Okay.”
She gets on her phone, clearly covering her annoyance with the best ‘customer service’ smile she can muster. She starts whisper-yelling to the people in back about “these people!” and “that baby!” And finally, “You have to go get that baby!” Clearly someone’s plans were going to be ruined that night and they were not going to be mine.
So there we sat and read our books.
Then, low and behold, an hour or so later a woman came walking through the door of the agency and handed me the most beautiful, precious, delicate, amazing little peanut I’d ever seen. My son. When we locked eyes for the first time, a feeling of euphoria came over me that could have been the mother of every other feeling in my life – I felt a oneness with this being that connected me with all of humanity, and created a purpose inside me that I’d never really known. Every parent reading this – regardless of our path to parenthood – has experienced and understands this. It imprinted something inside me; a love that has exuded through me and colors everything I do to this day.
That was just the beginning of a lifetime of breath-taking moments. What a life we have now. Zachary is 4-years-old now and he is still the brightest light in my day. He turned a “couple” into a family.
I’ve heard horror stories of false alarms and miss-communications. What would have happened if I’d passively waited to “be ready”? Imagine if we never plopped down in that lobby and opened our can of Gandhi whoop-ass that night? Franky and I could have missed out on the most pivotal moment in our lives. Instead, we took home our little Zachary that night and we have been a family ever since. (Even the receptionist who was late that night eventually got a bigger purse, so it must have been meant-to-be.)
12. Henry Amador.. Durhan, NC.
Our son will soon turn three and on the top of the list of all the wondrous and beautiful things that I hope he will grow to be lies compassion.
I pray often that he will have the ability to empathize, understand and feel for his fellow man.
I watch for his reactions when faced with moments of compassion and I am always taken back by how he notices other people’s feelings. He will tell me, “that lady is sad, why is she sad? I don’t like that she’s sad.” We will then talk about how she might soon feel happier and those moments light me up.
Recently I had a difficult day as a parent. Too many things to do, not enough energy to do them. My morning began on the wrong foot, I was blue and thought-ful. We are in the process of trying to adopt another child and I had to go to our local court house for finger prints. I had a simple manila envelope with me that was full of all the important documents I would need to get things done. My son happily tagged along with me. After getting printed we went on to run a million more errands before getting home well beyond his nap time. I took his shoes off and got him comfy when I realized that the manila envelope was not here. My heart sank, I ran to search the car, no envelope. I retraced my morning in my head and I literally had no idea where I could have misplaced that oh so important envelope. I ran in the house and scooped my little one up. “Where are we going daddy?” honey daddy lost a very important envelope, “why daddy? why?”
As I zoomed out of our neighborhood he began telling me how tired he was, “daddy, I want my juice ( I forgot it) daddy I want to take a nap (soon baby) daddy where are we going?” I don’t know baby I’m trying to find something. “Daddy why did you loose it?” baby, sometimes daddies make mistakes.
I hit two of the places we visited in the morning, no envelope. I ran back to the courthouse and took my same route in, still nothing.
I began to surrender to the fact I had lost it and started to try to wrap my head around the consequences, someone had my fingerprints, my ID, my passport, my life.
I fought off fear all the while trying not to be short with my exhausted boy, trying not to show him how upset I was. I continued to answer each and every one of his million questions with as much calm and love as I could.
As we exited the courthouse elevator, there lying up against the wall was an envelope.
A manila envelope that appeared to have been found and placed there.
I ran to it and opened it and it was mine and all my documents were there.
I melted, I literally slid down against the wall and felt my entire morning consume me, tears began to roll down my face.
Right then my son, my sweet beautiful nearly three year old son slid up onto my lap and took MY face in HIS little hands (like I do to him) and said, “daddy, you so happy you found your papers?” I am baby I said, and then he kissed my face (like I do his) and said “It’s okay now daddy, you need to calm your body” (as I often tell him), and he snuggled closely.
At that moment I had a glimpse into the future, I had a glimpse of that loving and compassionate man that my husband and I were raising and that glimpse was breath-taking and beautiful and yes, my sweet boy, everything is okay.
13. Joseph Vitale and Robert Talmas.. New York, NY.
While in the Delivery Room at the Hospital and holding the hand our son’s Birth Mother, I notice a great big Crucifix hanging on the wall behind the Hospital Bed. As a semi-practicing Catholic and former Alter Boy – it was a site that I was familiar with.
As I was gazing up at the Crucifix I heard the Birth Mother ask the attending Physician, “Can you please tie my tubes following the delivery?” to which he replied, “no my Dear I can’t, this is a Catholic Hospital and I am prohibited from doing so”.
With one of my hands still holding the Birth Mother, I used the other hand to text Robert the following … “Call our Attorney and let them know that we are in a fu#king Catholic Hospital”. Robert’s replied with, “NFW (no fu#king way) why didn’t anyone tell us?”
As If waiting 72 hours (legal waiting period in Ohio for the Birth Mother to change her mind) wasn’t bad enough, now we had to do it in a Catholic Hospital.
Within minutes of returning to the recovery room following the birth of our son, it was apparent that Cooper, Robert and I couldn’t have been in better hands.
The Staff at this “Catholic” Hospital was warm, comforting and amazing. While some of their medical procedures were governed by the Bible, it was apparent that their care was based on their LOVE of the job and their LOVE for the people they were charged to care for.
The next 72 hours were made extra special by the staff who did everything from giving us our own room across from the Birth Mother’s room to making sure that Rob and I had a romantic dinner without having to leave the Hospital. Never at one point did we feel not welcomed by the Staff. Every single person that touch Cooper wanted their photo taken with him.
Around hour “72” the Nurse in Charge came into our room. She told us not to worry, that the Birth Mother was signing the paperwork as we spoke (but she didn’t tell us that – wink, wink).
She then went on to say that we were special people for doing what we were doing and that that “Cooper was blessed to have two Angels as parents”. While she was talking to us we noticed a great big gold Cross on her neck. I then turned to her and said, “thank you very much for making the first three days of Cooper’s life extra special”. She asked, “what do you mean – how did we do that”?. I then went on to tell her the Delivery Room / Crucifix story and as her eyes begun to tear-up. She turned to both of us and said, “I believe in God and know that everything happens for a reason ….. Cooper was given to you for a reason”. As she hugged us and said, “it is my job to take care of people not only physically but also emotionally … I understand the need to put humans before policy, and God bless your beautiful family.