Spotlight Series sponsored by Quinny, a European stroller brand available in the United States.
TNF: Tell me about your family.
JASON: My spouse and I have been together going on 13 years though legally married almost six. We met online when he was in medical school, and I was living in NYC pursuing my dreams of film and television. On our first date in November of 2002, we spent hours talking about what was meaningful to us and what we wanted for our future. We talked about the importance of our faith, and the importance of having a family. We dated for about eight months when Eric wanted to change career paths from medicine to law. It was a tough decision–to stay in New York and pursue my dreams, or pursue true love – that often only presents itself once in a lifetime. Before I knew it we were relocating to Atlanta, Georgia for law school.
After graduating law school we moved to Washington, D.C. where Eric worked for a nice law firm, and I taught in special education classes. During this time we planned our wedding which would occur in upstate, N.Y. Eric took me to Venice Italy and proposed and after, we honeymooned in Greece. While in Greece we started heavily discussing our adoption plans. By the time we returned to the states we hit the ground running and within six months were in the official adoption pool.
Fourteen months later we were contacted and informed that we were chosen by a birth-mother. Long story short we met her on a Thursday and the following Tuesday heard, for the first time, our baby’s heartbeat. We went to every doctor visit thereafter including when she went into labor. Eric cut Luke’s cord and I held our son bare chest to bare chest. The next day both families kissed one another goodbye and we left to bring our son home. Our son, who calls me papa and Eric daddy is now nearing four years old and again we are in the official pool just waiting for that call to bring home a sibling for him.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
JASON: I don’t believe our family necessarily feels different from any other but if we did it would be in a good way. We do our best to expose our son to a variety of cultures, families etc. and try and read books on family diversity. Our son is at the age where he does notice different family dynamics and we are extremely open and honest with him. Unfortunately we live in an era where the majority of shows, movies, commercials, cartoons etc. include a mom and dad. This mixed with the fact that the majority of our son’s classmates have a mom and dad, all of our neighbors/his friends have a mom and dad so we try and stay cognizant that Luke does not feel without. If and when questions do arise we are prepared to put a positive spin on them. Instead of saying, “you don’t have a mom” we will probably try and answer with something like, “instead of a mom and dad you were blessed with two dads.”
We live in Upstate, N.Y. and are very involved in our families, our community and church. We are well loved and respected by all and treat everyone with that same love and respect. Luke won the lottery having two loving, invested dads so even if we felt different it would be different in a positive way.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
JASON: Family tests, strengthens and aligns your priorities and commitment. Throughout life family will be challenged on many levels and in many ways. When a commitment is made that we are going to be a family through thick and thin, good and bad times that equates to a family. Commitment includes a daily renewing of our love to each family member. Unfortunately every family is stretched pretty thin nowadays. Between work, extended family, church commitments, daily errands etc. all families struggle to stay connected. Gay families have an (unnecessary) extra hurdle with varying state laws regarding our civil rights, societal attitudes etc. We also have to guard our eyes, ears and hearts from a few who may not see our families as equal to theirs – and at times pretty vocal about it. There is a silver lining however; because our families often have to work harder, we at times, have some of the deepest family roots and strongest family bonds.
Lastly family is our foundation. A family is like living on an island surrounded by water. You often go for a swim and sometimes that swim brings hunger, fatigue, fear, etc. But once you turn and see your island, regardless of what you are feeling, a sense of peace and comfort come over you. That is what family is. It is where you can walk in the door and no matter what happened or is happening on the outside you have peace, comfort and familiarity on the inside.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!