TNF: How did you start your family?
ADRIAN: It was really important to me to have our child be biologically linked to both me and my partner, and not just one or the other. So we asked Brian’s sister if she would carry for us. After a year, she finally agreed. We flew from our home in California to Missouri, where she lived, for the procedure. A few months later, she called with the great news: she was pregnant! I was shocked that it worked on our first try. From then on, we talked and FaceTimed every day. In the last month of the pregnancy, we left for Missouri and stayed there as to not miss the baby’s birth since you can never be sure what day they might arrive. We were also there to help her with whatever she needed. Our daughter Mariah finally arrived on August 9, 2013. We were so happy and thrilled; I even cried. Brian’s sister signed away all legal and parental rights, and my husband signed on as an adoptive father. She looks more like her second dad than she does me (we used my sperm). People always ask him if he is the bio dad. I find it funny and secretly LOVE it.
TNF: Did you always want to have kids?
ADRIAN: As for me, YES! I always knew that I wanted to be a father. The question was how. I had no idea how to go about it. I always joked about it with female friends at school who said they would be willing to carry for me. But it was just fun and jokes. I knew what I wanted and I made a plan when I was 15 years old. I would tell my sister that when I found a husband and got married, she was going to carry a baby for us using his sperm. I don’t think she was very thrilled about the idea being a lesbian herself and not wanting kids.
As for my partner… no, he never thought about having kids himself. The idea never really crossed his mind. With being gay, he never thought it would be something possible.
TNF: Where do you live?
ADRIAN: We live in Ontario, California, a short 30-minute drive from Los Angeles.
TNF: What is the greatest (and toughest) thing about being a parent?
ADRIAN: The greatest thing about being a parent is the unconditional love that you receive from your child. It is something really beautiful that makes me appreciate life on a whole different level. I don’t know how to explain this feeling, a feeling of satisfaction, of unselfishness and putting someone’s needs ahead of yours and loving it. In a society that is filled with self-loathing, I think this feeling is so rare, and that’s why I’m finding it hard to explain. TRUE LOVE, TRUE PURE LOVE. It’s beautiful.
The toughest thing about being a parent would have to be discipline. The saying is TRUE: “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you!” I hate having to discipline, so much so that I sometimes turn to my partner to do it. The first time I ever had to discipline her, she was close to one years old. She was at the age where she was starting to understand language and communication. I was cooking something when she opened the cupboard and pulled the flour out, spilling it all over the floor. I got frustrated, raised my voice, and said, “No, Mariah, you don’t do that!” She looked at me and then cried SO HARD, the hardest I have ever seen her cry. I dropped everything, hugged her, and I cried too. I apologized and told her I was so sorry for screaming but she can’t do those things.
TNF: Does your family feel adversity?
ADRIAN: Honestly, no. My entire family, as well as those outside of my family, have been aware. They are all very accepting of us as a gay couple. I have not once stepped outside of my house and received ugly looks or remarks. I’ve only heard people tell me beautiful things. When I take her to the park, other parents are always so eager to meet me. I feel proud of myself and proud of her. I’m very thankful that I can live my life “normally,” as some might say.
TNF: Do you have any advice for LGBT youth?
ADRIAN: Yes, I do. My advice is follow your heart. I have been told many times by so many gay people, “I wish I had what you have. I’m so jealous because I want a partner and a baby.” I always write back to them and say, “Don’t be jealous of me, be happy for me. You can do this too. Its not hard. If you really want this, you can achieve it.” Get serious with someone. Create a wonderful, small circle of great friends or even close family members for support, stay connected, and start your life. I have so much fun taking my daughter to the park. I have so much fun meeting parents for play dates. I honestly enjoy dropping her off at grandma’s house so me and my husband can go out on a date. Life changes, life grows. It’s beautiful. And hopefully a website like The Next Family will give people that type of hope.
TNF: What’s one life lesson you want to teach your children?
ADRIAN: There so many to choose from, but if I had to choose one, I want to teach her to love and respect other people. Right now kids are growing up in a time where it’s “all about ME, and what I need and what I want and what makes ME happy.” I want her to be happy but also be considerate of others around her, and to be considerate of their happiness as well, not just her own.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!
TYLENOL® – a brand that has cared for families for over 60 years – believes that it isn’t who you love, it is how you love that truly matters most. #HowWeFamily, is a campaign to showcase that while modern families are unique, we all share the same fundamental values that create an enduring family bond. Learn more about this great project by visiting HowWeFamily.com.