These Brazilian Dads Were the First Gay Couple to Adopt a Newborn in Their State
Alexandre de Souza Amorim and Renato Oliveira Elias live in São José, Brazil, and have been together 7 years. They met online and, after a few days of talking virtually, met in-person for a movie and dinner. The night ended with the two of them spending hours in the car talking before they sealed their date with a kiss. They moved in together after a few months and were married January 11, 2012. Now they're dads to their beautiful daughter, Sara Elias Amorim, whom they met June 30, 2016, 15 days after she was born. Since that day, the three have never been apart for longer than a day. Here's their story.
Tell us about your path to parenthood. I remember when I "discovered" that I was gay, I suffered a lot because I felt I could never have children. I was just a boy of 12 years. Time passed and I discovered many other things. Being a father is something I've always wanted. I thought of other possibilities, having a biological child with a friend was the most latent. I grew up in a prejudiced society and also in a biased family in relation to adoption. But I grew up and formed my own opinion on the subject. It is not the blood or the flesh, but the heart and the love that make us a family.
What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? During the process we did not suffer any kind of prejudice. There were no obstacles in that part. However, we were the first gay couple to adopt a newborn baby in our state and the first gay couple to stay in the hospital for almost 2 months. And some members of the medical team were not prepared to deal with it.
Our daughter was born premature, so she needed special care in the first few weeks. The hospital hotel only had rooms for the babies' mothers. This was a big hurdle. We slept in a chair for the first few weeks before the hospital directors changed the rules. Some nurses would not allow us to make the contact (see photo) because of pure prejudice. The weeks passed and things got better. None of these obstacles were a sacrifice. At that moment our only concern was that our daughter was 100% healthy. And she came out completely healthy.
How did your life change when you became a father? Our life has changed a lot. I think it changes for everyone. We are more united, we spend a lot of time together as a family. We plan family outings and trips. We get healthier eating habits. We smiled more. We play more. We fight more. Loved it more.
What have you learned from your children since you became a dad? I learned that I knew nothing about love. You only understand what it is to love unconditionally when you have children. I learned to optimize my time. I needed to get organized to have more time for my family. I've learned to value what really matters. And of course, I learned to make many types of soups.
Was there ever a moment that you or Renato experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? We had no doubts at any time. Being a parent is something we both really wanted.
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Yes, I think so. The way they look at us is different. It's not always a bad thing, but it should not be like this. Some people stop us on the streets to tell us that we are a beautiful family. Others stare at us with disgust. We do not care about that. But let's fight every fight we need to make our daughter happy.
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? A difficult question, because the only thing I hope is that we are together and happy. I think this is the most important
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Some days will not be easy. It can be very tiring. But at the end of the day you will know that this was the best choice you made in your life.
What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Paternity is a fantastic experience. Every day you will learn to be a better person, you will need to learn this because you will very much want your child to be proud of you. And you will wish your child to be a great person. You will also learn to be more patient and stronger. If you want to have your family, do not give up. Do not let anyone say you can not. You can. And it will be the best thing of your life.