Why Limit Yourself to One Path to Parenthood? These Dads Pursed Two!
Pursuing foster care and surrogacy at the same time wasn't easy — but Travis and Jay learned important lessons about both along the way.
Travis, 36, and Jay, 29, met nine years ago in a gay bar in Riverside, California. Both work in the medical device industry and in June 2018, they were married in front of friends and family, and their 19-day-old son through foster care.
To say June 2018 was a big month for Travis and Jay would be an understatement. They became first-time dads to four-day-old Kathan, and solidified their union with marriage. When the wedding part was over, the new dads were able to focus all their attention on their new family. It had been almost 18 months since they began the process of becoming foster parents till they were matched, and while they were waiting, they began to get anxious.
"We always knew that we wanted to adopt and have biological children," said Travis. The original plan was to pursue fostering first, in hopes to adopt, and then begin their surrogacy journey after a few years due to the cost. "Adopting a child is one of the most rewarding things one can do. There are so many children out there that need a loving family and we are a loving family that wanted a child. It's a perfect match!"
But when Travis and Jay began the certification process for fostering and adoption, they had no idea how much it would take to get the stamp of approval. "Once our home was certified, it took almost a year to match us with Kathan." During that waiting period the uncertainty of when a match would happen encouraged them to start their surrogacy path. They identified an egg donor and began creating their embryos. "We had already created our embryos by the time we welcomed Kathan into our lives!"
Travis and Jay were over the moon to be able to finally hold their son, and to become his dads, but they did find their foster journey to be a challenge. "No classes can prepare for the emotional side of the process," said Travis. "The journey overall was a learning experience and an emotional roller coaster but 1000% worth every second of it. We found that doing a lot of research really helped us through it all, and expanding our knowledge really helped calm nerves even if the answers we found weren't the answers we were hoping for."
Trying to simultaneously balance their two paths to fatherhood wasn't without its challenges, but the dads found a way. Shortly after welcoming Kathan, they attempted their first IVF transfer. Sadly, at 9 weeks, they lost the pregnancy when the little one's heart stopped beating. "It was a very emotional experience so Jay and I decided to take a little break and focus solely on Kathan for a little while."
During Kathan's first year of life, he became quite the world traveller, accompanying his dads on both trips in the US and and overseas. He travelled to Hawaii at 1 month old, and San Francisco at 6 months. Travis and Jay also took their son on a two week trip to the U.K., France, and Italy during the summer of 2019. "He loves to travel and we love having him there with us." (The dads were able to make this travel possible with the help of their social worker who helped the dads get Kathan his passport and travel paperwork.)
"He has taught me that love can be much more than we ever imagined it could be," said Travis. "We have learned to prioritize life in new ways because we want to spend as much time with our son as we possible can."
The dads have tremendous support around them, both through family and friends, and same-sex couples they've met through their different paths to fatherhood. "We met a couple during the foster parent orientation put on by the county, and another through the agency that we ended up being certified with, and a few others from work or friends," explained Travis. "Being able to connect about common experiences and see other families like ours makes life so much easier."
After 16 months of fostering little Kathan, the dads finalized his adoption on September 27, 2019. "It felt like we had been set free as a family for the first time." Kathan's adoption day was incredibly personal for the dads so they spent it with close family and took their son out for a celebratory brunch.
Papa Travis and Dada Jay have recently restarted their surrogacy journey with Growing Generations and this time, they're trying for twins. "We are feeling really excited about it! We truly believe that everything happens for a reason and we are grateful for everyone that has been involved in supporting us through this journey so far."
"We are excited to grow our happy family."