Gay Dad Life

After Four Failed Adoptions, Jerry and Eric Become Dads

Together 17 years, Jerry and Eric LaMonica, have two kids, Ellie and Jasper, through adoption. The decision to become dads was the easy part, but after four failed attempts, the road to fatherhood seemed too challenging for the husbands. But the night they decided to stop trying to become dads, was also the night they received a phone call that would change their lives. Here's their story.

How did you two meet? We met while working at the same retail store while we were in college. Though I tried to get to know Eric, he wasn't out yet and didn't reciprocate. We actually never talked before I quit the job. A few months later, we met again through a mutual friend while at a club, and have literally been together since that night.

Tell us about your path to parenthood. We became dads through adoption. We looked at several options (surrogacy, international adoption, and foster care). At the time we started seriously looking, around 2008, numerous countries were either closing their borders to American adoptions, or not adopting to single or gay couples. Surrogacy was just too expensive for us so we decided on adoption. After talking with some friends who were adopted and reading everything we could get our hands on, we decided that open adoption was the best choice for us.

The process to become "Adoption Ready" wasn't too bad. It took about 3 months to get all the background checks, physicals, and paperwork set up. The biggest obstacle was the wait to match with a birthmother. The point of open adoption is to establish a relationship with the birthmother so there can be ongoing contact, which ultimately is healthier for the mother and the child. We matched four times prior to meeting our daughter's birthmother. We were scammed, one girl had a miscarriage, and two changed their minds (on the day we were going to drive to the hospital). So the emotions were extreme to say the least.

We had actually decided to stop trying, but that same night we were contacted by our daughter's birthmother. We started talking and hit it off. We even flew her cross country so we could have her meet our families. We were at the hospital for the delivery and got to hold the baby shortly after being born. But, the emotions proved to be too much and the birthmother changed her mind in the hospital on the day we were going to be taking the baby home. We were crushed. It was the worst day of my life. However, the next day we got a message from the mother saying she'd reconsidered and she wanted us to be the baby's parents and have had her ever since. We continue to have a relationship with the mother and our daughter talks to her regularly.

How has your life changed since you became a father? Well, it's all about the kids! We had some great experiences as a couple, traveling and doing things we always wanted to do. But we decided before we started the adoption process that this was what we wanted our lives to be. We used to pick up and head to the mountains or beach for the weekend whenever. While we still get away, it's a whole new world.

What have you learned about being a dad? I've learned a new definition to the word "tired." I've also learned to cherish moments as they are happening and not to dwell on the past or worry too much about the future. The passage of time is so much more evident when you can see it literally growing in front of you.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? We actually have had some great experiences despite the stereotypes of living in the South. We've been out at restaurants as a family and had total strangers come to the table to say how they support us and love that we are out together. We've been featured in local papers a few times to share views on political or social events that could affect LGBT families.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Lean on friends and family, and stay hopeful. There will inevitably be times when you are discouraged either by the waiting or rejections. The path and challenges to parenthood are so important. They can help strengthen your relationship and give your children a sense of worth knowing how hard you struggled to become a family.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Two teenagers and some old dads, should be entertaining!

***

Fill out this short survey for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming family profile!


Check out these other great family stories:

After 12 Years of Struggle, Richard and Carlos are Finally Dads

Vegas Entertainers Mathaeo and Jonah on Their Greatest Role Yet: Fatherhood

A Single Dad Finds Family in the Foster Care System

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad Wonders: What Will the 'Roaring Twenties' Bring?

Jim Joseph says he's looking forward to "moving forward in 2020" and in the decade to come!

The Roaring Twenties are upon us, and with the new decade comes great anticipation.

I remember as a kid that whenever a new decade came, it felt like "out with the old and in with the new." It seemed like pop culture and the way of doing things suddenly shifted. Witness 1979 into 1980 and the dawn of a new era in music, fashion, entertainment, and culture. Same with 1989 into 1990. Bam!

As I got older and started my own journey of growth, I started tracking decades by the milestones I had hit during each of the ten-year increments.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Tell Us Their Parenting Goals for 2020

Some are hoping to expand their families — others are hoping to keep the members they already have alive!

We asked our community on Instagram what their parenting goals were for 2020. Here are some of their responses.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Life

10 Ways Gay Dads Inspired Us in 2019

No two gay parents have the same family creation story, but they still have one thing in common — they inspire us.

Every week, we bring you the stories of gay men and their families. While no two of these stories are the same, one thing they have in common is this — they inspire us. Check out 10 (out of the MANY!) ways gay dads moved us in 2019!

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse