This Couple Lost Hope, and Thousands, After Their Adoption Agency Went Bankrupt. But They Didn't Give Up Their Dream.
After the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) filed for bankruptcy in 2017, Kunal and Jason Aronne were incredibly disheartened. Eventually, they switched paths, and took one that ultimately resulted in the birth of their daughter, Alessandra
When the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) filed for bankruptcy in early 2017, many prospective gay dads lost huge amounts of money, potential leads, and, for some, the hope that they would ever become fathers one day. Kunal and Jason Aronne were two of those dads-to-be. But they recovered, and decided to change course. In June this year, their daughter Alessandra was born making their dreams of fatherhood come true.
Kunal (left) and Jason on their wedding day, July 13, 2014
It was 2011, and San Diego was experiencing the great Southwest blackout during the late summer. Southern California may have lost its electricity, but Kunal and Jason found each other in a dive bar called Cheers and created their own spark. They were married July 13, 2014.
The topic of kids was discussed early on in their relationship, and they decided adoption was the right decision for them. The signed with IAC, paid the full fees of almost $15k, completed the home study, and were on the waiting list hoping to hear from a prospective mother. Then they received news of IAC filing for bankruptcy.
Kunal (left) and Jason with their surrogate and dear friend, Candice
"We got a very impersonal email stating that the agency was filing for bankruptcy and that they were sorry," recalled Kunal. "There was no explanation, no [guidance] as to what we should be doing next." Kunal and Jason were devastated and felt lost. They had no "next steps," and had lost a huge amount of money. They spoke to lawyers for counsel, but they all said the same thing: due to the agency filing for bankruptcy, there was little they could do.
It took some time, but Kunal and Jason managed to pick themselves up and began to look at their other options. "I researched surrogacy; the exorbitant cost, the legality, and above all, finding the surrogate seemed like a big mountain to climb," said Kunal. But within 6 months, everything seemed to align and with a very generous offer from a friend who agreed to be their surrogate, surrogacy finally became attainable for the husbands.
To help alleviate some of the cost of surrogacy process, Kunal and Jason split their journey between Mexico and America. They chose an egg donor and had the embryo created in Mexico City, but worked closely with a fertility center and doctor, Dr. Sills, in San Diego where their surrogate underwent her fertility cycle. After that was completed, they went back to Mexico City for the embryo transfer. "We found our own lawyer and did the legal process ourselves," added Jason.
Their surrogacy journey was very straight forward and their friend and surrogate became pregnant after the first transfer. On June 24, 2018, the new dads welcomed Alessandra into the world and into their arms. The dads were present at her birth and describe the experience as magical.
"Our lives have changed drastically for good," said Kunal, "nurturing all three of us, and spending more time together as a family – no more late night clubbing!"
"A smile from my daughter melts my heart every time," added Jason.
Kunal, who is "Baba" (which means "dad" in his first language, Bengali), was off for the month of July, enjoying his daughter's first month; Jason, "Dada," is fortunate to have off until the end of December, at which time the family are considering a live-in nanny. "Juggling word and fatherhood is not easy… the first day I went to work, I really really missed my munchkin," said Kunal.
Although Kunal and Jason's fatherhood journey experienced some serious low points, the pieces certainly fell back into place. They're now proud and smitten fathers to baby Alessandra, their "super girl," and they wouldn't change a thing. "Seeing her look up to us every day, makes us realize that we are finally dads… it's been the most magical experience so far," said Kunal.