"I'm really not sure what our lives were like before having our son," pondered Matt. "I remember always doing stuff, but I have no idea how I wasted all that personal time that I find so precious now. I took so many showers without someone trying to pull all the towels down to make a bed on the bathroom floor. It must have been nice, but also wasn't as memorable."
Matt DeLeva and fiancé Joseph Littlefield met in 2014 at a Pride event at the San Diego Zoo, and have a 2-year-old son Theo through adoption. For this Los Angeles-based couple, and like many others, becoming dads was an emotional rollercoaster. Before being matched with Theo's birth family, they had two other connections with birth moms that didn't work out. "Each was upsetting," said Matt. "When you talk to birth mothers, you start to get excited and mentally plan your future. When it doesn't work out, it feels like a loss."
But despite those difficult hurdles, the men preserved and received a call one day about a baby boy who had just been born 30 minutes from their house. "The birth parents picked us, and gave us the greatest joy we could have ever received in the form of our son," Matt told Gay Star News in an article published in 2017.
The new dads had discussed fatherhood as early as their first date; now it was a reality. "We knew that it was in our cards to be dads. It was the easiest and best decision that we have ever made."
Another decision the dads made that has impacted their family life was to audition for a home renovation show in early 2018. They knew they wanted a house that needed work, so they looked online, curious to see if there was any home renovation shows being filmed in Los Angeles. "I figured that being a two-dad family would give us some points," said Matt, "I pitched our story online, and they set up a Skype interview with the casting director." The casting director then pitched them to HGTV, and when the HGTV team first watched it, they were so focused on Theo, that they later told Matt and Joseph they had to re-watch it to see what the dads were saying.
Basically, charming Theo got he and his dads onto House Hunters Renovation on HGTV.
Over the summer of 2018, the family of three and the House Hunters Renovation team and crew remodeled part of Matt and Joseph's house. "It was intense, but looking back at it, it was fun," said Matt. "If you asked while we were in the middle of it, I might have given you a different answer."
The family lived in the house throughout the renovation which was a challenge. They had to put up two layers of plastic between the living room and the kitchen to try and keep all the dust out. The air purifiers on in the bedrooms 24/7, and they also had to get creative without a kitchen and heat Theo's milk on the grill in the backyard. "I'm so happy that we went through all of it though," said Matt, "because we really love the finished product."
One of the best parts of watching themselves and their home reno adventure? Being able to see Theo grow 5 or 6 months during the filming and have that captured for all time. "It was fun to see all the craziness we went through over the last year, and it was even better to see Theo on TV."
Looking beyond their house renovations and staring on one of the most beloved channels of any homeowner – aspiring or present – the dads are currently in the process of their second adoption journey. The dads have been told it might take them a little longer this time around as tends to be the case when adopting for a second time.
Matt and Joseph have also put their wedding plans on hold as they look to grow their family, but their nieces and nephews continue to ask about their plans as they're keen to get dressed up for the celebration. "Whenever it is, Theo will have a big role in the wedding," said Matt. "If we wait long enough, he might even be able to officiate!" Or, have a little brother or sister to share ring bearer duties!
Whenever the date will be, these dads are excited to celebrate their love as a family.