Australians Cris and Damien had only been together a year before they got engaged. They then spent the next 9 years fighting for their right to get married. When Australia voted "Yes" for marriage equality last November, it meant that Cris and Damien could finally get legally married in their home country. They were thrilled! But what was even more exciting was their guest of honor: their brand new baby girl born via surrogacy on February 28, 2018.
Cris and Damien met on MySpace in 2008. Cris was 20 years old, living in a small town of only 1,179 people in rural Australia. "It wasn't easy to meet like-minded people," said Cris. "I happened to come across Damien's profile and then the rest, as they say, is history."
Cris (left) and Damien on their wedding day
Damien never had a strong desire to have children – he was happy either way - but after meeting Cris, and seeing the longing he had to be a dad, Damien began to want children as well. The two looked at adoption but at the time it wasn't possible for them (it has only recently become legal in Victoria, Australia, for gay couples to adopt) so they turned to surrogacy.
Damien and Cris looked internationally to fulfill their desire to become biological dads. At first, they encountered a number of roadblocks before setting their sights on Canada. The associated costs were a hurdle for the dads-to-be so they took out a loan that they dubbed their "baby loan." Their first surrogate didn't work out. Neither did the second one. But the dads were not perturbed. They made a video of themselves sharing their dream of becoming dads. Their third surrogate saw it and asked to be matched with them.
"We clicked straight away," said Cris.
Cris doing skin-to-skin with Fletcher, and Damien
There were a couple more hiccups along the way including traveling and the Zika virus, medication mix-ups, and having to let their Australian lawyer go towards the end, but on February 28, at 6:47am, Fletcher Jarvis Stevens-Todd was born.
Life for the new dads hasn't altered much. They've lucked out with a daughter who enjoys sleeping through loud noises, and being out and about with her two dads. Cris has taken a year off work to be home with Fletcher, and the dads still attend most events. However, Cris has noticed a huge priority change since becoming a dad: he now feels like an adult and a family man! "My twenties were about self discovery, but I turned 30 this year and it's now about us."
Cris and Damien with Fletcher
Cris and Damien have a message to other gay dads-to-be: "Never give up," said Cris. "Even though it can be a hard journey with many ups, downs, lefts and rights."
And so far, the dads have not been made to feel different as a two-dad family. "Everyone has been so supportive," said Damien, "our journey has been a very public one."
"There were a lot of people waiting for [our daughter's] birth," added Cris. "Because of the support and generosity of people, I've called her the "People's Baby."
Well, it's clear that this "People's Baby" is very loved, very wanted, and is the apple of her two daddies' eyes! Congratulations to Cris and Damien!