Meet New Dads: Tommy and Robert
Tommy Barraza and Robert Martin live in Orlando, Florida with their daughter, Mia Valentina. The two met through friends, and have been together for 14 years. They got married in September 2015. We caught up with Tommy, who will be "daddy," and Robert, who will be "Papi," to see how parenthood is treating them.
Tell us about your path to parenthood. Did you consider other options? [We] tried adoption and went through the entire process paying an agency and then home study approvals etc but was just a long wait with no results so took another route with surrogacy.
What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? The adoption process was so complicated. When there are so many qualified couples to adopt they make it so difficult which really makes no sense. On the IVF and surrogacy route we did have some ups and downs. Lots of preparation for the egg donor, surrogate and ourselves takes place before a transfer is done. Our first try she didn't get pregnant so we had to basically start from zero again and do another attempt. On the second try we did get both embryos to attach at 8 weeks, and heard and saw both heart beats. At the week 12 ultrasound we were told that the baby boy had passed at 9 weeks. Now we are blessed with our beautiful daughter Mia Valentina. The surrogate wanted us to still have the baby brother for Mia so we tried again for a boy recently. First try didn't work and we did a second attempt again and now she is 4 weeks pregnant with our baby boy. Still early in the game but hopefully all turns out the way it should and Mia will have her brother soon.
How has your life changed since you became a father? We have always been lucky to have a great and rewarding life but now with Mia in our lives things seem to have more of a meaning. Our day to day activities have changed, meals, leaving the house, and basically any activity we do has to now have more preparation and planning.
Was there ever a moment that you or your husband experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? And if so, what were they? How did you overcome them? Having tried both adoption and surrogacy we found ourselves with doubts and even if this was the right thing to do. We just talked things through and supported one another and now we know for sure it was all worth it!
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? To our surprise the treatment from others has been great. A rare occasional stare or comment of just ignorance here and there but everyone for the most part has been welcoming supportive and just amazing.
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Growing all stronger as a family, and doing the best we can to be outstanding citizens and role models.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Surround yourself with family, friends and create a good support system so to make the journey easier, this way when setbacks occur or problems are encountered you have where to get advice and the help needed to pick up and keep going.
What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering fatherhood? Be strong, patient and don't let any obstacles stop you. No one said it would be easy but it is for sure rewarding.
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