Gay Dad Life

On Learning to View the World with Wonder

Names: Jorge and Adam Clark-Tan

Location: Daly City, California

Relationship Status: 

Married. My husband and I have been together for almost 14 years, but were married July 5, 2013 (a week after it was legalized in CA). We originally thought about planning a big wedding, but then decided to just have a small ceremony and save the money to help fund our adoption plans!

Occupations: Jorge is in marketing. Adam is mental health therapist.

How Many Kids Do You Have? One perfect son.

What’s His Name?  Axel

What Does He Call You? Jorge is "Papi" and Adam is “Daddy.”

Where and how did you and your husband meet? We met in Portland, Oregon via an online dating site. Our first date was at Le Happy, a little french bistro serving crepes. You know it's true love when you agree on strawberry nutella.

Tell us about your path to parenthood. We chose an open adoption agency because we felt it was the right decision for our child. By nurturing an ongoing relationship with our son's birth mom, our son will hopefully grow up with a positive story about how his mom honored us with being his fathers. He will know her decision was made out of love, and that we are now an extended family with even more people who love him.

What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? When we first signed with our agency, we were informed that the average wait is 14-16 months. But the tricky things about averages is that there are some families who wait for a month, and there are others who wait for many years without any contact with an expectant mother. Before we matched with our wonderful birth mom, we had a couple of failed matches, and there is nothing to prepare you for that kind of heartache. But the thing is, despite the twists and hurdles, we arrived at our destination which includes our son who somehow miraculously is more amazing than I ever could have wished for.

How has your life changed since you became a father?

Before: Hey let's fly to (insert location) this weekend. It's raining, do you want to catch a double-feature? I got us reservations at that new restaurant everyone is talking about.

After: After we go to the playground/zoo, let's stop by Target to get more diapers. Do we even remember what movie popcorn tastes like? The restaurant only has one high chair and that family just sat down with it, so let's go somewhere else.

The Real After: He learned how to say "I Love You" and it is the most beautiful sound in the world. Playing peekaboo makes him laugh every time and that's better than watching any movie.

What have you learned from your children since you became a dad? I relearned how to approach the world with wonder and appreciation. He taught me to take life more slowly because he stops to marvel at things like flowers (literally, stop and smell the roses). He is fascinated by buses and trains, so even if it takes more time to go somewhere on the bus, we do that because he loves the whole experience of riding on it.

Was there ever a moment that you or Adam experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? The day before our baby shower for our first match, we found out that the expectant mother had been scamming us. Basically, she just disappeared---she disconnected her mobile phone, she moved out of her apartment, she unfriended us in social media and just vanished. At that moment, we did not see how to recover from the grief and loss. Eventually, we decided that feeling sorry for ourselves was not going to get us back on the path to fatherhood. So we dusted ourselves off and went live again with our agency to find new hope and a new dream.

Did you always want kids? If you did not always want kids, what happened to change your mind? No. My husband always wanted kids, and I used to feel selfish about what it would mean to give up certain freedoms to be a dad. Then my sister and cousins all started having kids and it became real for me, this sense that there was more to life and that included having a child.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Yes, but in ways that I would not have expected. I was afraid of being discriminated against but on a weekly basis, people go out of their way to say hi to us (let's be honest, everyone just really wants to meet our adorable son). Strangers will come up to us and share kind and loving words about us as a family.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Exploring the world! We want to raise our son to have global experiences that is critical to empathy for those that are different and to appreciate what we have.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering fatherhood? You may be ready, even if you are not prepared. Accept that and focus on the destination. I sincerely hope you don't suffer on the road to becoming a family, but know that for some people the road is bumpy. Having a son, becoming a family... there is no greater joy, responsibility, and purpose in my life.

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