This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.
"We both felt the fact that you are now a 'father' doesn't set in immediately. It is love, admiration, and the overwhelming feeling of emotion that describes these first moments and weeks with our son. As time goes on, your love evolves into a smirk from him, the way he holds his bottle, or a cute outfit that he wears."
Scott and Brian Foster are new dads to baby Silas who was born March 17, 2019, at 5:35am.
The two met in 2012 through a mutual friend, and neither was looking for anything long-term. Regardless, their relationship progressed rapidly and they moved in together nearly three months after first meeting. "We quickly realized that we shared many of the same interests including travel, dining, wine tasting, and the idea of a family in the future," said Brian.
As the years went on, the couple watched their friends begin their next phase of their lives – becoming engaged, married, and starting a family – and they realized this was something they also wanted. "We understood that our friends who were starting families were mostly straight couples and the journey for them was quite clear," said Brian. "We started researching how to achieve this on our own and reached out to people outside of our immediate network to hear the steps they took to start their family in a nonconventional way."
Having a genetic connection to their future child was very important to Brian and Scott so they pursued surrogacy. "A lawyer we were working with recommended Circle Surrogacy as a top, long standing agency with proven results," said Scott. "She also said that if we were looking for more of a hand-holding experience, that an agency route would be best."
The dads didn't look back.
After meeting with Jen Rachman, Circle's Outreach Associate, they knew that this was where they wanted to start their journey. "We had already explored our options, positioned ourselves financially, and fully ready to commit." They browsed egg donors, selected and matched quickly, and not long after they were matched with their phenomenal surrogate who was interested in working with a gay couple.
"We met her and her husband over Skype and fell for each other immediately," said Scott. During their journey the dads truly connected with their surrogate and her family, including her three children, their parents, and extended family. "When we flew for our OB visits we stayed in her home every time, which was initially her suggestion. Her young children think of us as uncles and they were cognizant of the fact that their mother was doing this selfless act for us and our child of course would not remain with their family. They also understood that we would be part of their lives forever and this was not just a quick exchange."
To Brian and Scott, their surrogate and her family will forever be extended family to them. "We will be proud to educate to our child on the process and explain how loved and wanted he was," said Brian. "It will be a joy to explain to him about these two women, the benefit of science, and the support of a wonderful agency. He was created to be with us!"
Brian and Scott have felt nothing but compassion, understanding and support from both their egg donor and surrogate throughout their path to fatherhood. "Through the months leading up to his birth they had sent us gifts, made baby blankets, many well wishes, advice, and of course support after Silas was born," said Scott.
The dads-to-be also had a very strong support system of friends and family. "When we shared our dream to create a family together, our families were excited, present and a guiding force during the entire process," said Brian. "We could have not done this without them." All of Brian and Scott's grandparents were absolutely thrilled at the prospect of meeting their youngest great-grandson and the newest generation to join their families.
A week before the birth of their son, Scott and Brian flew to their surrogate's house, at her request. She was experiencing contractions and the dads, eager not to miss the birth of their son, hoped on a flight and then waited it out.
A week passed and they were still waiting.
Finally on March 16 at 7pm her water broke. They grabbed their hospital bags, carefully selected outfits for their soon-to-arrive son, and notified the birthing photographer.
"We walked into the hospital and quickly realized this was not like the movies," chuckled Brian. "Everything was very calm, slowly filling out paperwork, patiently checking us all in, then bringing us to the first room to confirm vitals and dilation."
After the nurse checked their surrogate – she was measuring five centimeters and there were traces of amniotic fluid present - they were admitted. At this point, they were all moved into the delivery room, and the big wait began. "We were full of nervousness and uncertainty. We couldn't have predicted the bonding experience of what was to come. We were tired, hungry, exhausted, giddy, nervous, and anxious," shared Scott.
Six or seven hours later, everything began progressing very quickly. She was 9.5 centimeters dilated! The dads remember hearing "Okay, we are having a baby" and the medical team came rushing in and it looked like perfectly organized chaos.
"I said to Scott and our surrogate's husband 'how are we going to do this when he comes— we are exhausted,'" remembers Brian. "Our surrogate's husband just laughs knowingly as he has gone through this three times with his wife – 'ADRENALINE takes over' he said."
After three strong pushes, Silas was born. "It was truly the most magnificent experience we have had in our lives."
The first moments
"This moment of watching our son being born and then holding our son was extraordinary and surreal," recalled Brian. Although the dads were part of the process every step of the way, nothing could've prepared them for that first moment.
"It is that culminating moment when he is placed in your arms, his cheek to your chest, starring down in awe and admiration," continued Brian. "There is a wave of calmness that flushes over you and a feeling of closeness that is shared with him and your husband as all three are immediately bonded in this emotional state of togetherness. The focus is solely on him, absorbing his lips, his fingers, his squinty eyes, his fair skin, and his delicate body. There is this new person in the room we waited so long for that has just chosen us as his fathers to guide him, love him, and shape him. We felt we knew him forever, but just met."
The experience of the birth bonded the four adults for life with baby Silas. After Brian and Scott did skin-to-skin, it was important to the new dads that their surrogate also enjoys that connection. The next couple of days in hospital, as the couples had rooms next to each other, they spent 90% of the time in their surrogate's room letting her hold him and snuggle him.
"Whenever we are asked about our first moments meeting our son we always explain it was the true meaning of love at first sight."
"As for the rest of our journey, it will be filled with excitement, milestones, unpredictability, and of course full of sleepless nights. However, we look forward to showing our beautiful son the world through the eyes of an eager, smart, and if we may say so handsome fella," shared Brian.
The dads plan to grow their family again later this year, and their surrogate has already agreed to work with them on a sibling journey with a little baby girl. "This experience has been seamless, faster than most, and truly incredible. Even with small hiccups from time to time the experienced coordinators and advisors have always guided us from Circle and our Fertility Clinic. We have had such a remarkable experience and grateful to hold our little boy Silas James."
All photos by Hannah Quarcini, Hannah Quarcini Photography