Kevin and Todd Pontecorvo admit their path to parenthood wasn’t a straight one (no pun intended!). There were a lot of stops and starts along the way – and a few times they questioned whether parenthood was the right road for them to travel at all. In fact, before they chose to work with Amara, a nonprofit foster care agency, they shared, “We didn’t even realize that was an option for us.” Not only was it an option, but the married couple are now fathers to Amber, their beautiful daughter who they can’t imagine life without.
The Pontecorvos call themselves “two sides of the same coin” even though one grew up in New York and the other in Colorado. They each made their way to Seattle, met through mutual friends and soon discovered how much they both wanted to be dads. They built a kid-friendly life together as their relationship developed—buying a bigger car and searching for a larger home — before they started researching how they’d become parents.
Once they did start to investigate the paths to creating a family together, they considered surrogacy initially. But, says Kevin, “The stars didn’t align at the time and we dismissed the option.” It took years for them to realize that becoming foster parents was a way for them to potentially adopt a child. And so, with the help of Amara, just two weeks after they became licensed foster parents, Tiffany was placed in their home. They fell head over heels for the little girl and after a year started the adoption phase. Unfortunately, when a relative heard she was being fostered by two men, they stepped in to stop the adoption and eventually she was adopted by relatives in another country. For Kevin and Todd, it brought to light the challenges same-sex couples encounter, on top of the deep pain of losing Tiffany.
The couple's case workers at Amara told them that mourning would happen in a situation like this. "But you don’t truly know the heartbreak until you experience it in real life," said Todd. "After Tiffany we didn’t know if we could or even wanted to try again. The thought of going through losing a child again was more than we could imagine."
But, amazingly, they decided that the rewards of caring for a child outweighed the risks – and they opened their hearts and home to another child.
When Amber came into their lives, they were nervous, wondering if things would go the way they had with Tiffany. Plus, while Tiffany had come to the Pontecorvos with a host of services wrapped around her, Amber – who needed support — had none. The couple sprang into action. “The same great team we had before showed how truly amazing they were by jumping in and helping us set everything up for Amber within the first two weeks," said Todd. "It was never a question of did they have the time, they just did it and did it for a little girl they didn’t know at all. They truly made it all possible for Amber.”
Although they certainly have concerns about raising a girl, as two gay fathers (What do they do when puberty hits? How will they handle her first heartbreak? What happens when Amber asks about having a mother?), Kevin and Todd don’t dwell on the worry. Instead, they prepare the best they can for the day when they’ll receive the questions and let Amber know she can always talk to them about anything. They reflect on the emotional harm inflicted upon them, from prejudice, and the one thing that kept them both going through it all: the unconditional love of people in their lives who truly matter. This is the lesson they carry forward with Amber, the importance of sharing unconditional love to help keep her strong and hopeful.
The Pontecorvos admit that with fatherhood comes more stress and more worry than existed pre-Amber. But, there’s also more love, laughter, and happiness than ever before. In the words of Kevin and Todd, “There is a lot more joy and meaning to life when you are raising a child. We say it all the time – being a dad is the best job in the world.”