You may remember Ken and Scott: They produced a short video for Gays With Kids in September 2015 when they first became dads. Now that it’s been a little over six months, we’ve decided to check back in with the dads.
Here’s a bit of Ken and Scott history: They live in Des Moines, Iowa, with their 7-month-old daughter Quinn. Scott is the owner of Midwest Wedding Planner; Ken is president of the Des Moines West Side Chamber of Commerce, works in real estate and also does public relations and marketing. Together they recently started a little cookie business named Quinn’s Cookies
Ken is originally from Carlisle, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines; he describes his family as close and supportive. Scott grew up in rural Wyoming, “40 miles from the nearest McDonald’s and 100 miles from a Wal-Mart, with only a sagebrush in between,” in Scott’s words. Scott’s story is quite different from Ken’s: Scott’s father was distant; Scott struggled to develop a relationship with him. When Scott came out to his family at age 21, his father ended their relationship. Distraught over the fallout, Scott’s mother then divorced his father. Scott has only spoken to his father once in seven years — to tell him he was going to be a dad.
Get to know these two dads (and their adorable daughter Quinn) a little better from the following interview.
Gays With Kids: We love a good love story. How did you two meet?
Ken: I had moved back to Iowa from South Florida and started working for a fitness center in the Des Moines area. One day this handsome young man walked through the doors and it was like heaven’s lights shined down on this glorious fitness center I worked at. (Haha, you know like the gay angel you see in movies.) He came to the front desk and the receptionist came to get me as he was just getting in town from a business flight and wanted a pass to work out during the Thanksgiving holiday. Of course, I was the one to help him. (Wink, not planned! Ha!) I decided I would be the knight in shining armor and give him a week pass to the club. He was so thankful that he would gladly cook me dinner one night, he said. Well, as that day went on we constantly texted each other. Then he invited me to our first dinner date! Wow, so quick but yet so needed. But there was a stipulation to this date. (No, it was not what you think!) It was that our first date would be with his parents (mom and stepdad) and friends. Nothing like being thrown into the fire! Being the brave knight that I am, I said yes. I think he was shocked, but on our date we hit it off. I spent time holiday shopping with his parents and we played some “Dance Dance Revolution.” From there it was unicorns and rainbows!
Gays With Kids: Did you always want kids?
Ken: Yes we did. I think it was one of the first conversations we ever had (after we talked about my inviting him to come to dinner with my parents on our first date. We figured, Why waste time? We are not getting any younger. If we learned years down the road that one of us never wanted kids, this would have been a waste of time. We even talked about marriage in the first week too. (We both said we wanted to be married to ... someone. Ha!)
Gays With Kids: How did you create your family?
Ken: Our family was created with a lot of planning and thought, about two years worth of conversations and time.
First we found a surrogate, or rather, a surrogate found us: A friend of mine approached Scott and me, to tell us she would like to carry our child, if we wished. We spoke with her and her family. We also spoke with their kids, as we wanted them to understand everything too. She and her husband were very kind. They tried their best not to make this surrogacy a strange thing; it is of course a serious thing, with contracts and lawyers. Most importantly, we realized that a lot of new emotions were about to released on our friendship!
The next step was the egg donor. Scott’s sister requested that we utilize her eggs. And that was it! To our shock and excitement this would mean that our daughter would be a little bit of both of us, truly. Oh, BTW: my sperm! :)
Scott shopping with Quinn in Boise, Idaho, over Thanksgiving week 2015
Gays With Kids: Please provide additional details here, including why you chose your particular path to fatherhood.
Ken: We chose this path as it what was offered to us. It was also very important to us that our child would be genetically related to both of us. That is great as we now know her personality! (Ha, we hope!) She is a redheaded Mexican child. I think we can figure that out, right?
Scott: Let me explain. My sister, the egg donor, is a beautiful redhead; Ken’s mother is 100 percent Latina.
Gays With Kids: What do you consider to be the most important lesson you are teaching Quinn?
Ken: I believe the most important lesson would be to be yourself. Do not discount who you are for anyone and know to speak your mind in a tactful way, remaining courteous and respectful. I would also say enjoy life and do not take it too seriously.
Gays With Kids: Please share any advice you may have for others considering a similar path to fatherhood.
Ken: Do as you feel is correct. You know your child best and better then anyone out there. There is not a book on this because it would not be possible. Just remember anything you do is not wrong. You will learn to understand your child’s needs and wants. Just listen and watch, it will all come to you. Also, remember, this is relatively new for same-sex couples and you are paving the road for future gay dads: Make it positive.
Gays With Kids: What names do your kid call you and your husband, e.g. daddy and papa?
Ken: Right now at seven months it’s “Da Da,” lots of “Da Da.”
Gays With Kids: Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family?
Ken: Just communicate always, as there will be highs and lows to this all. There is no right or wrong; there is you and your love and now your kid(s). This is a learning experience for everyone, so learn with love and an open mind.