Matteo and Hai are the proud dads of daughter Isabella. They're also some of the new faces of J.Crew's Christmas campaign! Matteo and Hai have been together for 13 years and were married in 2008. The two started a pediatrics office together 5 years ago in Brooklyn. They became dads to their daughter, Isabella, when she was just one day old. We recently caught up with Matteo and found out how these new J.Crew models came to be a family of three.
Tell us about your path to fatherhood. We knew adoption was for us from the very beginning. We knew we did not feel the necessity to have a biological child, we simply wanted to start a family and adopting a child who otherwise would have probably got lost in the system sounded like the perfect fit for us. We were on the list for 5 days when w got the call. Isabella was born 4 months later and adoption was finalized 1 year later.
Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. Isabella was born in SC at that time they had DOMA in their constitution and we presented to the court as a same sex married couple. The first judge recused himself and we had to wait 2 weeks down there when she was born and we had no idea if she was going to go home with us, but she was already under our care.
How has your life changed since you became a father? Life is not about me anymore. My schedule is her schedule :-)
What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? I learned to listen to my inner-child more and have him come out and play again.
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? We live in NY and still sometimes we feel that we are under a microscope but we also feel very lucky to live in this progressive bubble. When we travel we are aware that we need to be careful and vigilant. Isn't that sad?
How did you hear about the J.Crew ad? A friend texted me saying that his friend who was a casting director for J.Crew saw our family photos on Facebook and wanted us in the shoot. We are happy to see more companies embracing all types of families. We need it nowadays.
What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Becoming parents is the best and hardest thing I have ever done. If you are ready to share yourself, you are ready to parent.
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? We are still in NY trying to navigate the crazy school system, working hard as usual and hopefully traveling more.
How important is travel to your family? Are there any places you'd like to take Isabella, and why? Isabella has been to a few places around. Traveling gives us the chance to explore and learn new cultures and new realities. This is important to us as I moved from Italy when I was 25 and learned a whole new way of living.