The Backstory of A Song for Lost Angels
Telling the stories of gay dads forming their families is almost always a joyous experience. Yes, there are bittersweet notes here and there. The process of becoming a parent can be long and difficult to predict.
But talking to Kevin Thaddeus Fisher-Paulson is different.
Not because his story doesn’t have a happy ending – it does – but because the difficult parts were agonizing. It’s a story that can’t honestly be recounted without tears.
“I know the downside,” he says today. “You will survive. Maybe not in the best shape, but you will survive.”
Fisher-Paulson’s book, “A Song for Lost Angels," was published last year. He and husband Brian are the proud fathers of two sons: Zane, 11, and Aidan, 9. (In photo above, Aidan, Kevin, Brian, Zane) But the San Francisco residents had an earlier experience with parenting.
That’s what his book is about. And that’s what this story is about.
Time for family
Kevin, 56, and Brian, 52, have been together for nearly three decades. When Kevin turned 40, he says, “I had done everything I’d wanted to do with my career.”
He wanted to start a family.
Kevin is in law enforcement, and his husband is a dancer. They looked at all of the options, including surrogacy and adoption, before deciding on a foster-to-adopt program.
“These are children who genuinely do need help,” Kevin says.
After finding an agency, the couple started attending the classes and going through the steps required to become licensed foster parents. A social worker told them they were officially qualified on March 30, 2004.
Two days later, on April 1, they were matched with newborn triplets. The children were dealing with medical issues, and one had a hole in his heart. After discussing it, Kevin and Brian agreed to the placement.
It was “really the deep end of the pool,” Kevin says today. He took three months off from work. At the beginning, the triplets needed to be fed every two hours.
“Our lives became all about the babies,” he says.
The triplets grew and thrived over the next year, including the one with the most severe problems. “The doctors were very kind and said he wouldn't have lived without us,” Kevin says.
A family had been created. But all was not well.
Lost and found
The couple then ran up against, in Kevin’s account, a social worker who disapproved of their sexual orientation. The triplets were returned to their mother, who had previously ruled herself out. Evidence had gone missing, and conversations had been held behind the scenes.
The Fisher-Paulsons had lost their children.
"We want people to know, there are some genuine tragedies that come along in the process," Kevin says.
But the couple wasn’t deterred. Two weeks later, Kevin sat down with Brian and said, “I want to do this again.” Brian agreed.
Soon after, their agency matched them with Zane, now 11. He also had some medical issues and developmental concerns. They held their breaths and took the plunge again.
"That was it,” Kevin says. “We thought, 'Okay, it's time to move onto the next stage.’ "
The journey has continued for the last 11 years. Two years after Zane arrived, they took in Aiden. He was also medically at risk. But the couple persevered, and today has much to be celebrate with two happy and healthy sons.
"It's a great life. It's not without its challenges,” Kevin says. "We have two children whose brains are wired very differently."
Writing the book
It’s a compelling story. But how did it become a book?
It all began with inquisitive friends. They all wanted updates from the couple when they were raising the triplets. So every night, after putting the infants to bed, he would head to the computer and send a mass email.
Three years later, he was talking to a friend, who told him he needed to write a book about the family’s experiences. He agreed, but dismissed the possibility. She insisted, though, that he already had a book.
It was in all of those 1 a.m. emails, she told him.
“I have no way of re-creating it,” Kevin protested. She then handed him a folder with more than 100 of the emails he had sent years before, all printed out.
And the book project that became A Song for Lost Angels began. Kevin edited the emails into the book that came out last year, describing it as “David Sedaris meets Erma Bombeck.” It’s available at Amazon and Fearless Books.
Talking and writing about the triplets has prompted conversations among the family.
“Zane asks, ‘Do you love them more than you love me? If they came back tomorrow, would you get rid of me?’ " Kevin says.
His response? He and Brian knew the triplets as infants, for only a year. "I was with the triplets for a season, and I'm with Zane and Aiden for a lifetime."
Kevin adds: "There's always a book of the next part, and that's the adventure with you."
The next book in the series is in the works, and it even has a title. Kevin calls it A Table for Lost Angels, and it’s about the shared space of the dining room table.
"That little circle is the center of the family," he says.
Kevin still remembers the triplets, of course. After being returned to their mother, he heard that they were subsequently put back into foster care. And while he accepts the past as past, he still had plans for the future.
"When they turn 18, I'm going to hire a private detective and I'm going to let them know" about that year, Kevin says.
"I like to think deep in the subconscious they'll remember they were deeply loved."