Some gay men know from a young age they want to become a father one day. For others, the realization happens later in life. For Danny Finkel and Graham Murphy, it was the latter. Now they're the dads of 2-month-old Collin through open adoption, and although life with a newborn can be challenging, Danny and Graham are loving their new roles as fathers.
Danny and Graham met on Gay.com over 10 years ago, and have been married since 2014. Graham works for a philanthropy consulting firm, leading a culture and talent team, and Danny is the head of strategy for one of the largest corporate travel agencies in the world.
Fatherhood came onto their radar just as their "clocks" began to tick. They discussed their plans for a year before deciding upon adoption as the best way for them to start a family.
"Everyone in our family isn't related by blood, but by love," said Graham. "Including our adopted dog, Claire."
The two men confess they got lucky, as the whole process went very smoothly and it did not take them long to be matched with a birth mom.
They were matched in February this year, and had weekly calls with their birth mom. Although they were initially hesitant about open adoption, they've formed a wonderful relationship with their birth mom, thanks in part to a unique opportunity to get to know her.
"We heard that our birth mom might go into labor early, so we traveled from Washington State to Florida, which is where she lived," explained Graham. "It turns out she delivered past her due date, so we got to spend about two weeks with our birth mom. We went to her favorite hang out spots and met her friends. It was a wonderful experience."
Danny and Graham even picked her up on the way to the hospital on the morning she was to be induced. Collin Finkel Murphy was born July 13, 2017. His dads were in the room when he was born; Danny cut the cord and both dads did skin-to-skin.
After a 48-hour hospital stay, the new dads were able to take Collin back to their apartment in Florida. Their friends had given them a baby box which Danny and Graham described as a "lifesaver" as it had all the essentials and doubled as Collin's crib for the first two weeks.
During that time, their strategy was to give one dad a full night's sleep, so they did alternate nights feeding.
"We're both morning people, so this was tough," explained Graham. "Thankfully, there's a lot of Sex and the City and Law & Order marathons that play at night!"
After two weeks, the family of three were able to fly home to Washington. They were, however, delayed at the airport by some bureaucracy and missed their first flight, but were able to catch a later one.
When they arrived home, the next two weeks were a whirlwind, not only because they were new parents. They managed to move house, tape an episode of House Hunters (due to air within the next few months) and care for a newborn. Thankfully Collin slept through most of it.
Danny and Graham both received three months paternity leave from their companies so they're staggering their leave so that Collin has at least one of his dads at home for the first six months.
They've quickly learned the realities of raising a newborn – lack of sleep, brain turning to mush, losing one's own schedule – but they're finding ways to compensate.
Graham's secret? Make lists to accomplish chores otherwise new parents forget what they intended to do.
"Your brain basically goes to mush with a baby," he explained.
They knew their lives would change as soon as Collin was born, but they're making sure they still have friends over, go for outings, and enjoy dinner out.
"We found one family-friendly restaurant near us that we've probably gone to way too often with Collin. They started to give us free stuff."
They also swear by their Merlin Magic Sleep Suit for Collin, which helps him sleep through the night. The Holy Grail for all new parents.
Even though Danny and Graham admit that Collin is a relatively easy baby, it's still been a lot of work.
"People say it is a lot of work, but they probably understate it," said Graham. "You're constantly tired and incapable of full thoughts.
"It can put a lot of stress on your relationship, so keep plenty of wine around. It turns out that your arguments are because you're tired or hungry, and then you realize we also whine and carry on just like a baby when we're hungry and tired."
One of the most precious moments for the dads has been when their 14-year-old dog (and first daughter) Claire bestowed her love upon her younger brother by giving him a lick of acceptance.
At the moment there is a big debate on when they will grow their family even further. Danny would like another child right away while Graham is tempted to wait a little. Whatever they decide, we're excited to follow this family's adventures.