When Gays With Kids shared Jared and Dorian’s first family photo on Instagram on November 23, 2015, it quickly became our most popular post. The photo captured a precious moment of two proud dads from San Francisco with their newborn son, Jackson, caught mid yawn. Since then our Instagram account has grown significantly, yet Jared and Dorian’s family photo remains one of the most "liked" photos to date. We decided it would be fun to get to know this family a little better.
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Dads Dorian, 41, and Jared, 36, have been together since October 2010. When they first met, Jared was the principal dancer for Ballet Idaho and was on an audition tour in San Francisco hoping to move to the city. Dorian, who works in technology, had been living in San Francisco for 10 years after moving there from Toronto for the dot-com boom of the late 90s and early 2000s
They met at a Halloween party, chatted with one another and arranged their first date for the following day. Jared shared, "We knew almost immediately that we wanted to pursue a relationship. I guess you could call it love at first sight!" The couple dated long distance for six months until Jared moved to San Francisco in early 2011 to start dancing with Smuin Ballet.
When we asked Dorian and Jared whether they always wanted to be dads, Jared said: “Growing up in the time that we did, neither of us ever imagined we would be able to get married, let alone adopt and raise a child. When DOMA [the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage to be between a man and a woman] and Prop 8 [a California voter-approved same-sex marriage ban] fell [in June 2013], we started feeling for the first time that all possibilities seemed to be on the table. So, soon after getting married [October 12, 2013], we started talking family. We are a great team, and are surrounded by loving friends and family – a perfect situation to raise a wonderful child.”
Dorian comes from a big Jewish family; Jared grew up just north of Salt Lake City, Utah, and has a big Mormon family, including an older brother who is also gay. As they planned their wedding, the couple agreed that combining not only their two families but also their San Francisco friends would create a rather unusual crowd. So they searched for a perfect venue and rented what most would consider an unusual venue: a hipster bowling alley. They had a fantastic wedding party surrounded by friends, family and bowling!
A visit to some friends in Chicago, who had recently adopted a little boy, inspired the two men to become dads. After inquiring about their friends’ decision and investigating the process, they knew that adoption was the best option for them to build their own family. They even used the same adoption agency that their friends had used.
Dorian and Jared’s journey to fatherhood began in January of 2015. Jared fills us in about the details: “After six months of paperwork, home visits and adoption workshops, we were in the adoptive parent pool by late June. We expected to wait 15 to 24 months for a birth mother to select us, but luckily we were contacted in September and Jackson was born in early November. It all happened very quickly, and we're so glad that it did!"
Both Jared and Dorian’s family had always been supportive but when Jackson was born, Jared's and Dorian's parents become even more supportive, excited to be grandparents to their new grandson. The two dads have decided that when Jackson is old enough they would like him to call Dorian "Daddy" and Jared "Papa".
As it happens, Dorian's father is known as "Papa" to his other grandkids, but Jackson will get a special dispensation to call him "Papi" so as not to confuse him with Jared, his own Papa. Jared’s mother is “Pom Pom," and Dorian's stepmother is "Bubbie."
These days Jared has transitioned out of dancing and now has his own interior design firm. He works mostly from home, which allows him to care for Jackson while Dorian works full-time outside of the house. Despite being far away from other family members, both dads rave about the close group of friends they have in San Francisco. Their straight female friends who are moms have helped by babysitting, and Jared shared that their gay male friends also have really stepped up.
"Becoming a parent has changed our lives in many wonderful ways. We are so excited to experience the world through Jackson's eyes and to grow, learn and develop as a family. San Francisco is an amazing city full of diversity, culture, and innovation and we are looking forward to sharing all the city has to offer with our little guy!” says Jared.