Remember the photo that went viral of a deliciously cute baby, arms stretched above his head, his cherub-cheeked face looking serene, nestled in bed between his two daddies? Well, those two dads are Josh and Jeremy and they live with their two kids, the aforementioned 9-month-old Anakin and 2-month-old Izley, in Salt Lake City, Utah. We caught up with the dads, who were overwhelmed by the loving response to their sweet family photo, to see how their family came to be.
Jeremy, a registered nurse, and Joshua, a firefighter and paramedic, met while working for the same ambulance service company. They've been together 7 years and on April 24, 2015, the two married and celebrated their union with a Batman themed wedding (Why should kids get all the fun theme parties?!).
Having always wanted kids, Joshua and Jeremy wanted to start their family sooner rather than later. The price tag that accompanies surrogacy was a bit too steep, making adoption their chosen route.
"Plus," added the dads, "We would rather spend the money we saved from adopting [rather than surrogacy] on improving our home to make it a safe and fun environment for our children. Love is love and it doesn't matter if your child has your bloodline or not."
But the dads experienced a major setback in April of last year. They had been matched with a birth mom and were away on vacation when they heard she'd gone into labor. They quickly rushed home, making it in time for the birth. One day later they took their baby girl home, but 7 days later the birth mom changed her mind and took the child back.
"We were heartbroken!" said Joshua and Jeremy.
They later found out that the birth mom had wanted more money, and when she'd asked the dads post-delivery, they had refused. So she had found another couple that paid more and took her daughter back to offer her to the other couple.
"After this ordeal, we pulled our adoption profile and debated if we wanted to try again."
They decided that they did. And in November 2016 they welcomed Anakin, closely followed by sister Izley in May 2017.
Anakin and Izley
Their New Life
Before having kids, Joshua and Jeremy would enjoy spontaneous movie nights, dinner dates and going out. They still manage some date nights but now they play host more often. Did they lose some of their old friends? Yes, but they met new ones with kids of their own.
"Can't say much has changed except it takes longer than 20 minutes to leave the house and both Josh and I are a little more tired than normal."
As gay dads they're yet to experience any discrimination, only incorrect conclusions on the role of each dad – they hear "Mom's day off?" and the likes. But it's like water off a duck's back to them.
Jeremy and Joshua with Anakin
As for for all parents, the two admit there can be some difficult moments, but they've learned to be patient and humble.
"Being a parent can be frustrating at times, especially at 3am when you are awoken from your sleep or when your child is crying and you can't figure out why," they said. "But it makes it all worth it when they smile every time they see you or when they snuggle up next to you."
In regard to their failed adoption, the men say that it was a test that no one can prepare for, but they took each day as it came and they're thrilled they stuck to their path.
"Never give up your dreams!" said Jeremy and Joshua. "There might be setbacks along the way but don't give up. Fatherhood is something everyone should experience."
As for other couples looking to adopt, Jeremy and Joshua suggest looking for others for support, people who have also been through the process. It takes a village after all.