When Rafal first met Jami, during a chance encounter in Naples, Florida, he was still very much in the closet. "Jami made a huge impact on my life," said Rafal. "At age 22, he made me feel comfortable enough to come out of the closet, and not hide anymore."
Rafal found the courage to tell his mother that he was gay, and despite her shock, she told her son she accepted him the way he was. Jami, meanwhile, who had been out to his friends and co-workers, had not yet told his own mother. When he finally did tell her, she was also in shock, but had a harder time accepting her son's sexuality orientation due to her religious beliefs.
Rafal (left) and Jami on the day they were married
Despite her disapproval, the pair's relationship progressed, and in September 2016, Jami and Rafal were married. Given their family's ambivalence about their relationship, however, the two decided to elope. The told their families of their marriage only after the ceremony.
Soon after they were married, they began to focus on how they could become dads. With the help of a Polish surrogate, to help provide a connection to Rafal's heritage, the couple welcomed Jacob in December 2017. As soon as they became dads, their relationships with their families changed almost instantly. "They finally understood that being a gay family isn't any different from straight people," said Rafal.
"They love Jacob a lot!" added Jami. "We definitely want to teach our children that we are all the same in God's eyes and he loves us equally."
We caught up with the dads to see how they're finding life as parents.
Tell us about your path to fatherhood. We chose a Polish surrogate because I am Polish and Jami is Jamaican and we wanted the baby to have Polish-Jamaican background.
How has your life changed since you became a father? We were working a lot and spending time traveling and visiting friends. After the birth, we decided to spend more time with the baby at home instead partying. We spend most of the time at home because Jacob is so young but we take him for walks to the beach.
What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? We learned how to be patient and the baby brought us even closer to one another.
Was there ever a moment that you or Jami experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? Never. We both wanted to became parents for so long. We are happy that we found each other, wanting the same things in life, like building a strong relationship and raising a child together.
Jami with sleepin Jacob
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? In the beginning it was hard and awkward but baby Jacob changes everything for positive! They are happy for us.
What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Parenthood is the best thing you can experience in life. But don't rush, make a wise decision if you are ready to become a parent.
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Living in beautiful Naples, Florida. Having a son and a daughter, and also having a great careers
Is there anything else you'd like to add? We love Jacob unconditionally and both of us wants him to have better life and opportunities that we had in life. We know that as a son of two dads, his life might not be easy, but we will be always there to support him! We will support him in every decision he will make in life.
*Answers have been edited for clarity