After many year of trying, Lewis and René are finally dads! Their daughter, Loa, was born early January, with the help of a co-parent (Loa's mother) who they found online.
Lewis and René met 8 years ago in their hometown in The Netherlands. Within minutes of first meeting, their conversation turned to kids. The two got to know each other for about a year before they began a relationship.
Gay fatherhood in The Netherlands, like many countries around the world, requires a lot of research and planning. For René and Lewis it took 2 years before they felt ready to start try in 2014.
René (left) and Lewis on their wedding day
In the beginning, they tried to get pregnant with a close female friend as they all wanted to co-parent together. But after three miscarriages, their doctors decided to stop the process. Lewis shared with Gays With Kids that it was a difficult time for them all, but ultimately, he and René decided to not give up.
In 2015 they were married in front of friends and family.
"It was very beautiful to have our family and friends to support us during the good and bad moments," said Lewis, reflecting on his wedding. "Our dream to become fathers was bigger than ever."
In the Netherlands there is a website accredited by the government called "Meer Dan Gewenst," a community committed to members of the LGBT community who want to become parents. Lewis and René posted about their dream of fatherhood to the website and their future co-parent responded: a straight single woman. When they met in person, they had a great connection.
After a few months of getting to know one another, and completing all the necessary legal paperwork and financial preparation, they decided to begin the process. After the third attempt, the co-parenting team announced that they were expecting. On January 6, 2018, they welcomed their daughter, Loa.
Today, Lewis and René are moving from their home of Rotterdam to another town so they can be closer to their daughter's mother. They are splitting their parenting time 50 / 50. We spoke with Lewis to find out how he's finding fatherhood.
How has your life changed since you became a father? I was lucky to get few weeks off to take care of my daughter. We have just moved into our new family home. Our life is no longer about us 2 or chilling with our friends! We are finally a family :)
What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? I've learned to be patient, soft, easy-going and not always in rush! I plan everything from A to Z, I'm completely a new person.
Was there ever a moment that you or René experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself. Not at all! We always dreamed about having a child. We didn't know which path to take at first but after meeting gay fathers and readying about possibilities, we were focus on our dream. It took us 4 years but it's worth the wait.
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Sometimes I see people looking at us and maybe talking behind our back. But I don't really focus on that! I want to be strong for our daughter and show people around us that we are not different than a straight couple with a child!
Lewis (left) and René
What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Learn as much as possible about which parenthood path suits you and your partner best. Try to connect with couples who are in the same situation, exchange experience with them and talk to your family for the extra support! Best advice: Follow your dream and never give up, no matter what!
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? I would like to have a second child. I see my family being happy and healthy. Also I would like to inspire and advise other gay men around my city in The Netherlands...