Joey and Tyler met in Dayton, Ohio, when Joey was working temporarily as a field director for a local politician's campaign. When Joey was managing a Sunglass Hutt, they saw a unique business opportunity and decided to build their own sunglass store. This initiative grew to five additional stores and this year they sold them for a good price and they're looking for their next business venture. But before business, comes their family. And although they have one son and two more on the way, Joey and Tyler would love to achieve their dream of having eight kids. Here's their story.
Tell us about your path to fatherhood. We both knew we wanted children that shared our genetics and to follow the process from conception to delivery. We however have a ton of love for adoption and are considering this for future children as we both want a larger family of 8 children.
Did you face any obstacles? Well we outlined surrogacy as our path and quickly realized it's super expensive. The agencies we contacted did not sugarcoat the process and cost. So affording this has become a motivating factor in being successful in business. People often say we must really love designer sunglasses to push the business so far but it was very clear in our minds that there was a bigger purpose to growing the business.
How has your life changed since you became a father? I have an even greater love of children. I remember when I heard babies crying in my past I would consider it an inconvenience. A couple months ago at a Kohl's I heard a baby screaming and crying. I was so excited to run over and hold her and calm her down. Her mother probably thought it was weird that this stranger wants to hold my crying baby and looking back on it I'm kinda surprised I did it but it felt natural at the time.
What have you learned from the children since you became a dad? Patience and remaining calm. I believe children pick up on us and our emotions so when they become irate or upset it's our job to not elevate the stress and calm them.
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? We live in a small town in northern Florida, and are extremely honest about our family. I regularly forget we are gay until someone asks about who our surrogate was or brings something to my attention that reminds me I am out of the "norm". Since we have been so open I would have suspected at least one person would have some kind of negative view. But if they did, thankfully they did a great job of keeping it to themselves.
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Oh wow we are just now building our dream home so I hope still living in it as it holds the space to accommodate our growing family. I would also hope we would have many more children and possibly all 8 we always wanted.
Is there anything else you'd like to add? We used surrogacy solutions with Lauren Palm here in Florida and our first surrogate is Brittany Brown. She has the same last name as us which is a crazy coincidence. She married her wife Carina Cardozo and they have three wonderful children.
What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Do it!! I would gladly assist them and hook them up with the right agencies