Are you a Philadelphia gay dad family? Ivory Tree Portraits is hosting a special Gay Dad Family Day and offering all the attendees a complimentary photoshoot and digital print! Put May 4th in your diary, meet other local gay dads and their kids; make memories and keep them forever in the form of a digital print of your beautiful family. Click here for more details.
We're working in partnership with Ivory Tree Portraits to bring you the stories of some of their gay dad clients. The dads had this to say about their experiences in the studio. "Ivory Tree is amazing!" said Matthew Wright-Conti. "It is a total curated experience that made us feel relaxed, comfortable and confident in who we are. They have a ton of experience with children, and it shows. Maddie tends to be a bit shy and she warmed up right away! Highly recommend them for ALL families."
Growing up in the 90's and realizing he was gay, Matthew Wright-Conti wasn't sure if fatherhood would be part of his future. "After all, it wasn't until I was in my late 20's that gay marriage was even nationally legalized," said Matthew. When he was 19, Matthew came out to his family.
Matthew remembers being on the beach for a family vacation before he'd met his husband, watching his nephew run and play in the sand; his dad turned to him and started a sentence with, "One day when you have kids of your own…" (Matthew had been out to his family for 7 years by this point.) "He didn't realize how much those words meant to me," explained Matthew. "It was that type of support that really helped me believe becoming a father was possible."
Matthew met his husband-to-be Jason Wright-Conti via OKCupid while living in New York City. "We were both over the bar scene, and wanted to meet someone that was in the same place in life - someone who wanted the same things," said Matthew. Even on their first date, the two discussed having a family. Jason had always believed he'd become a dad through surrogacy, but Matthew wanted to adopt and was incredibly drawn to the idea. "We were both open and honest about what we wanted, and ended up deciding upon adoption."
The dads were married April 30, 2016, and later that year they moved to Philadelphia. "We both love the Philly vibe, and knew we wanted to be back here eventually," said Jason, who had gone to grad school in Philadelphia and Matthew was raised in the suburbs. "We wanted a support network close by because raising a kid truly takes a village!" In May 2017, they bought a house in the suburbs of the City of Brotherly Love.
On November 11, 2017, after working with Adoptions from the Heart in Wynwood, PA, Matthew and Jason became dads to Madelynn through open adoption. It was a long 10 days as the dads waited in Virginia during the revocation period, and they described it as "pure hell." But after that was up, the dads were allowed to celebrate and share their news. "We are so in love," the dads said via an Instagram post, "and every squeak, tweet and toot she does makes us beam!"
Since settling into the groove of fatherhood, the dads can attest to their lives being turned upside down. But in a wonderful way! "EVERY. THING. HAS. CHANGED," said Matthew. "Maddie is teaching us both how to be more present. Children require constant interaction and attention, so it is super important to really be present with them" The couple whom once used to love being spontaneous have had to adjust to a more regimented lifestyle.
And the dads are excited to be able to share what their community has to offer with Maddie as she gets a little older. "Chester County Pride is very family friendly and we are excited to take our daughter to that this year," said Matthew. "Also, we cannot wait to take her to Drag Story Time - and Drag Bingo when she is old enough!"
Matthew and Jason are very happy to have chosen Philadelphia as their home and place to raise their family. "The honest and open nature of the people here and how welcoming the culture is. We feel at home everywhere we go, and want our daughter to grow up with that same comfortable feeling."