Fatherhood Came Without Warning for These Two Young Gay Dads
Johnny and Adam were in their early 20s and had just started dating when a family friend asked if they could take a four-year-old boy into their home
When Johnny Guzman Tarango and Adam Tarango met in 2012, introduced by a mutual friend, they were both seeing other people at the time. What began as friendship quickly became passionate after breaking with their respective boyfriends to be with each other. Johnny was 20 years old and Adam was 21. The couple called Phoenix, Arizona home. Both were young, carefree, and very much in love.
Although Adam wanted to be a dad someday, Johnny was undecided. In January 2014, the couple were confronted with one of the biggest decisions of their lives: fatherhood.
Adam and Johnny were asked by a friend of the family's if they could look after their 4-year-old son, Dardo. Both in their early twenties, this was a momentous undertaking for the boyfriends, particularly since it was so early on in their own relationship. But they wanted to provide a loving and stable home for Dardo, so they said yes, set up and decorated a bedroom for Dardo so he'd feel welcomed, and collected him from Child Protective Services.
The early transition period went well, and Dardo was excited to be at home with his dads. Adam and Johnny attended foster care classes to receive their foster license, and became his legal guardians.
Despite loving and caring for Dardo immediately, the dads grappled with the huge adjustment in their lives. They were now dads and responsible for a child. "We had to give up our personal lives with friends since none of our friends had kids," explained Johnny. They also struggled to explain to their son why he was living with them and not his biological family. "My son has taught me a lot, especially about his past ... but he is still very joyful and has an energy about him that makes everyone love him; he truly surprises me how strong he is for being so young."
The first few years were tough, with some wonderful highs and some searing lows. "I had to learn to not be selfish which took me awhile," Johnny shared honestly. Finding the family balance was at first a struggle, trying to juggle Dardo's school and activity commitments with their own.
About two years into their new family, Johnny had his "aha" moment. He was at school with Dardo and his son's classmates, when Dardo referred to him as his "Dad." They'd never discussed how that would go, and Dardo just took the lead. It was the moment when Johnny fully realized that he was a dad, and Dardo was his son.
On November 5, 2016, Johnny and Adam were married. Dardo was the proud ring boy for his two dads.
Adam has some advice for other dads who find themselves in a similar position, becoming parents at a young age: "Be prepared to mature right away, and to be patient with your child." Johnny acknowledges he had a hard time with that but said that time goes by so fast, he wishes he could go back and change how frustrated he could become. "But I can't now, and I'm trying my best to be in the moment and enjoy Dardo before he gets too big."
The dads feel as though Dardo has made them a family, and brought the two of them closer together. "I feel that we are such a good team together and have really done a great job," said Adam. "Our son is the reason we try to be as successful as possible, to be a good example."