Marcos Samaniego-Durkes and John Durkes-Samaniego live in Chula, Vista California with their twins, a boy and a girl, named Italia and Roma. Marcos, who will be known as “Daddy,” works as a hair stylist. John, who will go by “Papa,” works in human resources.  We caught up with the new dads to see how life has been treating them. 


Tell us about your path to parenthood. Did you consider other options? We were going to adopt and had gone through the county sponsored Foster Care Classes. That didn’t seem like the optimal path for us. We wanted to experience the whole process including being involved in the pregnancy so we decided to go through surrogacy.

Marcos and John 2

What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? We went through the Foster Care classes and qualification process but decided we didn’t want to risk becoming attached to a child only to have him or her reunited with his or her biological family which is the goal of Foster Care. We also had issues finding the right surrogate. The first woman we had signed with had to withdraw due to personal reasons. The second woman decided, right before the transfer, that she didn’t want to carry twins. Then after about a year we met the perfect surrogate. We love her. She was worth the wait.

Marcos and John 5

 What have you learned from your children since you became a dad? I’m learning patience. For example I can’t just pick up and leave. Now there is a lot of prep work to be done before leaving the house. I have learned how to function on little to no sleep. I also have to plan when I am going to go out with friends. Can’t just pick up and go. And I have to think about the day after and how I need to be rested and “on” for the kids.
Marcos and John 4 Marcos and John 1 Marcos and John 3
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? With one more child/sibling. Here in San Diego. We want to travel with the kids and show them the world.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering fatherhood? Patience is key as well as staying focused on the goal and not becoming disillusioned.

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