Rico and Vernon have a non-traditional relationship when it comes to fathering their two daughters. They’re single dads who co-habit and co-parent their children. “Things were complicated,” admits Rico. “However, we did not allow that to deter us from our goal of having children.”
The two always wanted children. After they met at a club (two nights in a row) they began a relationship that would eventually evolve into fatherhood. Now that they’re fathers, the two aren’t together, but that dynamic has no effect on how they parent their girls.
“Vernon had many doubts about fatherhood because he wanted to experience this journey with someone he was in a relationship with or a husband.” said Rico. “When we started this journey we were not in a relationship but we knew that we wanted to have children with each other.”
So they started the long surrogacy process to both become ‘Daddy,’ as their daughters call them. While each daughter came from the same egg donor, one has DNA from Rico and the other has DNA from Vernon – making them biological sisters with different biological dads. The two new fathers decided not to find out which daughter has which dad’s DNA.
Their surrogacy story was one of relative ease. “The only obstacle we faced was a minor scare when our surrogate’s placenta partially ruptured during early months of pregnancy, but it was quickly resolved.”
“We decided on surrogacy because we both wanted to have a child with our own DNA.”
Fatherhood changed both Rico and Vernon’s lives. The two admit all their time is spent doting on their daughters. “I used to want to hang out all the time and be social,” reveals Rico. “All of my time goes to my daughters.” A big change, but a worthwhile one.
Rico and Vernon’s surrogacy story shows that whether you’re single, in a couple or in any other type of relationship, fatherhood can be pursued. Rico gave some very clear but heartfelt advice to other gay men considering this path: “Go for it! Don’t allow anything or anyone to get in the way of what you want.”
“We have received all love from everyone and are so grateful and thankful for our family and friends and other platforms like Gays With Kids who constantly show our family love.”
Rico admits the journey isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. He gave us several tips he learned from his experience of surrogacy:
- Live in the moment.
- Enjoy the process.
- Identify your support circle (“It’s imperative to have a team behind and beside you.”)
- Don’t let the price of the process intimidate you.
- Don’t wait for a relationship to have kids if you really want them.
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Rico and Vernon have also been making the most of their time with their daughters during the coronavirus pandemic, potty training them when they were home from daycare. They also worked to create an amazing virtual classroom, with daily lesson plans to help them with their learning.
“We had to find a rhythm on how we were going to adjust at first with both of us working and caring for the girls but eventually a routine was established,” explains Rico. “The girls are not quite old enough to understand what is going on in the world (they will be 2 years old in December) but when they get older, we will have stories for them!”
Potentially, the most important bit of wisdom that Rico learned through this process is practicing unconditional love —the kind of love that is given freely. “I don’t know if I have ever felt the way about anyone like I feel about my children,” he says. A big part of unconditional love, he explains, is the ability to be attentive, understanding and patient.
“Nothing is like having your own child to care for and love unconditionally.”
Rico and Vernon’s story is heartwarming, showing single gay, bi or trans men that fatherhood is a very real possibility. Have you got a story about your journey to parenthood you’d like to share with us? We’d love to tell it to other potential gay dads and inspire them on their paths to fatherhood. Just get in touch below!