Eight years ago, Biff and Trystan’s fatherhood journey began when they received a somewhat unexpected call. Biff’s sister was no longer able to take care of her two kids, and they wanted to know if Biff and Trystan could look after them. Overnight, the one-time uncles quickly transitioned into the role of dads to Biff’s niece and nephew. Six years later, they expanded their family when they welcomed their son Leo, carried by trans dad Trystan.
Trystan and Biff had two different paternity leave situations when they grew their family, and those experiences shaped how they feel about paid paternity leave today.
“I had no parental leave that I could take when we became parents overnight,” said Trystan. “I basically ended up depleting basically every single day I had ever accrued… just to take care of them.” Biff, for his part, was given no time off, except for a half day here and there for court days.
When it came to Leo, the son Trystan carried, Trystan was initially given six weeks off. “It was really paltry,” Trystan said. “I sat down with the board and said … the parental leave policy you have is not in line with the values of this organization.” The board fortunately listened, and doubled Trystan’s parental leave to three months to give him time to care for and bond with Leo.
“Parental leave is really important, because when you have a new baby or when you adopt kids, especially when you adopt kids, there’s an adjustment period,” Biff said, which goes beyond just the need for the gestational parent to recover, physically.
“Those first few months are building a foundation for the rest of your life as a family,” Trystan added. “If we want dads to be equally involved in raising kids, contributing to a household, being part of family, we have to give them the opportunity to do that in the very beginning.
Watch their story: