Monday, November 7, 2011

The Duo Daddy Dilemma

This article was originally published in the April edition of Diversity Rules Magazine, which you can find online here.

In 2011, the option for gay parenting is alive and well. And thank goodness, because even though my beautiful beau and I are far from having babies, I make no secret of wanting to be a daddy. Including all of the major decisions and responsibilities that involve parenting, gay men in particular, have another significant determination to weigh when it comes to having a child. Adopt or Surrogate - pitting theories of nature versus nurture in the Duo Daddy Dilemma.

On the one hand you’ve got adoption. (Unless you’re in Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, or North Dakota in which case what the hell are you doing? Move.) Everywhere you look, there are orphaned children that are in need of a home and some may argue that gay couples are in a unique position to offer them a family since biologically they cannot reproduce on their own. That argument makes sense to a degree. But if we are to consider that all parents (gay and straight alike) are equally capable of raising a child – which on the whole I do, and that is not to say that just anyone should raise children – then as equals, they are each equally justified in wanting their own biological child and therefore equally positioned to adopt a child. The line of reasoning to which the world is over populated only argues that all parents should adopt and not that only gay ones should.

On the other hand, there’s the option of surrogacy. From personal experience, I can testify for simply wanting biological children. Perhaps this is a paternal yearn to see one’s seed continued on. My beau commented that his biological yearning (which sounds revolting) simmered once his brother had genetic children. Or perhaps, there is something more socially selfish about wanting to raise your genetic child. Is it narcissistic to want offspring that have your eyes, your hair, or your sense of extro- or introvert -which, yes, is genetic.

If you should come to the conclusion that adopting is for you, then one must consider options of ethnicity, sex, and the age of your child. On the question of gender, are two men more fit to raise a boy and are two women more fit to raise a girl? This question shakes the very foundation of gender stereotypes. On the question of race, I’m personally against “blending in”, whether in sexual orientation or race, but I cannot deny that some people consider it an important factor when adopting children. On the question of age, adopting a baby versus a ten-year-old involves challenges that require a different and specific set of goals, perspectives, and investments.

If you should come to the conclusion of surrogacy, firstly you’ll need to decide which daddy’s sperm do you use? Chances are that one of you has the perfect eyes and an uncle who’s an alcoholic but the other has gorgeous hair and a family history of narcolepsy. I believe there is a procedure in which the two men mix sperm and let the faster swimmer win, but eventually, a couple has to realize which daddy the babe most resembles. Right? Perhaps you pull a Juliette Moore & Annette Bening and have two children, each the other’s biological, just to make it fair – though that seems like a bad reason to have two children if the original plan was only one. Once the sperm is decided upon, choosing an egg comes with it’s own emotional game of genetic guessing. Will your Baby Mama be a bosom buddy or a Jane Doe? And, of course, one must also find a surrogate and manage that delicate relationship.

Two mommies have other queries and choices to make, but there you have it, the Duo Daddy Dilemma.

Whichever choice you choose, surrogate or adoption, the real meat and potatoes of child rearing comes next. Somehow, while maintaining a modicum of sanity and financial stability all parents are expected to provide a nurturing upbringing with an emotional foundation that will prepare the young individual for the long haul of life. It’s such a magnificent responsibility that it seems appropriate that all couples consider and prepare in as much depth that is required of gay parents. While some people manage the tall order of parenting with flying colors, it is not new to suggest that many do not measure up to the demanding expectation.

Does the Duo Daddy Dilemma offer a conclusion? Oh, not really. Eventually, either decision to adopt or to find a surrogate is easily justified by logic’s standpoint and then shadowed by the enormity of actually raising and unconditionally loving a child. Make decisions that feel right for you and your growing family. Always remember to listen to others but at the end of the day free advice is worth what you paid for it. Most of all, I consider myself fortunate to be weighing these options at all. I eagerly await the great honor of being a daddy

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