A Baby Girl Comes Home
Gordon and Mike brought home their new baby girl, Emily, a couple of months ago. The two Kansas City gay fathers and their daughter are just one loving example of the many LGBT-headed families in our area.
Mike had always wanted to be a dad. Just after he and Gordon found out they were going to be Emily’s parents, Mike remembers, he had fun as he unpacked his childhood books.
“I remember packing them away when I was 10 or so, with the thought they would be great to share when I have a child of my own,” he said.
Gordon and Mike have been together for nine years; they had a commitment ceremony five years ago. Having kids was part of their plan all along.
“There are so many kids out there that need a good home. Adoption or foster, then adoption was always the way I wanted to start our family,” Mike said.
The people closest to Gordon and Mike had long been aware of their parental ambitions.
“Everyone has been tremendously supportive,” Mike said. Both of the dads’ employers have been quite flexible, and both offer a partial reimbursement of adoption expenses.
During the adoption, Mike and Gordon have worked with social worker Nancy Simons Bean of Adoption & Counseling Services for Families Inc. in Overland Park, Kan. Mike sums up the daunting logistical process this way:
“We met Nancy Bean a few years ago, and she has been our guiding light through this process. She works with a lot of LGBT families in the area. She has a heart of gold and can be a voice of calm during the emotional roller coaster that is adoption. She gave us extensive counseling, completed our home study and actually introduced us to Emily’s birth mother. She has been with us every step of the way and has been tremendously helpful!”
Emily was born in mid-March and went home with Gordon and Mike a few days later. They hope to be awarded final custody in September. Mike plans to have Emily call him Daddy M, and Gordon will be Daddy G.
In preparation for Emily’s homecoming, the two fathers-to-be took several newborn-care classes at St. Luke’s Hospital, read a lot of parenting books and did research on the Internet.
“We have some really good friends that have three kids, and they gave us a ton of good advice,” Mike said. “Our family, friends and co-workers all threw baby showers. Everyone has been tremendously generous!”
Both of the new fathers are employed full-time and feel fortunate to have the flexibility to work from home part of the time. Emily will only be in daycare two days a week. At home, they split her care 50/50.
Comparing himself and Gordon with the gay dads on ABC’s Modern Family, Mike says, “Even though I am the bigger guy, Gordon is more of that [larger> character, sometimes being a bit over the top. I tend to be a little more laid-back.”
Mike and Gordon say they take Emily everywhere they go. According to Mike, “Most of the time, we are just met with smiles and encouraging words such as, ‘You have a beautiful baby.’ We were asked a few weeks ago if we were giving Mom the day off and we replied with a smile, ‘No mom, two dads.’ The salesperson responded with, ‘Cool.’ I am pleased to say through the entire process, we have actually encountered zero discrimination.”
Gordon and Mike have been members of Midwest Alternative Families Alliance (MAFA) for about six months, and they are also involved with AIDSWalk Kansas City. The two enjoy having friends over and spending time with family — they have lunch with their parents every Sunday. Mike is originally from Kansas City and Gordon is from Boston.
Mike said the biggest issue that he had when he was coming to terms with his sexual orientation in his late teens was the effect that it would have on his ability to be a dad.
“Kids coming out have so many issues to deal with,” he said. “Hopefully, our story will help them have one less thing to worry about. If you are thinking about being a parent, do it!”"