Fathers Day Feature – Manny shares his journey to Fatherhood

We desperately wanted to father a child or two. However having considered the exhaustive process as well as the reality that a surrogacy would still not guarantee us a baby, we decided on the adoption route and initiated the search for the ‘perfect’ process to follow. 

While we scouted for an adoption agency I started my blog  to basically journal our journey to parenthood. It was supposed to have stopped when we became parents. Somehow with encouragement from Fathers Day|HarassedMommy hubby, it’s evolved to a platform where I now share some of the highlights of our journey as two gay dads raising a child, and who knows, maybe one day our son will read it and it will help him understand his journey. I know that a few of my friends that read my blog are encouraged in their own parenting journey by my entries so maybe what I have shared and continue to experience may assist others on their journey to parenthood…gay or not.

The time frame from application to the moment we held our son in our arms was 14 months in total. A short period to some, long to others but it felt like a lifetime to us. Five years down the line, we realize every single day that God had a plan, it could not be rushed, wished away or altered in any way. 

It is what it is…

Despite all the advice, support, reading, on-line searches and, and, and…nothing could have prepared us for fatherhood. It turned our lives upside down…in an AWESOME way, made us re-evaluate our priorities, sell the sports cars, opt for a family wagon and change the man cave, the sanctuary and the study into a baby’s room.

Our son has taken over our world…

He is a healthy, strong, charming, handsome kid… warming his way into the heart of everyone he meets with his smile. He is constantly evolving and surprises us daily with his witty responses, we’re often left wondering where he heard them first…at home, at the park with his friends or at school. We can’t keep up with his growth spurts and the ever shrinking clothes which need to be replaced far too quickly, something my sisters who also have boys don’t complain about as they tend to score all the ‘smaller’ sized clothing items from their nephew. I have learnt though, that not all his clothes need to come from high-end stores, Ackerman’s t-shirts do just fine. He just doesn’t get to wear them for that long either way.Fathers Day|HarassedMom

We have wild and lofty plans and aspirations for our young man who has now become the centre of our universe and even though we have dreams of him one day becoming a Springbok or a ‘Blou-Bulle’ rugby player … a doctor or even President of South Africa, what we want most for him is for him to be happy first. To know always that he is loved by his two dads, two sets of extended families, has a warm bed at night, food and security the rest of his long life.

Hubby and I love the outdoors, so our weekends tend to be full of early mornings and fresh air. We’re either cycling, running or swimming. From very early on, we’ve included our son in our adventures not only as support cheering from the sideline but also have encouraged him to actively participate. It didn’t take too much encouragement from his dads. He started to walk/run the Two Oceans kiddies race with us two years back and since starting to ride his bike without trainers last December, he is now the one that is making us take him to the local bike park so that he can tackle all the routes, even the ones that the dads fear he could be out of his depth on, our son now attempts them with ease. No joke! 

Although we had started swimming with our son from when he was 6 months, three months in he wasn’t having fun and we decided to stop the lessons until he was ready. At the start of 2017, I read a blog about a mom who lost her son through drowning, we realised that it happens way too quickly. I shared the story with my husband and we decided it was time to register our boy for swimming again. We were fortunate to find a school near home that came highly recommended by many. Five months on our son is loving his swimming lessons and amazes even his swimming instructor because of how quickly he is progressing. A triathlete in the making … maybe. 

The decision to adopt a baby was the best we have ever made and has completed our lives. We survived teething, getting him to sleep through the night, potty-training, watching him crawl then walking and today cycling without trainers. It’s not been all a bed of roses. I salute all parents that manage to balance life with more than one child alone or with a spouse. It amazes me how our son is able to allow himself to throw up all because he doesn’t like what we’ve plated for supper. We’ve learnt to deal with the “no I don’t need to pee” knowing full well that he really does need to pee only to have him stop us in the middle of nowhere because he can’t hold his pee any longer… literally 2 minutes later! Or how we’ve had to change the bedding in the middle of the night because he had an “accident” – bed wetting –  but it’s all part of the journey.

As an adopted child, it’s only natural that the “Where’s my mother?” question would come up. I honestly didn’t expect it to come when he was in playschool, but it did. I’m aware the question resulted from questions in the playground, just like the one about “How come I have two dads” and “Why am I not white like dadD”. It’s a naturally curious question prompted from questions he has either faced or heard on the playground. We’ve got to make sure our son is empowered and confident enough to answer these and other questions that may arise the older he gets. We have decided the only way to handle these questions is to remain honest with him and always respond age appropriately of course. We’ve fortunately encountered amazingly progressive teachers so far who have embraced that our son’s family is “different” instead of shunning us for being different. We’ve had the odd stare when we’re out at the local mall, or having to explain to border officials that we’re, as stated in our son’s birth certificate, a family. Honestly, every time we cross the border by road, we’re asked where’s our son’s mother’s affidavit! We’re under no illusions that we may still be faced with challenges ahead in life but we are determined to give our son the best we possibly can and to help him become a positive and contributing member of society. The best was when our son had just been placed with us and he had to undergo a small procedure in hospital. One of the nurses comes out of theater and looking in our direction and asks that our son’s father please join her. Hubby walks over. She stops him and turns in my direction and says no the child’s father that man there… pointing at me. Love it!
It’s been a long time since hubby and I have been out on a date, just us two. Part of me wishes I had my sisters and their families living closer so they could babysit on the odd occasion. That said, we’re such “daddy hens”, the alternative just didn’t sound right for an open audience, that I don’t know if it would really make a difference.

Our love for your son knows no boundaries, he has crept into our hearts and has permanently sealed a void that was there before. We adore being dads, time away from our son feels like forever and yes there are times I need a glass of wine or two to help me cope with fatherhood, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I may not be the one who fathered our son, but I love being his dad and the amazing bond my son and I have.
We will always be grateful for our son’s mother and her decision to allow us to raise our son. I’m sure it was her toughest decision.

This was written by Emanuel. You can find him on his blog and Twitter

We’re an amazing gay couple in our 40s. We love life and decided in 2012 to make it official and make honest men of ourselves.

Early Jan 29th, 2013 we were blessed with a little boy, our son J. He has been an amazing blessing to both hubby and I. We love watching our son reach his different life milestones and spending quality time with him. Nappy changing, vomit, early mornings, teething … are but the joys of parenting.

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1 Comment

  1. 8 June, 2017 / 9:40 am

    Thank you so much for including me in your Father’s Day Feature series and sharing our story.

    Please find me on Instagram too @manii_dad 🙂
    Emanuel recently posted…The deceptive allure of Online DatingMy Profile

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