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One of the most rewarding things about writing the Raising Alek column is hearing from our readers. We long to hear from the gay parenting community out there so log on right now and tell us your story! Go to www.raisingalek.com and then click on “Community Blog”. From there you can register and post your story, feedback or questions.
Steve Price is the owner of Filter Coffee House in Hillcrest and North Park. He is also a bartender at Rich’s night club. You might wonder how somebody who owns two businesses and has another part time job would ever have time to raise a daughter. In fact, fear of such a hectic schedule is possibly one of the reasons gay people do not have children, but Steve is here to tell us that if he can do this, ANYONE can!
I believe that many in the gay community DO want children, but either don’t know how, think it will be too expensive, think they just can’t possibly handle it, or care too much about what other people will say. Raising Alek and www.raisingalek.com exist for that one simple reason… to prove to our community and to show the outside world that these things simply are not true. Gay people can and should have children as much as anyone should. One of the best ways I can show this, is to allow others the chance to use this column as a voice for their own story, so it was a pleasure for me to sit down over a hot cup of coffee at Steve Price’s very popular coffee house in Hillcrest, “Filter.”
Sam: Did you always know that you wanted to be a parent?
Steve: Always. In fact, I couldn’t imagine my life NOT being a parent.
Sam: You are part of a couple, and I was curious how long into the relationship did you pursue having a child?
Steve: We’ve only been together a couple years, and Olivia is 7 months, so we were talking about it right at the very beginning. We didn’t know how we were going to do it and we were considering surrogacy. We went to a seminar on adoption one day, and the things we learned there, and the stories we heard made us feel that this was the right way to go for us.
Sam: So what was the adoption process for you?
Steve: For us it was a very easy and terrific experience. I know it’s not as expensive as surrogacy, or as adopting a child from another country, but we were very lucky. We know people sometimes wait years and years and years, but the process was very quick for us on www.adopthelp.org.
Sam: So what was the process, just log on and then wait for your baby to arrive at your door, or what?
Steve: Well, it was easy for us, but not quite that easy. You had to meet with them and register. The firm has attorneys as well, so there is money involved, but once you register with them, your profile is up right away, which is almost like a yearbook of your whole life together. What’s really terrific is that gay people are getting picked for adoption more than ever before. In fact, they tie with straight couples in being picked to have their children adopted by. We found that with some women who are giving up their babies, they have this idea that they would like to be the only mother ever for that child, so the idea of two gay men raising their baby is appealing to them.
Sam: So how long was your wait?
Steve: We got picked in 7 weeks. We got picked so quickly! We were hoping for a boy, but not opposed to a girl, and now that we’ve got a girl, I can’t imagine not having a girl. We met her when she was 6 weeks pregnant and she had a gay uncle and had decided she wanted to give her baby to a gay couple. This is a young girl that doesn’t have a lot of education, no money, already has a 2 year old, lives with her parents… another baby just didn’t make sense for her. I’m so thankful that she was smart enough to realize that. When we first met her, we spent the weekend with her, we took her to the zoo and around San Diego and in a very strange way was very much like courting her.
Sam: Were the adoption papers done at that point?
Steve: No, the papers are not done until she’s given birth and were discharged from the hospital.
Sam: So you were on pins and needles!
Steve: You’re on pins and needles the whole time. Even after you see your baby you just don’t know and they can change their mind.
Sam: After or before birth?
Steve: After they give birth. They say it’s only about 10%, but it can happen. So of course you hope you’re not in that one in 10.
Sam: So what was the birth process like?
Steve: She had a scheduled C-Section on May 24th and kept in contact with her the whole pregnancy. We flew out to her on May 23rd, but in the meantime went through all the social work stuff, baby-proofing the house, fingerprinting, etc. So we were there for the birth, which was amazing and exciting and crazy and awesome. It was the most intense thing ever. You see this baby that you have an immediate connection with, and yet you’re not 100% sure it’s yours. She had to stay in the hotel another day as she had a C Section, so the next day we went back to the hospital and she had one of two choices to put on the legal documents. A) was for her to immediately discharge all her rights but she has 30 days to change her mind, and B) was for her to give up all her rights on the spot when she signs and boom, it’s done, so she had a choice to make. It was dead silence in the room at that moment.
Sam: So did she choose curtain A or curtain B?
Steve: She choose B right then. She knew the time was right. She requests us to send her updated pictures of her and we do that as part of our agreement.
Sam: Can she change her mind again and come after her baby ever?
Steve: No. She signed that form and now she’s our daughter forever.
Sam: What advice would you give any gay person, whether single or part of a couple, before having a child?
Steve: You have to be able to make time and set your priorities in your life. We don’t bring children into this world to have nannies raising our kids, so it’s important to really envision your new life with a child in it. Having your support system in order is incredibly important and I think that’s one huge benefit of the gay community. Many in the gay community are there to reach out and help with supporting our family and that can be a benefit as we balance our lives as a family.
Steve and I could have talked for hours this Christmas Eve, but Alek was pre-occupied in watching my Norad Santa app on my Samsung Galaxy Tab, asking every 10 minutes or so what part of the world Santa was in at the moment, so our time was unfortunately cut short. I have to say, it was a terrific experience getting to know Steve and to see his love for his daughter and passion to get the message out that gay people should be parents! In fact, Steve welcomes speaking to anyone that might have any questions about parenting and would love for you to stop by Filter sometime and sit with him and talk about it over a cup of coffee.