TNF: Tell me about your family. How did you meet your partner?
PETEY: We have been together for 3 years but our story actually began 10 years prior. In 2001 we both lived in Sacramento and briefly chatted online. We exchanged photos and emails but never met. Subsequently, I found an out-of-state job and moved to Oregon, while Tony pursued his fatherhood dream and fathered our first daughter, Anahi, via artificial insemination with his good friend. Anahi is now 11 years old. We co-parent her with her birth mother.
Fast forward 10 years later. In 2011, I was looking to start a family via surrogacy. I was residing in Oregon then and was looking to relocate to Sacramento. Again, via internet chatting, I ran into Tony. Initial conversations were about building a family as a gay man – something Tony had done and I was hoping to do. The connection evolved rapidly and we formed mutual romantic interest. This was when we discovered a couple of fascinating facts – first, we could have met 10 years earlier, and second, we have the same birthday – September 4! With Tony’s encouragement and support, I signed up with a surrogate agency and found a wonderful woman who would become our traditional surrogate. I continued the process in Oregon as our relationship blossomed. I secured a job in Sacramento shortly before our second daughter, Nalani, was born in Portland. We moved in our new house in Sacramento in early 2013. We are currently not married. Ideally we would like to tie the knot when our younger daughter could actively participate in the ceremony – hopefully in a couple of years.
I should mention that there is a third child – a furry one. His name is Neige and he is an 11-year-old Australian shepherd mix.
Our children call Tony Daddy and call me Papa, although 16-month old Nalani has been calling me Mama quite often lately.
TNF: Do you feel different from other families? If so, how so?
PETEY: We do believe that each and every family is unique in their own way. Our family is not only unique because we have two biracial fathers, but also because it is, well, our family. We are fortunate to live and work in very accepting and supportive environments. My medical group and Tony’s school are wonderful to us. Our neighbors refer to us lovingly as the family of two dads. (No “gay” modifier required here.) Tony’s family has been nothing but loving and supportive. At first, my family had some difficulty making sense of our unique family formation. But they understand and recognize love. It did not take long for them to come around.
TNF: What has having a family meant to you?
PETEY: It is a cliché to say our family is everything to us but let me try to be dramatically specific. When I met Tony, I felt the kind of love that, until then I had only felt from my parents and siblings; the secure comfort that fully embraced me. I know Tony feels the same, if not more intensely. When our children joined our union, the extent of that love became boundless. We discovered a new capacity for love, a new level of strength and patience we never knew we’d had. Now we just cannot imagine our lives without one another.
Thank you Petey and Tony for sharing your beautiful family with us!
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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