TNF: Where do you live?
STEF: We live in a small paniolo (cowboy) town called Makawao, this is on the Island of Maui in Hawaii.
TNF: Did you always want to have kids?
STEF: Yes from the time we were younger we both felt the desire to have kids. We both wanted lots of kids because we come from small families. Tina is an only child and I have a brother.
TNF: How did you start your family?
STEF: Tina and I talked about wanting a family from the time we started dating, we both told each other that having kids was important. Over the next two years we talked about it a lot and one night at dinner we decided it was time to start trying. We discussed who we wanted to ask to be our donor and went from there. After we decided who we wanted and asked them for help we started tracking my ovulation. We thought it would take a while before we actually got pregnant so we wanted to start trying right away. To our surprise we got pregnant on the second try.
TNF: What is the greatest (and toughest) thing about parenting?
TINA: I think the greatest thing about being a parent is learning everyday that you have more capacity to love somebody than you ever thought possible. The toughest thing is quieting the inner fear that he is going to get hurt or that something is going to happen to him.
TNF: What about you Stef? Greatest and toughest parts of parenting?
STEF: The greatest thing to becoming a parent is the unexpected. The love you feel for your baby. I cannot put into words. It hits you like a ton of bricks and the amount of love you can have for your baby the second you lay eyes on them is unexpected. The everyday lessons your baby teaches you not only about how fast they grow and develop but how you learn so much about yourself.
The toughest thing to becoming a parent is BREASTFEEDING everyone tells you how wonderful breastfeeding is and how great it is for the baby but no one tells you just how hard and how painful it really is. I mean I REALLY enjoy breastfeed him but in the first 72 hours it is a totally new experience.
TNF: Does your family feel adversity?
STEF: YES! Here in the State of Hawaii you cannot put the 2nd parent on the birth certificate unless you’re married and since Tina and I had not gotten married before we started our family she is unable to be on the birth certificate. We have started talking to lawyers to change this law since it is unfair that heterosexual couples do not have to be married in order to list the 2nd parent on their birth certificates. We also feel adversity when we are in public together, people feel the need to ask who the “father” is and how we got pregnant.
TNF: What is one life lesson you want to teach your children?
STEF: We both feel strongly about teaching our children to grow up respecting and enriching their culture. Living in Hawaii, culture is a huge part of who you are and since our children have Hawaiian lineage we want them to take in and appreciate that. We want to teach them to love their land, family, language and carry on the ways of their ancestors.
TNF: Do you have any advice for LGBTQ youth?
STEF: Stay positive, it’s all just temporary!