Voices of Equality: Bill's Journey to Fatherhood

  • Ashley Nackos
  • June 06, 2024

It was such a pleasure sitting down (on opposite sides of the country) with our dear friend and industry colleague, Bill to learn more about his unique journey to parenthood.

Q: Okay, let’s set the tone and start with your coming out story... 

Bill: "I came out in stages, as I think most people do. I came out to friends first in college, and then I wanted to be very practical about it (not rash) when I told my parents. Even though I thought my parents would be okay with it, I’m an only child and my mother was a catholic school teacher and was still very traditional in many ways.  

Quick side note to paint more of a picture- One semester I had died my hair green and my parents saw it that summer and threatened to pull me out of school and not pay for the next semester if I didn’t dye my hair back. I just remember my aunt telling me something very wise... “Pick your battles.” So yeah, I dyed my hair back and went back to school.  

Okay, back to my coming out story. So, knowing how my parents reacted to my green hair, I waited until they made the last payment on my senior year of college and then I came out to mom, who then told dad. And it all turned out to be “okay”. 

When I first told my mom, she started to cry hysterically, and then she started to mention therapy- for herself. She thought me coming out meant she wouldn’t get grandkids, but that was never going to be the case for me. It was a struggle for them, but they always tried and that’s all I could ask for. "


Q: How did the dynamic change with you and your parents after you came out, if at all? 

Bill: "Me being gay wasn’t something we really talked about. I would move back in and out of my parents' home over the summers because I worked at the country club in my childhood neighborhood. Any type of dating I did was outside of the house. I kept the two very separate. You’ve got to travel to see gays anyway because there aren’t any in the suburbs, which allowed me to make that part of my life more private from my parents."


Q: Okay, so when did you decide to pursue a family? 

Bill: "I’ve always known I’ve wanted to have kids- it's in my DNA. I was not shy about this. I met (my children’s father) Scout, in early 2002, and it became serious relatively quickly after we met. He would later tell the story that he was unsure if he wanted to have kids but was willing to have that relationship with me. 4-5 years after we met, a bunch of our friends started having babies, one couple in particular, had two amazing kids who we spent a lot of time with. Even to the extent of moving into their home while their mom was in an extended hospital situation. It was these kids that “clinched the deal” for us and we decided to pursue having children."

Q: Okay, so you know you want to have a baby but what does that look like for you? What were your options? 

Bill: "At the time, we did not feel that we could financially do surrogacy. So, we chose open adoption. To be quite honest, we weren’t going to fool anyone even if we ended up going the surrogacy route, and didn’t feel the need to biologically be their parents. We knew there were kids out there who needed to be adopted and that they would be ours no matter if we were biologically related or not."


Q: How long did the adoption process take? 

Bill: "For our daughter, it took 2-2.5 years from signing up until we had her (with all the home visits, interviews, etc. in between). 
For our son, we went through the same agency, but his adoption was a nightmare that ended up costing a fortune in legal fees. The birth father was initially supportive but when Boz was a few months old, his birth dad got out of jail and wanted custody. We went through a very painful process with the birth dad and were in and out of court. At one point, there was a chance I was going to have to get on a plane and return my brand-new baby to his birth dad just a couple days before Christmas. We ended up winning the case and legally adopted Boz. "


Q: Did you have any hiccups/issues specific to being an LGBTQ family in the adoption process? 

Bill: "Not a ton, to be honest. Our agency was great and honest with us. We were going through the process alongside another gay couple at the same time. There were several states where we were excluded from matching because they’re not LGBTQ friendly.  
What was interesting was a couple in the elevator of our adoption agency said “Oh you guys are lucky – you’ll get picked first.” While we were thinking we’d be picked last, but the couple continued, “For some birth mothers placing their children with two parents, they often opt for two dads because then the mother remains “the mom.”” 
 Placing with a birth mother is essentially like dating – you have to sort of sell yourself and be super open with them. You’re always waiting for the next “milestone” in the pregnancy process and put a lot of faith into your agency. In an open adoption, you and your child will likely have a relationship with them for the rest of your lives. We met Simone’s amazing birth mother from the East Coast but unfortunately, because the birth mother was so far along when they picked us, we never got to meet her before we flew to the East Coast for birth. We had lots of conference calls and texting, but facetime wasn’t really prevalent back then."

Q: How did the birth go? 

Bill: "Simone’s birth mom and her family were both amazing. At the last minute, though, she decided she was not comfortable giving birth at her local hospital. So, she looked at the next closest, viable option, which was a Catholic hospital. The hospital tried to convince her not to place with us. Some of the local agencies also found this particular hospital to be problematic.  
At the hospital, they advised us not to leave the room because “people know who you are,” because we were on a reality TV show at the time. Luckily there was an awesome NICU staff there, with one telling us they hand-picked the nursing team to help watch out/support/guide. We left the hospital and had to wait 2-3 weeks to get clearance to leave the state/go-home. We had some confusion on which state were supposed to be waiting in, but it all ended up working out. "


Q: So you’ve made it through the legality of it all and you are finally home with your brand new baby. How was the adjustment to life at home? 

Bill: "The challenges are the same with newborns, no matter if they are a boy or a girl or who is taking care of them. Sometimes Scouts mom would come visit for short periods of time and help which was amazing. We put a day bed in the nursery so we could take turns doing night feedings. It was very much a mutual effort from both of us and we adjusted well. "


Q: Now your kids are 14 and 9. Do you have any resources or recs for LGBTQI+ families and their children? 

Bill: "I would like it to be more common for people to think, “how can we be inclusive of other families?”   
Also, if you’re local to Los Angeles, this is a great resource: 
https://www.popluckclub.org/, which is a gay parent “pop”luck for gay couples with kids."


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