The question "what makes a family" seems to pop up frequently on the evening news, but Cory Garrett Rose and Jeffrey Harrison Rose could be an example for many to follow. Raising daughter Beverly together in the town of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, they are an active part of a vibrant beach town that melds both the heterosexual and LGBT parts of the community almost seamlessly. Making Beverly their top priority, yet keeping their own distinct interests, Cory and Jeffrey sat down for a chat with me to talk about the joys of parenthood, and what it's like to raise their daughter in the community of Rehoboth Beach. Most of all, Cory and Jeffrey show one of the biggest keys of parenthood is, in their own words, "a happy parent is a good parent".
What was it like when you and your husband first decided that you would take the plunge into parenthood? Was it a hard or a long drawn out decision?
It was more a coincidence of timing and fate, really. We went to a party, talked with a friend who revealed to us he was expecting a child via egg donation and surrogacy. His success motivated us to call Jesse Skalitzky of Pink & Blue Surrogacy, in Wisconsin. The phone number was literally placed into our hands. It was a now or never kind of feeling. That time in our lives was perfect. Thirteen months after making the initial call, Beverly was born.
What is it like raising your child in an LGBT community like Rehoboth Beach? Do you think it would be difficult in a less accepting community of just different?
The acceptance in a place like Rehoboth Beach makes it much easier. We like living here because two guys raising a child together isn't much of a novelty, or oddity as it may be in a more isolated community.
Is parenthood everything you expected or different? How so?
We anticipated parenthood to be tough at times, but it is more challenging than expected in that it's a lot of constant effort which offers very little downtime. It continues to be a wonderful experience for us both, and we love sharing our lives with this precious child who we created, together.
How do you and your husband balance a social life with friends with the responsibilities that come with parenthood?
We've balanced our social lives with the responsibilities that come with parenthood by making Beverly a part of them. We take turns, compromise, and have a supportive family who love to help with Beverly when needed or not. As long as we get our gym time in, and at least one night out with friends, we're happy! A happy parent is a good parent, you can't be a prisoner of your child. It is important to retain part of your individuality, and frequently revisit yourself.
What are some of your favorite things about being dads?
Her innocence, and how she trusts us to protect and take care of her. The giggles, and her little voice when she says "I love you, Daddy, and Poppy!" But more so the creation of life and watching that life unfold and mature. It's the shared experience that all parents have, you just have to go through it.
Ok now is the time to gush about your gorgeous daughter; have at it!...
Everyone believes their child is special. I don't know where to start. It's an honor to know her, let alone be her fathers; she brings out the best in us.
What is it like to see LGBT parenthood become part of the lexicon and part of the conversation now? It is much more common and accepted than it used to be.
The lexicon is slowly changing. While much more common, it's still awkward. Some people are still making ignorant assumptions, and ask very inappropriate questions like "How did you get a white one?" "Whose sperm did you use?" "Who plays the Mommy?" We try not to judge, but rather educate. The understanding of what a family is, and the ways a family can become is still beyond some people's capacity for respect. For a gay couple to have a baby requires PERMISSION, takes time, thought, and money. Some people just have a one night stand, others, like us, undergo psychiatric analysis.
What does "pride" mean to you and your husband? And how do you pass that down to your daughter?
We all know what pride means. I think it's the matter and importance of having pride than of how one interprets the word. For us, we're proud to be part of a family, regardless of whether it's same sex, opposite sex, single parent, adoption, IVF/surrogacy, whatever. Love is love, be an example.
What are your biggest hopes both for your own daughter as well as for the other LGBT parents of children?
Our biggest hope for Beverly is that she live happily, and unapologetically, having the freedom and pride to be her most true self, and that she find someone who sees beauty in all forms of love to share her life with.