Sep 06, 2008 04:30 AM
Kevin Durkee wanted nothing more in life than to be a father.
A gay man living in Toronto, he had walked away from an eight-year relationship when he realized his partner would never come around to being a family guy.
"I was tired of pushing the snooze button on my biological clock," Durkee says. So he found an anonymous egg donor, contacted a surrogate, bought a house in Scarborough just big enough for two and started stocking up on diapers.
He made peace with the idea that he'd probably be single until the child left for university.
"Being a large guy in the gay community, there are only a handful of folks who will pay any attention to you," Durkee says.
He didn't have the perfect hair or the perfect clothes. "That just wasn't my style. I didn't expect there would be a whole lot of people attracted to `Kev' and then, on top of that, attracted to a dad."
In February 2003, his surrogate had reached her third trimester. The baby was fine just eight weeks to delivery but Durkee was going a little stir crazy.
Late one night, he logged onto the Toronto chat room of a gay networking site. Durkee's attributes "stockier football-type" immediately caught the attention of Tom Douangmixay (pronounced Do-ung-mee-sigh). After a few hours of messaging back and forth, the conversation moved to the telephone. Fatherhood never entered the discussion, even after a few dates.
"I didn't want to get invested," Durkee explains. "I didn't know if he was going to hang around."
But after a few more dates, their easygoing connection was undeniable. It was time to tell all.
Durkee planned to disclose his daddy status during an elaborate home-cooked dinner on a Monday night; somewhere between the spicy shrimp appetizer and the roasted salmon entrιe.
They had decided to get together on the weekend to do some shopping. Finishing earlier than expected, Douangmixay suggested they crash at Durkee's house to watch a movie.
The word "sure" had barely left Durkee's lips when he started panicking. The place was a mess in baby stuff. After pulling into the drive, Durkee sprinted to the living room while Douangmixay used the washroom. Though he managed to contain all of the gaga-goo-goo gear in one room, the gig was up when "nosy" Douangmixay cracked open the door.
"Why is your room orange and why are there diapers and a stroller in the corner?" Douangmixay asked.
"I couldn't even look at him," Durkee recalls. He zipped into damage control mode.
Douangmixay, when overwhelmed, gets quiet.
"Are you okay?" Durkee asked.
"Uh huh," he replied. "I'm just processing it all."
"Do you still want to go downstairs to watch a movie?"
"Yup," Douangmixay nodded.
The men sat in silence for the next 2 1/2 hours, staring stone-faced at the television; each trying to get what the other was thinking. Neither remembers what movie was playing.
When it finished, Durkee reminded Douangmixay of their dinner plans on Monday night.
Two nights later, the doorbell rang. Douangmixay had arrived with an armload of baby toys. Though it was technically only their fifth date, the men didn't need another to know that this would be their last.
Taylor Evelyn Durkee was born on April 15, 2003.
Douangmixay moved in a few months later.
It turned out he had some baggage of his own 200 pairs of shoes to be exact.
To make room for everybody, the men embarked on a major renovation adding a second storey to turn the house into a stylish home.
Together, they shouldered the stress of construction, late-night feedings and a complicated, drawn-out court battle.
The Vital Statistics Act of Ontario and the Statement of Live Birth require information about a newborn's mother. Since Durkee enlisted an anonymous egg donor and the surrogate had no biological or legal connection to his daughter, he spent thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees to obtain the first birth certificate in Canadian history that has no mother information.
"It's a movie of the week," Durkee says.
Last month, on Aug. 2, he and Douangmixay exchanged vows at Huff Estates, a vineyard in Prince Edward County, in front of 24 guests.
With no formal wedding party, Taylor, 5, happily played the bride for her Daddy and Papa.
"She got the dress, she got the flowers, she got the shoes, the jewellery," Durkee says, smiling.
Having just returned from a two-week Olympic honeymoon in Beijing, Durkee and Douangmixay are on cloud nine.
"We did this backwards," Douangmixay admits. But there's no regret.
"We got the kid, the house, the marriage. And now we'll get a dog."
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
( not published )
Most men are not gay and are victims of Male Gender Apartheid, that's not directed at gay men, its "the process of justification" by politically correct family court judiciary who make it quite clear, that children have no right to a relationship to heterosexual male fathers unless of course, its approved by their lesbian ex wife who got married for the purposes of obtaining an unwilling sperm donor.