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Two Men and a Baby

Written by Debbie Cohen

Gay journalist Jesse Green was thrilled to find his soul mate. But along with love came instant fatherhood, the adventure that changed his life.

Jesse Green, a single, carefree, career-driven New York journalist had big plans. Becoming a father wasn't one of them.

Then 10 years ago, at the age of 37, the gay, award-winning writer met his dream man ... and everything changed.

In Andy he discovered a soul mate. Yet, as the father of a recently adopted then 14-month-old baby boy, Andy came as a package deal. Jesse Green, author of The Velveteen Father, An Unexpected Journey To Parenthood became a father. Green recalls being totally unprepared for the highs and lows of parenting.

"By the time I came out of the closet I had pretty much formulated the equation that made parenthood and gayness mutually incompatible," says Green. "I had learned to accept the advantages built in to that deprivation: more time, more money, more freedom to live as I pleased. So (when reality hit) I had perhaps a harder fall than others."

Those closest to him shared mixed reactions to his instantaneous parenthood. His friends were "quizzical but excited," his parents "concerned but willing," and the gay community surprisingly schizophrenic: "outright hostile in some instances, hugely supportive in others."

He asserts it is far more socially acceptable for a lesbian, single or coupled, to choose parenthood than a gay man because of the stereotype that women are nurturers while men are predators and brutes.

Despite the problems, a growing number of gay men choose to adopt. Green maintains that the critical shortage of adoptive and foster parents in the United States significantly paves the way for gays wishing to adopt. Researchers say nationwide there are between 6 million and 14 million children living with at least one gay or lesbian parent.

Nonetheless, he says, it is still rare to see two guys with kids. Strangers will often assume he and his partner are brothers, each with his own child, or buds giving their wives time to shop.

Green's sons Erez and Lucas (who they later adopted as a couple) are happy, well-adjusted kids who seldom ask for "mommy." He doesn't think his children will suffer from lack of a female presence in the family. "Mothers are great; I have one. But whether you have one of each, or two of one, or any other configuration, the only issue that matters is: Do you have their love and attention?"

All families, says Green, provide more of one kind of experience than another. "What matters is how well you prepare a child to face his own mysteries."

"I do not know how easy or hard they will have it," reflects Green about his sons' futures. "If hard, it will not be because Andy and I are gay, but only because of what people think about that."

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