Transcripts

Same-Sex Partners Reflect On Decision To Become Dads

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:08
I'm Rebecca Sheir and welcome back to "Metro Connection." Fatherhood is our theme this week. And in just a bit we'll talk with a comedy writer turned stat-at-home dad, whose musings on parenthood have landed him a book deal. First though, we're going to hear from two new fathers, Kevin Sturtevant and Steve Geishecker. The couple in Silver Spring adopted their newborn daughter Gabriella a little more than a year ago.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:30
And Kevin and Steve are part of a national trend, as more and more same-sex couples are raising children. These days, an estimated one in five LGBT couples has a kid under the age of 18. Jacob Fenston spoke with these new fathers at their home and sent us this audio postcard.

MR. STEVE GEISHECKER

00:00:58
I'm Steve Geishecker.

MR. KEVIN STURTEVANT

00:00:58
My name is Kevin Sturtevant.

GEISHECKER

00:01:00
We live here in Silver Spring.

STURTEVANT

00:01:02
Steve and I have been together for nearly 20 years.

GEISHECKER

00:01:04
In the early days that we were together, we probably didn't think that being parents were going to be in the cards for us. As a same-sex couple, it was going to be challenging for us.

STURTEVANT

00:01:14
So it was really about three, four years ago that we became really serious about it and thought that we were going to do it.

GEISHECKER

00:01:21
The process that we decided on was open adoption. The birth mother, or birth parents choose the adoptive family they want to place their child with.

STURTEVANT

00:01:29
You're basically marketing yourself as a perspective parent. And people who do it the old-fashioned way, who do it the biological way, don't necessarily go through the same process of creating a document that highlights why you and your family would be the best option for the child.

GEISHECKER

00:01:48
So this is a four-page color brochure that we developed with our adoption agency.

STURTEVANT

00:01:54
And there's our telephone number, 855-2DADS. So people could easily call and let us know. And we did -- we had some calls.

GEISHECKER

00:02:02
But don't call now because it's not (inaudible).

STURTEVANT

00:02:03
Right, right.

GEISHECKER

00:02:04
We've got our hands full, so please, no calls. We were contacted by our daughter's birth mother in late November. And she was a college student in Indiana. She was a junior who had found herself pregnant and not prepared to raise a child on her own.

STURTEVANT

00:02:23
When she first called us, we instantly felt a connection. Then when we went out and met her in January, we definitely felt that.

GEISHECKER

00:02:30
She got emotional and she said, "I grew up in a family with a single mom. I never knew my dad. What better thing could I give my child than having two dads?"

STURTEVANT

00:02:42
From that point, from when she was five months pregnant onward we were heavily involved. And so we went with her to sonograms and to other tests. We would fly out, one or both of us would fly out to Indiana to be with her.

GEISHECKER

00:02:55
We were in the hospital, in the operating room as she was being born. Kevin cut the umbilical cord.

STURTEVANT

00:03:01
I'll never forget the nursing staff. I think they loved the fact that, frankly, there were two guys there with the baby, who clearly didn't really know what we were doing.

GEISHECKER

00:03:10
Adoption laws require that you can't leave the state that the child is born in until some of the paperwork between the jurisdictions is processed. So we had to stay in Indiana for about eight days in a hotel room.

STURTEVANT

00:03:24
By ourselves, our families are thousands of miles away, very supportive, but not there. We've got a little tiny infant.

GEISHECKER

00:03:32
Confined quarters, crib between the two beds, bottles and diapers and wipes and pizza boxes everywhere.

STURTEVANT

00:03:39
Thinking, what have we gotten ourselves into? What are going to do? How is this baby going to survive for a week with us as parents? But she did.

GEISHECKER

00:03:55
So we had to figure out, you know, who was going to be called what since there were two dads in the house and we can't both be called dad. So Kevin's daddy and I'm papa.

STURTEVANT

00:04:05
Steve got the last name, but I got the name daddy. Right?

GEISHECKER

00:04:08
She called both of us daddy for awhile before she could know that each one of us had a different one. And that was actually just until probably about a month ago.

GEISHECKER

00:04:19
We have two cats, Bumper and Skittle, and she would call both cats Bumper. But she'd go Bumpba. So now she's learning the differences between things that are kind of the same.

GEISHECKER

00:04:35
In early May of this year, her birth mother graduated from college on time. And she really wanted us to be out there with her during graduation, since the pregnancy and the baby were a big part of her college experience. We flew out there and sat with her family, watched her cross the stage and graduate from college.

STURTEVANT

00:04:57
And then afterwards, she sent us this card, "Steve, Kevin and Gabriella, I cannot express the dream come true it was to see the three of you at my graduation. It was so nice, beyond nice, to see the happy family I helped create in real life."

SHEIR

00:05:20
That was Kevin Sturtevant and Steve Geishecker of Silver Spring, Md., speaking with "Metro Connection's" Jacob Fenston. This story was informed by the Public Insight Network, or PIN. It's a way for people to share their stories with us and for us to reach out for input on topics we're covering. You can learn more about the network by visiting metroconnection.org/pin.
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