Thicker Than Blood

1.18.2012

By Hugo Redwood and Denis O'hare

These foster dads and newlyweds show how much difference a year can make.

Photography by Martien Mulder

HUGO REDWOOD
Interior designer, left
When we were first together, Denis was mostly on Broadway, and I called myself a theater widow because I’d never see him during the week. We’d write each other notes in the morning and night. We’d have Monday date night. Then he started doing more TV and movies. If we actually spend seven months in the same city together, that’s a long time. But it’s also a weird sort of benefit to our relationship that we’re not always on top of each other.

The conversation to have a family started not long after we were together, but it took five years to get to the punctuation at the end. Denis was a little harder to bring to the table. But when he showed up, it was gangbusters.

We got married because we could. It’s not sexy. City Hall’s like the DMV -- we stood in line with a lot of Eastern Europeans. A lot of the impetus for doing it was because, if we weren’t married, then we’d have to go through two rounds of adoption. I would be Declan’s father, and then Denis would have to adopt him. This way, it’s neat and clean. Now I’m a married man with child.

DENIS O'HARE
Actor
The first big discussion we had about children took place in 2004. He mentioned it in passing: “Wouldn’t you like to have kids?” I was sort of, “No! It’s not going to happen because you need to have a career. If you have a kid, then you’re not going to have your business.” I eventually came around. Then I realized it was something I had to be a part of, so I had to not just get behind it, but also see it as something good for me.

We didn’t want to go the adoption route because these babies in foster care, they already exist and need homes.

We decided we wanted to take a child from our neighborhood in Brooklyn or the Bronx.

I don’t think we’ll do it again because of the anxiety. Now we want a second child, so we are looking at private adoption. I wish we had done that 10 years ago. If I were to give anyone advice, I would say do it before you’re ready. For the first time in my life, I feel this incredible need to stay alive -- for him. I think, I can’t get in an accident. I can’t die. I can’t leave him alone.

We got married because we wanted to do it quickly for fear that they would take it away again, like they did in California.

Getting married was a political act because so many people fought so hard for it. Also, every time I say the word “husband” and somebody flinches, I am helping to teach society this is the way it will be. This is the way it is.

 

As told to Jerry Portwood

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