For Ian Jenkins, Alan Mayfield, and Jeremy Allen Hodges, it’s all about love and family.
The three men are in a committed and healthy relationship, and in 2017, had their first kid, Piper, together using an egg donor and surrogate. A year and a half ago, they had a second child, Parker. Now, after an intense court battle, they’ve won the right for all three of them to be listed on their children’s birth certificates.
The three dads appeared together on Australian talk show, The Morning Show to explain how hard they had to work to be recognized as parents.
“The big challenge for us was really the legal challenges, so with surrogacy, you have to have a parentage order from the court declaring who are going to be the legal parents,” Mayfield said on the show.
“In the beginning we weren’t sure that we could have all three of us on the birth certificate so it became a court process where we argued in court," he continued. "It was a pretty interesting, tense courtroom scene where at first it seemed like we were not going to be granted that, and we asked to speak in court and plead our viewpoint, and the judge ultimately changed her mind and granted us legal parentage of our child before she was born.”
The dads, who live in California, know how important those legal protections are. “If our child, God forbid, was to end up in hospital, one of the parents might not be able to go visit them,” Hodges said. He also worried that their children wouldn’t be able to use their fathers’ insurance or pension benefits if they weren’t legally made their children's parents.
"It was really important to be recognized as the family that we are, and thankfully we live in California, which is a state that, after some teeth pulling and fighting, actually did allow us to do that, so that was amazing,” he siad.
Having three dads might seem confusing to some, but to Piper and Parker, Hodges is Daddy, Jenkins is Papa and Mayfield is Dada. It’s that simple. And they want others to know they can make whatever kind of family they want.
“We wanted everyone to know that love makes a family, and families may look different,” Jenkins said, “but if you care about your kids and you’re doing everything you can to give them the best possible childhood, that’s what matters.”
“We wanted people who are in non-traditional families to know that there could be more legal protections available to them and help keep this process moving so that more parents would have the kind of protection we’re enjoying,” he added.