Theirs was a typical love story: Ferdinand met Brian in Boston in 1983 while pursuing a postgraduate degree, they fell in love, and decided to spend their lives together. However, Ferdinand, a Dutch citizen, was unsuccessful in his applications for permanent residency in the United States, as the federal government didn't recognize same-sex relationships. Just days after their first adopted son was born in 2009, Ferdinand was told that he was no longer permitted to stay in the country. They decided to move to Canada, where their relationship was recognized. "We did like Toronto a lot," Brian says, "but it never really felt like home."
On their 20th anniversary, they married in Toronto. Days later, DOMA was struck down, meaning that they could return to the United States as a family. However, it wasn't until this summer's Supreme Court decision that they felt they could return to a country that accepted and embraced them. And so, after nearly six years abroad, they've finally moved back to New York with their family.