A group of polyamorous men in a relationship made history as all three are listed as dads on their son's birth certificate. They recorded their journey in a book called Three Dads and a Baby, out later this month.
In it, Dr. Ian Jenkins outlines the family dynamic the men have together with their children, Piper, 3, and Parker, 1. He also tells of the extraordinary lengths they went through to ensure legal parentage of the children.
They now get to sit happy as the three are legally the parents on the birth certificate for their children.
Jenkins met Dr. Alan Mayfield years ago, while the two completed their medical residencies. Eight years later, they met Jeremy Hodges, and began a friendship that blossomed into romance for the three.
However, they don't see it as anything unusual.
Jenkins wrote in his book:
"Some people seem to think it's about a ton of sex or something, or we're unstable and must do crazy things. ...it's really remarkably ordinary and domestic in our house..."
After five years together, the men discussed parenthood. Friends were willing to donate embryos, but even with that small hurdle cleared, there was a lot of work to do to add all three men to the birth certificates.
Over the next year, the men would spend more than $120,000 on legal and medical fees, ensuring the viability of the embryos and involving everyone in the process.
"Gay couples don't stumble into parenthood by accident. It's always a deliberate act, and a complicated one."
The three had to find a surrogate.
This seemed easy enough since a friend volunteered. But then it became more complicated when the first set of embryos weren't viable.
Then came the legal matters.
"We had to have contracts between each man and each woman. Then, when another cycle got planned, we realized the contracts had to be redone. Of course, redoing them means $500 an hour in fees."
Finally came the idea to have all three men on the birth certificate. This isn't standard process, so the men had to argue their case in court.
It took time, but all three were granted legal parentage just before Piper was born.
It may seem like a lot of effort, when they could just list two parents and know the third is a parent themselves, but there are legal protections granted by being listed on the birth certificate. This set up provides consent for medical care, automatic inheritance for the children, and a say in legal responsibilities for all three men, without the need for other documentation.
It was a very deliberate act, made to ensure the strength of the relationship the men have to each other as well as their children.
But some people felt very 'concerned' about this arrangement.
Luckily, commenters online were there to correct them.
Jenkins pointed out it's not uncommon to have three parents raising you. He himself has three parents, a mother, a father, and a stepmother.
Piper has no trouble understanding her parents' arrangement.
"I'm Papa, Alan is Dada and Jeremy is Daddy. We all bring something different."
After the time and effort put into making their family, they can go on living their 'ordinary' lives. And moving forward, this sets a precedent for other poly-couples—regardless of sexuality—to ensure their families are legally protected.