Tan France recently opened up about his dream of being a dad, the rollercoaster that is surrogacy along with what he plans to dress his little one in, of course!
“We decided on surrogacy as opposed to adoption. A lot of people ask about this, and a lot of people have really aggressive opinions that they insist on sharing. The way I feel about it is this: If adoption is right for you, it’s right for you. If surrogacy is right for you, it’s right for you. You go with the option that makes the most sense for your life. I see the benefits in both, but Rob and I always felt clear that we wanted a surrogate. Also, people may not realize what a difficult process it is for gay parents to adopt. We have extra limitations and extra hoops to jump through.”
“We know that we’re blessed to have her. We’re in constant communication. Because we can’t see her in person right now, we FaceTime with her and text all the time to make sure she’s doing OK and to get updates about the baby. We hear about his first kicks, and what side he’s pressing against, and when he gets the hiccups. And often we’ll use Zoom to join her doctor’s appointments.”
That being said, it wasn’t an easy road finding the perfect surrogate.
“I don’t like to get into it, but we had some false starts before we found our current surrogate. It’s been a long road to get here, and so after the initial embryo transfer, Rob and I were both on edge as we waited to find out if it had worked. For those 10 days, I felt physically sick. I feel bad for whoever hired me for that week because I was not good at my job. I couldn’t focus because I was just praying so desperately that it would take. We’d been warned that often the first try doesn’t work. We learned that we were pregnant on Christmas Eve. Rob and I were sitting on our couch when we got the call from the agency, and then we hopped on Zoom to celebrate with our surrogate. We were ridiculously happy.”
And while the weeks weren’t easy, happiness came once again when the couple reached the six-week mark.
“The technician put on the ultrasound and he was tiny — he looked like a bean. They scanned for the heartbeat and we could hear it. Rob and I were sitting on the couch in our home, watching it on Zoom, and he and I both cried our hearts out. That was the moment it became real to us that we were finally having a baby. We waited years for that moment.”
“Since then, I’ve been obsessed. I have the What to Expect app installed on my phone and I look at it every day. It helps me understand what our surrogate’s going through and how our baby’s developing. I think the first day I found out that he was starting to form fingers, that blew my mind. Every Friday, while we make coffee, Rob and I get on the app together and we look at what he’s been through this week and what size fruit or vegetable he compares to. I’m skeptical sometimes because he seems to fluctuate from the size of a pea to the size of a watermelon. Honestly, I don’t know what metrics they’re using.”
And don’t forget about clothes, of course! France revealed the most frequently asked question he got was about what his little one would be wearing.
“As far as clothes go, people ask me all the time which designer clothes I am going to put on my baby. None! You’re not going to see my kids in designer clothes for a very long time. I would like to believe we’re going to be practical parents. His nappy’s going to need changing, and I don’t want to mess around with trying to change some stupid baby-couture thing that he’ll grow out of in a week. He’s going to be in onesies every day until he can walk and then maybe we’ll put him in something a little fussier.”
And when it comes to teaching their little one about his origins, France has it all mapped out.
“We love that our child will be multicultural. We want to create a space where he understands that he’s neither just white nor just brown. He’s special. I grew up speaking Hindi and Urdu, and I want my child to understand both sides of my family. Rob will be the one who speaks English with our child, and I will speak Hindi and Urdu. Preparing for the baby has meant that Rob is starting to learn these languages so that he can follow along too.”
In the interim, the two are keeping in contact with the surrogate, counting down until their little one arrives!
“We’ve been in such close contact with our surrogate, we fully intend to stay in touch with her for life. She’s giving us the greatest gift one could ever give a person, and so it would feel strange to be like, “OK, thanks so much. See you.” And it’s not just for us; it’s for our kids in the future to know their own story, to know who took care of them before their dads took care of them. I live a very exciting life, but I’ve never been more excited about anything than I am to meet my baby.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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