Burnz Fernandez and his domestic partner, Steve Price, always knew they wanted to be parents.
Burnz , a current Mr. Gay World USA contestant, and Steve, the owner of a popular chain of San Diego-based cafés called Filter Coffee House, weren't sure, initially, if surrogacy or adoption was the right route for them. It wasn't until they decided to participate in an AdoptHelp.org seminar that things became clear.
"Once we completed the seminar we knew -- hands down -- that adoption was the right choice for us," said Steve.
As Burnz and Steve dove headfirst into the adoption process, they were required to create a yearbook-like collage detailing their lives together. Seven weeks later the San Diego couple was hand-picked by a pregnant woman in Maryland who had a 2-year-old, very little money, and was living at home with her parents. The young woman had a gay uncle whom she cared for deeply, thus inspiring her decision to find a gay couple she could bless with her child. Six months into her pregnancy, she saw a picture of Burnz and Steve and -- before reading their entire profile -- knew they were the right parents for her child.
"We kept in contact every day and flew her out to California for the weekend when she was about seven months pregnant so we could get better acquainted," said Burnz. "We went to the San Diego Zoo, out to dinner; the whole experience was pretty surreal."
When their adopted baby was scheduled to be born via C-section, Burnz and Steve flew to Maryland the day before so that they could be present for her birth. Minutes after Olivia was born, the two took her in their arms and have been by her side ever since.
"At 20 months, she already has our personality traits, and we are so connected to her," said Steve. "When asked how many daddies she has, she proudly states, 'Two!'"
Burnz continued: "We are very proud of how beautiful, smart, and funny she is. We are hopefully going to start the process of adopting again this year."
Steve says, "We love discussing our personal adoption process and really enjoy giving information out to anyone who has questions. We think that many young, gay men dream of adopting a baby, as well, but don't go through with it because they think it's either too difficult or simply not possible. We are here to say that it is possible and really beautiful. If more gay parents were to choose the route of adoption, this world would be an awesome place!"
If you have any questions concerning the gay adoption process, please comment on this piece, and Burnz and Steve will do their best to provide you with helpful information.
Last but not least, in late 2011 Burnz and Steve wrote a beautiful letter to their daughter Olivia on aNoteToMyKid.com, expressing their unconditional love for their number-one gal.
Without further ado...
A Note to Olive from Her Two Dads (San Diego, California)
To my dearest Olivia,
At 18 months, I know you are not in the position to comprehend some of the complexities that life surrounds you, but there will be a time when you will, and you will realize how special you are. Everyday, I look at you and wonder how my life would be without you in it, and that's when I realize how lucky I am -- we are -- to be your Dads.
Yes, you have two Dads! :0)
There will be a time in the future when someone will ask you where your Mommy is. Some people may even look at you weird and make fun of you because of this. I want you to know that there is nothing wrong with having two Dads, or two Moms. Our family structure is a little different than others BUT what we have in common with other families is the LOVE we have for each other, and that, my princess, is something to be proud of! I want you to know that you are a very special girl because you have the love of not only one Dad but two Dads, and really, how many little girls can say that!? I promise you that your life will be full of happiness, adventure, excitement, and you will experience a world where everything is possible... All you need to do is BELIEVE!
We -- your Dads -- never thought that we would be able to have a child of our own, because unfortunately, some people in our society do not think that two gay Dads are capable of raising a beautiful baby girl such as yourself. But we kept on believing and we kept our faith that someday, the goodness in mankind will prevail, and you will come into our lives and change it for good!
May 24th was, and will always be a very special day for all of us, because that was the day that our dream came true and you came into our lives bringing nothing but happiness, love and hope -- hope that one day, our society will be free from judgment, prejudice, bigotry and hate; and people will realize that indeed, all we need is LOVE (I know, I stole that line from a group that rhymes with "Beetles") but it is true! You have your whole future ahead of you, and the world is yours to conquer, and your gay Dads will be behind you every step of the way... We have never loved anyone as much as we love you, please do not ever forget that!
Dada Steve & Daddy Burnz!