justin & brett
the biggest surprise in parenthood for us is how much more love we have found within ourselves
Starting at an early age, both Justin Mallard and Brett Rancourt knew they wanted to have kids.
As they came to terms with their sexualities, accepting the fact they were gay, one of the biggest struggles they faced was the idea that being gay and having a family did not seem like a realistic reality. Fast forward to adulthood and the two meet through an online dating site.
“It was so refreshing to hear the words ‘I would love kids one day’ come out of Brett’s mouth,” recalls Justin of their first date. “Here I have this handsome, funny and smart man who also has the same family goals as me. I felt like I struck gold and our lives together began to move forward.”
The couple, who live in Chilliwack, B.C., have twins, born through gestational surrogacy. A close friend to the couple, and Justin’s work colleague, Raylene, offered to be their surrogate and her friend, Lisa, offered to be their egg donor. Justin and Brett each transferred two embryos, one genetically linked to each of them, and two weeks after the transfer they were told it took and they were pregnant with fraternal twins. Jordyn and Sawyer are now both a year old. Justin is a full-time working dad and Brett is a stay-at-home dad, creating a structured environment filled with healthy organic meals, adventure and play.
Each evening Justin and Brett put the kids down for the night together, ending the day with story time, hugs and kisses. Justin took time to answer some questions about life with kids.
What’s your family’s favourite activity to do together?
Brett and I really enjoyed the outdoors before our Jordyn and Sawyer were born. Everything from camping, hiking to Brett’s softball he plays throughout the year. Our kids have fully integrated into our passions and we are creating memories and traditions together as a family.
Jordyn and Sawyer started swimming lessons at 6 months old and it is something we have enjoyed together ever since.
How have yours and Brett’s lives changed since becoming parents?
I would not say they have changed drastically. As a parent you have to make some sacrifices, but with those sacrifices come great rewards. I find that mine and Brett’s time together has become even more exciting as we are now creating new moments, traditions and memories with our children.
The biggest change would be no longer having the ability to be super spontaneous. Our trips whether it’s to the store, a friend’s house or vacation have to be very calculated and organized. We have become list makers to ensure nothing is missed that we might need while we are out. We have made the mistake of forgetting a backup outfit, to a favourite toy and won’t make that mistake again lol.
We are blessed to have Jordyn and Sawyer's “Army of Aunties”! They consist of our amazing social network for friends and family that are here to help at a moment’s notice. They have allowed special date nights and a couple weekends away which is so important for any couple.
As a couple Brett and I have an incredibly strong bond, commitment and love for each other. When we became parents this intensified even more and it’s been really amazing to see our relationship as a couple and as parents evolve to what it is today.
What’s surprised you most about parenthood?
The biggest surprise in parenthood for us is how much more love we have found within ourselves. The feeling I get inside when I think of our children is like nothing I have ever felt before. It’s an entire different kind of love that I didn’t know existed. When Brett and I met, it was true love between two people. Now with our children part of our lives that love has grown and expanded more than I ever knew possible.
What’s surprised you most about yourself through the journey?
Our ability to adapt as quickly as we did. I have always been the loving nurturing type to those I love with strong family values. I thought adapting into the role of being a dad would take a little bit to get used to for us both, but it has come so naturally.
The moment our kids were born it was if a switch just clicked within us both. Our parenting together became in sync and the needs of our children were very naturally met.
After much discussion before our kids were born we both decided it made most sense for my partner Brett to have the very important role of stay at home Dad. Brett took this role, embraced it and ran with it. He went from no kids to newborn twins by himself over night.
Every day has its unique challenges but working together as a team has allowed us to overcome these challenges as they arise.
Are you looking to expand your brood again?
When Brett and I discussed our dreams of parenthood we dreamed of two kids, a daughter and a son. We were blessed to get this all at once. The joy Jordyn and Sawyer have brought to our lives would absolutely keep us open to expanding our family, but we do not have any immediate plans.
What advice do you have for any potential dads out there thinking about taking the next step?
The biggest advice I could share is never give up on your dreams of parenthood.. There will be times were the idea of being a Dad feels out of reach, but with the right determination and dedication anything is possible.
I would also recommend blogging or journaling your process leading up and after your children our born. I have been doing this and it will be such a gift to my children to see the love that was involved in bringing them both into this world.
Parenthood is a special gift that thankfully is now within reach for all types of couples no matter their gender or orientation.
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