Bino & Sarah

Toronto Life - - The 2018 Self-Care Guide -

Mubein “Bino” Tarahi, 43, con­struc­tion man­ager Sarah Mac­Don­ald, 36, so­cial worker Adaan Tarahi, 2

Sarah: My girl­friend and I had planned to have a kid af­ter I com­pleted my master’s de­gree. But then I fin­ished, and she told me she had changed her mind. I was tired of wait­ing. In 2014, we broke up. I still wanted a kid, but I wanted to do it with some­one who would be as in­vested as I was.

Bino: My sit­u­a­tion was sim­i­lar. My boyfriend and I had bro­ken up. I wanted to be a dad, but I didn’t want to do it alone.

Sarah: I signed up to a web­site called Mo­dam­ily, which con­nects prospec­tive co-par­ents. I matched with a few guys, and they said all the right things—“I have a great re­la­tion­ship with my mom; I’m a fem­i­nist; I just want to be a dad”—but there was no spark.

Bino: Sarah and I matched, and we met in May 2014 at Star­bucks at Yonge and Welles­ley. This meet­ing was ob­vi­ously dif­fer­ent from stan­dard dat­ing: it was less about my needs and more about who would be good for my fu­ture child. Sarah and I were in sync, and it turned out that we lived on the same street in the Vil­lage.

Sarah: There was in­stant chem­istry. I de­cided to lay it all out there. I asked Bino about his deal­break­ers, which were sim­ple. He didn’t want some­one who wasn’t fully de­voted or didn’t re­spect his pri­vacy. I told him that I needed some­one hon­est, pa­tient and un­der­stand­ing. I can be emo­tional and re­ac­tive some­times.

Bino: We talked about a co-par­ent­ing agree­ment that would de­tail nearly ev­ery even­tu­al­ity. Sarah had so many things al­ready thought out—even the fact that the child would take my last name. We ended up agree­ing that if we had a boy, I would choose the first name, and Sarah would choose the mid­dle name, and if it was a girl, we’d do the in­verse. We were at that Star­bucks for hours.

Sarah: I also told Bino I wanted a po­lice record check….

Bino: I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that. When I went to get it, the guy at the desk asked why I was ap­ply­ing. I said that a girl I met had asked for it. He started laugh­ing, so I had to tell him the whole story.

Sarah: Af­ter our ini­tial meet­ing, we “dated” for a while. Bino loves meat, so I had him over and cooked the big­gest steak I could find—even though I was ve­gan. Then he had me over and cooked a spe­cial lentil dish that his fam­ily would make in Pales­tine. Af­ter about five dates,

we de­cided to host a brunch party for our fam­ily and friends. Ini­tially, it was like an awk­ward high school dance, with all the bears on one side and all the lefty po­lit­i­cal queers on the other. Some­one had the bril­liant idea of hav­ing ev­ery­one share what they loved about us. It was one of the most mag­i­cal days of our re­la­tion­ship, and the ul­ti­mate in­ter­view. And it helped the groups come to­gether.

Bino: We de­cided to try for a baby in Au­gust—only three months af­ter we’d met.

Sarah: Bino just came over and gave me a lit­tle cup of sperm. Bino: Four­teen days later, we were preg­nant! Sarah: We told ev­ery­one. Adaan was born in May 2015.

Bino: We had planned to al­ter­nate hav­ing Adaan at our houses in six-month seg­ments, since we lived so close to each other. But to­ward the end of Sarah’s ma­ter­nity leave, she got very emo­tional about it. She said she wasn’t sure about hav­ing Adaan sleep at my place.

Sarah: So one day Bino called me and said, “Do you want to buy a house to­gether?” I was like, “Yeah.” Ten days later, we bought a semi.

Bino: Sarah and Adaan each have a bed­room in the fin­ished base­ment. I live on the sec­ond and third floors, where I have my own kitchen and two bed­rooms, one of which Adaan uses if he’s up­stairs. Where he sleeps doesn’t re­ally mat­ter. We put him to bed to­gether. He calls my floors “Baba’s house” and down­stairs “Momma’s house.”

Sarah: We’re very re­spect­ful about pri­vacy. If Bino has a date over, he’ll let me know, and I won’t knock on his door or let Adaan go up. If we’re both free, the doors are open, and we all hang out as a fam­ily.

Bino: If I’m cook­ing in my kitchen up­stairs and Adaan gets bored af­ter a half-hour, he goes back down­stairs. It’s good for him.

Sarah: Nei­ther of us has been in a long-term re­la­tion­ship since Adaan was born. Re­ally, we’re ex­actly like other fam­i­lies, ex­cept that Bino and I don’t have sex. We do ev­ery­thing that Adaan sees his friends’ par­ents do­ing. He hasn’t started ask­ing ques­tions about our ar­range­ment yet, but we plan to be hon­est when he does.

Bino: At some point, he might see the dif­fer­ences, but for him right now, he has par­ents who love him, and that’s what mat­ters.

Sarah: I’m just so proud of what we’ve done. We cre­ated the fam­ily we wanted, and it’s beau­ti­ful. In fact, this ex­pe­ri­ence has been so amaz­ing that we’re do­ing it again. We’re preg­nant. Our sec­ond child, another boy, is due in March.

Bino and Sarah, who are both gay, matched on the co-par­ent­ing web­site Mo­dam­ily in May 2014. Their son, Adaan, was born a year later

They share a four-bed­room semi. Bino oc­cu­pies the top two floors, which Adaan calls “Baba’s house”; Adaan and Sarah each have a bed­room in the fin­ished base­ment, which Adaan calls “Momma’s house.” Un­less one par­ent has com­pany over, they all hang out...

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