Dou­bly gay Fa­ther’s Day for Le­an­der, with 2 dads

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - BY MELANIE PETERS

“TO IN­FIN­ITY and be­yond” is how Le­an­der Gor­don-Smit, 9, de­scribes his love for his two gay dads.

Ex­cited about Fa­ther’s Day, he plans to show them just how much he ap­pre­ci­ates and loves them.

The chirpy young­ster was adopted by a Cape Town cou­ple, Os­car Smit and Hil­ton Gor­don, when he was just six months old. Le­an­der prom­ises to spoil his par­ents – he calls them “papa” and “daddy” – by mak­ing break­fast, tak­ing them out to lunch and then go for a bit of bowl­ing in the af­ter­noon.

Gor­don says Le­an­der threat­ens to spoil then each year. “But when Fa­ther’s Day comes around he wants to know what time his break­fast will be served in bed.”

Gor­don is a teacher and Smit an ed­u­ca­tion train­ing and devel­op­ment prac­ti­tioner.

The cou­ple, who have been to­gether for more than 20 years, tied the knot in July two years ago. They adopted Le­an­der in 2001 af­ter see­ing an adop­tion ad­vert in a news­pa­per.

Smit said they went through rig­or­ous pro­cesses. “The day we brought him home was one of our hap­pi­est days.”

This week a US study done by the Rock­way In­sti­tute at the Cal­i­for nia School of Pro­fes­sional Psy­chol­ogy re­leased a re­port on gay male part­ners who have chil­dren. The re­sults were pub­lished in the lat­est is­sue of the Jour­nal of Gay, Les­bian, Bi­sex­ual and Trans­sex­ual Fam­ily Stud­ies.

It found that these fa­thers were more likely to scale back their ca­reers to care for their chil­dren. These fa­thers also re­ported that their self-es­teem and their close­ness with their ex­tended fam­i­lies in­creased af­ter be­com­ing par­ents. In most re­spects, life changes re­sult­ing from par­ent­hood were very much like those ex­pe­ri­enced by het­ero­sex­ual cou­ples – closer re­la­tions with co-work­ers, a tran­si­tion away from sin­gle friends to­ward other cou­ples (straight and gay) with chil­dren, and less time for sleep, ex­er­cise, and hob­bies.

Life cer­tainly did change when Le­an­der came into their lives, and be­cause they lived in Nelspruit on the Lowveld they had no sup­port struc­ture.

Smit said: “Le­an­der knows he is adopted and that he has two gay dads. He sees us just as a fam­ily. We just wanted to give a child a lov­ing home. Once on the play­ground one of his peers asked him where his mother was. He replied that he didn’t have one but had two dads who would be get­ting mar­ried soon.

“There are so many mo­ments when we laugh out loud at the things he comes up with. Like he once told some­one that he has three dads, a bi­o­log­i­cal one and the two of us. Other days he says he has four, count­ing his god­fa­ther.”

Gor­don said some peo­ple in Nelspruit were very crit­i­cal. “They would walk up to us in a shop­ping cen­tre and ask how we could do this or ask where the child’s mother was. There is no recipe for what makes good or par­ents. We’ve learnt along the way. Os­car has put his ca­reer on hold to ded­i­cate more time to Le­an­der, who has At­ten­tion Deficit Hy­per­ac­tiv­ity Dis­or­der.”

They have de­cided to move back to Cape Town, in search of a more tol­er­ant so­ci­ety.

The two dads say they did not mind how they spent Fa­thers Day. “It’s just the joy of be­ing to­gether,” said Smit.

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