This single gay man had to pretend to have a wife to bring his babies home from the hospital

Joseph Tito Headshot/"From Jet Setter to Fatherhood" book cover
Joseph Tito Headshot/"From Jet Setter to Fatherhood" book cover Photo: The Foto Factory and Films/Book Cover Provided

The following is an excerpt from “From Jet Setter to Fatherhood” by Joseph Tito.

With 10 days to go before we left, and my to-do list almost all ticked off, my nerves were beginning to steady. Given all the drama so far in this process, I should have known this calm would be short lived… and sure enough, the clinic dropped a bomb on my meticulously planned world. I got an email informing me that for me to leave the hospital with my babies, I would need to be with a female companion— and not just any companion (like my mother), but someone who could look like she was my wife! To add insult to injury, the clinic said if I couldn’t conjure up a “spouse” in time, it could provide a stand-in—for an eye-watering sum of $10,000. Yes, you read that right. 

I was pissed off, to put it mildly. I chose Kenya because the clinic had said the country was friendly to same-sex intended parents and single males like me. And now they were telling me I would have to conceal my true self if I wanted to have my family. I was angry and disappointed—more than that, I felt betrayed. How could the clinic go back on its word? Was this even legal? And why was I only given 10 days to find someone willing to travel across the world and pretend to be my wife?

“That wasn’t in the contract,” I told Cathy the coordinator on the phone, sounding as furious as I felt. 

“Unfortunately, there has been an incident in Kenya, and it is out of our control,” she said. Her calm and cool demeanor didn’t crack. I was convinced there was more to the story, but even if there was it wouldn’t change the harsh truth: I was completely screwed. This situation wasn’t just a big inconvenience; it was a deep, stinging insult to who I am as a person. I’ve spent a lifetime fighting tooth and nail to be seen and accepted for who I truly am. I’ve battled to carve out a space in this world where I can walk freely, without having to wear a damn mask to fit into someone else’s box.

And now, after all that hard work, here I was, facing this ridiculous demand to hide parts of me as if they were something to be ashamed of. It felt like a betrayal from a society that still clings to these archaic ideas of what makes someone a ‘good’ or ‘fit’ parent. 

It was bullsh*t, plain and simple. 

With the clock ticking down, I felt cornered. If I didn’t go along with the charade, I couldn’t get my babies. But there was no way in hell I would pay some stranger to play house with me during the most important moment of my life. The thought of it was utterly obscene. I had to find someone I knew and trusted, and fast.

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