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Hayley & Erica Share #WhyIWork

Hayley & Erica Share #WhyIWork


The Advocate teamed up with Wells Fargo to ask fans and readers #WhyIWork.


Together with Wells Fargo, we polled our Facebook and Twitter fans asking their motivations and aspirations using #WhyIWork. The responses we received gave us so many great insights into the lives of everyday LGBT families working together for a common goal.

One of those families was Hayley & Erica. They have been married for 4 years and live in Brooklyn, NY with their son Kai. Hayley is pregnant with baby boy number two, due in October.

Read Hayley & Erica's story below and look for their Money Minute: Working Sessions episodes coming to this fall.

1. How long have you been together? Married?
We have been together 7.5 years and married for 4 years.

2. How did you first meet? Was it love at first site?
We actually met online while I (Hayley) was living in DC and Erica was in New York. We talked for about two weeks and then I decided to take the bus up to New York to see her. When the cab dropped me off and I saw Erica in person for the first time, it truly was love at first sight. We saw each other almost every weekend until Erica moved to DC, and the rest is history.

When did you know you wanted to marry this person? Who proposed to whom and how?
I think we both knew we wanted to marry the other right from the start. We have always had this easy chemistry that works for us. We always say we are each others 'normal' and love all the quirky things about the other.

I proposed to Erica in 2010 by taking her on a surprise canoe and overnight camping trip down the Shenandoah River. On the first day we stopped for lunch on a sandy beach. We both love trivia and play Trivial Pursuit whenever we can. I had made up a mock card with questions relating to the categories, but that were about our relationship. I grabbed a stack of cards and we started just asking each other questions. I slipped my newly created card in the mix and when I got to the last question about Sports and Leisure, I told her I couldn't pronounce one of the words. As she was reading "Which New Yorker is now engaged to the center back for the DC Gaels?" I got down on one knee and held out the ring.

Erica followed up with her own proposal a month later by turning our backyard into a romantic dinner space. After we were done eating she started playing our song on her guitar. After she finished she said there was one more thing that she needed to ask. Erica then got down on one knee and gave me my ring. The perks of a lesbian relationship, two proposals and two diamonds!

3. Tell us about your wedding..
We were married in Cape Cod, MA. We choose Cape Cod because we really wanted to do a beach wedding and at the time there were only six states that recognized same sex marriage. I had lived in the Cape for a summer during college and it seemed like the perfect fit. We also wanted a place where we could hang out with all of our friends for the weekend. We found a small beachfront hotel and were able to have the entire place rented to our guests. It was an amazing weekend of bonfires, lobster bakes, and marrying the love of our lives.

4. When did you know you wanted to have children together?
We both have always wanted children and we knew right away that the other would make a great co-parent. We have very similar values and beliefs on how to raise kids making for an easier transition.

5. What steps did you take to plan for your first child, Kai? Are you doing anything different with baby #2 on the way?
There are a few more steps in family planning when you are in a same sex relationship. We both knew we wanted to each carry a child but decided that Erica would go first. From there we researched cryobanks, spent many hours looking for the perfect donor, and then settled on a fertility clinic. It was important to us that the donor would be open for contact once Kai turned 18, so that played a huge role on which one we picked. It was much easier the second time around since we already had the donor and fertility clinic. The main change we made with our second child was moving from a one bedroom to a two bedroom.

6. What motivates you every morning to wake up and go to work?
What motivates us to work is knowing that at the end of the day we get to hang out as a family. By working hard we know we will be able to provide a great future for our children.

7. What future goals do you have for you and your family?
Our future goals are to live a comfortable life where we aren't too concerned with money and can do the things we love. We want to be able to show our kids the world and give them a good education.

8. What are some family activities or hobbies you enjoy together when you're not working?
When we aren't working we like to go to the beach or just be outdoors. We frequent the park and the many playgrounds around Brooklyn. I'm looking forward to passing my love for the mountains to the kids by getting them on the ski slopes.

9. In your #WhyIWork comment you stated, "Hayley Gerkman and I work because we want to travel and show our children the world." Tell us more! What are some recent memories or vacations you created together?
We recently returned from a trip to Montauk, NY. We have been taking Kai there since he was a month old. This year was the best one yet since Kai got to play with his older cousin and found a new love for the ocean and beach. It was great week on the beach with Kai's uncle, cousin, and grandparents.

10. What was your reaction to the June 26 SCOTUS ruling that led to nationwide marriage equality?
Our reaction to the ruling was pure elation. We were in Montauk when we heard the news. I was up in the room getting Kai lunch when I looked at Facebook and saw every post was exploding into rainbows. I grabbed Kai and ran down to the beach to tell Erica the great the news. Then our phones blew up with phone calls and text messages congratulating us on the victory.

11. Now that same-sex marriage is accepted nationwide, how does it feel to identify as same-sex parents?
We have already seen a shift in how America views same-sex couples and this just is one more step in gaining acceptance. Our hope is that soon we can just be viewed as parents without the label of same-sex parents, and that our children will only know equality and will only learn of the struggle in history books.

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