I am not a religious person. On a good day, I lean toward being an atheist, and on a bad day, I consider myself agnostic. (You just need to ask God what her deal is every now and again, right?) Still, I have always believed in some kind of intelligent design that is far too complex for humans to understand. I guess it’s the human in me to try and figure it out.
When I was coming to terms with my sexuality, I often pondered the question of why some people—those like me—are created to partner with the same sex. The shorter, less inspirational answer that I could come up with was that it was nature’s version of birth control, or a sort of cap on population growth. The romantic in me, however, landed on a different answer.
As long as I have known that I was born this way, I also have known that I was born to be the father of a child who didn’t have one. It is, quite frankly, the only way I could make sense of the circumstances presented to me. Just as being gay felt like something so innate, the thought of parenthood always seemed inevitable. But my kind of love didn’t produce children naturally and I had no desire to have children of my own, so adoption was about as much of a choice as my sexuality had been.
For many years, it seemed like my dream of fatherhood was light-years apart from my reality as a single gay man. I was messy, I was irresponsible, and I was still learning how to take care of myself at an age much older than I thought a future parent should. As blurry as that time may have been, I never lost hope of one day fighting with my husband over who gets to put the baby to sleep at night.
I believe that hope is what led me to stumble into a life where my bedtime is reasonable, my husband finds me less of a slob, and there is a room at the end of the hallway waiting to welcome a baby who needs it.
This is not an endorsement of adoption over surrogacy, or even a call to have any children at all. I celebrate the creation of any family, no matter what method you choose. I only share my path to adoption as an example of how queer people should be allowed to design their lives according to what feels the most true to their heart.
For me, I have always dreamed of being a father, and I believe that the only thing required to be a good parent is an open heart (and maybe a little bit of extra eye cream). Being gay may be how I was born, but adopting a child who needed a father is why I was born. I know that to be true for me and me alone. OK, maybe I’ll speak for my husband as well. Now I understand what having faith in something feels like.
I know what you are thinking. For an atheist, I sure do sound like a sentimental sap. But what can I say? Just wait till she starts kindergarten.
TYLER CURRY is editor at large at Plus magazine, the author of A Peacock Among Pigeons, and a gay man living with HIV. (@IamTylerCurry)