Doctor Ian Jenkins, 45, and his partners Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Allen Hodges, from San Diego, made legal history in 2017 when a judge agreed to put them all on the birth certificate of daughter Piper, now three, paving the way for other polyamorous families to gain greater legal recognition in the US.
Now Ian is publishing a book, ‘Three Dads and a Baby: Adventures in Modern Parenting‘, which details the hurdles they had to jump over to grow their family — including failed IVF attempts, health scares with their surrogate, and expensive legal fees.
Ian and Alan have been together for seventeen years, since meeting during their medical residencies in Boston. They’ve been with their partner, Jeremy, who works at a zoo hospital, for eight years.
Since welcoming Piper, the throuple has gone on to have a 16-month-old son, Parker, using an egg donor and a surrogate. Piper and Parker are genetic half-siblings.
Jeremy is known to the children as ‘daddy’, while Alan is ‘dada’ and Ian is ‘papa’.
‘The fact that Piper has three parents is just not a big deal,’ Ian, who authored the book, wrote according to the New York Post.
‘I have three parents myself — my mother, father and stepmother — and no one thinks anything of it.
‘Some people seem to think it’s about a ton of sex or something, or we’re unstable and must do crazy things. [But] it’s really remarkably ordinary and domestic in our house and definitely not “Tiger King,”‘ he went on.
The men had been a trio for five years when they decided that they wanted to start a family, but their road to fatherhood has not been an easy one.
‘Gay couples don’t stumble into parenthood by accident. It’s always a deliberate act, and a complicated one,’ Ian wrote.
The three men gave a lot of thought to bringing a child into the world.
‘We worried the most about whether our children could suffer any ill consequences of our decision to parent,’ Ian wrote in an essay for SheKnows.
Luckily, they were all on the same page about raising kids. They agreed to always put them first, raise them to be independent, never hit them, and teach them to be ‘unafraid to show affection’
‘All three of us had to overcome the restrictions society placed on us as gay men, and we wanted them to dream big, to be anyone and anything they wanted to be — especially any girls we had,’ he wrote. ‘We knew society is still teaching girls to lead less, expect less, and play second fiddle to boys. Our parenting values lined up perfectly.’
But they also knew that being a polyamorous family would introduce unique struggles.
‘Was that selfish? Would our children be teased, or disadvantaged in any way? We had to admit they might,’ Ian wrote.
‘Kids get teased just for having two gay parents; ours could be teased for having three.
‘Honestly, if we lived in a less welcoming community, I’m not sure we’d be parents. But we’d chosen to live in California, and we had the luxury of friends and colleagues who welcomed us without reservation. We hoped everyone would be as welcoming, and perhaps curious and excited, about our unusual family plans (they were).’