Well, this is just adorable.
On June 27, right in the middle of Toronto's WorldPride, BJ Barone and Frankie Nelson welcomed a son into their family. Baby Milo was born via a surrogate, and Canadian photographer Lindsay Foster was there to capture the emotional moment when the proud papas got to hold him for the very first time.
The photos show a couple utterly overwhelmed with love for the teeniest addition to their family, and immediately prompted a digital outpouring of support for the new dads. Foster posted the photos to her Facebook page, from which they have been shared thousands of times.
"I had the opportunity to photograph this amazing birth on June 27 for a surrogate and two expecting and anxious daddies," Foster told Mic via email. "Hours were spent with them in the hospital room while the surrogate mom was laboring, and I got to know them quite well. They are two compassionate people who felt all the emotions that every new parent feels. They asked all appropriate questions of the birthing mom and the midwife, and educated themselves as best as they could for their son's arrival. I am so proud of these two dads."
Foster says that the dads are topless because skin to skin contact is beneficial for newborns, and that the surrogate did not use her own eggs. "She was very happy to have given this gift," and she, her husband and two children "are all doing great."
At a time when LGBT individuals throughout the world continue to face major obstacles to true equality, the photos are a simple yet powerful reminder that loving families come in all different forms.
Milo's dads chimed in on Facebook as well:
"This is a moment of pure love and acceptance. Milo is surrounded by unconditional love, and he will grow up knowing many different types of families and accept everyone (intolerant people included). Milo was born during World Pride. This picture represents everything Pride is about. Love has no color nor gender nor sexual preference. Love is unconditional. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!"
According to the Williams Institute, in 2013 there were an estimated 6 million children with at least one LGBT parent in the U.S. In Canada, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2005, the number of couples raising children was around 65,000 in 2011, although that number has doubtless risen since.
The photos of Barone and Nelson are beautiful because they illustrate a deeply emotional moment familiar to so many first-time parents, no matter their sexual orientation. Much like the photo of gay fathers Kordale and Kaleb that went viral earlier this year, this scene is important not because it highlights anything particularly out of the ordinary, but rather because it proves — yet again — the universality of a father's love for his child.
Now BRB, crying all the happy tears.
Image Credit (all): Lindsay Foster