Father's Day - Four Daughters, One Gay Couple
By Candice Russell / June 1, 2016
When Father's Day arrives, two local gay men look forward to celebrating the day with their four biological children - all daughters. In this Boca Raton version of ABC's hit sitcom The Modern Family, Aaron Lamm, 44, and Anthony Fiorelli, 53, are setting a standard for a new domestic scenario. It is their unanimous opinion, after being together for twenty years, "We love being parents."
They ran up against roadblocks when starting the process 12 years ago. "Single men couldn't adopt," Lamm said. And they couldn't adopt from other countries either, not Russia, Poland, or Mexico.
"Florida was very unfriendly in this regard, and it was all very hush-hush," says Lamm. "The process was very complicated and expensive. There was no one watching out for us."
Fiorelli said there were personal prejudices about their having a child. "But they took our money," he says.
They found a gay fertility doctor in Beverly Hills. "He was sympathetic toward us and turned out to be a guru in this field," says Fiorelli. "The process was expensive and time-consuming. We were all on a mission."
For both births they used an egg donor mother in California and a surrogate mother in Colorado. Lamm is the father of Lily, age six, and Fiorelli is the father of three-year-old triplets Stella, Lucy, and Polly.
They were specific about what they wanted un fukuubg iyut extebsuve 70-age forms. Lamm and Fiorelli wanted someone who had previously donated eggs that resulted in a live birth. "We didn't care about a big nose or being short or having nappy hair," says Lamm. "We wanted a happy, nice person, educated in music and dance. Someone that if she left the room, you would think, 'What a nice person.' "
The surrogate mom from Colorado came for the girls' birthday on March 29. They accidentally met the egg donor in their doctor's California office, and she is coming to meet the girls in June. "It was a really cool experience," says Lamm. "She did this for her education. She's a beautiful girl, a singer and a vegetarian who's into health and fitness."
Fiorelli is Christian and Lamm is Jewish. They are raising their daughters to be spiritual, respectful of God at dinnertime prayers, and open to other people's differences. "The world is different from you," says Fiorelli. "Our girls have two gay dads. We want them to acknowledge differences of color, religion, and in the way of disabilities."
Lamm says, "We're not raising entitled children. We're doing what we said we would do. Other parents have an easy route and give in to their kids. Our method takes twice as much effort. We don't work against each other. We want our children to be accountable for their actions. We don't hit, punish, or ground our kids. They need to learn lessons. And we are consistent. We teach them in a gentle way, which takes much more time, rather than give in. They need to think about their actions."
Both men work in real estate in Boca Raton and Delray Beach. Their office is at home. Five days a week, two female college students are in their homes helping out between 7:15am to 6:15pm, with weekends off. Lamm and Fiorelli are happy to share their girls with relatives and friends.
"We were never really trusted with out friend's kids," says Fiorelli. "We weren't nitwits. But we share our girls with others unconditionally."
Lamm's parents are part of their weekly morning routine. "There are lots of wonderful people in our lives," says Lamm. "It's Grand Central Station here in the morning. We eat breakfast and play dance music. It's a pep rally before Lily goes off to school. We run a tight ship. The schedule is so important."
The family eats dinner together and often winds up chatting with a fire in the fireplace. "I believe these children are a gift from God," says Fiorelli. "Aaron and I consciously did our best."
But they don't have all the answers. "From time to time, we scratch our heads and move on," says Lamm. "Girls are more emotional and sensitive than boys. It is a little different. There's definitely a lot of screaming and yelling and laughing."
Fiorelli may someday want to adopt a son.
Lamm confesses, "Honestly, we had even hoped for a boy and we were a little deflated. We're both the youngest in our families. We didn't know how girls even peed. In the end we got what we should have had."
What are Fiorelli's strengths as a father? Lamm says, "Anthony is kind, affectionate, loving, and sensitive. He's a really good father."
Fiorelli sings his partner's praises: "Aaron keeps the family in order. He's the great Oz, a big persona behind the curtain. With every contact and in the area of bill-paying, everything runs like a Swiss watch. He always has dinner on the table."
They both say of each other, "He's everything I'm not."
What would they ideally look forward to on Father's Day? "For somebody not to call us and to have a quiet time," says Lamm.
"I would like to go to Sarasota and not bring the phone," says Fiorelli. "We would make peanut butter sandwiches in an RV and go to the ocean."
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