Danny, who is most famous for being, “the most recognized Real World cast member ever” (New Orleans season), and his beau Wes eventually fled Seattle’s salty shores and now call Atlanta home.
Just a few short days ago, the couple became the beaming fathers of a bouncing baby bundle of cuteness called Naiya Sage.
“Many a year ago, I knew that I didn’t want to have kids,” Danny tells us. “At least, not my own.” Danny has always been very concerned about the future of the planet, and of course he’s gay as a goose. Kids just seemed to be off the menu.
“This planet is already overloaded with humans and I don’t need to be adding to the mix,” he says. “I was, however, always open to adoption. I thought that would be valiant, or at least feasible. That became especially poignant as I accepted that I was gay. In the big picture though, I think I was always pretty indifferent to having a family…”
Fast forward ten years. “I had just moved to NYC from Seattle and I met my hubby, Wes,” Danny says. “He made it clear from day one that he wanted to have kids. (I stress, plural.) It opened my mind again to the idea of having a kid. (I stress, singular.) However, I made it clear that I was nowhere near ready!” Danny explains.
“But seven years passed, and Wes’ baby fever was out of control. His ovaries were in overdrive. Something clicked for both of us at that point. It was time. So I agreed.”
Of course, two men having a baby stretches the frangible bounds of current medical science.
“Originally Wes wanted to do surrogacy, but I was adamantly against it,” Danny says. “I get the natural biological urge to reproduce your own genes, but I also see that as a selfish urge built in prehistoric mechanism. With so many kids in this world who need homes, why do that? Surrogacy on average is 3 to 4 times the cost of adoption! Think about how much money that is for college later on! I guess I’m just a practical bastard at the end of the day.”
So after a great deal of research and soul-searching, they decided. “I got Wes on board with the idea of adoption–or at least to give it a shot first. We did have a backup plan to try surrogacy if adoption didn’t work out.”
“It took us about 8 months to complete the background clearance just to get into the actual process, which consists of basically marketing yourselves as a couple online through the agency portal,” Danny explains. “We chose a really great agency based out of SF that has an office in Atlanta called Independent Adoption Center, because they’re known for working with nontraditional families.”
“They have you read several books as part of your education process to get you ready,” Danny adds. “And one was Dan Savage’s book called, ‘The Kid’. It was actually really entertaining and useful, being written from the viewpoint of a gay couple. It made adoption seem more accessible and feasible. If they can do it, we can too sort of feeling.”
But even with the formidable power of Dan Savage books on their side, the process wasn’t easy.
“About a year passed and we heard NOTHING. Not a single mom contacted us. The way it works is that mom’s search on the adoption site using their search criteria and it filters out families for them to read about. Moms can search around criteria such as religion, age, location, marital status, gay/straight, etc. It may seem odd to many, but gay couples are very desirable to many moms because they don’t have to compete with another woman in the kid’s life as a mom. (This is open adoption, btw.)”
“We got very disappointed and discouraged,” Danny says. “We pretty much decided to give up.”
But, like the old saw goes, when you stop looking for something…
“Wes started looking into surrogacy again, and just as that started, we got a call in January from a mom. We set up a phone call with her and talked for at least two hours. It seemed too good to be true”, Danny tells us.
“Her story matched exactly what we were hoping for. She’s biracial, part Latina, which was a big hope for us. She’s also bright and a bit of an older soul. She’s young, but she’s not a disaster. This was her second child and she just knew she didn’t have the resources to take on another kid, all while trying to get herself through college. She has dreams for herself and her existing kid and she wanted to give the new baby a shot at a great life too, so she made the choice of adoption.”
“She chose us because she wanted a non-religious gay couple who travels. She really wants this baby to have the opportunity to see the world, something she hasn’t had a chance to do herself yet”, Danny says.
“We were extremely anxious the entire time, because the mom could have changed her mind at any point. Thankfully she didn’t, and little Naiya Sage was born a week ago. We went to Dallas to see her be born. I never thought I’d see a baby pop out of a vagina, but now I have! We both cried a little bit; it was so amazing to witness this tiny human arrive.”
But most of Danny and Wes’ friends and family weren’t even aware that an addition to the family was on the horizon for them. “Our families are dying to meet her.”
“It’s funny because most didn’t even know we were doing this,” Danny says. “We didn’t tell anyone in case it didn’t work out. You have to limit the amount of disappointment you might have.”
And how did they come up with such an unusual name, Naiya Sage? That was all mostly due to Wes.
“Funny enough, I was certain it was going to be a boy at first,” Danny admits. “So we only came up with boy names. (I think that was my own subconscious bias of just relating to boyhood and secret desire to play Legos all the time, just like when I grew up. I still plan on playing Legos with her.)”
“But then we found out it’s a girl and started over from scratch. We made a list of names looking for any name that seemed culturally neutral and weren’t common. Then Wes suggested Naiya, which is a combo of his cousin’s name, Naila, his sister’s middle name, Yadeiris.. He chose those because they were all strong, positive female influences in his life,” Danny says.
“Her middle name is Sage, which the birth mom chose. I thought it would be a nice compliment to have that.”
“So that’s that. No plans for anymore. I think one is plenty though. this is all surreal and I’m still wrapping my head around it, but it feels right. But never say never. We’re in love with her, and no matter how much she shits or cries; we just dote on her.”