It's All About Coco

It's All About Coco
The Love Of Our Life

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A few new pics

Letter to NYT Op Ed

We sent this letter to the op-ed Editor at the New York Times a couple of weeks ago. It was not published, but it felt really good to write it.

Discrimination on Tax and Wedding Day

My partner Victor and I were married by our family minister in St Barths in a ceremony that was beautifully chronicled by the New York Times on April 27th, 2008. While we were on our honeymoon in South Africa, we received an email from the Empire State Pride Agenda that the New York State Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriages that are performed legally elsewhere will be recognized as valid in New York State. Inspired by the ruling, we took advantage of South Africa’s strong commitment to equality and got legally married in a small ceremony about a 30 minute drive east of Capetown.

On February 4, 2010, with the help of our loving surrogate, Kira Sanders of California, and many doctors, attorneys and case workers, we gave birth to our daughter Coco. She has become the love our lives and has bestowed upon us blessings that we did not previously imagine possible. Coco’s birth has inspired us to do everything we possibly can to fight to make sure that our family is treated equally.

For the first time, I actually looked forward to filing my taxes. While the federal government still discriminates against us, I assumed that we would be eligible to file as a married couple for the purposes of New York State taxes. While many people may think this is an odd thing to be excited about, for us it represented one large step toward equality. After Coco’s birth, we had a renewed sense of financial and estate planning. It became clear that if I passed away suddenly, Victor and Coco could be at risk of financial insolvency as a result of the estate taxes that would be due as a result of most of our net worth being tied up in illiquid real estate partnerships. A family based on a more traditional marriage would not be subject to that unsettling risk given that the family assets would pass seamlessly to the spouse.

With the help of Empire State Pride Agenda, I learned that we are not eligible to file our taxes as a married couple in New York State. Apparently the Supreme Court Ruling applied only in situations where NYS Statute was vague. The NYS Statute requires that we use the same filing status as our Federal taxes. Therefore, the discrimination on the federal level trickles down to New York State, despite the Supreme Court ruling. Nevertheless, the federal return requires that I swear under penalty of perjury that all statements in the return are true. Will we be penalized for lying about our marital status on our tax return?

Last weekend, we were honored to host Lacey Stone and Jessica Clark for the weekend at our home in Rye. After four wonderful years of partnership, they had exchanged their vows in front of their closest friends and family in a beautiful ceremony on an island off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. They wanted seal their bond legally and arranged to have a civil ceremony in Greenwich, Connecticut, since New York State still discriminates against us with respect to marriage licenses. We listened in horror over breakfast as Jessica and Lacey described the uncertainty they face as a result of Jessica being a British citizen. She is in the process of applying for her Green Card at a cost of over $20,000. Jessica currently has a visa, however, it limits the type of work she can perform and is limited with respect to time. Jessica and Lacey would love to start a family and feel the unspeakable joy that Victor and I are experiencing; however, they do not feel comfortable doing so knowing that Jessica could be asked to leave the country upon expiration of her visa.

I take the time to write this and expose our lives to the public to illustrate the frustration we face as a result of the New York State’s and the Federal Government’s unwillingness to treat us with equality and respect. On Tax Day and on Lacey and Jessica’s Wedding Day, we are reminded that the United States and New York State, which have historically been considered a champion of civil rights, are quickly being left behind by South Africa, Spain, Argentina (former homes of Aparteid, Franco, and Pinochet) and countless other countries which have demonstrated their commitment to equality.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coco in her new TODDLER seat at 9 1/2 weeks!

Coco in her new TODDLER seat at 9 1/2 weeks.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Victor or Coco??

April 10, 2010 When Granny Self came up to visit, I asked her to bring some of Victor's baby pics to compare the resemblance of Victor and Coco. The pic above is Victor at two months and the pic on below is Coco at two months.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Living in the Present

For the two years prior to Coco's birth, we were always waiting....waiting to be matched with a surrogate, waiting for an attorney to respond with comments to a legal document, waiting for test results, waiting for a menstrual cycle, waiting for contractions, etc... It was extremely difficult to live in the moment when we had a major life changing event on the way. The waiting was riddled with fear, uncertainty and disappointment when things did not go the way we wanted them too. Our friends Scott and Ron used to tell us that we should celebrate the discomfort of being at a fork in the road. Great advice, but clearly easier said than done.

While previously I wished we could have sped up time, now I wish that we could slow it down. Coco is growing and maturing so fast. Victor and I were in the City last weekend and we saw someone walking with a newborn which was about half the size of Coco and I said, "aww...remember when Coco was that size?" I couldn't believe the words were coming out of my mouth as I said that. I was gone to San Francisco for two days for work this week. When I came back, she seemed almost like a different person. I could be imagining it, but she was actually responding to me. I would imitate the little sounds she made and she would start giggling. For the first time, I felt like we were really communicating verbally. It was an unbelievable experience.

It is so much easier for me to live in the present when I am cherishing every moment. I am excited for the future, but I don't want it to come at the same time. Coco will only be an infant for a little while. Before we know it, she will be eating solid foods, running around, talking, going to school, and (although not without very strict oversight of course).
Coco with Grandpa at Easter

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2 Month Checkup

We went to the see Doctor Dela Mora yesterday for Coco's two month checkup. She weighed in at 13 pounds, 11 ounces. That was a bit off the charts at the 98th percentile in terms of weight. She was about th 75th percentile for height. The doctor likes to see the percetages fairly close together (ie 75th percentile in both hieght and wieght), but she is not concerned yet. We are thrilled that she has a great appetite and sleeps pretty well. Last night she slept for 8 hours, which was a record for her (from 9pm to 5am).
We have had lots of visits from family! Granny self visited in late was love at first sight. Grammy Fraley stayed for Easter Weekend and Grandpa and Grandma Fraley also visited for Easter.