Journeys Raise 2 Kids Of 3 Dad “Like ᴡɪɴɴɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴏᴛᴛᴇʀʏ”
Ian Jenkins, Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Hodges say they had ᴛᴏ ᴇɴᴅᴜʀᴇ ᴀ ʟᴇɢᴀʟ ʙᴀᴛᴛʟᴇ ᴛᴏ ʙʀɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴛᴡᴏ ᴛᴏᴅᴅʟᴇʀs into the world.For one California family, three is far from a crowd. Ian Jenkins, Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Hodges are a happily committed throuple, defined as a relationship between three people. Despite the unique circumstances, Jenkins tells PEOPLE they’re just like any other modern family.
“I’ve got all these wonderful families accepting and loving us, and rejoicing in our children,We have two beautiful kids. I have two more partners than I thought I might. For me, it’s kind of like ᴡɪɴɴɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴏᴛᴛᴇʀʏ.” says Jenkins, 45.
The family’s journey began like any other love story: Jenkins and Mayfield, 43, met and fell in love while Mayfield was a third-year medical student assigned to Jenkins, who was a medical resident, in Boston in 2003. By 2012, they’d moved to San Diego, and after meeting Hodges online, they brought him into their relationship.
Though Jenkins says that he worried he was “not a baby person” before he became a father, Mayfield, a ᴘsʏᴄʜɪᴀᴛʀɪsᴛ, ʜᴀᴅ ʟᴏɴɢ ᴅʀᴇᴀᴍᴇᴅ ᴏF ᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛʜᴏᴏᴅ, and with Hodges, a 39-year-old zookeeper, now on board, the trio started planning for the future. After a childhood friend of Mayfield’s offered to be an egg donor, and another friend agreed to be a surrogate, daughter Piper was born in 2017, with all three men present in the delivery room.
Still, things were far from ideal: the day before their baby shower ahead of Piper’s birth, a judge was to decide whether all three men would be allowed on the birth certificate, an important move that would promise them all legal rights in the child’s life.
Despite the judge’s argument that there was no legal precedent for a situation like this — and a suggestion they add a third parent years down the road — she ᴇᴠᴇɴᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ ᴀᴄǫᴜɪᴇsᴄᴇᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ɢʀᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴡɪsʜ, ᴡʀᴀᴘᴘɪɴɢ ᴀɴ ᴇFFᴏʀᴛ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪɴᴠᴏʟᴠᴇᴅ ᴜᴘᴡᴀʀᴅs of $120,000 in medical and legal fees and more than 20 legal contracts, Jenkins says.
With their roadblocks behind them, the throuple welcomed son Parker into the world in 2019, using a different surrogate but the same egg donor, a woman the children consider an aunt. This time, they say all three men were listed on the birth certificate, no court date needed. As their children grow up, Jenkins says he and his partners are making sure they’re well ᴀᴡᴀʀᴇ ᴏF ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴜɴᴄᴏɴᴠᴇɴᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ ᴏʀɪɢɪɴ stories, which Jenkins recently chronicled in his book Three Dads and a Baby.
“[Piper] knows exactly where she came from. We’ve told her, ‘They took a little bit of Daddy Jeremy and they took a little bit of Mama Meghan and they put you in our surrogate, Delilah, and she helped you grow for nine months, and when you came out she gave you to us and we’re your three dads,It doesn’t confuse her in the slightest. She has met and loves both her surrogate and her biological moms.” he says. The concept of three parents isn’t so foreign to him, as his parents ᴅɪᴠᴏʀᴄᴇᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ʜɪs Fᴀᴛʜᴇʀ ʀᴇᴍᴀʀʀɪᴇᴅ.
The only difference here is that we all live in the same house and we all love each other.”
At home, where the throuple also has two goldendoodles, each father has settled into his role: Jenkins is Papa, Mayfield is Dada and Hodges is Daddy. They’ve adjusted to parenthood with ease, and have even learned new ᴛʀɪᴄᴋs, like how to braid their daughter’s hair. Though the three cannot ʟᴇɢᴀʟʟʏ marry, they have combied their finances, and consider all of their property community property.
” Ah, this is why we did it,'” Jenkins says of the moments he gets to give his daughter a goodnight hug and put her to bed. “This is why we had [so many] attorneys help us have a family.”