Earlier, I blogged about how Mark Newton had been convicted for pedophilia and received a 40-year prison sentence. This was reported earlier by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Since then, I was notified about a pro-gay-adoption article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in which the pedophile and his partner were profiled.
Headline: Two dads are better than one
Date: 14 July, 2010 5:04PM AEST
Author: Ginger Gorman
A shiny child’s bike lies on its side on the front lawn of an immaculate garden.
Around the back gay dads Pete and Mark chase their son’s pet chickens around, trying to catch them.
Drake, 5, exclaims that the little birds are too fast for him.
It’s a happy, relaxed family scene. But it wasn’t an easy road to get there. After many hurdles Drake was born by surrogacy in Russia.
“We decided that we would have a child, that it was time for us to have a family. We wanted to experience the joys of fatherhood and we started our surrogacy over in the United States back in 2002,” Pete said.
At the time, Pete and Mark were living and working in the US.
“Surrogacy rules and laws are much easier in the United States,” Mark said.
While not everybody was comfortable with the idea of surrogacy, Mark said the couple felt their options were limited.
“We knew that there were certainly plenty of women willing to do it so if it OK with them, then I guess it was OK with us,” he said.
Mark and Pete used the internet to find prospective mothers for the child they longed to have. Apart from the woman’s health, Pete said one of the big concerns was how genuine the candidates were.
“We have heard about a lot of scams and certain people who represent themselves as so-called surrogate mothers who are really out there just to make money,” he said.
Pete said the couple also wanted to make sure that any woman they employed as a surrogate fully understood the commitment she was making.
There was also the issue of whether the mother would actually give up her baby, Mark added.
After many failed attempts in the US, the cost was becoming prohibitive. The pair decided to try Russia as cheaper alternative.
That decision presented its own problems. Language was the main one. The couple took on a private Russian tutor and Pete gave up his job in Australia to oversee the process.
“We were very dedicated to making this work….we decided that at some point we didn’t have a budget. Our budget was anything that we had earned, anything that we had saved, anything that we could borrow to make this happen,” Pete said.
In the end Pete said they found a woman who they ‘clicked with personality-wise’.
“She was very quiet. She didn’t have a lot of demands or conditions that some of the other woman that we had met had. She seemed like somebody we could work with,” he said.
At the first attempt, Drake was conceived via artificial insemination using Mark’s sperm.
When asked why it was Mark’s sperm and not Pete’s, Mark laughed.
“A flip of the coin I think,” he said.
During the pregnancy the couple stayed in limited contact with the mother via a translator. Mostly they were in touch just when there were practical things to care of such as visiting a doctor or getting an ultrasound.
“We made it clear to her that we wanted her to take vitamins, that we wanted her to eat well. We provided the money to do that and we just had to hope that she would do it,” Mark said.
Neither man was at Drake’s birth because they felt it was important to protect the mother’s privacy.
When their son was five days old, Mark and Pete were handed their child. To their surprise, Drake’s mother gave them the baby and walked away.
“I think she had resigned herself to this much earlier on and was trying not to let emotions get in the way,” Mark said.
In fact, it wasn’t the mother who got in the way of Drake coming back to Australia with his two Dads. What followed was two and a half years of bureaucracy before the child received permanent Australian residency and another year before he got citizenship.
On arrival in Australia customs quizzed Mark and Pete for hours. Police were also sent around to their house on a Sunday morning to investigate.
“When people see two guys together, you know it’s like, ‘Where’s his mother?’ We’ve had a lot of people ask that,” Pete said.
“I think that even if one of us was a woman, we wouldn’t have had the same suspicions and problems that we went through.”
Thinking back to the police visit, Pete said the police seemed to want reassurance that the situation was ‘right’.
They checked if the couple had equipment to raise a child like a bed, clothes and bottles.
Mark said he’s sure that they were under suspicion of paedophilia. But despite the difficulties, he said the couple would do it again with no hesitation.
“We’re a family just like any other family,” he said with pride.
ABC has since pulled the article from their web site, to cover up what they did. The caption from the image in the article is: “Proud dads Pete (left) and Mark (right), had their son Drake by surrogacy in Russia. (Ginger Gorman - ABC)”. And you can still download the MP3 file from the article here, although I took a copy here. You can hear the proud dads talking with the ABC journalist in the MP3 file.
You can also find an article from a campus newspaper written by Mark Newton in which he advocates for gay marriage. I saved it as a PDF here. The article is from a campus newspaper called the Daily 49er from California State University, Long Beach.
UPDATE: Ace journalist Robert S. McCain is trying to dig into the story, but the ABC journalist who wrote the story has blocked him.