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Relaxing Sunday Lunch at Lee & Tony’s Place (Blessington)

January 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Today the weather was perfect and the company equally so! Jeff, Ethan and I ventured to Lee and Tony’s home in St Kilda for a relaxing Sunday afternoon lunch and for some a swim. Doug & Brett together with the twins (Leah and Daniel), Jason and Ruben (unfortunately Adrian had to work), Lee & Tony together with Xan and Luci. We had a great time and the kids got on great. The highlight for me was seeing Luci and Leah on the bed together chatting and playing together like teenage girls! Cute and a wonderful sight. Ethan didn’t eat (as usual) but we all had a great time. Lee and Tony are always such generous hosts!

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Southern Star – "Victorian Couples Recognised" by Andie Noonan

December 3, 2008 Leave a comment


After sharing eight years and one son together, Rodney Cruise and Jeff Chiang are finally an official couple in the eyes of  the law.

Cruise and Chiang were among the first couples to take advantage of the Victorian Relationships Register, which opened this week and will allow same-sex couples to formally register their unions.

With 23-month-old son Ethan in their arms, the pair registered at the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages on Monday, the register’s first day, with three other same-sex couples.

Victorian Parliament passed laws earlier this year to allow unmarried heterosexual and same-sex domestic partners to formalise their relationships with a registry scheme.

Registration will now provide conclusive proof of a domestic relationship under Victorian law.

The Victorian scheme mirrors those operating in the ACT and Tasmania .

Cruise told Southern Star it was an important step on the road to what he and his partner hope will be the right to marry.

Cruise said the two decided to formalise their union for both practical and symbolic reasons.

“If one of us died, I don’t want to be having to prove the person just buried is my partner to disbelieving public servants or banks or whoever,” he said.

“It’s really important knowing our family will be recorded in official government documents.

“The historic nature of it is that gay families are recognised for the first time. We are a recognised part of the community.”

Although there are no planned festivities, the couple celebrated their anniversary with a recent trip to Japan, and, more importantly for Ethan, a trip to Disneyland.

Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls launched the scheme, saying it was a significant day for those who cannot or don’t wish to marry, to have their relationship respected.

“This will make it easier for couples to access their rights under Victorian law and provide certainty to their legal obligations, without having to argue repeatedly that they are in a committed partnership or to have to prove this in court,” he said.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission CEO, Dr Helen Szoke welcomed couples to the first day of registration.

Registering couples need to be 18 years or older, live in Victoria and not be married or in another domestic relationship already registered in Victoria.

Registering a relationship will cost $180, with additional costs for a registration certificate.


MCV – "Couples Register their Love"

December 3, 2008 Leave a comment


Same-sex couples lined up to register their relationships at the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages on Monday.

The Brumby Government’s new Relationships Register was launched by Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls, who said it provided couples who did not want to marry or who were unable to do so with formal recognition of their committed relationship.

John Edie and his partner, Adam, were among those couples who registered their relationship on Monday.

“It’s wonderful that the state of Victoria is now recognising same-sex relationships, and it was exciting to be among the first couples at this morning’s launch,” Edie told MCV.

“Being a New Zealander, where we’ve had the Civil Union Bill for a number of years, it’s nice to see Australia starting to catch up, and this is an important step. I would encourage all those Victorian couples in committed relationships to show support for the Register, by going in and registering.”

[Link: Original Article]

Melbourne Leader – "Life’s Indian Givers" by Hamish Heard

October 1, 2008 Leave a comment

AN increasing number of homosexual Melbourne men are flying to India to save money on the cost of having babies, a gay parents’ organisation says.


Gay Dads Australia spokesman Rodney Cruise said gay Melburnians could save about $90,000 by using Indian surrogate mothers.


It is illegal for gay couples to have babies via surrogacy in Australia. But during the past seven years many have flown to the US or Canada where they pay about $120,000.


“Gay couples who previously wouldn’t have been able to have children because California is too expensive can take up the Indian option for basically a quarter of the cost,” Mr Cruise said.


“We’re seeing more and more couples take up the Indian option,” he said.


Mr Cruise said surrogacy cost only $30,000 in India.


Most of the money is paid to the surrogate, a woman who agrees to carry an embryo in her womb for the term of the pregnancy before giving birth and handing over the baby. Mr Cruise said couples could conceive using anonymous donor eggs or eggs donated by a relative or friend.


“Mostly it’s gestational, where the surrogate carries an embryo that has been created outside the womb. The surrogate rarely would use their own egg,” Mr Cruise said.


Until couples cottoned on to Indian surrogacy, only older, better-off couples could afford children.
“Generally people have been mortgaging their homes to fund this, and that’s fine for people who are in that position, but it can be heartbreaking for those without the resources to do so,” Mr Cruise said.
He said the “vast majority” of Australians using overseas surrogates were from Melbourne.


“There’s probably 40 couples that I know that have had children via surrogacy.” He said many gay couples had been inspired by a 2003 documentary called Man Made: Two Men and a Baby, about Tony Wood and Lee Matthews, a Melbourne couple who became one of the first Australia to produce a baby using an overseas surrogate.


“Maybe Melbourne is just a town where people settle down, or it could be the fact that the pioneering couples were from Melbourne and that’s had an effect of inspiring others around them,” Mr Cruise said.


[Link: Original Article ]

Melbourne Leader – "The Money that did Buy Happiness" by Hamish Heard

September 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Nearly two years ago the dream of parenthood became a reality for gay Richmond couple Rodney Cruise and Jeff Chiang.

Taking out a $120,000 mortgage on their home seemed a tiny price to pay for the birth of their son, Ethan Chiang-Cruise, who arrived in January last year.

It all started in 2005.

“Jeff and I had been together for about 5 years and we both desperately wanted to have a child”, Mr Cruise said.

After watching a documentary about one of the first gay Melbourne couples to parent a child using an overseas surrogate mother, the couple engaged a surrogacy agent in California.

The agent soon introduced the pair to Kelly, a woman from a small town in Ohio who agreed to carry an embryo fertilised using a donor egg and sperm from Mr Chiang or Mr Cruise.

“We immediately became very good friends with Kelly and three months after we met she had her first IVF cycle and got pregnant straight away,” Mr Cruise said.

Mr Chiang has an Asian background and the pair, not wanting to fight over who was the biological father, used two egg donors.

One egg was from a Caucasian donor and the other had an Asian background, ensuring the child would be Eurasian regardless of its biological father.

“We haven’t told anyone who the biological father is because that is something for Ethan to find out when he’s older,” Mr Cruise said.

Mr Cruise, 41, is a lawyer and Mr Chiang, 39, works in IT.

“It’s impossible to describe the joy and excitement of seeing Ethan grow from this little baby into a toddler and learning to speak and walk, ” Mr Cruise said.

“All parents have the same feeling.  He’s the apple of our eye,” he said.

Mr Cruise said the pair did not see their family structure as unusual.

“Things are changing and we know that Ethan is growing up in an environment that is not special., it’s just one of the varieties that exists.”

Stonnington Leader – "Offshore surrogacy hot topic at Prahran forum" by Kate Bruce-Rosser

September 30, 2008 Leave a comment

GAY men are looking to India to pursue the dream of parenthood, Gay Dads Victoria says.

A surrogacy forum in Prahran tonight will explain how the country is the “new growth region” for gay singles and couples seeking fatherhood through surrogacy.

But the Australian Family Association says surrogacy “flat out denies children basic human rights”.

Gay Dads spokesman Rodney Cruise said gay men had the same desire to be fathers as straight men.

Would-be fathers used to go to the US and Canada, where commercial surrogacy was legal but expensive, he said. Paid surrogacy is banned in Australia.

“The surrogacy industry in India is mature and well-regulated,” Mr Cruise said.

“The lower costs mean the option to create a family has opened up to a much larger number of gay men.”

Surrogacy costs about $120,000 in North America compared with $40,000 in India, he said.

The Australian Family Association opposed surrogacy, AFA researcher Tim Cannon said.

“We understand lots of people want to have children, including gay men, but we believe surrogacy flat out denies children basic human rights,” he said.

Surrogate children were deprived of knowing both biological parents, which could lead to identity crises, he said.

Mr Cruise and his partner, Jeff Chiang, have a 21-month-old son, Ethan, “the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life”.

“Gay (couples) are capable of providing all the love required to raise children,” Mr Cruise said.

Mr Cannon said the AFA was also concerned about “exploited” Indian women who “rented out” their wombs.

Mr Cruise said this was “unfair” and “patronising”, assuming women in India were less capable than Western women of informed choices.

Indian women were screened to ensure they understood the nature of surrogacy, and only mothers could be surrogates, he said.

About 40 gay couples in Victoria have had surrogate children, and many of them in Stonnington, Mr Cruise said.

Forum inquiries: gaydadsaustralia.com.au

[Link: Original Article ]

Time Out Sydney – "Doting Dads" by Andrew Georgiou

However and whenever the calling to be a dad arises, the fact is that gay men make incredibly loving, nurturing and open-minded parents. In this special report, Andrew Georgiou looks at the different roads to gay fatherhood in Australia.

Click on the images to see full size.


Doting Dads

However and whenever the calling to be a dad arises, the fact is that gay men make incredibly loving, nurturing and open-minded parents. In this special report, Andrew Georgiou looks at the different roads to gay fatherhood in Australia.

Parental instincts. Some men are born with them, for others the desire to be a gay dad kicks in later in life. Gay Dads Australia is a national group of gay men who celebrate the joys of fatherhood through online forums, social gatherings and exchange of resources on their website which has been operating for just over five years.

Rodney Cruise, 42, runs the Gay Dads Australia website which boasts over 400 members between NSW and Victoria. While Cruise and his partner 39-year-old Jeff Chiang have experienced the joys of parenting their 15-month-old son Ethan through a surrogacy arrangement they underwent in the United States, Cruise notes that gay dads across the country have fulfilled their dreams of fatherhood through a variety of scenarios.

“We have dads who have become fathers through known donor arrangements, co-parenting agreements, surrogacy and those with children through previous relationships with women”.

Each situation varies, but the fact remains: a greatly loved child is the ultimate outcome.

Surrogacy

Mostly exercised through surrogacy agencies in the United States, this process is proving to be increasingly popular with gay men in Australia with the desire to be full time dads. Surrogacy sees a gay man or gay male couple firstly choosing an egg donor through a clinic and fertilizing that egg with one of the couple’s sperm. With the assistance of a surrogacy agency, the male couple are introduced to a surrogate whom through IVF, will be implanted with the fertilized egg and carry the baby for the couple to full term. The surrogate is in no way linked to the child, leaving the biological father and his partner as the legal parents to raise the child in Australia.

In 2006 Cruise and Chiang were blessed with their first son Ethan through the assistance of US based Surrogacy agency Growing Generations, which has helped over 500 couples become parents. Their affection and connection with their chosen surrogate developed so strongly during her pregnancy with their son, Rodney and Jeff extended their family network to include Kelly into their now 15 month old son Ethan’s life.

“Even though they are in the US and we live here, Kelly and her family are now a part of ours”, says Jeff.

“Women like her, do this because they genuinely want to help people become parents”. Cruise’s partner Jeff comes from a traditional Taiwanese family which has a long history of basing family on geography rather than biology.

“Jeff’s extended family is made up of people who have descended from his parents village who are often not biologically related. When you think about it these were the first alternative families, and Jeff and I continue that tradition by creating our sense of family as loving and devoted fathers to Ethan” says Cruise.

It’s inspiring to see that a traditional Taiwanese culture can embrace the concept of gay parenting, while negative sensationalism perpetuated in the local media can feed intolerance from with Australia’s wider community. While the costs involved in becoming parents reached the $150,000 mark, Rodney and Jeff’s natural paternal instincts will see them extend their family again when the surrogate for their next child is chosen in May.

“The concept of the traditional family is rather outdated,” says Cruise, “the genetic make up of a family is irrelevant to us. We believe a family is about love.”

Known Donor

The flipside to the surrogacy scenario is the known donor situation where a gay male provides the sperm to single lesbian or a lesbian who is partnered. The basis of this arrangement sees the single or coupled lesbians raise the child with any parental rights or responsibility placed on the biological father. Individual arrangements may be made where the father sees the child throughout his or her upbringing, as either an uncle, family friend or even as dad, though the parental rights are reserved exclusively for the lesbian couple. Known donor cases are usually carried without issue as they have taken on a specific role, which takes a step back from the role and responsibilities of raising the child. 39-year-old Allan from Sydney’s inner West is the very proud known donor to nineteen-month-old Zara.

While Allan spends quality time with Zara and enjoys a close friendship with her lesbian parents, he has maintained the agreement, which sees Zara’s mothers as her full time parents. “I’m very close to the girls and Zara and see them every week. My reward for the gift I have given the girls is seeing the immense joy Zara has brought to everyone’s lives, including grandparents,” says Allan.

“I guess I am seen as a satellite figure or even uncle, and that has worked out incredibly well for all of us. All of our friends have been extremely supportive of the situation.” Last month the NSW Government made its long awaited announcement that it would commit to amending laws to give same-sex parents of children conceived through artificial fertilization the right to officially registered the names of both mothers on a child’s birth certificate.

Co-parenting

Sees the single male or gay male couple act as a co-parent, along side a single or couple lesbian. This arrangement may see a child with two mothers and two fathers, which ultimately provides a double dose of devotion and love for the child. “The biggest issue for gay dads in co-parenting is working out a reasonable arrangement with a lesbian couple and maintaining it,” say Gay Dads Australia’s Rodney Cruise. “Often couples may site down prior to the arrangement and figure out who will see the child and when.”

Many Australian children may have four heterosexual parents through divorce and new marriages, the child of four gay parents often grow up with the extended family from birth. Co-parenting may see the child living with either sets of parents on a full or part time basis based upon a mutal agreement between the male and female couples.

Adoption

Adoption ofr gay singles and couples is legal in the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands, Australia has failed to catch up to speed. In 2007 a WA couple made Australian history by being the first gay couple granted the right to adopt, however since the landmark ruling no other couples have been allowed to follow suit. Though inter-country adoption between Australian and co-adoption countries such as China exist for heterosexuals, the same rights are not currently extended to gay and lesbian singles or couples wanting to adopt.

Previous relationship

Like countless other gay fathers across Australia, 45-year-old Gregory Duffy, from Sydney’s East has enjoyed the riches of fatherhood through children born out of a previous heterosexual relationship. “I was married, in love and ultimately wanted to start a family and have children of my own,” recalls Duffy.

After the birth of his second daughter, Duffy came to terms with his own sexuality. “I came out to myself toward the end of 1993, and left the marriage when my children Victoria and Georgia were five and two-and-a-half years old. All they really knew was that Dad had left but not for a deeper reason. I did not officially come out to my wife till at least 6 months later.”

“Finally, we began to talk about a whole lot of issues we never touched on before.”

Although Duffy did not come out to his eldest daughter Victoria for another seven years, he recalls his eldest girl struggling with the decision more than his youngest.

“Victoria was quite upset and didn’t fully understand what it was for me to be gay, but after numerous long chats she slowly adjusted and actually felt it was quite cool to have a gay dad!”

Today Greg enjoys a wonderful relationship with Victoria, 19 and Georgina, 16. “Having two beautiful daughters that accept me for who I am and have never judged me for being gay has enriched our relationship. It has been an interesting and emotional journey, but to know I have had their love and support has made the road much easier to travel.”

For more information on Gay Dads Australia and advice on surrogacy go to http://www.gaydadsaustralia.com.

[Link: Original Article]