Updated: Jan 25
The first polyamorous family in California to put all three fathers on the same birth certificate has begun life as a parenting throuple.
Doctor Ian Jenkins, 45, and his partners Alan Mayfield and Jeremy Allen Hodges, of San Diego, made legal history in 2017 when a judge agreed to put all of them on the birth certificate of daughter Piper, now 3, paving the way for other polyamorous families to gain more legal recognition in the US.
They now also have a 14-month-old son, Parker. The children are half siblings who are born with an egg donor and a surrogate.
Ian and Alan have been together for seventeen years. And they are already eight with their partner, Jeremy.
Jeremy is known to the kids as ‘papa’, while Alan is ‘dada’ and Ian is ‘papa’.
Ian, a hospital medicine specialist and college professor, described their ‘unique family’ setup as ‘just three tame, ordinary people who spend a lot of time talking about what to have for dinner’.
Ian Jenkins (right) from San Diego is in a relationship with two other men – Alan Mayfield (center) and Jeremy Allen Hodges (right). They have 2 children, Piper, 3, and Parker, 14 months, together
Ian Jenkins, pictured with son Parker, has written a book entitled Three Dads and a Baby, due out in March, about their unusual family
Now they have released a book written by Ian called Three dads and a baby, whose title is a play on that of the hit 1987 comedy film, Three men and a baby, starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg.
Published in March next year by Cleis Press and Simon and Schuster, the book tells the story of their unusual family and offers tips, including how to develop a “ consistent parenting style.
It also provides advice on what to do if your child prefers dad over dada or dad as well as the positives like three incomes and three people doing night feedings.
“We had a light attention to the fact that our children might be perceived differently,” Ian told HuffPost.
“We didn’t want them to be targeted for harassment or bullying or online abuse.”
But luckily they say they’ve had zero push back in their personal or professional lives so far.
‘Our oldest is now in kindergarten and the other parents and children say,’ Cool! Tell us that story, ” added Ian.
The family says that ‘continuous conversation’ is key to a healthy, polyamorous relationship when it comes to parenting.
Ian explained, “When our oldest develops the ability to throw a tantrum like a reactor breaking down in Chernobyl, we should all be on the same page. What is the best approach? How much time to time out? What do you call it? Does the parent need help or is he throwing fuel at the fire? ‘
They are currently in a familiar phase – that of the ‘favorite parent’.
“Piper has a favorite parent, and that’s Jeremy,” Ian said. “It’s often been harder for me to get in touch with her because she wants Daddy.”
He continued: “We’ve developed a strategy to reduce the workload at night so that Jeremy doesn’t feel exhausted and I can share in her joys. We all have a different role. One of the best things right now is reading her. ‘
The 1987 hit Three men and a baby starred, left to right, Steve Guttenberg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson, as three bachelors struggling to raise a girl
Ian said they also wanted to raise awareness of the need for more legal rights for polyamorous families and said they were lucky enough to be in a ‘liberal’ state like California because some US states were ‘brutal’ in granting legal protections, such as birth certificates, to polyamorous sets.
“ I’m really concerned about someone who lives somewhere that’s not as acceptable as California and wants to live this kind of life and can’t move, ” he said.
‘Some states are just plain brutal. They do everything they can to hinder parenting by nontraditional families and really are not helpful. I hope this spins the wheels that families come in many different arrangements. ‘
In July, the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, voted to grant polyamorous people the same legal rights as married spouses, including the right to be on a partner’s health insurance plan and to be admitted to hospital rooms. New York Times reports.
The family’s story began about eight years ago.
Ian and Alan, who met in 2003, weren’t sure they wanted kids, but when Jeremy, who is a zoo keeper, joined them as a partner in 2012, they started talking about it.
They were given embryos by a friend, Meghan.
“We had the opportunity to adopt the embryos and make the decision to raise a unique family,” said Ian.
After another friend offered to become the embryo deputy, and they paid for many attorneys, Piper was born, followed a few years later by Parker.