Two Dads Embrace Newborn, Share Touching Moment in Viral Photo

Shortly before a gestational surrogate gave birth to their son in Kingston, Ontario, a midwife yelled “shirts off” so new fathers Frank Nelson and BJ Barone would be prepared to hold their newborn against their bare chests for skin-to-skin bonding. Photographer Lindsay Foster was capturing the birth as a gift for her friend, Kathy Frenette, the surrogate. Foster captured the moment when baby Milo was held by his fathers for the first time, even before the umbilical cord was cut.

In the photos, a shirtless Nelson, 44, cradles Milo to his chest while Barone, 34, has an arm around each of them, and the new dads shed tears of happiness. “She absolutely captured the most beautiful moment,” Nelson told TODAY Parents. “I was completely overwhelmed… Mostly, the feeling was of joy and love and amazement.” The raw emotion Foster captured, he said, “represents unconditional love to us and pure happiness.” Barone added: “It was an incredible moment I will never forget. The fact we have this photo, it’s a reminder of how much love we have for him.”

“He’s definitely our pride baby,” said Nelson. “We’re so proud of him.” Baby Milo was born during the World LGBT Pride celebrations.

After capturing some photos of Milo with their cellphone camera, the couple was ecstatic when one of them received 200 “likes” on Facebook. However, this excitement paled in comparison to the overwhelming response Foster’s photos of Milo received after she posted them on Facebook. They quickly went viral.

Nelson expressed his gratitude towards Foster, stating, “The fact that she got that picture was amazing. We are so grateful to her.”

Barone and Nelson still can’t believe how emotional and authentic the photos turned out to be. Barone said, “As soon as I saw it, I started crying because you can see such emotion on everyone’s face, especially Frank’s. It instantly brought me to tears. I couldn’t believe it.”

The Toronto couple, who have been married for almost four years, feel that Milo arrived at the perfect time. After their initial attempt at having a child failed, Milo, the son of two high school teachers, was born at the end of the school year on June 27, during the World Pride gay rights festival in Toronto.

When Milo was born to their surrogate, Nelson and Barone embraced him before the umbilical cord was even cut. Foster, the photographer, shared, “Every pain that she had, they were crying along with her. I wanted to take a picture and hug them at the same time.”

Nelson considers Milo to be their “pride baby,” and the photo of them embracing Milo to be a representation of what pride is all about, celebrating love, regardless of gender. As the photos made their way around the internet, negative comments were present, but the majority were positive. Barone shared that one man’s comment stated that the photos “had opened his heart to acceptance, and that the love shown for a child has no boundaries.” Barone was touched by the comment, saying, “That brought me to tears. We’re not trying to change the world. The fact that we’re able to bring awareness to people and hopefully inspire people, it’s quite a feeling.”

Actor George Takei, a prominent gay rights advocate with a vast Facebook following, shared a photo of two new fathers on his social media page. The couple, who became fathers through surrogacy, were thrilled that the photo sparked an online discussion about gay rights and the nature of parenthood. “This can open the minds of people, and start a conversation, that all that a child needs is unconditional love, be it from a man or a woman or anything in between,” one of the fathers remarked.

The new fathers were so eager to get to the hospital for the birth of their son that they forgot their camera at home. Fortunately, a professional photographer was on hand to capture their unforgettable first moments with their baby, and the resulting image went viral. The photographer, who had never before photographed a surrogate birth, was deeply moved by the experience. “Every pain that she had, they were crying along with her,” she said of the new fathers. “When she’d scream, they’d scream. I wanted to take a picture and hug them at the same time.”

The photographer learned a month before the birth that the intended parents were a gay couple, which she said made the experience all the more special. “What made it even better was the emotion from them,” she said. “It was just absolutely amazing. I’m shocked that I have any pictures in focus, I was crying so hard with them.”

Now back home in Toronto, the couple is enjoying their newborn son and cherishing those first photos. “Milo has been a great baby,” one of the fathers said. “He sleeps a lot, he poops a lot and he’s been very good for his daddies.”

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