Friday, July 4, 2014

Photo Of Toronto Dads With Newborn Son Goes Viral

Photograph of two shirtless fathers holding their newborn baby boy for the first time has quickly gone viral online.

Baby Milo was born during WorldPride last Friday to fathers Frank Nelson, 44, and BJ Barone, 34, both teachers with the Toronto District School Board.

“I remember being in pure joy,” recalled Nelson. “I think it has been a gift to everyone who sees that photo and knows that it does not matter if it’s a man or a woman or gay couple, anyone would feel utter joy in that moment.”

That second of bliss has since been liked more than 40,000 times on Facebook and spread across the world in a Buzzfeed article aptly titled “These photos of two dads meeting their new baby will make you cry happy tears.”

The couple has been flooded with well wishes, the most touching coming from past and present students.

“One girl told me that she didn’t know who she was in high school and though I don’t know it I was a huge inspiration for her, and because of my work she’s out and proud,” said Nelson, who leads his school’s gay-straight alliance. “We were both crying when we read that.”

Milo, who is named after a Hawaiian flower and Nelson’s late grandmother, was born in Kingston, Ont., through a surrogate mother. Birth photographer Lindsay Foster, 35, is friends with the surrogate and volunteered to photograph the birth for free.

“They’re easy to fall in love with,” said Foster, who met the couple in the hospital room during the birth, which was completely natural. “It was neat to see them asking all the appropriate questions.”

As Milo was born, a midwife asked the new dads to remove their shirts to be closer with the baby. At first the idea seemed a “little earthy,” Nelson admitted, but he was told it was meant to help the baby’s heart rate.

“In the picture the baby has just come out of the mother and he was still attached to the umbilical cord, she wanted us to hold him for two minutes before she cut it,” he said.

With nowhere else to stand in the packed room, Foster said she was simply “in the right place at the right time,” standing across the bed from the couple. She counts herself doubly lucky that the photo worked out; she was crying the whole time.
“I’m just glad I got the picture in focus,” Foster said.

The viral attention likely has just as much to do with the fathers’ raw emotions as it does their sexual orientation; the moment Foster captured encapsulates a moment every parent remembers.

“The photo reminded us of such a wonderful message: that love comes in all shapes and sizes and sexual orientations and races,” Nelson said. “The amount of love we’ve had from this photo is overwhelming.”


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