For Dallas’ Hagler-Haloftis family, Father’s Day is twice as nice
What to get the old man this year
A golf shirt?
Another pair of Dockers?
Five-year-old Lucien Hagler-Haloftis is dipping into his savings account to take his dads, Trent and Doug, out to a movie and then to Cafe Express maybe.
“We probably eat at Cafe Express two times a week. It’s still Lucien’s favorite place, but Doug and I might exercise the right to veto that suggestion,” Trent laughs.
Lucien is paying?
“He gets an allowance. Since he feeds the dog in the morning, he gets one dollar a day,” Trent explains. “He’s learning about the value of money. So when he wants a toy, he can save up. And then he can pay for it.”
Last year for Father’s Day, Lucien took his dads out for dinner at Steak “‘N’ Shake.
The Hagler-Haloftis clan is a colorful one: Trent is African-American, Doug is Caucasian, and after a lengthy 18-month screening process, Lucien was adopted from his native Ho Chi Minh City when he was five months old.
First there was 11 months of paper work. And then “very intrusive” procedures both pre-adoption and post-adoption, Trent explains. “But it’s all worth it. And after you’ve gone through all that, you become a very protective parent.”
Trent remembers that on his first date with Doug 11 years ago they both talked about wanting kids.
“In the late-’80s, it didn’t seem possible for gay men to be parents,” Trent remembers.
Then gay men started becoming foster parents for children living with HIV. And a new wave of same-sex parenting has already been crashing on our shores international adoption.
The Hagler-Haloftis family is different. But at church, they’re active parishioners. And between the compliments about Lucien’s’ vivacious and friendly demeanor come questions.
Where is Lucien’s mom?
Answer: Well, Lucien is adopted.
Where’s your wife?
Answer: Lucien has two dads.
Then there are playgrounds, which can be savage where children tease others about being different.
Lucien has been forewarned and knows it’s better to just tell the mean kid, “So what.” Then shrug his shoulders and walk away.
Trent says times are changing. Kids are aware of differences, but so far, gay parenting in the 21st century seems acceptable. “However, I can’t imagine being a single parent. That must be a real challenge,” Trent continues. “I am sure that having two dads is much easier than doing it alone.”
It also makes Father’s Day twice as nice.
Daniel A. Kusner
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 15, 2007.