Good Morning America: Rise of three-parent family structures in modern parenting

ByBecky Worley ABC logo
Saturday, October 10, 2020
GMA: Three-parent families on the rise in modern parenting
Good Morning America explores the cultural rise of three-parent family structures in modern parenting and child-raising, along with the reasoning and work that goes into it.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The modern family has a new twist with the rise of the three-parent family in the Bay Area.

And no, this does not mean divorce or step-parents.

Tavi is a happy, healthy 3-year-old girl seen here with her mom, Avary Kent, her dad, Zeke Hausfather, and her other dad, David Jay.

"Tavi calls me Daddy," Hausfather says.

"Tavi calls me Mommy," Hausfather adds.

"Tavi calls me Dada," Jay continues.

Kent and Hausfather are a married couple, while Jay has no biological tie to Tavi nor romantic involvement with the other two parents - or anyone, for that matter.

"I identify as asexual," Jay says. "And always have."

But Jay mentions he always did want kids, and decided the three-parent lifestyle was the right choice for him.

"I thought about the single parent route," Jay says. "And it's so much easier not to be doing it alone."

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Broaching the arrangement was not simple for the three parents, they say.

"We spent about five years just practicing being a committed part of one another's lives." Jay explains. "Before we ever raised the topic of kids."

"We always knew like career was going to be very important to us," Kent says, "I wanted to make sure that we had like sanity and support."

"We don't have any family in this part of the world," Hausfather adds. "And it really takes a village to raise a kid."

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Jay legally adopted Tavi when she was about 18 months old.

Now the three co-parents split chores, have a joint bank account for certain expenses, and even bought a house together in the Bay Area.

Diana Adams is the executive director of the Chosen Family Law Center, a nonprofit focused on supporting nontraditional family structures, like the multi-parent system Tavi has.

"Right now, it is legal in Maine, Washington, California, Rhode Island and Vermont," Adams says, "By having this legal status in order that means we're protecting children from having those parental relationships removed."

But even a clear set of legal boundaries doesn't always make for smooth sailing, and the three co-parents have weekly planning meetings and even a text chain to keep everyone on the same page daily.

Although Kent, Hausfather, and Jay are not worried about complications of their family dynamic as Tavi gets older.

"I think the prep work we did in the years before I even became pregnant, in understanding our family of origins, we know we have shared values," Kent explains. "So it doesn't really worry me."

"I think we will be surprised by a variety of things," Jay adds.

"For sure, that will happen," Kent responds, "Absolutely."

"But I've got a lot of faith in the capacity of our relationship," Jay continues.

"And you know, we have preventative counseling that we do every quarter," Hausfather says. "Just to talk through any issues that may have bubbled up."

And what does Tavi have to say about it?

"We were reading a book recently about a donkey and its parents and she was just like wait, where's the 'Dada' donkey?" Kent recalls, "And we said, well not all kids have 'Daddas' and she said, well that's unfortunate."