| AMY TANNENBAUM
Adam and Karl met for the first time as two of five guy gays tasked to make over a guy in a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy edition of a makeover column in their college newspaper — back in 2003 when it was THE show — and were set up on a coffeeshop date by mutual friends months later. They initially bonded over Scrabble and hit it off right away, and Karl mentioned on the first date how excited he was about being a dad someday. Ten years later, they were in Columbus, married, and beginning the process to start a family.
Adam, from Minneapolis, MN, and Karl, from Chapel Hill, NC, came from supportive families. They began their relationship while in college in Vermont in 2003. Just a couple of months later, Karl graduated and moved out to Berkely, California, and they maintained a long distance relationship for the rest of Adam’s time in college. It was while they were living in California that they became engaged in spring of 2008. They had a legal courthouse wedding in Oakland later that year, during the brief period when it was legal before Proposition 8 passed, and later celebrated in a bigger way with family friends in Berkeley in March 2009. “We think of the March date as our anniversary, even though the other one is the official legal date,” explains Adam. “For us, the most important part of getting married was celebrating our relationship with family and friends.”
Adam and Karl made the move to Columbus in August 2010, when Karl got a job as a professor with Ohio State. “We didn’t really know what to expect — neither of us had much experience with Ohio,” admits Karl. “We were excited to move here, but cautious — we didn’t know whether we’d want to stay long-term. But we have really liked it here and are planning to stay.”
Their next step was beginning the journey to parenthood, as Karl explains: “Adam and I were always pretty sure that we wanted to have kids; we just didn’t know exactly how we’d do it.” They didn’t know a lot about adoption, and were under the impression that adopting an infant was near-impossible for gay couples, so they began to focus on the surrogacy route first. However, through several acquaintances around town, they learned of a local agency that had worked out infant adoptions for many gay families, and suddenly this appeared to be a real possibility for them. They began their first training in September of 2013, and just 11 months later, their daughter Nina was born. In between, they completed training, an in-home study, received approval by the agency, and figured out the legal aspects, but overall they were impressed at how seamless the process felt.
Photos | Amy Tannenbaum
Adam and Karl have relished their new roles as parents. As a family, they love living in German Village and visiting Schiller Park together at least twice a day. They are homebodies in some ways, loving to cook, garden and have friends over, but Adam and Karl also don’t feel like they have to do everything together. A key aspect of their relationship that makes it work is communication. Karl explains: “We talk about everything, and there isn’t anything that’s off limits to bring up,” Adam recalls: “We got really good at that early on in our relationship when we were living on separate coasts.”
Nowadays their favorite way to spend time is together, with Nina, and exploring their walkable neighborhood in German Village. At Pistacia Vera and Harvest, the staff asks about Nina when they go in without her. Both transplants to Columbus, they love to call this city home. “I like how Columbus feels like a small town and also a big city,” explains Karl. “I feel like there are lots of places to go, but I do recognize people all over town, even if I don’t know them personally, and I like that.”