Brenzel-Gaines Family

Seth Brenzel and Malcolm Gaines were together for 12 years before deciding to start a family. After what the couple described as “several minor detours,” Seth and Malcolm decided to pursue the adoption route.

“Our adoption journey was pretty challenging, as it can be for many adoptive families, with some significant disappointments along the way, but we found that facing those challenges together really solidified our commitment to becoming parents and to each other,” Malcolm said. “Our family and community supported us unfailingly along the way, and we continue to feel that support now that we’re parenting.”

Seth and Malcolm, who live in San Francisco, adopted their now three-year-old daughter Cora from birth. Adjusting to parenthood took some time for the busy couple, who both work and thus have to carve out time to be with Cora together as a family.

“Neither of us feels we have as much time with our daughter as we (or she) would like,” Malcolm said. “We had busy schedules before we were parents, so it’s not so much the busy-ness itself that’s the challenge, but rather the feeling of wanting more family time and not being available to for it. I don’t think I expected just how much I want to be with my child.”

Time management is not the only area in which Seth and Malcolm have had to adjust. Seth said having Cora has reordered his priorities and helped him acquire knowledge about topics he was previously unaware of.

“People ask us— ‘What is parenting like?’ We often say: ‘It’s everything,’meaning, it’s joyous, terrifying, rewarding, a slog, all the time, relentless, uplifting, inspiring, overwhelming, transcendent – really there are few adjectives/descriptors that don’t fall into the category of ‘parenting.’”

Malcolm and Seth said their families have helped and supported them throughout the entire process – before and after Cora’s arrival. The couple said one of their biggest surprises so far about being parents is that the “chores” of parenthood, such as changing diapers and bottle feeding, have not been as hard as they thought.

They discovered too that sometimes they do not know more than their daughter.

“We also learned that Cora is our best teacher for how to be the best parent for her,” Seth said.

Seth and Malcolm’s Gallery