Two Dads Recall The Incredible Moment They First Met Their Daughter

Brian Ritter said he didn’t think becoming a father was a possibility for him until he met partner Michael Stribling.

Even after being together, the couple didn’t feel like parenthood was their reality, until they met their daughter for the very first time.

Michael Stribling and Brian Ritter are discharged from hospital with their daughter Ella on November 28, 2021.

Courtesy of Michael Stribling and Brian Ritter

“The discussion about ‘Should we be parents?’ It was just like, ‘Yeah, I think we could do this and give a kid a really amazing life,'” Ritter told “Good Morning America” ​​of the couple’s first conversations about it.

However, as a same-sex couple, the two said they feared they would face discrimination when looking to adopt. In the end, they were able to find the agency that was right for them.

“They were very supportive, very, very open. And I think once there was a game, [the adoption process] happened very, very quickly, which is very unusual,” Ritter said.

On November 28, 2021, the couple welcomed their daughter Ella into the world.

“I never thought it was possible. We didn’t expect this kind of luck,” Stribling said. “The moment we laid eyes on this girl was the most amazing [feeling].”

PHOTO: Baby Ella was born on November 28, 2021.

Baby Ella was born on November 28, 2021.

Courtesy of Michael Stribling and Brian Ritter

The emotional moment was filmed and stribling later posted on TikTokwhere it has since garnered over 1.4 million likes.

“I think people have connected to it because people are connected to vulnerability,” Stribling said. “When there is a true, honest and vulnerable moment, people can connect to [it] — we are all human.”

The two said the video that became a viral hit was just the epitome of a very “serendipity” journey.

“It was such a beautiful, stressful, but beautiful trip,” Stribling added.

PHOTO: Brian Ritter pictured with his daughter Ella.

Brian Ritter pictured with his daughter Ella.

Courtesy of Michael Stribling and Brian Ritter

After being matched for the first time with a biological mother through their adoption agency, the couple had the chance to meet the woman, with whom they said they felt a deep connection.

“We got to know her and some of her background and history, there were connections there too. She and I both lost our mothers quite young,” Ritter said, adding that the two “talked about it and went through this process of … adoption,” from that shared perspective.

Stribling said their daughter’s birth mother looked like her “identical cousin” and he immediately felt a connection to her.

“What’s crazy about adoption is that there’s so much joy for us and at the same time there’s so much pain for her,” Stribling said. “It’s an emotional rollercoaster.”

PHOTO: Michael Stribling pictured with his daughter Ella.

Michael Stribling pictured with his daughter Ella.

Courtesy of Michael Stribling and Brian Ritter

Five minutes after the meeting, and just three weeks before her due date, their daughter’s birth mother made the decision to give the baby to Ritter and Stribling.

“She called us on her way home with the social worker and said she wanted to tell us herself,” Ritter said.

The two said they immediately started preparing for the baby with the help of their family, who stepped in to support the couple.

“I don’t think we’ve ever felt such a village of love around us, it was so incredibly beautiful,” Stribling added. “We had no idea what to do, but our village literally hovered around us and supported us through this journey. [and] honestly until today.”

PHOTO: Michael Stribling, 37, pictured with Brian Ritter, 46, and their daughter Ella.

Michael Stribling, 37, pictured with Brian Ritter, 46, and their daughter Ella.

Courtesy of Michael Stribling and Brian Ritter

Almost a year later, the couple is about to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday. Looking back on their trip and the “serendipity” of their viral moment, they said they were glad so many people could empathize with them and hoped the video would push back on some of the discrimination some gay couples face when they are trying to raise a family.

“There are kids out there who need new families and same-sex couples can do that,” Stribling said.

“It’s possible to be done and it’s filled with a lot of joy,” Ritter added.

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