My name is Thomas Beatie, and I have a family. I have an amazing wife, Nancy, who I love more than I thought possible, and a baby daughter who to us seems like an angel on earth. Sometimes at night I lie awake and think about how lucky I am, to have the dream I dreamed so long finally come true. In my darker moments I've always feared that somehow I might lose what I have. But I know that we are a good and strong and loving family, and that we can withstand whatever the world throws at us. It has not been an easy trip for us to get here, and there are many, many people who would like to see us torn apart. But here we are, a mother and a father and a child—a family just the same.
This book is about many things, but above all it is about family. It is a subject I know something about. I have lived through the experience of an unhappy family, and the things I saw shaped me and led me to this moment in my life. I also know what it means to be part of a healthy family, to love someone unconditionally, to share all your hopes and fears with them, to make constant sacrifices for one another and to put each other's happiness above your own. I know the feeling of devoting yourself to making your family work—to prizing the intimacy of that bond above anything else in your life. I have some insight into this matter, if only because I have spent a great deal of time thinking about it, and because it means the world to me to have the family that I have. I hope that when you read this book, you will see something of your own family in my story, and that, if I have told it well, my story will make you take stock of the ones you love, and of how they love you in return.
Of course, the path I have taken to create my family is very different from yours. What Nancy and I have done is completely unprecedented. On the face of it, we do not look like an unusual couple at all. Yes, I am half-white and half-Asian, and Nancy looks Italian, but that alone would never earn us a second glance. It's also true that Nancy is twelve years older than I am, and sometimes we get asked if I am her son. But plenty of people in love come together at different ages. In many more ways we are just like any other married couple in our quiet community in central Oregon. We take walks around the lake and hold hands, we work hard and try to save money, we were thrilled to buy our first home together, and we practically live in Costco. And then, like millions of happy couples, we decided to have a family. In these things we are no different from anyone else. Our dreams are white-picket dreams.