Ricky Martin had to answer a potentially tough question when his young son began to wonder how he got here. The gay singer had his six-year-old twins, Valentino and Matteo, by a surrogate in 2008 and until recently they didn’t know about it. On an interview with the Enrique Santos Show, Ricky Martin told the story of when one of his curious young men asked him “Daddy, was I in your belly?” When this happened, Martin came up with the perfect simplified answer.
“You were in my heart,” he reportedly said, “and you are still in my heart.”
The quick instinct to reply this way is reflective of more than a loving parent, it’s also indicative of Martin’s priorities. His first thought is not to talk about how the way he brought his children into the world may be different, but to clarify that it doesn’t matter. After prioritizing that, Martin went on to explain the rest.
“There was a woman that I adore with all my heart that helped me bring you into this world. She lent me her belly so you could come, and when you were born she put you in my arms.”
The greatest, simple way to explain the concept to a child and emphasize that, though the child was not born of a relationship, he was born into a place of love where his father’s caring arms impatiently waited for him and his twin. In Martin’s case, he had to explain surrogacy to his child, but whether we have our kids conventionally, with a surrogate, with a donor, through adoption, or however they come to us, this is an example of how we can be honest and confident in sharing with them stories of how they came to us. In fact, we should be. There is no reason not to take pride in the journeys we take to bring our children into our lives.
The child’s reaction was not particularly traumatic or surprised. According to Ricky Martin, the boy “said ‘ah, ok’ and kept playing.” Which just goes to show that if handled with confidence and without unnecessary embarrassment, children can appreciate their simplified tales of origin. If it’s an accepted fact from the time the child is young that he was adopted, or the child of a donor, or anything else, it’s easy for them to grow up knowing that it doesn’t matter how you became a family, only that you love them.
So great job, Ricky Martin, thanks for sharing an adorable story about the way your son found out how he became part of your family.