Exclusive Excerpt from Eighteen Moons
by Andi Webb
The Patter of Tiny Paws
‘He is. Perfect.’
We looked at one another and grinned as a small bundle of white fur crawled steadily towards us. We had both fallen instantly and totally in love. We were in the large garden of a house in West Sussex and the two of us were peering over the top of an old-fashioned pigsty on stilts. Inside were twelve perfect white puppies, just a couple of weeks old.
We’d asked the breeder, Mrs Bennett, how many boys there were.
‘Just the two,’ she’d said, pulling out one pup after another and turning them upside down. When she’d found the two males, she placed them at the opposite end of the pigsty. One began crawling straight back to his sisters while the other, steady and determined, headed towards us.
We’d found our boy.
We’d agreed on a name before we met him. Remus. And it suited him. ‘Come on Remus,’ I whispered, as he reached my outstretched hand and was rewarded with a gentle scratch behind his tiny ear.
‘By the time you collect him he’ll have his spots,’ Mrs B said.
Yes, our ‘first-born’ was a Dalmatian. Known for being a lively and intelligent breed. Also, as we were soon to discover, hyperactive and ferociously needy.
Tearing ourselves away we arranged to pick Remus up in six weeks’ time and set off on the two-hour drive home. I was beside myself with excitement, already planning my trip to buy a bed, blankets, toys and treats for the new addition to our family. John, at the wheel, was quiet, focussing on the road. But I knew he was as happy as I was. We’d waited a long time to make this commitment but now the time felt right and we both felt good about it.
Both in our mid-thirties, we’d been a couple for eight years. Buying our London flat after three years had been part of our decision to settle down together, although I think we both knew from the moment we met that we’d stay together. Creating a ‘nest’ for the two of us was the next step as we made the inevitable transition from being young men partying about town to a couple who preferred quiet dinners a deux or curling up on the sofa and watching a film.
That had been five years earlier. And not long after we put the finishing touches to our flat, we had begun to hanker for the patter of tiny feet or, in our case, paws. We’d put it off because we were both out all day; I was working in clothing design, with a small workshop of my own while John was an accountant. We both worked long hours and we didn’t want to leave a dog cooped up at home.
But as time passed, we began to feel seriously broody. This was only made worse when a friend gave us a Disney Dalmatian toy one Christmas. She did say it was probably as close to a real dog as we should get. And we did listen to her, for a bit, but in the end our longing for a real canine to cuddle won over all practical considerations. The flat just didn’t feel right without a dog.
About Eighteen Moons
Eighteen Moons is the extraordinary and moving story of Andi and John and how they set out to have the family they longed for.Not many people noticed the end of a multi-billion-pound industry that touched many, many thousands of lives… but this devoted couple lived through the final wave of International Surrogacy in both India and Thailand, then finally (before it had barely begun) in Nepal on the roof of the world.
In their quest to become fathers, they come up against seemingly impossible challenges. From the very start they are overwhelmed with both bureaucracy and prejudice. The story of how this very special family comes together is filled with heartache and frustration, determination and courage. It’s a story full of humour, human frailty and, above all their determination to become the loving family they are today.
‘Touching, insightful, funny and shocking. You won’t be able to put it down.’ Zap Magazine
Andi Webb is the author of the unmissable blog ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’
Available at: Amazon
About Andi Webb
Andi Webb is the writer of diaryofagaydad.net and author of the book Eighteen Moons (available through Amazon.com). Andi is a gay, stay at home dad to five young children under the age of six, living in ‘The Shires’ of England. The daily blog of family life both illuminates and amuses. Eighteen Moons is the memoir of how two men set out on the journey to becoming fathers to five young children, not an easy feat.
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