It takes just a smile, a laugh or a flash of 2-year-old Aiden Mayoral’s inquisitive will to make his dads feel like every day is Father’s Day.
When the holiday rolls around Sunday, his parents, Sergio and Miguel Mayoral, say it will be less a double celebration reserved for them and more an observance of family togetherness.
“He’s a lucky kid,” Sergio Mayoral said. “We’re all lucky.”
The same-sex couple were foster parents first to Aiden when he was an infant and had been the state of California’s responsibility . The Mayorals had completed courses about fostering a child in 2007 but were thrust into their newfound role two years later.
“In a quote, ‘normal’ world, you have an eight-month period to prepare,” Sergio Mayoral said. “I was sitting at my desk when I got a call (saying), ‘Hey, we have a match.’ In that split millisecond, you go from being a couple to married with a child.”
Miguel Mayoral echoed the sentiment. “We didn’t have a baby shower . We did everything on our own,” he said.
The couple took Aiden to Disneyland during their initial visit with him, and the attraction became a family favorite. The three bonded, and the Mayorals decided to adopt Aiden legally.
When the family moved to northwest Las Vegas, the couple would make monthly trips back to Orange County, Calif., so Aiden’s social workers could meet with him.
Aiden’s birth mother’s parental rights were terminated around his first birthday, and the Mayorals were in a brief limbo period of being merely de facto guardians.
It didn’t stop them from making memories.
They got to know Aiden’s personality — strong-willed and tirelessly curious, they say.
“He’s stubborn, which is good, because it means he’ll be independent,” Sergio Mayoral said. “He doesn’t want to know how something works but why. But he’s lovey. To me, he’s perfect.”
The family dressed in themes for Halloween : one year as a trio of clowns, and another as two Donald Ducks and a Daisy Duck. They kept their Disney love rolling by starting traditions of purchasing yearly Mickey Mouse ears and a Disney-themed holiday ornament for Aiden.
They were already the picture of a loving family when Aiden’s birth mother made an 11th-hour attempt to appeal adoption requests. Her decision put the legalization in jeopardy briefly, but eventually she reneged. The adoption was finalized in January 2010.
“The day we got the email that the court had appealed in our favor was one of the happiest days of my life,” Sergio Mayoral said. “We finally had closure, and we could relax and go on with our lives.”
Their lives were already changed, they said.
“Fatherhood is a lot different than we thought it would be,” Miguel Mayoral said. “We started late in life and we had basically everything out of the way that we wanted to do. Incorporating a child adds a whole new level.”
Sergio Mayoral said his tough exterior softened with Aiden.
“The coolest thing was on our first Father’s Day, he gave me a picture of him with his hand print,” he said. “As much as a tough guy I try to be, I cried.”
The couple haven’t ruled out fostering or adopting another child, but they say Nevada’s practice of not listing both same-sex parents on a birth certificate is a deterrent.
“I don’t like that fact,” Sergio Mayoral said. “If Aiden had another sister or brother out there, we’d be open to taking them in.”
Aiden’s dads boast that he’s thriving in preschool and passionate about the Disney Pixar movie “Cars.” Aiden shares their love for The Happiest Place on Earth.
Sergio and Miguel Mayoral had their first date in downtown Disneyland about a decade ago. “We decided to eat in the Rainforest Cafe, and when they called us up, they said, ‘Your adventure is about to begin,’ ” Miguel Mayoral said. “It’s been an adventure ever since.”
The men work for Bank of America. They said this Father’s Day will likely be spent shared with family.
Sergio Mayoral said he took stock of his special family unit when it was around others during a recent trip to Disneyland.
“I’ve seen kids being yelled at and smacked, and (I think) if people took a second to realize what they had and how lucky they are, they’d be a little better off,” he said.
Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 477-3839.