Emotional photos of two fathers meeting their newborn son have resonated with viewers worldwide, attracting thousands of Facebook likes and shares.
In the photos, Toronto couple Frankie Nelson and BJ Barone are embracing their new baby, Milo, who was born on at 4:15 p.m. ET on June 27 — right in the middle of Toronto's World Pride week, which took place from June 20 to 29. Milo, weighing in at 9 pounds and 7 ounces, was born from an unrelated surrogate.
Lindsay Foster, the Ontario-based photographer who took the images, posted them to her official Facebook page on June 28. In the time since, they have garnered more than 42,000 Likes, 7,000 shares and nearly 6,000 comments on Facebook as of Friday afternoon. Foster has also received private messages from people around the world, including from as far as South Africa and Australia.
"It's a heartwarming feeling to see, you know, two dads that have wanted a child so badly actually reaching out within a second and touching their child and holding it," she told Mashable.
"I was crying right along with them."
"The one thing that was running through my mind was, 'Good Lord, I hope I have these in focus!'"
Foster was surprised by the attention her photos received, but understands in retrospect why they resonated so much.
"I was not expecting them to have such a reaction," she said. "I guess I thought we were kind of beyond, you know, people thinking gay was so out there. But I can see now that there's many reasons why it went viral."
"You could see everybody's reaction. You could see everybody that took part. It was Pride Week, too."
Foster is friends with the surrogate mother, and volunteered to photograph the birth for free. She said she was excited to discover that the surrogacy was for two gay fathers. Nelson and Barone are married. Canada legalized gay marriage nationwide on July 20, 2005, becoming the fourth country in the world to give same-sex couples full legal rights. Gay marriage has been legally recognized in the province of Ontario since June 10, 2003.
But not all the comments were positive. On Monday, Foster posted the following message from Nelson and Barone on her Facebook page, partially in response to negative online comments about the photos:
Thank you to everyone out there who has taken the time to like, comment and share our picture! This was truly an incredible moment in our lives that will be captured forever by the lovely Lindsay Foster Photography. We are so lucky that we have a beautiful, healthy baby boy! All comments posted are respected, although we may not agree with the negative ones, the positive ones far outweigh the negative. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is a moment of pure love and acceptance. Milo is surrounded by unconditional love and he will grow up knowing many different types of families and accept everyone, (intolerant people included). Milo was born during World Pride. This picture represents everything Pride is about. Love has no colour nor gender nor sexual preference. Love is unconditional. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts! xxoo
For her part, Foster also clarified on her Facebook page that Nelson and Barone in the photo are shirtless, and not naked, for "skin to skin contact, which is very beneficial for a newborn baby."
This article first appeared on Mashable.com