Proud dad and TV presenter Sindri Sindrason talks exclusively to GayIceland about how the urge for having a child led him to becoming a foster parent.

News anchor, TV presenter and proud father Sindri Sindrason. Following his show Fósturbörn (Fosterchildren) more same-sex couples have applied to become foster parents.

“We received a phone call saying there was this little girl, three and a half years, who needed fostering. And that she had been at a care home over Christmas, which made us feel terribly guilty and we instantly regretted having gone on that holiday.” Sindri Sindrason, news anchor and TV presenter, recalls the day he and his husband Albert learnt of the existence of their daughter Emilía. The couple had applied to become foster parents in early 2011 and gone through the roller coaster process that comes with it when they were accepted shortly before Christmas the same year.

“By then, my extended family were all going to Orlando for a few weeks and I asked at the agency whether we should perhaps cancel our trip. We were told no, that things rarely happened that quickly, so off we went. But then they were actually waiting for us to return so that they could ask us to foster Emilía.”

“I actually think – and I noticed that when researching for the TV series – that mothers find it somehow easier to cope with if a gay couple fosters or adopts their child.”

Sindri and his husband had desperately wanted to start a family and Sindri is very candid about how badly he wanted it. “I would have found a way, no matter what, in Iceland or abroad. I just had an urge to have a child.” One of the resources he thought of was to become a foster parent through the Government Agency for Child Protection. He knew that there was need for foster parents to look after children temporarily, but that sometimes it would lead to a permanent foster care. Very seldom, however, would foster parents be able to adopt the children placed with them.
“There are about 400 children placed in permanent foster care in Iceland and only a small portion of those are then adopted,” Sindri explains, having become somewhat of an expert as he became intrigued by the subject and made a TV documentary series about children in foster care in Iceland (Fósturbörn) which aired on Stöð2 in October last year.

Two dads and a “mamma”

However, soon it was evident that Emilía would be placed in their care permanently. “The problem for us was that even though she would be in our care till she was 18, she’d technically be in the care of Reykjavik City, the city authorities would be her legal guardian and we would only be employed by the Government Agency to look after her. We felt that was terrible, the fact that we wouldn´t have any legal status and that our daughter wouldn‘t be our inheritor.“

So Sindri and Albert contacted the mother who allowed them to fully adopt Emilía. “She was so kind to do so. Obviously, she wasn´t going to have Emilía back as she had been placed in permanent care so she saw things from our perspective and thought it was the most sensible thing to do. Of course they still keep in touch, she lives abroad but whenever she’s over during holidays we meet up and they use Facebook and Snapchat to keep contact. Emilía even calls her “mamma”.

Emilía is now nine and doing great.

I actually think – and I noticed that when researching for the TV series – that mothers find it somehow easier to cope with if a gay couple fosters or adopts their child. I mean, it must always be incredibly hard to have your child taken into care but because most of the time it’s struggling mothers – because the fathers’ have never been in the picture – the thought of having some other woman replace them makes things even worse. But if two men are taking care of their child, there’s less competition and there will never be another woman for the child to call “mum” so in a way, they find comfort in that notion.”

But Sindri admits to having been slightly out of touch with reality because deep down inside, he never envisioned that they would care for a child only temporarily. “In hindsight, I can see that I never faced the fact that I could lose that child again. I was probably somewhat in denial,” he rolls his eyes and chuckles. “In my TV series, that’s exactly something I ask people about, what happens when a child in temporary care leaves their care again? And most of them have a well contemplated answer such as “Well, then at least we’ve contributed to the child’s well-being and done a good deed…” etc. etc. But I was never there, I think I was being completely delusional. I wasn’t doing this for the child’s sake, I was only doing this for myself. I think most people do, even those who have children the natural way. You don’t have a child for the sake of anyone other than yourself, it’s quite a selfish thing to do. And I just wanted to have a child for my own sake, or our sake.”

Emilía is now nine years old and is doing great. “She was in quite a bad state when we got her, I don’t want to go into details out of respect for her and her mother but their circumstances had been very difficult. We got a place for her soon at a Hjallastefnan preschool where she received great help and treatments and soon we found out that she’s a very clever girl and very talented; she’s absolutely blossoming now,” Sindri brags the way only dads can. He and Albert were the first gay couple in Iceland, and possibly in all of the Nordic countries, to adopt a child placed in foster care.

Never experienced prejudice

Being a well-known media person in Iceland, the news about Sindri’s fatherhood spread quickly although he’s never wanted to be interviewed in the media about their journey until now. He says the reactions they received have only been positive. “In all honesty, and I don’t know how popular it will make me to say this, but we have simply never experienced any prejudice in Iceland. And I mean never, ever. People sometimes say it’s because I work in the media and that’s such an open and tolerant business but then I point out that my husband is an engineer working in a very male-dominant, if not macho, environment and he’s never experienced any prejudice either. I would have thought that precisely because people recognise my face, they’d take advantage when we’re out clubbing down town or something but that’s never happened. I simply have never experienced prejudice here. That’s not to say that others haven’t, I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is my reality.”

Suburban dad with two lives

Sindri says that if anything, he’s mostly been approached by young gay men, often around twenty, who are curious about what it’s like to come out and still lead a pretty traditional life. “Because we do, we have a traditional home in a house with a garden in a nice area, we go to work, pick up our daughter, do homework with her, take her to after-school activities and then go to the mall and IKEA on weekends. We’re just suburban dads, a nuclear family. And that’s what many young men want to be reassured about, that it’s possible to have that lifestyle even if you come out.”

“We’re just suburban dads, a nuclear family. And that’s what many young men want to be reassured about, that it’s possible to have that lifestyle even if you come out.”

He explains that he himself grew up in a very traditional family and was worried about coming out when he was 22. “I was prepared for being rejected and that I would have no one to rely on but myself but I think one’s own prejudice can always make matters seem worse and create an unnecessary fear. I’m blessed with having wonderful parents who never thought of my sexual orientation as an issue,” Sindri chuckles when he recalls his father’s first reaction. “He asked whether I had a boyfriend, and I said “yes”. He then asked if it was Albert, because he was my best friend and they knew him. And I said “yes” again to which my dad replied “Well, at least he’s studying engineering!” That was the main concern because my parents had always put emphasis on education. So, they were just happy for me because they knew Albert and knew he was a nice boy, who was going to become an engineer.”

Sindri and Albert have been together for almost twenty years now and having Emilía has completed the life that they wanted to build together, enriching it more than they ever imagined it would. “It actually gives you two lives, to become a parent. Before Emilía, I only identified as an evening news anchor and TV presenter, my work was my life and even when I wasn’t at work I was thinking about it. But now, even though I still love my job, once I clock out it’s done. When I’m with my daughter and we’re doing homework or doing the groceries or something, I’m not thinking about work at all. So, I get a bit more break from work than before. If I were to lose my job, it wouldn’t be the end of the world for me anymore; now I am first and foremost a dad.”

“Before Emilía, I only identified as an evening news anchor and TV presenter, my work was my life and even when I wasn’t at work I was thinking about it. But now, even though I still love my job, once I clock out it’s done … now I am first and foremost a dad.”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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