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After a Heartbreaking Loss, These Adoptive Gay Dads Learned to Open Up Their Hearts, and Home, Once Again

After the death of their three-month-old daughter, Nick and Sean struggled to go on. But with the help of their adoption agency, friends and family, the dads welcomed a baby girl into their family last fall.

Nick Bryan and Sean McGuire, who live in Columbus, Ohio, have suffered heartache that no parent should ever have to endure. They became first-time dads in 2016 when they adopted a baby girl who was born two months premature. Sadly, their daughter did not make it to 4 months, and passed away due to premature complications. The dads struggled to go on. But with the support of their family, friends and a wonderful adoption agency, they tried again, and in November last year, another little girl was born, and she had two daddies ready to love her with all their hearts. Here's their family's story.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

When Traditional Adoption Wouldn’t Work for This Tennessee Gay Couple, This Woman Stepped in to Help

A woman who had formed her own family through IVF after struggling with infertility not only offered this gay couple her extra embryos -- she offered to serve as their surrogate.

Justin and Matthew live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and have been together for 11 years. They met through mutual friends and the first time Justin saw Matthew, he knew there something special about him. They both wanted children, and after almost 4 years of dating, they decided to begin their journey to parenthood.

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The Ongoing Gay Legacy of CT Fertility

Roughly 90% of the patients at CT Fertility are gay men. And that's not by accident.

Here's a shocker: it turns out us gay dudes don't know diddly about the female reproductive system. That will change pretty rapidly, though, if you step foot inside the offices of CT Fertility.

"Gay male couples tend to have no clue about pregnancy when they first walk in," laughed Medical Director at CT Fertility, Dr. Melvin H. Thornton II. "I'm sometimes accused of giving out too much information, but I'd rather give too much than too little."

The bulk of his patients are gay, which means Dr. Thornton, who has over 22 years of experience in the fertility world, has become something of a part-time professor in addition to a medical professional as he shepherds gay men and couples through the process of creating embryos.

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Change the World

Federal Judge Rules Against Adoption Agency's Attempt to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Parents

Many challenges to LGBTQ adoption continue to exist, however, including a Federal amendment that would grant tax-funded adoption agencies the right to discriminate nationally.

This week brought us some much-needed good news in the fight to protect LGBTQ adoption rights: U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker ruled that Catholic Services Society (CSS) violated the city of Philadelphia's Fair Practice Ordinance due to the organization's refusal to work with prospective parents' based on no other reason than their sexual orientation.

The decision is the result of a suit brought by CSS against Philadelphia. Last May, the city announced it was suspending foster care placements with two agencies, CSS and Bethany Christian Services, given their refusal to place children with LGBTQ prospective parents. While Bethany Christian Services ultimately agreed to stop discriminating against same-sex parents, CSS sued the city instead, and lost.

Judge Tucker found that no "substantial burden" existed on on CSS's religious exercise in providing foster care to children, writing that, "In essence, if CSS provides its services consistent with the minimal requirements of the all-comers provisions of the Fair Practices Ordinance, then CSS may continue to provide foster care to children.

Elsewhere around the country, however, the news on LGBTQ adoption rights has been much less encouraging. Over the course of the year, news hasn't been great for the LGBTQ community's adoption rights. Over the course of the year, a slew of anti-LGBTQ adoption measures have been cropping up in state legislatures all across the country. At the federal level this month, Republicans passed an amendment to an appropriations bill that if enacted will allow tax-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ adoptive parents on the grounds of religious freedom.

Get Involved!

Want to take action? Look up your federal representatives here and demand they reject the inclusion of the anti-LGBTQ amendment in the appropriations bill passed by Republicans earlier this week.

Have you experienced discrimination as a potential gay adoptive or foster parent? We want to hear about it. Contact us at dads@gayswithkids.com and tell us about your experience.

And stay tuned to Gays With Kids as we continue to monitor and report on developments in anti-discrimination protections for adoptive LGBTQ parents, on both the state and federal level.

Change the World

Gay Dad's Family Car Vandalized with Homophobic Slur in Tennessee

"Sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," Michael told his sons following the incident. "But we have to be better than that."

Michael Quinton, a gay man living in Dandridge, Tennessee, had just arrived at home on July 6th when he noticed the damage done to his car. His tires were slashed, the car seats sliced up, and the radio rendered useless by a sharp object.

"My first reaction was a flood of every emotion," he said. "Angry, mad, sad, disheartened. As I took a look at the vehicle I saw more and more damage."

The physical vandalism, however, was nothing compared to the emotional damage inflicted by this next part of the crime: the word "fagot" had been etched into the side of his car.

Though Michael was clearly the intended target of the crime, he was particularly worried about how the incident might affect his two sons, Blake and Clayton, whom he had adopted with his ex-husband.

"I called my mom who lives a few minutes away to come sit with the boys as an officer was coming out," Michael told Gays With Kids. "At that moment I didn't want them to see the vehicle or the words carved into it.

Michael called the experience "eye-opening," adding, "Come what may I have to ensure [my sons] are taken care of. I have to show them that love wins and without a doubt there is nothing wrong with the way you love. One day they very well could help change the climate in this country."

As far as the perpetrator, Michael has his suspicions of who might behind the damage, and has shared them along with some potential evidence with the detective involved. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. Michael has spent most of life in east Tennessee and says this was the first time he had ever experienced an act of hate. From sharing this horrible experience, a lot of people have reached out to Michael and his family to send words of support and kind messages. But Michael is still worried.

"In the end, the tone of this country has done a 180," he said. "I honestly feel worried that things will continue to happen to families like mine or anyone viewed different in others' eyes."

New data has shown that hate crimes have risen 12% in the past year, and that is only those that are reported. The African American community has been the most targeted, followed by LGBTQ people.

Michael with his kids

The damage to Michael's vehicle has also been a blow to family, symbolically, he says. Michael is recently divorced from the boys' second dad, and is now raising them full-time. The car, a bright blue Kia, came to represent so much more than a vehicle; it meant a new beginning for Michael and his boys after the separation.

"So many memories have been made in that vehicle over the last 18 months," shared Michael. His youngest son, Blake, "processes things a little different than your average 7 year old," Michael says. "You take away routine, structure, consistency, security and he doesn't do too well."

Since the incident, the family has been comforting each other by sleeping together on the couch every night. Michael has always kept an open conversation with his kids, whether it be about their adoption (Blake originally came to Michael through kinship guardianship, and Clayton is Blake's biological older brother whom Michael later adopted as well), divorce, and now this.

"I told them that sometimes people do things to try and make you sad," said Michael. "But we have to be better than that and know that we can't stop loving and that we have each other and I wouldn't allow them to be hurt. We also have to be able to forgive in order to find peace."

The car, sadly, is beyond repair. Fortunately, Michael has a vehicle supplied by work he can use for family drop offs, baseball practice and medical appointments. But eventually, he'll need to get his own car again. As a single-income father, Michael has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the insurance deductible and/or possible replacement of the car.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Michael didn't miss an opportunity to through some well-deserved shade back at the perpetrator of this heinous act. "Who spells faggot..... fagot?" he wrote on a post he published to Facebook shortly after the incident. "Doesn't most everyone have access to spell check with their phone? I mean come on!!!"

Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Famous Gay Dad Instagram Pics of the Last Month

Famous gay dads blow up the 'gram with adorable family pics every month. Here are our favs from June!

June is a non-stop, wonderful and celebratory time for the gay community and dads - think Fathers' Day and Pride! So we thought it was time to check in on what's been happening with some of the famous gay dads we know. Like so many others in our community, we love how these gentlemen continue to use their platform to show the world that gay men make the best dads!

"Accidental Greek yogurt facial night." - Cheyenne Jackson

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Change the World

You Can Now Personalize A Gay Dad Children's Book Story with Your Own Family Names

This children's book author can help you write a story that reflects how your family was formed

Guest post written by Carmen Martinez Jover author of The Baby Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, a Gay Parenting Story.

After 18 years of struggling, failed IVFs, depressions, I finally become a mum via adoption. Life has many curious ways to get you where you are today. I would have never thought that after so many years of struggling to become a Mum and that what had turned out to be my biggest nightmare turned into such amazing blessings. I never thought I'd be a writer, an artist, an international infertility lecturer, a Mum and dedicate my life to help others with books, paintings, meditations, lectures, workshops and private sessions.

When my daughter arrived, I was so afraid to share how our family was formed. I was afraid that the information would hurt her and I didn't even know where to start. I had so many fears and doubts and it was by reading a story that I found sharing so much easier and it was this that motivated me to write so many children's stories to help others share with their kids . My first story was for kids conceived via egg donation. One story just followed the other: egg donation, recipes of how babies are made, two dads, single mum by choice. I also have an autobiography where I share my infertility journey through my art, my paintings: "I Want to Have a Child, Whatever it Takes!"

Carmen with her books

I believe in reading to your child as a baby. First it helps you as a parent to overcome your fears. After reading so many times the book becomes special and your kid enjoys when you read it to them. I wrote The Baby Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, a Gay Parenting Story, and my sister, Rosemary, did the most amazing illustrations. I was later asked to write a version for Twins. These books are available in Amazon, in English, Spanish, French and Italian. In my interest to make these books touch hearts, you can now personalize them and put your own names to the characters. This makes the book fun. Children really enjoy seeing the kangaroos with their Dad's names and theirs. Books can be customized in this link.

The Baby Kangaroo Treasure Hunt and The Twin Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, tell the story of how two kangaroos want to have kids and they visit wise William who gives them a scroll of what they need in their treasure hunt: a sperm, an egg and a womb. You accompany the kangaroos to find an egg donor, a surrogate and then how the doctor puts them together and finally they become a family.

Some of Carmen's art and painting from her autobiography. The chairs symbolized wanting another chair at her family table

Carmen Martinez Jover is a Fertility Coach, an artist, a lecturer, therapist and author who writes stories to help share with your child how your family was formed. Through her personal experience she realised how storytelling makes sharing easier. Her sister Rosemary Martinez, an international award-winning designer, did the most amazing illustrations and makes this story so much fun to read with your kids. Follow Carmen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and you may also email Carmen.

Change the World

U.S. Republican Lawmakers Amend Funding Bill to Give Adoption Providers License to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Parents

Call your representatives today to demand they reject the inclusion of this anti-LGBTQ amendment in the appropriations bill

Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers across the country are attempting to allow state-funded child welfare agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples and others on the grounds of "religious freedom." According to the Desert News, there have been 140 "religious freedom" bills debated just this year, many of which would negatively impact the LGBTQ community. Two such bills restricting adoption rights have already passed, in Oklahoma and Kansas, with another pending in South Carolina.

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Gay Adoption

These Gay Dads, Both Raised in Adoptive Families, Are Strong Supporters of Open Adoption

After being raised in loving adoptive families, Anthony and Joselito choose adoption as their own path to parenthood

Anthony and Joselito met in 2010, after separately attending a Lady Gaga concert. Their connection was what they call "instant magic," they've been together ever since. Anthony, a teacher, and Joselito, a director of sales and marketing, quickly realized they shared a lot in common. Both men were raised in loving adoptive and guardian families, and had dreams to start a family of their own one day. About a year after they met, they began the process of researching the different pathways to creating a family: foster care, surrogacy, and adoption. In the end, they decided that adoption was the best fit for them.

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