Gay Dad Life

With Only 48 Hours to Prepare, Rob and Zack Become Dads

Husbands Rob and Zack finalized the adoption of their son Asher on March 3, 2017. For the two dads, the road to fatherhood has been a crazy experience but creating a family has been a dream come true.

Rob, 32, and Zack, nearly 33, were introduced through friends almost 7 years ago, and were married on September 21, 2013. Rob works in non-profit science publishing, and Zack works for the State department. They live in Washington, D.C.


Before they settled on their path to a fatherhood, Rob and Zack spent a lot of time debating between surrogacy and adoption: How important was the biological connection? How would the additional financial burdens associated with surrogacy affect their family? Ultimately they both arrived at the same decision independently: adoption. Both concluded that biology wasn't a necessity to either of them, although they understand why for some people it might be.

As for their own families, Rob's parents have never fully accepted their son's sexuality, nor his marriage to Zack. It's been a long road; Rob spent years trying to be patient with his folks, but he has not been touch with them for a long time. As for the rest of Rob's family, his relationship with his siblings, their families and extended family members has remained positive.

Unlike many adoptive parents who must wait months or years before being matched with a birth mother, Rob and Zack got the call just four days after entering into the pool of potential adoptive parents. They were told to get to Texas as soon as possible to meet baby Asher and his birthmother. Rob was overseas at the time, so Zack had to pack for both of them, without having an idea how long they'd be staying in the Lone Star State.

"We didn't own any baby things yet since we thought we'd have a lot of time to prepare," recalls Rob. "So it all had to be done within 48 hours after we arrived in Texas. Luckily with the help of friends and family, we made it work!"

Asher was just one day old when the couple met him. They remember those first few days as overwhelming. Rob and Zack tried to not get too optimistic about their chances of parenthood as they were very aware of the window of time the birth family had to make the final decision to place the child for adoption.

"Meanwhile we were falling more in love with this tiny baby every minute, all the while operating on about 2 hours of sleep," said Rob.

Asher was born on a Wednesday, and on Friday, Rob and Zack were able to take him to the hotel where they were staying as they awaited state clearances to head back home to D.C. Zack's parents flew down to meet their grandchild and they all stayed together, adjusting to their new roles. Rob owes his ability to get any sleep during those first few days, he says, to Zack's parents.

Throughout the relatively long adoption process (Asher was in their care from May 2016 and the adoption was finalized March 2017) Rob and Zack encountered and were forced to jump through a few extra hoops. They have their suspicions as to why, and it did cause a lot of emotional and financial stress on their entire family. Thankfully, in March 2017, the two dads were able to celebrate the finalization of Asher's adoption, when they became a forever family of three.

It's taken the dads time to figure out how to divvy up responsibilities and to find their own rhythm. Rob gets Asher ready for daycare in the morning and does more of the cleaning jobs, while Zack is on cooking duty and prepares most of Asher's meals. Zack loves to cook so they each play to their strengths. (Most of Asher's cute outfits can also be attributed to Zack, he says.) They take turns sleeping in on weekends---allowing the other dad to get some extra rest has been crucial, they say.

They also place a high priority on finding time for themselves as individuals whether that's going to the gym, catching a movie or just enjoying each others company over a glass of wine. They know that doing those things allows them to be the best possible dads they can be to little Asher.

Before becoming dads, neither men had changed many diapers; neither had even read a baby book in preparation. But they learned on their feet. Another lesson they've learned as new dads? Baby boys will try to pee on you whenever they're getting changed.

"Outside of bathroom behavior," said Rob, "We have both learned a lot about patience, the limits of our own exhaustion, and how to support each other, even when our own reserves are low!"


Check Out More Family Profiles Below!

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Gay Dad Life

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As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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Change the World

Apply for a Paid Internship at Gays With Kids!

Are you a student who is passionate about journalism, new media, and supporting the LGBTQ community? Apply for a (paid!) internship with Gays With Kids and join the largest community for gay, bit and trans dads and dads to be!

We are excited to announce that Gays With Kids will be hiring two student interns to help support our rapidly expanding work as the largest online magazine and resource for gay, bi and trans dads and dads to be! At the moment, we have two paid positions available.

  • Our Journalism and Editorial Intern should be interested in journalism, editing, and the daily process of running and maintaining a major website. This is a New York-based position, who will work closely with our Editor in Chief, David Dodge.

  • Our Social and Community Intern should be interested in supporting and expanding our vibrate online community across multiple social media channels and will work closely with Rosalind Lonsdale, our Social and Community Manager.

Please see below for more information and how to apply!

Journalism and Editorial Intern — New York, NY 

Paid $15 p/h || 15-20 hours per week || Immediate start || New York City, NY


Gays With Kids is seeking an energetic, organized, and socially conscious Journalism and Editorial intern with an immediate start date. This is a paid position and the intern will be expected to work 15-20 hours a week. Position is ongoing but possible end dates will be discussed in the interview process.

About us: Gays With Kids is the world's premier website and social network dedicated exclusively to helping gay, bi and trans men become dads, and to helping queer dads navigate fatherhood.

We launched in 2015 and we're very excited to refresh our website in the next couple of months with a stronger and more clear focus on the different paths to fatherhood available to our community. We currently have close to 250,000 followers on social media, and our community is extremely engaged. You should be proud to be part of a small, but passionate and dedicated team that's making a meaningful impact nationally and globally.

Check us out: https://www.facebook.com/GaysWithKids/ / https://www.instagram.com/gays_with_kids/ / https://www.youtube.com/user/GaysWithKids

Much of this work can be undertaken at the intern's own residence but, at least initially, you will be required to meet and work closely with our Executive Editor, located in New York City.

Learning opportunities include:

  • Write blog posts, articles, and other pieces of content for the website as needed.
  • Identify and interview experts within various paths to parenthood for gay, bi and trans men, including: surrogacy, adoption, foster care, co-parenting partnerships and more.
  • Refresh and reimagine current content on the Gays With Kids website.
  • Support engaging and dynamic social media content across external channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest)
  • Assist with migration of current website to a new platform


Requirements:

  • Interest in journalism, particularly as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community
  • Interest and activism in equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community
  • Crucial skills: highly organized, good at multitasking, a strong problem solver, and a willingness to learn new skills and abilities.
  • Experience managing social media platforms, specifically Instagram and Facebook
  • Knowledge of Google Docs, iMovie, Canva, Trello, are a plus
    Proficient in MS Office Suite with excellent writing / communication skills
  • Interest in learning digital communications including social media management platforms and SEO skills

To apply, pleas send a resume and two writing samples to David Dodge, Executive Editor, at David.Dodge@gayswithkids.com

Social and Community Intern

Paid $15 p/h || 15-20 hours per week || Immediate start || Philadelphia, PA


Gays With Kids is seeking an energetic, organized, and socially conscious Social and Community intern with an immediate start date. This is a paid position and the intern will be expected to work 15-20 hours a week. Position is ongoing but possible end dates will be discussed in the interview process.

About us: Gays With Kids is the world's premier website and social network dedicated exclusively to helping gay, bi and trans men become dads, and to helping queer dads navigate fatherhood.

We launched in 2015 and we're very excited to refresh our website in the next couple of months with a stronger and more clear focus on the different paths to fatherhood available to our community. We currently have close to 250,000 followers on social media, and our community is extremely engaged…especially on Instagram. You should be proud to be part of a small, but passionate and dedicated team that's making a meaningful impact nationally and globally. As our social and community intern, you will have plenty of opportunity to engage with our community.

Check us out: https://www.facebook.com/GaysWithKids/ / https://www.instagram.com/gays_with_kids/ / https://www.youtube.com/user/GaysWithKids

Much of this work can be undertaken at the intern's own residence but, at least initially, you will be required to meet and work closely with our Social and Community manager, located in Philadelphia.

Learning opportunities include:

  • Support engaging and dynamic social media content across external channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest)
  • Write blog posts, articles, and other content for the website
  • Assist with migration of current website to a new platform


Requirements:

  • Interest and activism in equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community
  • Crucial skills: highly organized, good at multitasking, a strong problem solver, and a willingness to learn new skills and abilities.
  • Experience managing social media platforms, specifically Instagram and Facebook
  • Knowledge of Google Docs, iMovie, Canva, Trello, are a plus
  • Proficient in MS Office Suite with excellent writing / communication skills
  • Interest in learning digital communications including social media management platforms and SEO skills

All inquiries should be addressed to Rosalind Lonsdale, Social and Community Manager, rosalind@gayswithkids.com

Change the World

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As gay people, it can be difficult to find vacation spots that are LGBTQ-friendly out of the normal travel "fruit loop" — New York, Mykonos, San Francisco; repeat. For those of us with kids, the Venn diagram of destinations that are both queer and kid friendly can seem practically non-existent.

Fortunately, that's starting to change as the tourism industry realizes that LGBTQ families are a growing segment of vacationers. One city to quickly pick up on this trend is Miami. While the gays have long flocked to Miami for party weekends, the city has also recently noticed an uptick in the number of LGBTQ visitors who are parents. In response, Miami's tourism board release a guide, LGBTQ Family-Friendly Miami Vacation Guide, that includes loads of options for queer parents and their kids. Amid Miami's legendary circuit parties, it turns out, are tons of family friendly things to do — like the Museum of Science, an eco-adventure theme park, and other kid-focused events all year long.

Who knew?

"When I came onboard as Director of LGBTQ Marketing a little over a year ago, I found that our LGBTQ messaging was centered around our annual events," said Dan Rios, who works with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Massive parties like the White Party and Aqua Girl are a central part of the city's LGBTQ offerings, he said, but he was also worried the city was "developing a reputation solely as a party destination. "I want to diversify that message to highlight everything else that Greater Miami has to offer."

Hence the city's family-friendly guide that includes offerings within "art and culture, dining, beaches, fitness," Dan said. "We have unique and amazing family attractions that we had been promoting to our general audiences for decades. I saw this as an opportunity; an opportunity to introduce our attractions to LGBTQ families, and an opportunity to further promote our attractions -- it was a win-win."

Dan said the Bureau is also in the midst of a campaign that will prominently feature LGBTQ parents within different travel destinations throughout the city, which will be featured throughout both LGBTQ and mainstream websites, publications and advertising.

We applaud the effort to reach out to LGBTQ families, and hope more cities follow Miami's lead! Be sure to check out the guide here.

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The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

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It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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