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!"


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Foster/Foster-Adopt

This Gay Couple Was Inspired to Become Foster Dads Thanks to the Show "The Fosters"

Matthew and Brian say they used to feel like "unicorns" as gay foster dads. They're happy to see more LGBTQ couples take the plunge into the foster system.

Matthew Hamparian and his husband Brian Lawrence have been together for over 18 years and live in Columbus, Ohio. "We had talked about children for a long time," shared Matthew. They were inspired by the show "The Fosters," and watched it regularly as one of the staffers of the show was a friend of Brian's. In one of the episodes, Matthew remembers a conversation between a foster child and the biological child of his foster parents. The foster child asks if he was okay with the fact that he had to share his home with foster siblings. He responds that he is okay with it, because he and his family have enough of everything.

"It was very meaningful to us as we were both raised that when you got up the ladder, you threw the ladder back," explained Matthew.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Single Dads Defend Andy Cohen's Right to Be on Grindr

After the Internet rushed to judge Andy Cohen for signing onto Grindr a couple of weeks after welcoming his newborn son home, fellow single gay dads rushed to his defense.

Last week, we wrote a post about reports that "What What Happens Live" host Andy Cohen had been "spotted" on gay dating app Grindr several weeks after welcoming a newborn into his home. This has some of his followers on social media all worked up"

"Get off Grindr and start being a dad," said one follower who appeared to think single parents must take a vow of celibacy the minute they start changing diapers. "You're sad, that kid has no chance," said another.

Well, suffice it to say that this judgment from people who are presumably not single gay dads of Andy Cohen certainly struck a nerve with our gay dad audience! We received well over 100 comments on this post on Facebook, the vast majority of them coming to Cohen's defense. We caught up with two fellow single gay dads to find out why the story struck a nerve.

"We don't have to live like monks!"

One of the most liked comments on our piece came from Owen Lonzar, who wrote the following:

"I have always been a good single father to my biological son who came to live with me when he was 7 years old. He is now 25 years old and we are very close. I used Grindr and dated while he lived with me. I never had anyone sleep over and he certainly never saw some man he didn't know hanging around my home. Single parents have to date responsibly and with sensitivity to their child but that doesn't mean they have to live like monks!"

We asked Cohen to elaborate a bit more on why the backlash against Cohen bothered him. He had the sense, he said, that much of the criticism against LGBTQ parents comes from gay men without children. "Gay men without kids have a lot to say," he said. "And all of it is ignorant, because they have no idea what it means to actually be a father." He said he was particularly disappointed in gay critics, given our shared history of discrimination. "You would think with all the prejudice we have faced that gay men would be less judgmental themselves," he said.

"Are we supposed to be celibate?"

Another commenter, Josue Sebastian Dones-Figueroa, who is a divorced father of five, questioned what Cohen's critics would prefer him do. "So what, parents are supposed to become celibate because they have kids?" he asked.

We followed up with Josue to ask him to elaborate a bit more: "The idea that just because he is a dad that he would need to stop being a man," he said, questioning why Cohen should have to put his life hold and stop dating, or having sex, just because he's now a father. "If the child is cared for loved and not neglected what is the problem? Life goes on right?"


Gay Dad Life

Internet Conflicted About Advice Given to Closeted Gay Dad in the Guardian

Ok fellow gay dads: if you were the advice columnist at the Guardian, what would you have said?

Recently, in a post titled "I met my girlfriend's parents – and realized I once slept with her father," a man wrote into the advice column at the Guardian with the following predicament:

"Five years ago, I went through a bi phase and used to sleep around with pretty much everyone that came along, including other men. This changed when I fell in love with my new partner, who is everything to me. I recently met her parents and halfway through lunch realised that I had slept with her father. I was going to propose, but when my partner and her mother were away, he told me to end it with his daughter. I'm obviously in love – shall I just ignore him, or tell my partner?"

Pamela Stephenson, the Guardian's columnist, responded as follows:

"I am not sure you could ever have a comfortable future with your new partner. To tell the truth would be to court disaster: a probable break-up, plus the risk of a permanent rift between father and daughter and father and wife. Hiding the truth would lead to toxic secret-keeping that could be equally destructive in the long run. If this whole family was as open-minded and sexually open as you, it might be possible for you to become part of it. However, the father – your former lover – has made it clear that you will not be welcome. Walk away now, and avoid the massive pain that would otherwise be inflicted on your partner, her family and yourself."

Not all commenters agreed with Stephenson's advice.

"Assuming your girlfriend knows that you were bi until falling in love with her and that you slept with everybody in your path [which she deserved to know up front anyway] then you can give HER the option what to do with this bond, rather than leaving the choice to her dad," said one commenter.

Another said, "Walking away without explaining why would be callous and also allow the father to escape the possible consequences of his actions."

It's worth noting that none of these commenters, nor the columnist, are or will ever be gay dads, whose perspective on this bizarre situation may be uniquely valuable. Many gay dads have become fathers while still in the closet. And even those who became dads after coming out can still sympathize with the detrimental impacts of the closet on our lives and those of our families.

So what say you, gay dads, about this man's predicament?

Terrell and Jarius need your help. Earlier this week they were made aware of an act of discrimination against a male transgender student at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia

"Dex Frier was elected by the student body to run for prom king but is now facing backlash from the school's administration," shared the dads via their Instagram. "The school's Superintendent is forcing Dex to either run as prom queen or not run at all. This is very unjust and does NOT reflect the opinion of the parents nor the students."

Watch their video below:

Dex, 17, who came out identifying as male in his sophomore year, spoke with Gainsville Times about being nominated by the student body. "Frier said he kept his emotions in check while at school, but 'the moment I got home, I immediately started crying. I've never been shown so much support before,' Frier added."

He was later informed by school officials that his name had been withdrawn and he could only run in the prom queen ballot.

Sadly, there have been rival petitions started in support of Dex's nomination being withdrawn, and he's received backlash from those who believe he shouldn't be able to run.

Although Terrell and Jarius do not know Dex personally, they were made aware of what was happening through Jarius co-worker who is a parent at the school. "He's such a brave kid and is standing firm in his beliefs, and we should support him," said Jarius.

These dads are asking all of us to take a minute and sign this petition and share with friends and family, or anyone you think could help.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Learn How These Dads Used Social Media to Find Their Surrogate

In the latest "Broadway Husbands" vlog, Bret and Stephen discuss the rather unconventional way in which they found their surrogate: through a Facebook group.

In this, the Broadway Husbands' sixth video, Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna discuss the rather unprecedented process they went through to find their surrogate. The lucky couple also chat about winning an "Intended Parents" competition, which granted them the free services of a surrogacy agency who is now helping guide them (and their new surrogate!) on their journey.

In the first video below, get caught up to speed with the dads-to-be. Plus: there's bonus footage! Ever wondered about the financial side of their journey? In the second video, Bret and Stephen talk candidly about how they're managing to afford their dream of fatherhood.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This Women's History Month, Gay Men Honor the Gals Who Help Make Them Dads

Each and every man becomes a dad with the help of a woman. We asked gay dads to honor one who helped them along in their path to parenthood to help us celebrate women's history month.

Each and every one of us became (or will become) a dad with the help of a woman--more often than not, with the help of multiple women. So this Women's History Month, we choose to celebrate these women by asking you to tell us a bit about them. Enjoy these inspiring stories below. Want to honor a woman in your life who has helped you become a dad? Tell us about her at dads@gayswithkids.com

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Gay Dad Life

These Gay Dads Know How to Make Holidays Extra Super Special

Adam and Josh got engaged on Good Morning America on Valentines Day, and welcomed their Christmas miracle baby into their lives on December 26th

Picture this: Valentine's Day 2015, Adam and Josh Klocke were among 24 other couples ice skating in Bryant Park as part of a Good Morning America segment. Lara Spencer was hosting while Christina Perri sang "A Thousand Years" on top of a piano. Midway through, she stopped and Lara reported technical difficulties. This was the cue that the knowing members of each couple had been waiting for. They each dropped to one knee and asked for their partner's hand in marriage. Adam recalls, "It was such an amazing experience that we will never forget." 18 months later, they were married.

While their engagement was a life-changing experience, another for the husbands was welcoming their Christmas miracle, Baby K, via adoption on December 26, 2018. She was just two days old. Here's their story.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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