Gay Dad Life

After 640 Days in Foster Care, a Boy Joins a Forever Family of 2

Ramon Casanova always wanted to be a dad. He was raised in a single parent household by his mother and knew that one day he'd become the father figure he yearned for. Ramon recently shared his inspiring story with us about how he became a dad to boy who had spent 640 days in foster care. Here's how Ramon and AJ became a forever family of two, in Ramon's own words.


I always knew that no matter what happened in my life, my main purpose was to be someone's dad. I remember my best friend telling me that being a parent is what I was meant to do and that I shouldn't let anything stop me. That's who I am, when I want something I don't let anything stop me. I will keep going until I achieve all of my dreams, one by one.

At the time, I worked for the child protection agency in my state. It turns out that was the biggest obstacle of my entire adoption journey since working there meant I wasn't able to become a foster parent. I was only allowed to adopt select home children, which made it difficult because I was employed by that same program for two years. Many of my colleagues, friends, and coworkers felt like it would be a conflict of interest to match me with a child, making it very difficult for me to get matched in the state where I live.

Knowing this, I tried to go on being employed by the child protection agency, hoping to be matched outside of my state. Sadly, I came to realize that many states were conservative, and because I was a single gay male, I was passed over many times. One day, I was selected by a grandma for her two grandchildren, a 4-year-old boy and a little 2-year-old girl. But my manager at the time denied my application. I felt defeated. I decided to take a break at that point because the experience left me feeling very depressed. I went to San Francisco with my best friend and tried to distract myself from what was happening at home.

When I came back, a friend told me about his niece who was thinking of choosing me to adopt her unborn baby through a private adoption. The situation seemed promising, and the family even threw me a gender reveal party. Paying lawyer and adoption agency fees as well as having my home filled with gifts, I felt really optimistic that this was my child.

I met the child in the hospital the day he was born, held him, fell in love, and took photos of him. Then on the next day the mother delivered the heartbreaking news: she had changed her mind. There I was, faced with another failed adoption. I tried so hard to keep my head on straight, but it took some time for myself to regain some strength.

After another trip, this time to visit family in Arizona to escape my reality, I tried again and I was matched with a child in New York, but again it didn't work out. So I came to the point where I knew something had to give. I had to figure something out because I knew this wasn't working. That's when I made the decision to leave my career after 10 years so that I could really achieve my goal and become a dad. Leaving my employment with the child protection agency of my state, granted me the opportunity to have foster children placed in my home which I was unable to do before as an adoption specialist. And so I began my journey as a single gay foster parent.

Seven days after I left my job, I was blessed with an amazing dream of mine, AJ, a 3-year-old beautiful boy. As soon as he walked through my door, I knew there was something special about him, and I think he knew that when he walked into my home, this was his forever home. I was his fifth placement due to his behavior. AJ could sometimes show aggression which was caused by his own experience of pain and trauma.

While things may have seemed easy, they weren't. We experienced a lot of ups and downs, went through therapy, and shared many teachable moments. Looking back, it was all definitely worth it. Every sleepless night, every hug or cry for commitment. I know that AJ was worth it since now he has his forever home.

A few weeks in, I decided to contact his biological mother, his grandmother and his biological half-sister to arrange visitation. I agreed to supervise these visits alone with AJ to make sure that he felt connected with his biological family. To this day his sister is still a part of us and we see her about once a month. His biological mom, when she can, calls us, and she chose me to be his parent when she signed over her parental rights. For this, I will forever be grateful because I know she made the hardest decision of her life even if it was the best decision for her son. I will never take that for granted.

As long as it's in an age appropriate manner (which it continues to be), I try to keep his relationship with his mother open, as much as I possibly can. Whenever we can I talk to him about her struggles in an age-appropriate manner, and he enjoys her phone calls and he loves that I send her tons of pictures and videos. It's difficult for his biological family to call him everyday so we make the best out of the situation. AJ's biological dad is unknown.

I've fostered three other children through our journey: a 4-year-old boy was reunited, a 2-year-old princess was replaced, and I continue to foster a baby girl who I've had since she was 4 months old. AJ loves them all. Often times he would be upset and sad when they would visit their biological families. We would talk about it and I would tell him that he's mine, and that was always my answer to him which always made him smile.

Fast forward to today, AJ (now 4 years old) is doing amazing in school! He's thriving, he's thoughtful, he's smart, he's kind, and he truly has a heart of gold and a smile that can light up anyone's day. When you think of where he was emotionally compared to the way he is today, shows just how amazing he is. I was his fifth placement. He knew I was different, and we both knew I would never give up on him. He was meant for me, and I was meant for him.

Although being a single parent is very difficult at times, I know everything that I've gone through in my adoption journey these last four years was worth it. AJ spent 640 in foster care, and on October 17, he became my son forever. I thank God for my family and friends who have supported me throughout my journey. He had it all planned out, and I'm forever grateful because now I truly understand why it never worked out the other times. I finally have achieved what I wanted and what I've longed for - to be a father. I am a lucky person because my kids are my everything. AJ is a resilient child and deserves everything I do for him and much much more. He is an inspiration to all.

Please take this from my story: if nothing else, whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, single, married, divorced or whatever your circumstances are, you can change someone's life. You can be that person for a child. If it is in your heart and soul that you can love unconditionally, then don't let anything stop you from achieving your dream. I can finally say I have my forever son, and he was worth every struggle, every sacrifice, and every obstacle I've experienced.

Love conquers all and all it takes is love. Please...follow your dreams and thank you for reading our story.

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Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

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Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

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Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

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David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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