Gay Dad Family Stories

A Gay Dad's Long Journey to Find Happiness

After being abandoned as a child, a gay man becomes a dad, finds love, and is welcomed back by his family

When Juan came out at the age of 15, his family responded in a horrible way: They disowned him and kicked him out of his home. He became homeless for a while, until a family in his neighborhood took him in. They were a family of eight - mom, dad and six kids - before Juan moved in, but they became his family and took care of him. As soon as he finished high school, Juan moved from Texas to Alaska, hoping to start his life anew.


Juan and his daughter

For Juan, the painful experience of being disowned and abandoned made something very clear: If he wanted a family, he would have to create his own. He set his sights on fatherhood. He realized soon that two common paths to gay fatherhood, adoption and surrogacy, were out his reach; they were too expensive. In Alaska, he became close friends with a woman. He told her he was gay and that parenthood was his dream; she wanted to help him fulfill his dreams. And so the two decided to create a baby for him. She would only help out with parenting every now and then. On July 3, 2010, Juan became a dad to a baby girl.

Juan and his daughter

Soon it became apparent that the birth mom had to play a much larger role in Juan's daughter's life than both she and Juan had foreseen. Whenever Juan was traveling for work, the baby needed a reliable caregiver. Moreover, fatherhood was a considerable financial burden to Juan; fortunately Juan's adopted family helped out a lot. Juan and the birth mom also struggled with the legal aspect of both being parents to their daughter. Despite their original plans, their division of parenting responsibilities had become something resembling co-parenting. In hindsight, Juan wished he had done more research and had been more prepared for the job. But by the time his daughter turned 9 months old, Juan, in effect, became the sole parent. Today, after many years of legal wrangling, Juan has been officially recognized as the sole parent.

Juan eventually moved back to Texas when his uncle told him his mother had cancer. "I decided that after two years of not speaking, it was enough, and so I moved back home to be with her," said Juan. Once he was back in Texas, the two worked on healing their fractured relationship. Juan joined the military when he returned to Texas, and his mother helped watched his daughter when he was away on service.

Tommy, Juan's daughter and Juan

Three years ago, when Juan was ordering from a taco truck, he met Tommy Espinoza. He and Tommy, a 36-year-old Shisedo account executive, hit it off immediately. The two fell in love and on a trip to Belize in 2017, Tommy asked Juan to marry him. The wedding is planned for November this year.

At first, it was difficult for Juan's daughter to welcome Tommy into her family. She was used to just her dad, and having a new parent required a big adjustment. But Tommy and Juan worked hard to tie their family together. Eventually the three settled into a groove, and now they are as close as can be. She is excited to be a flower girl at her dads' wedding in November.

Tommy, Juan and Juan's daughter

With serious plans to expand their family (one of the couple friends has agreed to be an egg donor!) and with a wedding around the corner, 2018 and beyond is looking very exciting for this family. The men are currently saving for surrogacy.

Although fatherhood has certainly come with hurdles and challenges, Juan, now a youth case worker, feels blessed to be the proud dad to his now 8-year-old girl. "My life is full of joy now and she's makes me work harder and really appreciate the smaller things in life," shared Juan.

The three-person family

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Gay Dad Family Stories

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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Gay Dad Family Stories

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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Gay Dad Family Stories

These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

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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.



Change the World

"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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Gay Dad Photo Essays

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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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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