Foster/Foster-Adopt

Adopted Himself, This Gay Man and His Husband Looked to the Foster Care System to Start Their Family

"I was adopted myself and had an amazing upbringing," shared Taylor, who became a gay dads along with husband Michael through the California Foster Care System. "I knew I wanted to do that for other children."

"It has changed drastically in the most inspiring and positive way," replied Taylor McGregor, when asked how life had changed since fatherhood. "We have learned to stop and take moments … we find ourselves spending more time as a family and less time on our phones and iPads!" Since 2016, Taylor and his husband, Michael Crocker have been proud dads to Jack through the California foster care system. Here's how they became a forever family.


Taylor and Michael met through Michael's cousin over 6 years ago. Even before their first date, they knew that the other wanted kids, thanks to some super sleuthing from Michael's cousin. Their preferred path to fatherhood? Adoption. "I was adopted myself and had an amazing upbringing," shared Taylor, "I knew I wanted to do that for other children."

Taylor was adopted at birth through private adoption. "My parents never hid the fact that I was adopted, they always shared my story, which made me appreciate them even more." Every year on his birthday, his mother would get him to go to his room and read a laminated letter from his birth mother and take a moment to think about her. "It wasn't until I was older that I realized how selfless and amazing that was," said Taylor.

Before they began their journey, they spoke with another same-sex couple who went through foster-adopt and after speaking with them they knew that was the path they wanted to pursue. The couple lives in Los Angeles, California, and went through the Foster Family Agency in California. "It took about us about six months to get certified and our home study approved … The whole process was very smooth, we never felt like we were just on our own," said Michael.

In August 2016, the newly-licensed foster parents received a call about a 2 and a half-year-old boy named Jack. The first two visits they had with him were so everyone could get to know one another. Then they had a few overnight visits, which turned into getting Jack into their home as soon as possible. "He was born addicted to meth, and later diagnosed with autism," said Taylor. "He barely spoke, and when he did it was just baby jargon, and wasn't potty trained." The foster dads remember Jack being terrified of water, bathtubs, showers, anything with water. He'd been in foster care since birth, but the dads knew their home would be Jack's forever. "From the first time meeting Jack, we knew he was our son," said Taylor.

It would be many months before Jack's adoption was finalized, during which time there was a chance that he'd be placed back with his biological family. "It was a nerve-racking time," said Michael, "but we just kept loving him and kept thinking positive."

18 months after Jack came to live with them, his adoption was finalized and the dads described the day as "pure joy and love!" The dads are even on the waiting list to become foster dads again! "Any day now!" shared Taylor enthusiastically.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Adoption for These Dads Was Like a "Rollercoaster" But Well Worth the Ride

After multiple scam attempts, bizarre leads, and a birth mom's change of heart, Jason and Alex finally became dads.

Photo credit: Dale Stine

Every gay man who pursues fatherhood fights for their right to become a dad. They've had to keep going even when at times it's seemed hopeless. Jason Hunt-Suarez and Alex Suarez's story is no different. They had their hearts set on adoption; overcame multiple scams, some very bizarre leads, a birth mother's change of heart at the 11th hour, their adoption agency going bankrupt, and tens of thousands of dollars lost along the way. But after a long, turbulent, and heart-wrenching three-year-long journey, it was all worth it.

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Salt Lake Gay Couple Behind Viral Wedding Proposal Become Foster Dads

They've gone viral, appeared on Ellen, and were married by Queen Latifa. What can top all that? Fatherhood.

Photo credit: Tiffany Burke, Follow Your Art Photography.

Over 5 years ago, you might remember seeing an amazing proposal that took place in a Home Depot in Utah. With the help of close friends and family, Spencer organized an incredible flash mob to sweep Dustin off his feet. If you did see it, you're one of the 14 million viewers who did. (If you have been living under a rock, you can see the video below!)

The fiancés quickly became an overnight sensation thanks to this unbelievably romantic stunt. They even appeared on Ellen and were given engagement gifts. (You know you've made it once Ellen starts giving you stuff.) Dustin and Spencer were also part of a symbolic wedding ceremony with many other couples who were married during the 2014 Grammy's event, by Queen Latifa, while Macklemore sang "Same Love."

And for their next act? Fatherhood.

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9-Year-Old Girl Starts Successful Jewelry Line With Help of Gay Dads

Riley Petersen is 9 (!) and already a Creative Director, with the help of her gay dads

Riley Kinnane-Petersen is 9 years old, enjoys playing tennis, being with friends, has a pet cat, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two dads, John Petersen and William Kinnane. She's also the official Creative Director of a successful jewelry line she founded with the help of her dads. Two years ago, John even quit his day job to assist in the day-to-day operations of the jewelry company.

What began as a long road to adoption for William and John, has become a thriving creative business, and more importantly a family.

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Change the World

Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

5 Pics of Ricky Martin In Newborn Baby Bliss

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Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

Fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker are the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine

I literally never thought I'd see the day. Literally.

Gay fathers on the cover of Parents Magazine! Gay fathers being celebrated in a "main stream" publication about being parents. Gay fathers!

I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone. A massive cultural milestone.

Sure, gay dads have come a long way in being accepted in our popular culture, but to my eye we've never been on the cover of a big popular parenting magazine celebrating our parenting skills. As if we are the norm.

We are now - thanks to Parents Magazine.

This is a particular milestone for me because I have a bit of a history with the magazine and with parenting publications in general. My first job out of grad school was in brand marketing at Johnson's Baby Products where I did indeed run advertising in this particular magazine. Back then though we only featured married, straight couples. There were no other kinds of parents to feature back in the day! And if I'm to be really honest, they were generally white, married, straight couples.

I distinctly remember one photo shoot where I forgot to put a wedding ring on the "husband's" finger and we had to reshoot it. No photoshop back then!

Now admittedly this was before I was a dad and before I was out, but as the years went by and I embraced my own journey as a gay dad, there were no role models or pop culture markers to say that I (and other gay dads) were accepted. There were no Andy Cohens publicly making baby announcements. We were alone on our parenting.

It was hard. There was a constant barrage of straight parenting norms that constantly reminded us that we were different.
Not any more! Being a gay dad, or any dad, is now simply being a parent. A good parent. A loving parent. And we have Parents Magazine to thank for the reminder and endorsement, with hopefully more to come.

And I can't help but think, and actually know, that this kind of normalization will inspire the next generation of gay dads who will simply accept, without hesitation, that fatherhood as a gay man is a real, accepted, and normal option.

Bravo!

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