Gay Dad Life

An Adoption Agency's Top Picks for Children's Books

Books are a great way for children to learn new things. The following list is made up of children’s books that Open Arms Adoption recommends to help kids explore the LGBT community and explain how some families are different, but also similar, to their own.


Daddy, Papa, and Me

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with his daddies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there's no limit to what a loving family can do together. Share the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children.

This children’s book is simple with a loaded message. The family consists of two dads and a young toddler. They do all the things any pair of parents would do. One of the daddies sews and the other teaches the toddler how to throw. By the end of the day, two worn out parents are sitting back to back against a tree while this toddler is still going strong.


And Tango Makes Three

This is the heartwarming true story of two penguins that were “a little bit different” from the other male penguins. At the zoo, they noticed they noticed each other instead of other female penguins.

At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo became inseparable. But, their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kind zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own. The zookeeper gave them a motherless egg to take care of. Thus, the penguin chick named Tango hatched from a fertilized egg and was given to the pining, bewildered pair. Tango became to be known as "the only penguin in the Central Park Zoo with two daddies.


King and King and Family

The queen made up her mind that it was time for the prince to marry and become king before the end of the summer. Many princesses came to visit but no one was quite right until another sweet prince came along.

Join newlyweds King Lee and King Bertie on their journey into the noisy jungle while wild animal families greet the kings. The travelers happily tramp through the wilderness and paddle down a river, observing the wildlife as they go. The kings soon have a strange feeling that something is following them. After returning home, they discover another stowaway in their suitcase–this time it's a young girl from the jungle that they joyfully adopt and everyone lives happily ever after.

The mixed-media collage illustrations are colorful with lots to look at on each page. Bertie's travel diary is reproduced on the book's centerfold, hinting at the surprise ending.


Some people have two Dads: Gay Families Some people have two Dads

Our society is changing. An increasing number of gay couples are having children through adoption and surrogacy. At some point, you should explain to your child about same-gender parents. This book can be used as an educational tool to help people understand that families come in a variety of different combinations.

Through the story of Daisy's birthday, readers learn about how her fathers met, fell in love and started their family.


A Tale of Two Daddies

A Tale of Two Daddies is a story told through a playground conversation between two children. The boy says he heard that the girl has two dads. The girl says that he is right. She has Daddy and Poppa. Practical questions follow true to a child’s curiosity.

In simple rhyming text, a boy asks her which of her dads helps her do certain things, from building a tree house to helping with homework. Some things her Poppa does. Some things her Daddy does. Some things both dads do, and sometimes neither one does it because she does it on her own. The bright, humorous, cartoon-like pictures show us the little boy and the little girl talking, shifting to pictures of her doing activities with her dads.

A Tale of Two Daddies is intended for 4 to 8 year-olds.  This book introduces a type of family increasingly visible in our society. Neither favoring nor condemning, this book reflects a child’s practical and innocent look at the adults who nurture and love her.


And here's four more books we've not shared before!

Who's in a Family?

Family is important, but who's in a family? Why, the people who love you the most! This equal opportunity, open-minded picture book has no preconceptions about what makes a family a family. There's even equal time given to some of children's favorite animal families. With warm and inviting jewel-tone illustrations, this is a great book for that long talk with a little person on your lap.

This book catalogues multicultural, modern family units, including those with single parents, lesbian and gay parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents. This is a great story to explore the dynamics of different kinds of families.


Pearl Power & The Girl with Two Dads

This story carefully and humorously addresses the subject of same-sex parents for children ages 4-7. In this story, a new girl named Matilda comes to Pear Power’s school and has two dads. Pearl thinks she is so cool and different from everyone else because of this, but quickly learns that Matilda’s family is just the same as everyone else’s! This lighthearted book easily shows how same-sex parents are “no big deal" and nothing to make a fuss over.


Daddy's Home (One Love Stories)

This is a story about a little girl who lives with her two fathers. One day she becomes very sad that her Daddy is away from home and so her Papa consoles her and explains the important work her Daddy is doing. This book shows how same-sex parents take on different roles in the house just like other families do.


Daddy's Wedding

Nick is a normal 10-year-old boy, but when Daddy and Daddy's roommate, Frank, decide to get married, Nick gets to do something extra special: play best man! Nick doesn’t think anything of this event because he believes his father should be able to marry whomever he loves


Open Arms Adoption is an agency serving individuals, children and seniors through all phases of the life cycle. With a commitment to supporting our community and helping to create safe, loving and permanent homes, we are proud to have facilitated over one thousand adoptions during our rich history. Every day we are grateful for our agency’s legacy in the community and every day we seek to build on that positive legacy by facilitating healthy, child-centered adoptions. 

Open Arms Adoption is also an HRC recognized agency, a leader in supporting and serving LGBT youth and families.


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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

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.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

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.

Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Entertainment

Amazon's New "Modern Love" Series Includes Episode on Open Adoption

The episode is loosely based on the New York Times "Modern Love" essay written by sex columnist and activist Dan Savage.

In 2005, Dan Savage, the gay sex columnist, contributed one of the most talked about essays for the Modern Love column in The New York Times. Better known for his acerbic wit and cutting political commentary, Savage exposed a more vulnerable side in this piece, sharing the highs, lows and everything in between that comes from the experience of pursuing an open adoption.

His son DJ's birth mother was experiencing what Savage called a "slo-mo suicide": homeless by choice, in and out of prison, and surrounded by drugs. Though Savage has chosen an open adoption so that DJ's birth mother would be a presence in his son's life, she often disappeared for months and sometimes years at a time without contacting the family, leaving their young son with lots of questions and no satisfying answers.

The piece ends on a heartbreaking note, with Savage simply seeking some sort of resolution. "I'm starting to get anxious for this slo-mo suicide to end, whatever that end looks like," he wrote. "I'd prefer that it end with DJ's mother off the streets in an apartment somewhere, pulling her life together. But as she gets older that resolution is getting harder to picture."

At the time, many interpreted Savage's story as a cautionary tale for those considering open adoptions. But in 2016, on the Modern Love Podcast, he asserted that was not his intention: "DJ's mom is alive and well," Savage said. "She's on her feet. She's housed. We talk on the phone occasionally. She and DJ speak on Mother's Day and on DJ's birthday." He added that he "would hate to have anyone listen to that essay or to read it — which was written at a moment of such kind of confusion and despair — and conclude that they shouldn't do the kind of adoption that we did," Savage said. "I think that open adoption is really in the best interest of the child, even if … it presents more challenges for the parents. So I encourage everyone who's thinking about adoption to seriously consider open adoption and not to be dissuaded by my essay."

Now, Savage's piece is getting the small screen treatment as one of 9 episodes included in Amazon Prime's adaption of the column. The episode inspired by Savage's essay, "Hers Was a World of One," contains some departures from Savage's original story — Savage's character, played by Fleabag's Andrew Scott, adopts a daughter rather than a son, for example, and the episode concludes closer to the upbeat note struck in the Podcast version of hist story than in the column.

Either way, we welcome any and all attention to the complexities of open adoption. Check out the episode (which also randomly includes Ed Sheeran in a couple scenes) and tell us what you think!

Gay Dad Life

Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

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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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.

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So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

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A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

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A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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