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.


Jason (left) and Alex

Together 10 years, married for four, Jason and Alex live in Miami, Florida. Jason is in retail management and Alex is a middle school teacher. Although there was a time when they flirted with the idea of becoming dads through surrogacy, after attending an adoption seminar they knew that they wanted to adopt. But making that decision was the easiest part of their journey.

After becoming licensed adoptive parents in 2014, Jason and Alex were placed into a waiting pool with other parents-to-be, and signed with the adoption agency IAC. In 2015, an "emotional scammer" sent them messages via an online site to match potential adoptive parents with their birth mothers. "It was mostly talking through email and text, then some calls for a few weeks," explained Jason. "She sent us doctor's notes and sonograms of her 'pregnancy.'" It was on one of these sonograms that the dads noticed an irregularity: it was dated 2012. "We confronted her about it and she accused us of being heartless towards her." The dads were forced to block her and hit restart on their path.

They encountered something very similar in June 2016. The connection lasted a month, before the birth mom disappeared. That year they also received other very strange calls: one from a woman who wanted to create a child the "old fashioned way." The dads-to-be were quick to block the connection.

In October of that year, the dads were successfully matched with an expectant birth mom. They were ecstatic!

But then, on January 31st, 2017, Alex and Jason, along with so many other folks waiting to adopt, heard news indirectly that their agency was filing for bankruptcy. At first they were shocked and convinced that they'd misunderstood the news shared by a friend who they'd met during their adoption process. But then they received confirmation from their counselor. "We were shocked and scared because at that point we were matched with an expectant birth mom and were now in limbo," said Alex.

On the advice of others, they contacted an adoption attorney in Miami, who had come highly recommended. "The thought of losing almost $30,000 to the agency and now having to come up with another $10,000 to finish the adoption was numbing but we had to do what we needed to in order to make it all work out," said Jason. "It wasn't until later that the anger kicked in, but what kept us moving was our birth mother at the time, and that we were in a better place than hundreds of others."

The day before the excited dads-to-be were going to travel to where their birth mom was giving birth, they received a devastating call at 3 in the morning: their birth mom was incredibly sorry, but she had decided to keep the baby.

"That was worse than the agency going bankrupt because at that point we were lost," said Jason. "We understood her decision and always knew that was a risk but it made Alex want to stop the whole process."

But Jason wasn't ready to give up. He dug into his retirement fund and savings, and came up with an additional $20,000 to start the adoption process from scratch with their new attorney. Three weeks later, they received a call that would change their story forever.

Jason and Alex's new birth mother was in Arizona and due in July. Although the husbands were wary of the additional travel due to the added expense, they jumped at the opportunity. They decided to keep it a secret until the day the birth mother signed the relinquishment papers.

Jason and Alex reached out to a lesbian couple, Holly and Dawn, whom they had met through IAC and knew lived in Arizona. Holly and Dawn had been successfully matched a year earlier. For the month that Jason and Alex were in Phoenix, the wives went out of their way to make the new dads feel welcome and at home. "They helped us find an Airbnb on the block where they lived, they gave us their pack and play, invited us to their home for dinner, and even threw us an adoption celebration party!" said Jason. This fellow adoptive parent friendship meant so much to Jason and Alex, something they'll be forever grateful for, and they've vowed to do the same for other adoptive families back in Miami.

On July 16, 2017, their son Aiden was born. Aiden's birth mother decided to have a closed adoption with the option for her to make it open at her discretion. (Although there has been no contact as of yet, the dads are still hopeful that one day Aiden will have a relationship with his birth family.)

When Jason and Alex returned to Miami, they came home as a family of three.

The weekends have changed considerably for the husbands as their first priority is now Aiden and doing family orientated activities. "I never knew I could have this different kind of love," said Jason. "My heart is so full."

Although the journey was emotionally and financially draining, the dads are so happy they kept going. "Don't give up," said Alex. "If your heart is telling you to go for it, then go for it."

"Be financially ready and emotionally ready for a roller coaster ride," added Jason. "It was so tough wondering if and when it would happen but let me tell you, when I look at him, I can say it's all worth it and all the pain goes away."

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Change the World

How "Easy" Is It, Really, for Gay Men to Become Dads?

It's never been easier for gay men to become dads, but a recent Washington Post article, which includes interviews with four gay parents, gives voice to some of the challenges that persist.

In recent weeks, with reports like this one in eWire.News, and famous gay dads gracing the cover of Parents Magazine for the first time, a perception is growing that it's now "easy" for gay men to be dads now. To examine this idea, Washington Post recently interviewed four gay men who have become fathers at some point in the past 10 years to examine their experiences. What they found is that, yes, it's easier than ever before for gay men to become dads. But we still face many more barriers than our straight counterparts.

None of these barriers will be news to any gay man who has become a father. But it's helpful that major publications like the Washington Post are now starting to recognize and give voice to them.

The first "finding" from their conversations is that gay men need more "money in the bank" that straight people. With the exception of adoption through foster care, "the financial costs are often tantamount to buying a car or even a house outright," the author notes.

The article also notes that gay men--and fathers in general--are given less paternity leave in the United States on average than many other countries. One of the dads interviewed for the piece, who adopted his sone through foster care, said he could only afford to take two weeks of paternity leave, which was " too short," he said. His son "struggled to see me as the paternal figure — I was just the guy who went to work and came home from work later. That's a struggle for most dads whether gay or straight — but I wish I had gotten more time just to bond with him."

Gay dads also must do more "emotional heavy lifting," the author notes, noting that many attend therapy for many months before taking the plunge. "We don't come to parenting by accident," another dad interviewed in the piece said. "We come to it by way of a lot of money, and with great intentionality. That is the commonality among gay dads with children."

A final common experience to many of the gay dads interviewed in the piece were annoyances dealing with strangers. "The thing that has been the most difficult are strangers who don't understand," one of the dads said. "They see us out with our son and we don't fit into their little box of what a family looks like. I've been asked whether Jeffrey and I mixed our sperm together in a cup. And that's rude, but as our son gets older, he is being shaped by a certain narrative about who he is."

Read the whole article here.

Sponsored

"A New Adventure": Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Grew in January!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats dads!

We are also excited to announce that this post is brought to you by Choice Network in Ohio. Choice Network is a national leader in LGBTQ adoption. They have a goal of 50% of their families being created with LGBTQ people. "It is our core value that love makes a family." We're thrilled to be partnering with Choice Network to offer our congrats to dads whose families grew this month!

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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.

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Breaking with Older Generations,  Most LGBTQ Millenials Say They Want Kids

According to new research by the Family Equality Council, the number of LGBTQ parents is expected to rise dramatically in the coming years

According to the LGBTQ Family Building Survey, recently released by the Family Equality Council, the majority of young LGBTQ say they are interested in becoming parent. This marks a dramatic shift when compared with the attitudes of older generations.

Among the survey's findings:

  • 63% of LGBTQ Millennials (aged 18-35) are considering expanding their families, either becoming parents for the first time, or by having more children
  • 48% of LGBTQ Millennials are actively planning to grow their families, compared to 55% of non-LGBTQ Millennials, a gap that has narrowed significantly in comparison to older generations
  • 63% of LGBTQ people planning families expect to use assisted reproductive technology, foster care, or adoption to become parents, a significant shift away from older generations of LGBTQ parents for whom the majority of children were conceived through intercourse.

Despite the expected increase in LGBTQ parents, most providers, they note, "do not typically receive training about the unique needs of the LGBTQ community; forms and computer systems are not developed with LGBTQ families in mind; insurance policies are rarely created to meet the needs of LGBTQ family building; and discrimination against LGBTQ prospective parents by agencies and providers remains widespread."

The Family Equality Council goes on to recommend that family building providers "from reproductive endocrinologists and obstetricians to neonatal social workers, family law practitioners, and child welfare workers" begin preparing now to welcome future LGBTQ parents.

Read the full report here.

Change the World

Gay Dads More 'Equitable' in Parenting Roles Than Straight Dads, Says New Study

Unmoored by gender roles, gay dads take equal parts in being "playmates, caregivers, protectors, role models, morality guides,

A new study conducted by Éric Feugé from the Université du Québec à Montréal observed 46 families, made up of 92 gay dads and their 46 children over a period of seven years.

The study, which Feugé says is the first of its kind, analyzed the roles gay dads take in raising their kids and found the way they parent is 'very equitable'.

'We learned that gay fathers' sharing of tasks is very equitable,' the researcher told the Montreal Gazette, who added there was a "high degree of engagement" by both gay dads in all types of parental roles. "What's really interesting is that they don't conform to roles of conventional fathers. They were able to redefine and propose new models of cultural notions of paternity and masculinity."

Unmoored by gender roles, gay dads take equal parts in being "playmates, caregivers, protectors, role models, morality guides,' the author said.

Read the full review of the research here.

Change the World

Don't F*ck With This F*g

After a homophobic encounter on the subway, BJ questions what the right response is, in an era of increasing vocal rightwing activists

On February 1, 2019, Frank and I went out on a date night, something we haven't done in a while. Our son was sleeping over at his grandparents for the night and we made plans with our friends to meet them for dinner downtown. We decided to save some money and take the subway into town instead of taking a taxi.

We boarded the subway and sat down opposite a couple, a man and woman. I noticed they looked at us as we boarded the train and began whispering to each other. Frank and I were talking to each other when I heard the man uttering under his breath, "F*$%ing faggots."

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These pics of gay dads smooching will warm the hearts of even the biggest V-Day skeptics

You might quietly (or loudly) oppose the commercialism and celebration of Valentine's Day, but let's just take a moment and rejoice in these beautiful signs of affection, shared between 14 awesome two-dad families. Cynicism gone? Good.

Happy Valentine's Day, dads! We hope you have a lovely day with your kids, your significant other, and / or friends. Because who doesn't love love!?!

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