Gay Dad Life

"Don't Try to Be Perfect," Say These Adoptive Gay Dads

These adoptive gay dads were originally afraid they weren't "parenting material."

Tremaine Maebry and Roland Locher met several years before they began their relationship. Their paths crossed initially while Tremaine was in a relationship, and they didn't meet again till Tremaine moved to the north side of Chicago and discovered Roland was his neighbor. They've been together 9 years and were married in 2015.

It took awhile for Roland and Tremaine to go through the adoption process for both personal reasons and those out of their control. And even when their home study was approved in 2015, they waited a further 14 months before they were matched with their sons. In 2016, they adopted two biological brothers, Jaelon and Jason, who were, at the time, 7 and 9 years of age.

In Tremaine's own words, here's his family's story.


Tell us about your path to fatherhood. We created our family through adoption. We both came from big families. Initially Roland was skeptical about starting a family; even dating. As our relationship grew so did our desire to be parents.

Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. The biggest obstacle was each other. We didn't know if we were "parent material." Roland is 14 years older than me and I went where the job took me. So we had to make some life changes in order to mentally and physically prepare ourselves. For example, Roland works from home and manages his real estate holdings himself. I was laid off for about a year and didn't know if my next job would require extensive travel or long hours but we managed to get through that (with the help of some therapy and a real look at our relationship).

How has your life changed since you became a father? We were care-free; traveled when we wanted. Went out to bars and late-night dinners; slept late on the weekends, stayed in bed, etc. After the boys arrived, it was so different. Homework, sibling bickering, bed-time stories, school shopping, clothes shopping, school visits, etc. It took us by storm. Overnight it changed and it took a tremendous amount of adjusting. The hardest part was the emotional component. I was now emotionally tied to their well-being and overly cautious. What if someone tried to harm my kids, or they talked to strangers and something happened. I was scared. Still am...but I am a bit more relaxed but amazed how much these boys have changed me/us for the better.

What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? Patience and communication. When the boys arrived I spoke to them as adults - not on their level. It took some time for me to realize that I needed to develop a different style of communication and be patient with them when things go wrong (as they always do).

Was there ever a moment that you or Roland experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself. Never - I can honestly say that once we set on that path we remain focused to making that happen.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? I haven't seen that actually. At one time boarding a flight my partner was stopped as he tried to enter family boarding. We had to tell the airline representative that we were together (the boys parents). My partner is white, I am black and my kids are bi-racial (Black/Mexican).

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering the same path to parenthood? Don't short change yourself...Don't be perfect (or try to be). Follow your instincts...and once you have kids (especially with children who are are adopted) don't try to be their friend. First, be a parent. Set the expectations, ensure they can meet them (the expectations), let them know the consequences and reinforce them when they are broken. It's difficult and it's agonizing at times but in order to gain their trust and respect, you have to be a parent first (rather than just a caretaker).

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? We are moving to Costa Rica in two years (summer of 2019). We want to show the boys a different lifestyle- not one inundated with video games, tv and other distractions. So we decided to make the move and start over together as a family.


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Gay Dad Family Stories

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Adoption was always the first choice for Joe Motowidlak and husband Roberto Martinez when it came to starting a family. They went the private adoption route, ended up with two different attorneys and had two very different adoption journeys, that lead to two daughters born within a couple of months to one another. Although Joe and Roberto wouldn't change a thing, they consider themselves incredibly fortunate to have the family that they have and are the proud dads with full hearts to their two infant daughters.

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As part of what may be the most adorable study you never knew you needed, pet-sitting website Rover.com found that gay and bi couples who adopt dogs reportedly boast stronger relationships as a result — 56% of gay and bi couples said they spent more time with their partners after adopting a dog. More than half of participants also said that owning a dog can help prepare couples for children.

Interestingly, gay and bi couples were also more likely to prepare for potential difficulties in their arrangements — 21% of gay and bi couples reported setting up a "pet-nup" agreement to determine custody of their new pup in case their relationship didn't last. Only 12% of straight couples, in contrast, did the same.

"You can outline the practicalities of what would happen in the event you split from your partner whether you have joint or sole custody," Rover.com dog behaviorist Louise Glazebrook told Australia's QN News. "It's a real tragedy to see breakups results in dogs needing to be re-homed.

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Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

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If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

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In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

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Your Marriage Should Be Gayer, Says the New York Times

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," lists the many insights LGBTQ marriages can offer straight ones.

According to a fascinating op-ed in the New York Times this week by Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," turns out the people convinced marriage equality — legal across the United States for five years now — would usher in the complete breakdown of civil society should be more worried about the health of their own marriages.

In the article, Coontz details the results of research that followed 756 "midlife" straight marriages, and 378 gay marriages, and found same-sex couples reporting the lowest levels of physiological distress — with male gay couples reporting the lowest. The reason for this, the author said, is pretty simple — misogyny. The idea that men and women should strive for parity in a relationship is still a fairly new idea, Coontz said, and traditional gender roles are still pervasive. Gay couples, meanwhile, are free from such presumptions, which often results in happier, healthier relationships.

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When it comes to time spent with children, men in straight marriages spent the least amount of time and the lowest proportion of "nonwork" time, with their children — while men in same-sex marriages spent just as much time with their children as women in a straight relationship. "The result?" Coontz writes, "Children living with same-sex parents experienced, on average, three and a half hours of parenting time per day, compared with two and a half for children living with a heterosexual couple."

Straight fathers devote the least amount of time — about 55 minutes a day — on their children, which includes things like physical needs, reading, playing, and homework. Gay mothers spent an additional 18 minutes each and straight mothers an additional 23 minutes. Gay fathers spent the most time with their children, the study found, an average of an additional 28 minutes a day.

Taken together, straight couples spend an average of 2 hours and 14 minutes on their children. Lesbian moms spend an additional 13 minutes, while gay men spend 33 more minutes than straight couples.

One factor, the author notes, that can help explain this difference is this: gay parents rarely end up with an unintended or unwanted child, whereas a full 45% percent of pregnancies in straight relationships in 2011 (the last year data is available) were unintended, and 18% were unwanted.

But right. Gay people shouldn't be parents.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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