Gay Dad Life

Talking About Adoption With Your Child

Advice for families from adoptive parents to answer adoption-relation questions.

Growing up with two fathers can present children with obstacles to overcome in public and with their peers at school. Over the course of their childhood, these kids will learn the best ways to handle social interactions regarding their family composition. Some adoptive families have provided us with advice for parents and their children to answer adoption-related questions.


When someone makes a comment quickly in passing, it is easy for the child to simply reply that they are adopted and have two dads, end of story. But remember, the younger the child, the more open they are. Therefore, it is important to prepare your child as much as possible for these situations from an early age.

Children are naturally curious, so questions about their family and background will usually come up on their own. This is an excellent opportunity for quality communication within the household. If another child asks yours about them having a mother, teach your child that they have a “birth mom" but the parents they live and spend time with are their two dads. Many kids will accept this answer and not think too much about it. Others will push for more information.

The questions you get in public may vary based on your geographical area, but it is usually obvious which questions are meant to be hostile and judgmental. Always let your children know that if they ever feel uncomfortable in a situation, they don't have to answer any questions and try to change the subject.

Questions aren't always about where a child's “mom" is. In a transracial adoption, other complex issues can arise. Always do your best to prepare your child from an appropriate developmental age for when this subject may come up. It maybe be a simple answer such as, “not all families look the same," or something of that nature

Questions at school about adoption

It is easy for a child to understand their adoption, where they come from, and what being gay means while they are in their home environment. Schools and other similar settings can provide a tougher atmosphere for a child to explain this. One way Open Arms Adoption recommends discussing adoption positively with their children from a young age is by reading them adoption-related books.

The best way to teach your kids how to handle questions around other children is to give them a few simple lines to answer queries. The easiest line to answer a question with is simply, “I have two dads." It is easy to understand why other children are curious about their friend and classmate's home life, so the key is to make it as easy as possible for them answer. As a child gets older, that is when things become more detailed.

Gay adoption friendly resources

When going through the adoption process, it may be helpful to utilize gay adoption friendly groups and resources. Having support can make the process much easier.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are two organizations that offer specific resources and directories. Finding a local group for Rainbow Families is also a great resource to use.

Luckily, in recent years many adoption agencies such as Open Arms Adoption Network have become LGBT competent, and it is much easier for same-sex couples to go through the adoption process. Many local adoption agencies hold social outings for adoptive families. This provides a great opportunity to build community with one another, especially for the children.

There are also many ways to connect with other gay dads who have adopted through groups on social media. This offers them the opportunity to share experiences and advice with one another, and is a great tool to connect with other parents who are living an adoption just like yours.

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.

For more on adoption:

Adoption Glossary: Terms Every Adoptive Parent Needs to Know

Path to Gay Fatherhood: The Adoptive Dad

Thinking About Adoption But Don't Know Where to Start?

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

How One Failed Adoption Turned Into Two Successes for These Dads

Joe and Roberto were heartbroken after a birth mother decided against working with them. But fate (and perseverance!) would soon change their luck — twice over!

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.

Keep reading...
News

Adopting Dogs Improves Gay Couples' Relationships, Says Adorable Study

In what may be a "pre-curser to parenthood," 56% of gay and bi couples reported spending more time with their partners after adopting a dog.

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.

There was, however, one clear downside to pet ownership mentioned in the study — 17% of respondents said they have less sex now that they're sharing a bed with their pup.

Change the World

Gay Dads and Their Kids Speak Out for National Adoption Day

This National Adoption Day, we interviewed several gay dads — and their kids — about what adoption means to them

National Adoption Month is celebrated throughout November, and National Adoption Day is today, Saturday November 23. It began in 2000 and is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Across the United States, D.C. and Puerto Rico, events are held to finalize the adoption of thousands of children in foster care.

In this feature post, we talked to families who came together through adoption. We also were able to ask the kids a few questions - from what they call their dads, to what adoption means to them, and what makes their families special.

Happy National Adoption Day!

Keep reading...
Politics

Supreme Court to Hear Major Case Concerning LGBTQ Foster Care Parents

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether cities are allowed to exclude tax-funded adoption agencies from foster care systems if they refuse to work with gay couples.

In 2018, city officials in Philadelphia decided to exclude Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with LGBTQ couples, from participating in its foster-care system. The agency sued, claiming religious discrimination, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously ruled against the agency, citing the need to comply with nondiscrimination policies.

The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, follows a 2018 Supreme Court decision regarding a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In that case, the court narrowly ruled that the baker bad been discriminated against, on religious grounds, by the state's civil rights commission. It did not decide the broader issue: whether an entity can be exempt from local non-discrimination ordinances on the basis of religious freedom.

The court — whose ideological center has shifted to the right since the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in fall 2018 — may choose to do so now. Advocates quickly called on the court to consider the potential impact on the more than 400,000 children currently in the foster care system:

"We already have a severe shortage of foster families willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these children," said Leslie Cooper, deputy director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. "Allowing foster care agencies to exclude qualified families based on religious requirements that have nothing to do with the ability to care for a child such as their sexual orientation or faith would make it even worse. We can't afford to have loving families turned away or deterred by the risk of discrimination."

"It is unconscionable to turn away prospective foster and adoptive families because they are LGBTQ, religious minorities, or for any other reason unrelated to their capacity to love and care for children," said HRC President Alphonso David. "We reject the suggestion that taxpayer-funded child welfare services should be allowed to put discrimination over a child's best interest. This case could also have implications for religious refusals that go far beyond child welfare. The Supreme Court must make it clear that freedom of religion does not include using taxpayer funds to further marginalize vulnerable communities."

The court may choose to override a 1990 decision, Employment Division v. Smith, which created the current standard for carving out religious exemptions. In that case, the court ruled that laws that target a specific faith, or express hostility towards certain beliefs, are unconstitutional — but this standard has long been abhorred by religious conservatives, who think it doesn't offer enough protections for religions. If the court does overrule Smith, it could have far-ranging consequences. " As noted on Slate, "it would allow anyone to demand a carve-out from laws that go against their religion, unless those laws are 'narrowly tailored' to serve a 'compelling government interest.'"

The four members of the court's conservative wing — Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh —have all signaled an openness to reconsider Smith. The ruling's fate, then, likely rests in the hands of the court's new swing vote, Chief Justice Roberts.

For more, read the full article on Slate.

Gay Dad Life

Dads Tell Us Their 'Gayest Moment Ever' as Parents

We may be dads — but we're still gay, damnit! And these "gayest moments ever," sent to us from our Instagram community, prove it.

Did your child know all the lyrics to Madonna songs by age 3? Do your kids critique all the red carpet lewks from the Tony Awards? Do you often have baby food, diapers, sparkling white wine, gourmet appetizer, and fresh cut flowers in your shopping cart — all in one trip? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you just might be... a gay dad.

We asked the dads in our Instagram community to share their gayest moments as a dad, ever, and their responses were just as hilarious as they were relatable.

Here's a great way to start the week...

Keep reading...
News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Keep reading...
Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse