Gay Dad Family Stories

These Gay Dads, Both Raised in Adoptive Families, Are Strong Supporters of Open Adoption

After being raised in loving adoptive families, Anthony and Joselito choose adoption as their own path to parenthood

Anthony and Joselito met in 2010, after separately attending a Lady Gaga concert. Their connection was what they call "instant magic," they've been together ever since. Anthony, a teacher, and Joselito, a director of sales and marketing, quickly realized they shared a lot in common. Both men were raised in loving adoptive and guardian families, and had dreams to start a family of their own one day. About a year after they met, they began the process of researching the different pathways to creating a family: foster care, surrogacy, and adoption. In the end, they decided that adoption was the best fit for them.


The entire process was a lengthy and slow one, taking about two years. A few times they thought they were very close to becoming parents, having worked with the birth mother for over two months, only to have her, the birth father or birth relatives change their minds at the last moment. For the couple, it felt as if they were losing a child. Fortunately, they received crucial support from friends and family as well as from the adoption agency, Life Long Adoption.

But fatherhood was just around the corner for the couple, who matched with a birth mother who was scheduled to deliver a baby girl on January 3, 2018. Joselito and Anthony waited in the waiting area of the hospital all day and night. After a 22-hour delivery, Alyana was born the next day; a few minutes later, the men held the world's most beautiful little girl in their arms.

They felt but one overwhelming feeling: joy. They could think of nothing but their newborn daughter. All the painful memories, all the tears, the prayers, all the feelings of insecurity had led to this moment. Everything finally made sense.

Joselito took one month off from his job, staying in touch via email and phone; Anthony took two months off to take care of Alyana full time. They remember waking up in the middle of the night as "a pleasure": They loved making sure she was breathing, and not too hot or too cold.

The men started preparing for their daughter's arrival soon after her birth mother selected them, around Thanksgiving 2017. They even created a schedule for their new routine, allowing time for dropping off and picking up Alyana during workdays, setting aside personal time to go to the gym, meet with friends and family, and so on. All this preparation has made the transition from couple to family a pretty smooth one.

One thing they've learned: Always allow extra time, because there is always something unexpected that needs attention: a diaper needs changing, Alyana looking for a short nap or an extra bottle feeding.

Anthony and Joselito are strong supporters of open adoptions. They have a close relationship with their daughter's mother and hope that will continue.

"We feel it's really important for a child to know where they came from," said Anthony. "And if siblings are involved, they should have a relationship with them." Anthony's adoption, he explained further, was a closed one. He often had questions growing up, he says, that he wished could have been answered if he had contact with his biological parents. "It doesn't take away anything from the adoptive parents, even if sometimes they may feel that way," He said. "If anything it makes the relationship stronger."

Both men realize the unique perspective they bring to their family, having both come from adoptive or guardian families themselves. Anthony says he never had that feeling of being in an "adoptive" family; there were even moments he would forget that he was adopted at all because the love and support he received from his family. He says his other adopted brothers and sisters felt the same way. On Joselito's side, his biological mother and siblings were always around to make sure he was doing okay. Having a different family as guardian gave Joselito the opportunity to grow into a totally different environment and was able to have more opportunities.

Their biggest advice to aspiring dads is to never give up. The process requires time, money and organization, but with faith and a lot of patience anything is possible. Always remain positive!

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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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Gay Dad Family Stories

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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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Lawyer Friend Gave These Gay Dads the Best Gift Ever: A Free Adoption

Jason and Jarrod Gaughan were terrified of the eventual bill when a lawyer friend offered to handle their adoption. Turns out they didn't need to be

This is our adoption story.

After our failed attempt at fostering, my husband (Jarrod) and I (Jason) had given up hope on the possibility of having a child of our own. It wasn't until the summer of 2015 that our hope changed.

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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

He may be a superstar most of the year, but with a new baby girl at home, Ricky Martin is just a regular ol' dad deep in the throes of newborn baby bliss.

On January 1st, 2019 superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family.

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Gay Dad Life

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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Broadway Husbands Talk Eggs, Embryos and Exciting News

The husbands explain what is considered a good egg retrieval.

In their previous video, Broadway Husbands Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna shared that they found their egg donor. In this video, the dads-to-be discuss their embryo creation process. And - spoiler alert - there are now frozen Hanna-Shuford embryos, and the husbands are ready for their next step: finding a gestational carrier.

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