Gay Dad Life

A Ballet Dancer, a Lawyer, and Two Adorable Kids

John D. Lam and John G.F. Ruggieri (JR) live in Boston, MA with their two sons, Gio and Santino. John is a principal dancer in the Boston Ballet, and JR as a lawyer. They've been married since September 2011. We caught up with the dads to see how fatherhood has been treating them!

How did the two of you meet? I was crossing the street to drop off my laundry while JR was in his car and stopped to allow me to cross the cross walk. I didn't think of it, just thought it was nice for a Bostonian to yield to a pedestrian. I then walked across the street to get a coffee and wait outside for my laundry to be done. The car then circled around, and double parked right in front of me, and JR came out and sat right next to me and introduced himself. Unbeknownst to me he was attending a previewing showing at the ballet, and I happen to be dancing that evening, so it was all too close to home. With JR's persistence, I gave him a dinner date, and the rest was history.

Tell us about your path to parenthood. We both wanted kids in our lives, our main object was to create a family unit we could call our own. We explored adoption and surrogacy at the same time, and ended up taking the path of surrogacy. We felt that for us, we were in a place where we could jump at the choice to try surrogacy and see if we won the jackpot through the process of it all. Thankfully, luck was on our side. It was a relatively fast and smooth process for us to have two beautiful healthy boys!

What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? I think there were obstacles that challenged us both as a married couple, not just as a same-sex couple raising kids. The "traditional family unit" can be a challenge when determining what "roles" to take as parents. In our family there is one daddy and one papa. No female parent in our family, so it was sometimes hard for people to realize by asking a simple question like "Who's the mommy? Who's the daddy?" it could cause a handful of emotions for us. We are challenging the societal view of what is "supposed" to be right. Educating the masses was the way to go, and overcoming that obstacle became easier and easier as we grasped fatherhood by the bull's head and went with our intuition as fathers. There are so many broken families out there, so many shades of what family is. It made me learn more about myself as a gay man married and raising kids. This obstacle allowed me to be a better advocate in allowing the uneducated see that love is truly love, and a family is a family.

How has your life changed since you became a father? Being a father has always been a path I wanted to follow. Growing up, I was always surrounded by family, and I remember how much love I received by being in my family. I wanted to have the opportunity to raise kids of my own and create my own family traditions and stories. I would say I was young when I had kids, 28 years old, but it will never be the perfect time to have kids in my book. We wanted kids, and the process was brisk so we just went with it all. The hardest part for me is the social aspect, when friends assume just because you have kids, that your life is just too swamp. It is, but I am a planner, and if you want to do drinks and dinner, I just need some notice. The assumption that one's life is over because new life came into the world baffles me.

John L (left) and JR with Gio and Santino

Was there ever a moment that either of you experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? My husband and I were fortunate to position ourselves financially to go through surrogacy. If it weren't for planning ahead, surrogacy or adoption would be a financial burden that wouldn't allow us to seek creating the family we have now.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? I have yet to encounter anything that would treat our family differently then those that are single or heterosexual families raising kids. Thankfully we reside in a state that is pro-gay, so I don't sense anything differently. When we travel abroad, I wonder if others may view or treat us differently, but I have yet to experience this.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Do it with the utmost dream of fulfilling your goal, no matter the stones placed in your path that you must jump around to create that family. The process to surrogacy is not an easy one, but if you continue to have the goal, then it will happen. We kept reminding ourselves whenever there was a stressful situation of our goal of creating a family.

How have your families responded? Coming from a Vietnamese family and my husband an Italian family, our cultures were similar in terms of how you're supposed to raise a child. Blending these cultures, and blending our two families has been great. Thankfully we have had positive feedback from our own parents, but they are still shocked that we are raising kids without a "female" counterpart. I think showing them how great our kids are is helping teach people from their generation that anything is possible. To this day, my mother is still shocked that we are raising two boys… all I do is smile, and let the kids speak for themselves.


Fill out this short survey to be featured in an upcoming family profile!

Read More:

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!

And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

A Dream Becomes Reality, After a Men Having Babies Conference

New Yorkers David and Brian said their dreams of fatherhood crystalized only after receiving a "ton of information" at a Men Having Babies conference.

New Yorkers David F.M. Vaughn 39, and Brian Becker, 37, are new dads. Over the past three months, the two most important things they've learned as fathers is "patience, and how to swaddle LIKE A CHAMP!" David and Brian chose surrogacy as their path to fatherhood, but making that decision was one of the more difficult parts of their journey. Brian's siblings are adopted, and while they still want to make adoption part of their family journey, certain opportunities arose that made their surrogacy decision easier. Brian's sister enthusiastically offered to be their gestational surrogate, and they discovered more about the process with the help of Men Having Babies (MHB).

But let's jump back to the beginning of their story.

Keep reading... Show less

Your Foster Adopt Questions Answered by a Foster Adopt Dad

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about being a foster dad — and an experienced foster dad responded.

Dad Joseph Bostick (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a foster and adoptive dad with our Instagram community via a question and answer session - did you feel nervous at the beginning? How did you start the process? Did you always know that you wanted to foster older kids?

Read Joseph's responses below.

Keep reading... Show less

Gay Surrogacy in the U.S. for International Dads

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy breaks down the process of surrogacy for gay men outside of the United States

Written by Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, who has been helping international gay men become dads for over two decades.

Becoming a gay dad through a surrogacy agency in the U.S. – when you live outside of the United States – can feel overwhelming. You may have questions such as: Why should I come all the way to the US for surrogacy? What do I need to know as an international intended parent? How do I get my baby home?

We spoke with Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation who has been working with international gay parents for over two decades. Circle Surrogacy was founded by a gay dad and lawyer, and is the most successful surrogacy agency with a full legal team on staff who are experts working with international parents.

Keep reading... Show less
Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse