Personal Essays by Gay Dads

"You May Wish You Had Started Today" Became the Rallying Cry for These Dads

This couple found their motivation to start the lengthy path towards parenthood from this inspiring quote

Guest post written by Christopher & Jonathan Arteza-Acosta

When my husband and I started dating in 2006, we shared several dreams in common. One of our most significant dreams was to start a family. This goal seemed so far off from where we were in our lives at the time. Both in our twenties, we were living in Florida and working jobs that did not seem to align with our ideas of our future together. A few years later, and feeling like we needed to move on to the next phase of our lives, we took our queue from a quote we had previously seen: "A year from now, you may wish you had started today."

So in 2012, we were inspired to finally make some changes and take action towards our goals. The first step was relocating to another part of the country with more opportunity, then finding better careers, getting married, owning a beautiful home, and lastly starting a loving family. This was not going to be easy, but being by each other's side and supporting our common dreams together, hopefully we would soon make them a reality.


We packed up everything (including our two puppies) and moved to Colorado. Before long, we both found ideal careers in the healthcare industry with schedules allowing time to continue to pursue our goals. The first two parts of our plan were complete and now it was on to legally make our relationship official. We got married in 2013 with all of our friends and family by our side in a lovely ceremony surrounded by the Rocky Mountains off in the distance. Everything was coming together and we were more than half way towards our biggest dream of having children.

With our next goal of owning our perfect home in mind, we needed to make some financial changes. We downsized to a very small one bedroom studio apartment, and cut back on our spending in order to save. It did not take us long and in two short years we were able to move into our picture-perfect home. We were so thankful to have everything falling into place towards making our dreams come true and there was only one goal left – to start a wonderful family and fill our home with little feet and lots of love and laughter.

We initially thought this process was going to be easy. We've come this far right? In 2015, we signed a two-year nonrefundable contract with an adoption facilitator and was promised the match rate was 99% successful, fast, and more affordable than going through a licensed adoption agency. We were told that some couples were even matched within months! "Wow!" we said to ourselves. The thought of us being parents in a few short months made us so excited and we went to work putting together our baby's new room and collecting little things here and there to prepare. It is said that you're never completely ready to be parents, but we were determined to be as ready as we could be.

Unfortunately, we found out that our biggest dream wasn't as easy as we were told. We were matched a few times within the two years, with each time our matches falling through for different reasons followed by semi-encouraging responses from the facilitator that our time was coming and to just be patient. We did everything we could think of from hiring a videographer to visually tell our story so that prospective birth parents could connect with us, to asking friends and family to share our story wherever they could. We even had our story posted on online podcasts and publications including the Debt Free Guys, Forbes, and Huffington Post —all in hopes of making a connection somewhere to start our family. Two years had passed by so fast. Two years of staying positive, two years of making plans, and two years of thinking maybe today will be the day we will get the call!

Pretty soon however, our contract ended and we opted not to renew. Our hopefulness turned to disappointment. We were so upset and filled with grief. Did we make the right decision? Was this ever going to happen for us? Were we ever going to be dads? Was this dream just not in the cards? We hesitantly continued to move forward. We came this far and we were going to see our dreams through. After all, we were aware that some families had waited several years longer than us. We had worked separately with a local adoption agency called Adoption Choices of Colorado for our home studies and clearances and had formed a relationship with our social worker and thought we would try going through exclusively with them. We set up a call with the agency and completed all the necessary paperwork. Fortunately, they already had all of our home study information so moving forward with them was easier than anticipated. Everyone at the agency was very supportive and it was extremely refreshing considering the situation we had been in previously.

Within one month we finally received the call we had been waiting for over two years and really since we began our lives together. This was the moment all our previous efforts were for! A voice from the other end of the phone said "Congratulations, You are now Dads to a beautiful, healthy baby girl." Filled with emotion, we quickly prepared to bring our beautiful baby home. The next day, we met our sweet baby at the hospital along with the birthmother and the birthfather who were so kind and remarkable for what they had been through and the decision they were making. We held our daughter in our arms and she was so gorgeous and perfect and ours. Everyone said, when it's the right time and when it's our baby then it will happen and you don't really think too much about that statement until it actually does happen. Once we met our daughter, we couldn't imagine it any other way. She was meant to be our baby girl. All of our waiting was over and the timing was impeccable.

Then, seventeen months later, on a Wednesday while we were working away at home, we received another one of those remarkable calls, this time from our birth mother's social worker. "Are you boys ready for your daughter to be a big sister?" We could hardly believe what we were hearing. We took no time at all answering "YES!" and proceeded to get ready to bring our new little addition home to meet her older sister. It seemed our family was finally complete and all our dreams had come true. We were patient and determined and we made it happen.

Today, we are Daddy and Papa to two beautiful perfect little girls who make our lives whole. It definitely wasn't an easy road, but we managed to get to the finish line and wouldn't change our path for anything at all. Sometimes, when you feel like you have a setback, the unfortunate things in life put us on the route to the greatest things that will ever happen to us.

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Race

How a White Gay Dad Discusses Racial Issues with his Black Sons

In light of the recent killing of George Floyd by the hands of police in Minneapolis, Joseph Sadusky shares two excerpts from his book that deal directly with issues around raising black sons.

Editor's Note: In light of George Floyd's death, this month, author Joseph Sadusky — who has been sharing excerpts from his book Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad each month —will share two posts that deal directly with issues around raising black sons. This is the first, titled "White," which looks at general questions that come up for a white dad raising black boys. Read previous installments here.

It may be presumptuous for a Caucasian gay man to claim to feel terrified and heartsick at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But upon hearing the news that day in 2012, this is exactly how I felt.

The horrible truth is that there are many incidents of racial violence toward black males that I could use as starting points for this topic. But the specific case of Trayvon Martin—whose only crime was being a young black male wearing a hoodie, walking in a neighborhood where he had a home—has a particular resonance for me. Whatever the legalities of George Zimmerman using a gun to "stand his ground" if he felt his life was threatened, the simple truth is that he chose—against the direction of law enforcement, whom he contacted for support—to follow an African American male who had every right to be walking those neighborhood streets, however "thug" he might appear.

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Become a Gay Dad

Curious About Covid 19's Impact on Foster Care and Adoption?

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and foster care processes.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the fields of adoption and foster care to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on adoption or foster care that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Top 5 Questions About Covid-19's Impact On Surrogacy

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the surrogacy process.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the field of surrogacy to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on surrogacy that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Here is a breakdown of the Top 5 Questions About Covid 19's Impact On Surrogacy. These are highlights taken from our live webinar series we held featuring: G...

Transracial Families Series

How These Dads Address White Privilege within Their Transracial Family

The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

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Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

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Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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