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"A New Adventure": Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Grew in January!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats dads!

We are also excited to announce that this post is brought to you by Choice Network in Ohio. Choice Network is a national leader in LGBTQ adoption. They have a goal of 50% of their families being created with LGBTQ people. "It is our core value that love makes a family." We're thrilled to be partnering with Choice Network to offer our congrats to dads whose families grew this month!


Congratulations new dads Josh and Adam on the adoption of their newborn daughter!

This Dallas, Texas, couple always wanted to be dads, and on the night before Christmas, their dreams came true!

"The feeling holding our daughter for the first time was indescribable," shared Josh. "We have a tremendous level of joy thinking about what the future will hold for our family of three."

So far, despite the tiredness, fatherhood has been an incredible journey for the new dads. "While it has been tiring," said Adam, "every day brings a new adventure."

Congratulations to David and CJ on finalizing the adoption of their youngest son, Logan!

CJ and David spoke about kids and becoming dads on their first date 13 years ago. They were married in 2014, and adopted their eldest Ethan from birth. (He was born 2 months premature and had to spend 8 weeks in the NICU.)

They adopted Logan who is 6 months old through the same agency, Adoption Choices of Nevada, who the husbands say work with loads of gay couples.

How did the dads feel on the day Logan's adoption was finalized? "Ecstatic!" said David. "CJ and I talked kids, and specifically about having two, on our first date! It took a little longer than we had planned but we couldn't be happier that our family is complete!"

Congrats to this Colorado family!

Congratulations to Yari and Alessandro on the birth of their daughter, Zoe!

Becoming dads has been a dream come true for Italian fathers Yari and Alessandro. Their little girl joined their family in November 2018 via surrogacy in Los Angeles.

"It's been years since I realized that, with all my strength, I would try to be happy and have a family," said Yari.

And it was with that focus and drive, the dads achieved their ultimate happiness: fatherhood.

Congratulations to JC and Wim on the birth of their twins, Liam and Luka!

For new dads Wim and JC, their path to fatherhood was a two year journey that reached its destination on December 29, 2018. "It was exciting, emotional, tough, and a great blessing to us," said JC.

The South African dads had two embryos implanted - one from each dad - and they were thrilled that both were successful. "We are so lucky that both implants attached and we are now dads to two beautiful boys who couldn't wait to join us and arrived on week 30," said Wim. "A great start to 2019!"

When describing what it was like holding their sons for the first time, JC said they were so small it felt like they would break if touched. "However, once we held them, the whole world disappeared and the amount of love and joy overwhelmed us in a perfect moment of peace."

Congratulations to Daniel and Jack on the birth of their twins!

"Welcome to the world Berkowitz-Cohen Twins!"

Ezra and Ava were born via surrogate on December 28, 2018, and their two dads were so excited to welcome them!

"Holding our babies for the first time was surreal, exciting, and validating after all the time and effort dedicated to bringing them into the world," said Daniel.

And how's life as new dads of twins going? "Not as crazy as you'd think," said Jack, "as long as you have one person per baby." The dads added that taking shifts to sleep was very important - we couldn't agree more!

Congratulations to new dads Brandon and Mitch on the adoption of their daughter, Raya!

Born October 4, 2018, Raya's dads first learned about her a day after she was born. They'd just been approved by their adoption agency less than a month earlier, and were thrilled when they got the call about Raya.

"On October 5th they called us at 10:30am to ask us if we were interested in a baby that was born the night before," said Brandon. "We said we definitely were!"

By 2:30pm, they heard that the birth mother had chosen them, and they had 5 hours to get everything ready then come collect their daughter.

"It's been a life-changing experience and we can't imagine life without her," said Mitch.

"Holding her for the first time made our dram of being dads a reality," added Brandon, "but it truly hit us when we loaded her in the car to go home the next day."

Raya's adoption will be finalized in April 2019.

Congratulations to Brett and Jimmy on finalizing the adoption of the youngest, Jayce Peter!

Two years ago, Jimmy and Brett became first-time dads when they adopted their eldest son Taylor. The weekend before Mother's Day last year, they received a call from Taylor's birth mom who was pregnant again, and she asked if they wanted to adopt again. They jumped at the opportunity.

Jayce was born August 31, and his dads were there at the birth. Nine months later, his adoption was finalized.

"We felt so relieved to finalize since Taylor was 9 months [by then]," said Jimmy. "We celebrated at my mom's house with immediate family and had a cake that said 'We are complete.'"

Congrats to this forever family of four!

Congratulations to Jason and Brian on finalizing the adoption of their daughter, Sydney!

On December 20, 2018, at a little over six months of age, Sydney was officially adopted by her two dads, Jason and Brian.

"We felt a combination of relief and joy once the proceedings were complete," said Jason. "Sydney has always felt like a member of our family and it means so much for it all to be 'official.'"

The Salt Lake City family celebrated at Hires Big H, a Utah classic which has accidentally become a go-to for all their family celebrations. "Christmas is pretty great, but December 20 just might be our family's new favorite holiday."

Congratulations to Jason and Micah on the birth of their daughter, Rowan!

Rowan's birth mom specifically searched for a gay couple to be the adoptive dads of her child. The birth mom's brother is transgender and she wanted to be sure that the baby would grow up in a family that would welcome any gender identity or sexual preference." And so she selected Jason and Micah. The dads were even in the room when Rowan drew her first breath and Jason even cut the umbilical cord.

"It was really humbling and inspiring to see the birth mother go through so much pain, and sacrifice so much, all because she trusted that we could offer the child a warm and loving home," said Jason."

On January 3, 2018, Rowan came into the word with her wide open. "She was ready to take everything in," continued Jason, "and to become a part of our world."

"We are honored and overjoyed to be her parents, and we'll do everything we can to make her life wonderful."

Love makes good families. Whether traditional or non-conforming to historically accepted definitions of family - we accept you. If you are ready and willing to participate in open adoption and honoring the pregnant person who has chosen you, you are welcome here. It's that simple. We also will fight for you. Choice Network does not shy away from hate. We are armed with well documented research, honest stories of our own, and the inherent truth that love makes good families.

We proudly carry the Human Rights Campaign status of Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBTQ Families!

Visit Choice Network's site

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Gay Dad Life

Broadway Performer's Surrogacy Journey Briefly Sidetracked — for One Very 'Wicked' Reason

"Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret explain the exciting reasons they had to hit pause on their surrogacy journey — but don't worry, they're back on track!

In the latest video of the Broadway Husbands sharing their path to fatherhood, Stephen and Bret explain their hiatus for the past 4 months. The couple have big news to share including a relocation, a job announcement, and the fact that they're getting ready to restart their journey (which they had to take a brief pause from since September).

Watch their video to find out their latest news.

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Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Entertainment

Amazon's New "Modern Love" Series Includes Episode on Open Adoption

The episode is loosely based on the New York Times "Modern Love" essay written by sex columnist and activist Dan Savage.

In 2005, Dan Savage, the gay sex columnist, contributed one of the most talked about essays for the Modern Love column in The New York Times. Better known for his acerbic wit and cutting political commentary, Savage exposed a more vulnerable side in this piece, sharing the highs, lows and everything in between that comes from the experience of pursuing an open adoption.

His son DJ's birth mother was experiencing what Savage called a "slo-mo suicide": homeless by choice, in and out of prison, and surrounded by drugs. Though Savage has chosen an open adoption so that DJ's birth mother would be a presence in his son's life, she often disappeared for months and sometimes years at a time without contacting the family, leaving their young son with lots of questions and no satisfying answers.

The piece ends on a heartbreaking note, with Savage simply seeking some sort of resolution. "I'm starting to get anxious for this slo-mo suicide to end, whatever that end looks like," he wrote. "I'd prefer that it end with DJ's mother off the streets in an apartment somewhere, pulling her life together. But as she gets older that resolution is getting harder to picture."

At the time, many interpreted Savage's story as a cautionary tale for those considering open adoptions. But in 2016, on the Modern Love Podcast, he asserted that was not his intention: "DJ's mom is alive and well," Savage said. "She's on her feet. She's housed. We talk on the phone occasionally. She and DJ speak on Mother's Day and on DJ's birthday." He added that he "would hate to have anyone listen to that essay or to read it — which was written at a moment of such kind of confusion and despair — and conclude that they shouldn't do the kind of adoption that we did," Savage said. "I think that open adoption is really in the best interest of the child, even if … it presents more challenges for the parents. So I encourage everyone who's thinking about adoption to seriously consider open adoption and not to be dissuaded by my essay."

Now, Savage's piece is getting the small screen treatment as one of 9 episodes included in Amazon Prime's adaption of the column. The episode inspired by Savage's essay, "Hers Was a World of One," contains some departures from Savage's original story — Savage's character, played by Fleabag's Andrew Scott, adopts a daughter rather than a son, for example, and the episode concludes closer to the upbeat note struck in the Podcast version of hist story than in the column.

Either way, we welcome any and all attention to the complexities of open adoption. Check out the episode (which also randomly includes Ed Sheeran in a couple scenes) and tell us what you think!

What to Buy

Shop with a Purpose with Our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Want to find amazing gift ideas while *also* supporting LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses? Look no further than our 2019 holiday gift guide!

'Tis the season to show loved ones you care. And what better way to show you care, by also supported our LGBTQ+ community and allies whilst doing it! Shop (LGBTQ+) smart with these great suggestions below.

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A Newly Out Gay Dad Feels 'Demoted' After Divorce

Cameron Call showed up to his first family Thanksgiving since coming out and getting a divorce — and struggles to find himself "stuck with the singles."

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his first article here.

Denial is an interesting thing. It's easy to think you're potentially above it, avoiding it, assume it doesn't apply to you because you'd NEVER do that, or maybe you're just simply avoiding it altogether. After finally coming out, I liked to think that I was done denying anything from now on. But unfortunately that's not the case.

And this fact became very clear to me over Thanksgiving.

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Resources

New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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