Gay Dad Life

"Daddy, Which Belly Did I Come From?"

How do gay dads talk to their kids about the women that helped bring them into the world?

When you tell your kids the story of how they came to be, is the woman who delivered them identified by a face and a name? That's a decision that every gay dad has to make when it comes to having kids through surrogacy or adoption. In this episode we explored two ways of keeping in touch with the birthmother (for adoptive kids) or the gestational surrogate (for IVF and surrogacy) as part of gay dads' children's birth story.Some adoptive parents choose to have an 'open adoption,' where the child gets to meet the birthmother. Parents who go through surrogacy sometimes keep in touch with the surrogate and have their kids meet her when they are old enough.



Relationship with the Surrogate

There are some dads whose surrogacy journey ties them emotionally to their surrogate—as a result a lifetime friendship is developed; for others, the relationship with the surrogate dissolves due to distance and… life. Heather Manoijlovic, a two-time surrogate for gay dads and a surrogate coordinator at Circle Surrogacy, spoke from her experience and from the experience of working with other surrogates about the type of relationships and expectations between surrogates and intended parents.

"Are You My Birthmother?"

Erik Alexander from New Orleans (AKA 'NOLA Papa') blogs about his and his husband's choice to pursue open adoption with their eldest daughter. Despite fears of reunifications (child being returned by a court to the birth parents), the couple were open to the possibility of having their child's birthmother in some sort of touch with them. When they were matched, it was pretty clear that a large part of the birthmother's choice was for her child to be adopted by a gay couple. This was not only because her brother is gay, but also, as Ethan Cohan mentioned in the previous episode of our podcast, some women seek to maintain their 'mother' status by making sure no other parent will be called 'mom' by the adoptive child.

Erik and his husband's adoption process was supposed to take 5 years but was actually completed in 3.5 weeks! In our interview he talked about his fear, his ability to be honest with his daughter and also about what happened when their daughter figured out who her birthmother was.

Our Guests

Erik Alexander is from New Orleans, Louisiana, and is married to the love of his life, Douglas. Together 11 years, they adopted their 2 beautiful daughters, Alli Mae in December of 2015 (open adoption) and Ella in May of 2017 and their lives have been in hyperdrive ever since. Whether it is baby proofing, parenting hacks or navigating through this crazy world, Erik is excited to share his journey. You can also find his blog at Nolapapa.com

"My hope is that through my blog I am able to bury my insecurities, my fears, and my failures- for all to read, in hopes to see my weaknesses sprout and transform into self improvement, resilience, and embrace an unapologetic renewal. My past helped make me who I am today- but who I am tomorrow depends on how I choose to get there, today."

Heather Manojlovic is a two time experienced gestational carrier living with her tight knit family of four in Northeast Indiana. Heather has a passion for helping others and loves walking amazing women through the surrogacy process within her role at Circle Surrogacy as a Surrogate Coordinator. Heather's unique perspectives on surrogacy have been featured on Gays with Kids. When Heather isn't advocating for surrogacy she can usually be found enjoying a good Netflix binge and snuggling her Great Dane.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

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Gay Dad Life

A Gay Dad Shares His Experiences Raising a Trans Son on Latest Episode of Daddy Square

Author David Strah sat down with the Daddy Squared guys to talk about fatherhood, his book, and experiences raising a trans son

Here's a fact: gay parents are much more attentive to their kids' gender expressions than heterosexual parents. Just from the nature of growing up different, sometimes in an unwelcoming environment, we don't want our kids to suffer the emotional pain that we went through.

This is a partial explanation for an amazing growing phenomenon, where gay couples step forward and adopt transgender youth who were thrown out of their homes. In this episode of Daddy Squared we brought on David Strah, a family therapist from Los Angeles who specializes in LGBTQ issues. David is also a father of a transgender boy, and shares from his own personal experience.

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Gay Dad Life

What's it Like to Stay Friends With a Gay Couple After They Have Kids?

The guys behind the Daddy Square Podcast sought to find out by interviewing two of their best friends.

There are so many things that change from the time you decide you want to become a parent until it happens… and then after it happens. But one of the changes that may not be so obvious is the effect that all of this can have on your social life in general, and especially on close friends. And relationships with your closest gay friends – many of whom often don't have children – can be a real question. In our season finale we brought on two guests — each of them is best friends with a gay dad couple, to explore changes in close friendships after parenthood starts.

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Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

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Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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