Newborns and Infants

These Gay Dads Break Down Top 6 Lessons for Parents of Preemies

David and Matt give some guidance for other new parents with kids in intensive care.

Recently, David and Matt told us about their twin's month-long stay in the NICU.

"It was the probably the hardest thing we've ever had to do," said David. Just as their twin girls Ceclia and Gabrielle took one step forward, they'd take another step back. The dads and their twins are stronger for the difficult experience, and have some wisdom to share with other new dads who might find themselves in a similar situation. Here are their top 5 lessons for parents with preemies:


#1: Be Kind to Your NICU Nurses... They Are Amazing!

"The doctors are also wonderful, but you spend so much more time with the nurses and they are the ones who are taking such good care of your babies in terms of feeding, diaper changes, etc. They become a significant part of your "story" at such a critical moment of your life and it was hard to say goodbye."

#2: Don't Wing It. Come Up with a Game Plan ...

For the babies: "It's important to have a support system in place before you leave, and that includes a pediatrician. Our hospital wouldn't let us take the babies home unless we had a confirmed appointment with a doctor for the next day. Our doctor has been excellent in terms of answering questions and providing advice on feeding and sleep."

For the dads: "We took shifts, which provided some good one-on-one bonding with each of them. We wanted to spend as much time as possible with our babies, but we soon learned that time away for self-care was important. It was a time to recharge and reset our emotions. Laughter was also very important."

#3... But Also be Prepared to Go with the Flow

"We didn't pick up supplies until about 4 to 5 days before discharge since things were subject to change, but we were at the baby supply store every evening during those 4 to 5 days. We found that preemie sized clothes are hard to come by in general and when we did find them, they were only in boys styles. For us, that didn't matter, and it was luckily a short period where they were wearing preemie clothes.

Some of the preparation we had previously done went out the window due to their size. For example, we had researched various bottle feeding systems and made a choice that we felt made sense. But the girls were so small that they had somewhat specific bottle needs related to their sucking and swallowing abilities (and it was different for each)."

#5: Don't be Afraid to Make Requests of Friends and Family

"Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. This is true for all newborns, but compared to term babies, most preemies have underdeveloped lungs and immune systems. Whether visiting in the NICU or after they come home, you need to reduce the risk of bringing in outside germs. It's also perfectly fine (even necessary) to request visitors who are visibly sick to come back another day"

#6: It's Okay to Be Upset.

"It was very difficult to see our daughters connected to so many wires, tubes, and machines. We also had some setbacks during our time in the NICU that caused the doctors to push back the expected discharge dates for each of them.

When you have a baby, you expect to come home from the hospital with your baby, and it was hard to see the cribs and nursery and supplies all ready to go, but no babies. Ultimately, we knew that they were in the best possible place and being well taken care of, and we knew it was much better for any issues to present themselves in the hospital rather than at home."

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Newborns and Infants

New Dads Recount Their Twins' Difficult Stay in Intensive Care

"It was probably the hardest thing we've ever had to do," the dads said.

Husbands Matt and David were together 11 years before they became dads.

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They initially signed on with a private adoption agency but quickly recognized how poorly managed it was, and were unsure if it would be a good fit for their family. After a bit more research, the decided to pursue surrogacy while remaining as clients with the adoption agency. Not long after, the agency filed for bankruptcy.

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Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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Politics

Gay Russian Dads Forced to Flee Moscow

Fearing the Russian government might take their adopted kids into custody because of their sexual orientation, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev fled Moscow

A married couple in Russia, with two adopted children, were just forced the flee their home in Moscow for fear that the authorities would take their children away, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

Trouble started last month after investigators in Russia opened a criminal inquiry into the proceedings that had allowed the gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, to legally adopt the two boys —adoption by LGBTQ people in Russia has typically not been recognized. The government became aware of the adoption proceedings after the gay couple brought their 12-year-old son to the hospital, who was complaining of a stomachache. The boy was fine, but after he mentioned offhand that he was adopted and lived with two fathers, the doctor called the police.

Andrei and Yevgeny granted an interview with Deutsche Welle after escaping Moscow, but on the advice of their lawyers have yet to disclose where they are currently located. Here is a quick recap of that conversation:

"In connection with the 'propaganda of non-traditional values,' the state representatives are accused of having neglected their duty of supervision," Andrei said, when asked to explain on what basis the Russian government might take his children into custody. "This means that lesbian couples could even have their biological children taken away because, through their lifestyle choices, they propagate "certain values."

Yevgeny also explained the events that led to the couple's harrowing escape "I was alone in Moscow at that time. A week after Andrei and the children had left the country, there was a knock on my door, but nobody called 'police, open up.' After half an hour the violent knocking stopped. My parents' home was searched. They were looking for the children and our Danish marriage certificate because we got married in Denmark in 2016. My friends then got me out of the country."

Read the full interview here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple is Using 'Wheel of Fortune' Winnings to Help Fund Their Adoption

Need to raise money for your adoption fund? Why not try your luck on Wheel of Fortune like these guys!

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The husbands would like to have children, and Nick has always wanted to adopt. "We considered surrogacy, and may consider it in the future as we expand our family," said Doug, "but right now, it is cost-prohibitive. Adoption was easily the right choice for us as we begin to grow our family.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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