Gay Dad Life

Why Limit Yourself to One Path to Parenthood? These Dads Pursed Two!

Pursuing foster care and surrogacy at the same time wasn't easy — but Travis and Jay learned important lessons about both along the way.

Travis, 36, and Jay, 29, met nine years ago in a gay bar in Riverside, California. Both work in the medical device industry and in June 2018, they were married in front of friends and family, and their 19-day-old son through foster care.

To say June 2018 was a big month for Travis and Jay would be an understatement. They became first-time dads to four-day-old Kathan, and solidified their union with marriage. When the wedding part was over, the new dads were able to focus all their attention on their new family. It had been almost 18 months since they began the process of becoming foster parents till they were matched, and while they were waiting, they began to get anxious.

"We always knew that we wanted to adopt and have biological children," said Travis. The original plan was to pursue fostering first, in hopes to adopt, and then begin their surrogacy journey after a few years due to the cost. "Adopting a child is one of the most rewarding things one can do. There are so many children out there that need a loving family and we are a loving family that wanted a child. It's a perfect match!"

But when Travis and Jay began the certification process for fostering and adoption, they had no idea how much it would take to get the stamp of approval. "Once our home was certified, it took almost a year to match us with Kathan." During that waiting period the uncertainty of when a match would happen encouraged them to start their surrogacy path. They identified an egg donor and began creating their embryos. "We had already created our embryos by the time we welcomed Kathan into our lives!"

Travis and Jay were over the moon to be able to finally hold their son, and to become his dads, but they did find their foster journey to be a challenge. "No classes can prepare for the emotional side of the process," said Travis. "The journey overall was a learning experience and an emotional roller coaster but 1000% worth every second of it. We found that doing a lot of research really helped us through it all, and expanding our knowledge really helped calm nerves even if the answers we found weren't the answers we were hoping for."

Trying to simultaneously balance their two paths to fatherhood wasn't without its challenges, but the dads found a way. Shortly after welcoming Kathan, they attempted their first IVF transfer. Sadly, at 9 weeks, they lost the pregnancy when the little one's heart stopped beating. "It was a very emotional experience so Jay and I decided to take a little break and focus solely on Kathan for a little while."

During Kathan's first year of life, he became quite the world traveller, accompanying his dads on both trips in the US and and overseas. He travelled to Hawaii at 1 month old, and San Francisco at 6 months. Travis and Jay also took their son on a two week trip to the U.K., France, and Italy during the summer of 2019. "He loves to travel and we love having him there with us." (The dads were able to make this travel possible with the help of their social worker who helped the dads get Kathan his passport and travel paperwork.)

"He has taught me that love can be much more than we ever imagined it could be," said Travis. "We have learned to prioritize life in new ways because we want to spend as much time with our son as we possible can."

The dads have tremendous support around them, both through family and friends, and same-sex couples they've met through their different paths to fatherhood. "We met a couple during the foster parent orientation put on by the county, and another through the agency that we ended up being certified with, and a few others from work or friends," explained Travis. "Being able to connect about common experiences and see other families like ours makes life so much easier."

After 16 months of fostering little Kathan, the dads finalized his adoption on September 27, 2019. "It felt like we had been set free as a family for the first time." Kathan's adoption day was incredibly personal for the dads so they spent it with close family and took their son out for a celebratory brunch.

Papa Travis and Dada Jay have recently restarted their surrogacy journey with Growing Generations and this time, they're trying for twins. "We are feeling really excited about it! We truly believe that everything happens for a reason and we are grateful for everyone that has been involved in supporting us through this journey so far."

"We are excited to grow our happy family."

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Asks: Is Destroying an Embryo Similar to Abortion?

It's a question many LGBTQ parents using advanced fertility treatments will need to face — what to do with "left over" embryos.

Let me start off by saying that I have always been pro choice and support all laws that allow people to have full reproductive rights including safe and legal abortions. This is a complicated subject and not one that I ever thought I would really have to deal with on a personal level, especially being a gay man.

I remember a very heated discussion on abortion in my biology class back in university. I was young, idealistic and had very strong convictions about abortion. I was debating with a female classmate who was pro life. She felt there was no reason for an abortion ever, not even if raped by your own parent or sibling. I could not really understand her position, then or now. Don't get me wrong, I still don't agree with her, but now that I'm older and wiser, and also a parent, I have come to respect and accept opinions other than mine.

Keep reading...
Expert Advice

What's It Like When You're NOT the Bio Dad to Your Baby

Lauren Mello of Circle Surrogacy breaks down some of the challenges facing the gay dad who will *not* become the biological parent.

If you're a gay couple considering surrogacy, one of the first decisions you'll need to make together is who is going to be the biological father. When it's time to create your embryos with your egg donor's eggs, you have a few choices when it comes to which dad will be providing his biology: one dad only can provide his biology, both dads can provide their biology and leave the fertilization to chance, or both dads can provide their biology and fertilize half of the embryos with each dad's sperm. Some gay dads choose this third option if they plan to have twins, or more than one baby through surrogacy.

Once embryos are created, you'll decide which embryos will be transferred into your surrogate mother. Hopefully a pregnancy results, and you'll be on your way to fatherhood!

The question is: what's is like when you're NOT the bio dad to your baby? We spoke with a few dads through surrogacy from Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, about the emotions surrounding being a bio dad...and not being one.

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse