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Do You Support Paid Paternity Leave for Dads? Sign the Pledge!

Dove Men+Care are is giving away $1 million to dads who didn't get meaningful paid paternity leave! Check to see if you're eligible, and sign the pledge!

For our community of gay dads and dads-to-be, one of the most (if not the most) exceptional times in our parenthood journey is the moment when we become a dad; when a child is placed in our arms or in our care. Those first few weeks are most meaningfully spent bonding, caring and getting to know our child, as they get to know us, too. And this should be a time where other distractions – financial and employment security – don't supersede those other experiences. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of dads in America, they do.


We're talking about the importance of paid parental leave. Only 15 percent of American companies offer paid paternity leave to all employees. And Dove Men+Care is fighting to change this.

Today, we're excited to help Dove Men+Care launch their Pledge for Paternity Leave, a call for dads, allies and business leaders to pledge their support for paid leave.

Along with Dove Men+Care, we're asking our community to support every dad's right to paid paternity leave by signing this pledge – because when dads take leave, it benefits ALL families, workplaces and communities.

Sign it and help effect change!

Hoping to garner at least 1 million signatures, Dove Men+Care has a larger goal of sparking policy change at the business and government level. The signatures will only serve as proof that dads are supported in their need for paid paternity leave and can feel safe when asking for and taking paid leave.

Dove Men+Care is also putting their money where their mouth is by launching the Paternity Leave Fund, a $1 million commitment, over the course of two years, to fund real dads who are not or were not able to take meaningful time off during one of the most important times in their life. They will be awarding new or expectant dads who do not currently have access to meaningful paid leave a chance to receive a $5,000 grant.* (If this is you, sign the petition and opt-in for updates to apply.)

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Meet dads Stephen and Tyler

"Our journey to fatherhood was amazing," said Stephen, husband to Tyler and dad to their adorable son. A close friend offered to be their surrogate and they were by each other's side for the entirety of the journey. "We are truly forever grateful to her; she is an angel to us!" To avoid going into debt during their journey to fatherhood, the dads had roommates to help cover the cost.

The first time Stephen and Tyler held their son, they were overwhelmed with love.

Sadly, neither dad received any paid leave. Stephen had to take non-paid leave and Tyler used vacation days to be able to have even two weeks off with their baby. After that they both returned to work. "With paternity leave we would have been able to stay home longer with our baby and really enjoyed forming that connection that is so important," said Tyler. "That first month with a baby is so special."

Meet dads Zack and Joseph

After 3 years of marriage, Zack and Joseph decided to being their fatherhood journey. They began working with an adoption agency in January 2018, and were matched with an incredible birth mother in March. On July 12, 2018, their son Oliver was born.

"There was such a feeling of anticipation as we were riding the elevator up to the hospital room where Oliver and his birthmother were," shared Zack. "We were both so excited to meet him."

"Holding him for the first time was an amazing and overwhelming experience emotionally," added Joseph.

Although the dads did receive some paid parental leave it was only for two weeks which they used whilst out of state waiting to bring Oliver home. Luckily, the husbands have opposite schedules so one of them was able to be home with Oliver at all times. "The issue with that was," said Zack, "we were hardly ever able to see one another."

Both dads are in agreement: meaningful paid parental leave would've meant tremendously to their family, and all dads. "Becoming a new parent is difficult and exhausting (and expensive!)... having that extra time to adjust to new parent life is invaluable."


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Join us and sign Dove Men+Care's #PaternityLeavePledge

* $5,000 grant application open to male legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older, whose employer offers no more than ten (10) days of paid paternity leave and are expecting a child as of date of entry, have a child who is no more than eight (8) months old as of date of entry, are in the process of adopting a child as of date of entry, or have adopted a child within eight (8) months of date of entry.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Sister Act: How Four Siblings Helped Joey and Rob Become Dads

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"I first learned about Men Having Babies while searching the internet for insurances that covered surrogacy," said Joey Guzman-Kuffel, 40, a Marriage and Family Therapist. "As I researched our surrogacy options the Men Having Babies link popped up. When I clicked on their link, I learned that this awesome organization was bringing awareness to men wanting to have babies and the possibilities to do so."

Joey and his husband Rob Kuffel, 47, Protocol Officer for the US Navy, have been together seven years after meeting via OKCupid.com. They chatted for a week via the app, then graduated to a phone call which lasted 3-4 hours. "I always knew that I wanted to have kids and knew that I needed to be with a partner that wanted to have kids as well," said Joey. Rob felt the same way. The two were married in May 2014.

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When Seattle husbands Rich and Brian found out they were going to be dads, their initial reaction was panic. "It was so early in the adoption process, we weren't really ready for anything," remembered Brian. "We hadn't read any books, we didn't have a crib, we had nothing... we were going to be dads and the baby was going to be here in a week!"

"I didn't really think about being a parent," added Rich, "and more what do we needed to do logistically, and how we were going to make it all work."

The dads adopted Emerson from birth and raising a girl has taught the dads a lot; they are her biggest advocates. The dads are making sure that they're "raising a girl who feels empowered and able to speak up, play sports, just as anyone else does."

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Dennis McDonough and John Kihm have been together for over eight years and married since May 2015. Becoming dads was always part of their plan. In 2016, they became foster dads and during the following six months after becoming licensed, they cared for nine foster kids.

"We knew that we would be able to help children who were in need, children who were scared and had no where to go and no one to love them," shared Dennis. "We knew that somewhere along the process we would eventually have children who would need our love forever." Currently, the dads have four children, two of which they've adopted.

As this family has welcomed more children, helped reunite others with their biological families, and finalized two of their sons' adoptions, neither dad received any paid paternity leave.

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Gong Hei Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time.

Today we're celebrating, alongside our families, the Chinese New Year! As we usher in the year of rat, we asked some of our dads how they honor this special time, what they do to celebrate, and how they're instilling these traditions in their kids. Here are some of their responses.

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News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

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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.

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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.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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