Gay Dad Life

This Couple is Serving Us Some Major Dad Goals

North Carolina dads Dustin and Burton have known each other since 2004, but it was only 4 years ago that they began dating and fell in love. They were married January 2015, and shortly afterwards started the process to become fathers through surrogacy. Today, Burton is "Daddy" and Dustin is "Papa" to their 1-year-old twins, Stone and Holland. We caught up with the two men to find out how they're balancing fatherhood, their family roles, and even politics down south.



Gays With Kids: On your Instagram accounts (@dustin_patrick_smith and @bbbuffloe), you guys make fatherhood look easy. Is it? Can you give us an honest description of a day in the life?

Dustin and Burton: Well, fatherhood has a range of easy and not so easy moments. It looks easy on social media because no matter how stressed or tired we are, we're being fulfilled in a way that joy carries through our photos. The difference is, before we may have cared about the pile of clothes in the background of a photo or the stain on our shirt, but now that's just real life. Honestly, the twins' goal right now is to eat, play and nap; Our goal is to keep them on a schedule together. But just as soon as you think the stars have aligned and a routine has been established, they throw a curve ball. At this point in the journey, the twins are starting to become more mobile ... something tells us the fun has just begun.

Burton (above, left) holding Holland, Dustin (above, right) holding Stone

GWK: How long was your surrogacy journey? Please give us a timeline from when you first started discussing surrogacy as a way to begin your family, to when your beautiful twins were born.


D + B: It's pretty amazing how quickly things happened as soon as we opened the door to the possibility. One of the hardest parts of the journey was finding someone to carry our precious cargo. As cliche as it may sound, the minute we met our surrogate, we knew she was the one. Shortly after meeting her and finalizing the legalities, we moved forward with IVF. A couple weeks later, the blood test were looking promising, and we found out a month later that there were two little heart beats. Needless to say, we were over the moon! The whole process took about 14 months from start to finish - pretty quick considering it took a village.

GWK: Who does what in the chores and baby department? How did you come to that "division of labor"?

D + B: Well, we could have gone into this journey with an "every man for himself" mindset, but we learned quickly to divide and conquer. While one of us loves shopping and cooking the other loves paying bills and doing laundry - rarely do we cross "boundaries." So when it comes to the kids we both lean on our strengths; We truly work great as a team. Honestly, when you are spending time with your kids, nothing feels like a chore. We love being together as a family (dinner time, play time, bath time, story time and bed time) -- It's truly a slice of heaven.

GWK: What has been the hardest thing about being dads so far?

D + B: I think the hardest thing we have faced as dads is the realization that the choices we make now impact these helpless little people who count on us. Never has listening to our gut mattered more as we try to weigh what is best for our children. Second to that is finding the time to nurture friendships. Being a parent is all consuming, so beyond the responsibilities of career, its such a challenge to find time to see friends and invest time socially.

GWK: And what has been the easiest?

D + B: Being home -- As much as we miss our friends and traveling, nothing is better than coming home each day to your kids - seeing their smiling faces, kissing their little bellies and hearing the deepest most joyful laughter. We couldn't image a place we'd rather be.


GWK: What have you both learned since becoming a dad?

D + B: One thing we've learned is how intuitive we are when it comes to fatherhood. For two guys that have never had any experience with babies, we were surprised by how natural this process has been. Also, we both have learned to recognize what really matters in life. Who knows, maybe it's the sleep deprivation or maybe the little free time you have to worry about the petty stuff. Regardless, we no longer let the stress or drama seep into our family unit.

GWK: Looking back, is there anything you would do differently in terms of your path to fatherhood?

D + B: Not a single thing - the path we took led us to our children.

GWK: Your kids are beautiful! Are there plans to expand your family in the future?

D + B: As much as we've loved this journey, at this point, we aren't planing on having more. We've already been blessed with a beautiful boy and girl -- But honestly, we couldn't imagine being out numbered! Not to mention it's an expensive process and we want to make sure we can afford to give our kids a secure future.

GWK: How did you guys experience the "culture wars" in North Carolina during and after the election

D + B: The election was hard for us because locally we were dealing with discrimination against the LGBT+ community with the notorious HB2 "Bathroom Bill." Despite boycotts on a national and global level - Even after major corporations, sporting events and musicians pulled out of North Carolina, we had a governor who stubbornly pressed forward. It was embarrassing and disheartening to say the least, especially since both of us have built businesses here in North Carolina. And as parents we want to make sure we surround our family with love and inclusion. Ironically, in North Carolina we're hard pressed to find a baby changing table in the men's restroom; they're only found in the women's -- Now imagine how this plays into the whole "bathroom bill" concept.

Watch the video of this awesome family below:

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

Keep reading... Show less
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!

Keep reading... Show less
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!

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse