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 Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner


Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

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