Change the World

Fighting Cancer Together as an Out and Proud Family

Living an out and proud life in a small rural town in east Texas isn't easy. But that's what gay dads and Greenville locals Joseph and Devin are trying to do. But it's been unfathomably tough. Devin has two children through a previous straight relationship and only recently came out. His family is having a hard time accepting his sexual orientation. For his part, Joseph lost his job as a Youth Pastor when he came out and he has been ostracized by his own family. On top of their current struggles, Devin is fighting lymphatic cancer. What gives them courage to keep fighting? Their kids. Here's their story.

Devin separated from his wife over a year ago after coming out to her and his family. Devin and Joseph have been together 8 months. In the beginning, things moved very quickly due to their instant connection. In the third week of their relationship, Devin, 28, and Joseph, 31, arranged to have a date in the park with Devin's ex-wife and their kids.

"It was incredible and the kids immediately took to me!" said Joseph.

At first, things went relatively well for the new couple despite Devin's family objecting to their relationship. They told Joseph that he would never be the children's real father, but 2-year-old Emma Jane began calling him "Papa" of her own accord after only a week. The couple are co-parenting with Devin's ex wife, and the children spend one week at theirs, and the next week with their mom.

Joseph's life changed greatly as he began to fit into the role of "Papa." Devin and Joseph were never alone when the kids were at their house, and they loved it. They spent their free-time having fun with the kids, taking them to the zoo or to museums.

But then cancer reared its ugly head.

2 months into their relationship, Devin was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer.

"[It] rocked all of our worlds," said Joseph. "It went from trying to build this beautiful life together to all of sudden having to make sure Devin was able to kick this cancer's ass."

For more than just the typical reasons, Devin's diagnosis was very difficult on the couple. Although they were in a new relationship, they quickly became each other's rock. Much to Devin's family's displeasure, Joseph wouldn't leave Devin's side. It made the hospital waiting room very awkward.

Devin spent 3 weeks in the hospital after his initial diagnosis, and Joseph was there beside him. This didn't stop some people from lashing out, including the pastor who married Devin and his ex-wife. He told the couple that Devin's cancer was punishment for their gay relationship, and that it was God's way of taking Devin so his children wouldn't have to grow up with a gay father.

"We went through a storm," said Joseph. "He was battling cancer and I was battling his family by trying to keep as much negativity away from him that I could."

But when it became clear that Joseph wasn't going anywhere, Devin's family began to have a change of heart. They saw how much Joseph loved him.

"I could not stay away from him. I would get off work and drive straight to the hospital just so he could rest holding my hand."

The relationship between Devin's family and Joseph is far from perfect, but the dads hoped they've seen the love and commitment the couple have for one another, as well as Devin and Joseph's devotion to their kids. After living the majority of their lives in the closet due to fear of persecution from the Church, it's their kids who inspire them to keep living their authentic lives and to keep fighting Devin's cancer.

"One of the biggest things I have learned from our babies is to be fearless," said Joseph. "Watching our daughter Emma face life with so much courage has made both of us want to live our lives as open and loudly as possible."

And together, they are living their authentic lives and fighting as a family to kick cancer's butt. We send this courageous family all our love and strength, and will be sure to keep you posted on their progress.

Follow Joseph and Devin's journey on Instagram and Facebook. And check out their GoFundMe campaign.

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Race

How a White Gay Dad Discusses Racial Issues with his Black Sons

In light of the recent killing of George Floyd by the hands of police in Minneapolis, Joseph Sadusky shares two excerpts from his book that deal directly with issues around raising black sons.

Editor's Note: In light of George Floyd's death, this month, author Joseph Sadusky — who has been sharing excerpts from his book Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad each month —will share two posts that deal directly with issues around raising black sons. This is the first, titled "White," which looks at general questions that come up for a white dad raising black boys. Read previous installments here.

It may be presumptuous for a Caucasian gay man to claim to feel terrified and heartsick at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But upon hearing the news that day in 2012, this is exactly how I felt.

The horrible truth is that there are many incidents of racial violence toward black males that I could use as starting points for this topic. But the specific case of Trayvon Martin—whose only crime was being a young black male wearing a hoodie, walking in a neighborhood where he had a home—has a particular resonance for me. Whatever the legalities of George Zimmerman using a gun to "stand his ground" if he felt his life was threatened, the simple truth is that he chose—against the direction of law enforcement, whom he contacted for support—to follow an African American male who had every right to be walking those neighborhood streets, however "thug" he might appear.

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Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and foster care processes.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the fields of adoption and foster care to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

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Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the surrogacy process.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the field of surrogacy to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

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Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on surrogacy that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.


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The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

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New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

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As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

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Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

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