Gay Dad Family Stories

This Single Gay Dad and Foster Care Advocate Was Featured on the 'Today Show'

During Foster Care Awareness Month, Eric spoke about the importance of the foster care system on the Today Show with Jenna and Savannah.

Like many dads we feature on Gays With Kids, Philadelphia resident Eric Johnson always knew he wanted to be a father. His journey began in 2015 right after his relationship of five years ended. Although he didn't want to go through the process alone, Eric knew that this was his time, and after a few close to the heart conversations with close friends and family, he decided to take a leap of faith.


Eric worked for an early childhood education program that was fortuitously located in the same office as a foster care agency. Sitting in his office one day, Eric shared a revelation with his co-worker. "I said, I want to become a foster parent," Eric told Good Morning America in an interview earlier this year. "And my friend, my colleague, who was sitting next to me said 'talk to the lady behind you,' and I said 'behind me?' And she said, 'yeah, behind you.' So I turned around and asked and three people stood up and said here, we got one!" In December 2015, Eric began his foster parenting process.

After three months of attending certification courses, Eric became a certified Resource Foster Parent in March 2016. After a few months of not receiving any calls regarding children, his first foster child came in August. "It was a 3-day-old baby boy named Noah," shared Eric. "He was the most precious baby ever." Noah was only with Eric for two weeks until he was reunified with his birth family. Eric began to feel hopeless about ever becoming a dad. Then on December 8, 2016, 3-year-old Edward and 1-year-old Sincere, arrived. The young brothers had been in a few different foster homes over the past year. Although Eric had only been looking to foster one child at a time, the agency was reluctant to separate Edward and Sincere, as was Eric, so he agreed.

At first, it was a bit of an adjustment for everyone. "The first few days were challenging as they cried the first week they were with me," said Eric. "I had to literally sleep on the floor in their room in order for them to go to sleep." But gradually over the time the family adjusted and began to form an amazing bond. "As the months went on, the boys became more comfortable with their surroundings as I began to introduce them to people," explained Eric. "They were enrolled in school and met a lot of friends." Eric was able to share his love of travel with his son, taking them to NYC, Tampa, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Ocean City and Las Vegas.

Fostering Edward and Sincere, changed Eric in a profound way as well. "It has changed in a lot of ways that I only could have dreamed of. Since the boys have entered my life, I work a lot less and not be as stressed out from the challenges that come with it," he shared. "I believe that my kids taught me the power of understanding and patience. That we all have the ability to change for the better and how we can be more selfless and less selfish."

How fostering helped 1 man realize his dream of fatherhood

As time went on, the parental rights were terminated and Eric was given the opportunity to pursue adoption, and on February 27, 2019, Eric, Edward and Sincere, became a forever family of three. "The first day they walked through my door, was the day I knew they were going to be here forever," said Eric. "It was the best day of our lives. Not my life, our lives, because we are going to be together forever."

Throughout the Johnson's family journey, they have been on local news to discuss foster parenting and adoption, and for Foster Care Awareness Month they were featured on the Today Show with Jenna and Savannah.

"I love being a dad and the joy that my boys have everyday knowing that they have someone to love them unconditionally."

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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."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Meet the First Same-Sex Couple to Receive a Grant Through Best Buy's Adoption Assistance Program

Keegan and Paul Schroepfer are believed to be the first gay couple to receive a grant through Best Buy's adoption assistance program.

Keegan Shoutz and Paul Schroepfer met at college in 2010, when marriage equality wasn't legal in their home state of Minnesota. Back then, kids were a far off distant thought. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2015, the pair married a year later and began discussing their future as dads. In 2017, the husbands began their adoption journey, and the long wait began.

Keegan, 31, works in public relations for Best Buy's corporate communications team, and Paul, 35, is a lawyer. Their journey to adoption took over two and a half years, and they describe it as "a LOT of waiting." The couple considered surrogacy but decided adoption was the right path for their family. The first part of their journey was focused on a pile of paperwork, in-person classes, and then social outreach.

Their nursery sat empty for a year after all their "homework" was completed.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

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

The husbands *also* received help from Men Having Babies, a nonprofit helping gay men become dads via surrogacy.

"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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Gay Dad Life

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

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.

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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.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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