Gay Dad Family Stories

This Gay Couple Opens Their Home to Kids at Risk of Aging Out of the Foster Care System

"I consider it my mission in life to adopt, and help others adopt" said Rich, who along with husband Ken adopted four teenage sons and now serves as the Associate Director for Family Focus Adoption Services.

"At first our decision was practical," said Rich Buley-Neumar about his decision to adopt older children. Neither he nor his husband Ken could afford to stay home with a baby, so they began investigating other options. "We came to the understanding that the age of the of the child didn't matter," said Rich, "it was their need for parents that mattered." So the dads set their sights on older children whose chances were running out and became fathers to four teenage boys.

With over 400,000 children in the United States foster care system, almost a third cannot be returned to their families and are waiting to be adopted. There are more males than females, and African American children are disproportionately represented.* Of the children waiting to be adopted on the AdoptUSKids website, 65% are between 13 and 19 years of age. Many will never be adopted and will age out of the system.


Rich (left) and Ken with their eldest son, Gary

19 years ago, Ken answered Rich's personal ad and the two met at a diner in Farmingdale, New York. Skipping ahead, they were married June 4, 2004. "We were one of the first New York couples who squeezed into Massachusetts before then-Governor Romney shut the door," explained Ken. They were also one of the first couples in the Suffolk County (at least) to change their names at the Social Security and DMV with the reason of "marriage" for a same-sex couple. Trailblazors? We think so.

Although they had originally thought they'd adopt an infant, Rich and Ken soon discovered that older children were a better fit for their family. Almost 13 years ago, they became dads for the first time through adoption, welcoming their eldest and first son, Gary, into their home; he was 16 when they first met him. Since 2006, they have finalized the adoptions of four teenage boys - Gary, John, Emil and Alex - ranging in age from 15 to 20 years old.

Rich and John, their second eldest; Ken and Gary

After the finalization of their first adoption, their agency, Family Focus Adoption Services, hired Rich and he's now the Associate Director, and one of the foremost experts in the NY State on adoption. "I consider it my mission in life to adopt," said Rich, "and to help others adopt." It was through his position at the agency that the paperwork of their other three sons crossed his desk. "As I like to say, I am the kind of person who brings his work home with him." Literally and figuratively, in the most wonderful way. Ken has also recently joined the team as a Transition / Future Worker. "Now we live and breathe adoption."

But it hasn't all be sunshine and rainbows, as no families are. "I have learned that some hurts run so deep that my kids don't even know where they came from, but that I am the one who is meant to get them through it," said Rich. "I've learned that sitting in the principal's office, or the psychiatric emergency room, or the waiting room at the local jail, are not the worst things a parent can experience - far worse is not knowing where my kid is. And I have learned that I have reserves of patience, understanding, resilience, and love that I never dreamed of."

From left to right: Rich, John, Emil, Gary and Ken

At one point, when they were first beginning their family, Rich and Ken shared with a friend that they were planning on adopting a teenager, and she asked them why they would do that to their family. "It threw us into extreme doubt," said Ken, "until we realized that we weren't doing it TO anyone, we were doing it FOR someone, and that was the children. We came back with a vengeance, and haven't stopped since." And they have no plans to stop.

This family's life will continue to revolve around adoption until they "can't physically do it any more!" The dads are aware that although some kids will confidently move on to independence, some might live with them longer. "I have learned that crunchy spaghetti with cold sauce is delicious because it's the first thing my son every cooked by himself," said Rich. The dads shared that having a sense of humor, picking their battles and being bigger than the hurt that their children have makes everything possible.

"If you are lonely, get a puppy. If you have a fantasy about having kids, adopt a baby. If you want to test out what parenting is like, foster or be a big brother," said Rich. "But if you really want to help kids who need parents, adoption of teenagers might be for you."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple is Using 'Wheel of Fortune' Winnings to Help Fund Their Adoption

Need to raise money for your adoption fund? Why not try your luck on Wheel of Fortune like these guys!

Doug and Nick Roberts connected three and a half years ago via a dating app, and on their first date, the two immediately felt a connection. Doug, a psychologist, and Nick, a neuroscientist, were married 18 months later. Today the couple live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and they're ready to start their next exciting adventure together: fatherhood.

The husbands would like to have children, and Nick has always wanted to adopt. "We considered surrogacy, and may consider it in the future as we expand our family," said Doug, "but right now, it is cost-prohibitive. Adoption was easily the right choice for us as we begin to grow our family.

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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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Gay Dad Life

"Daddy, Which Belly Did I Come From?"

How do gay dads talk to their kids about the women that helped bring them into the world?

When you tell your kids the story of how they came to be, is the woman who delivered them identified by a face and a name? That's a decision that every gay dad has to make when it comes to having kids through surrogacy or adoption. In this episode we explored two ways of keeping in touch with the birthmother (for adoptive kids) or the gestational surrogate (for IVF and surrogacy) as part of gay dads' children's birth story.Some adoptive parents choose to have an 'open adoption,' where the child gets to meet the birthmother. Parents who go through surrogacy sometimes keep in touch with the surrogate and have their kids meet her when they are old enough.

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Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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