Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple of 27 Years Learned to Dream Big — and Became Dads to Twins

When Jamie and Kenny first met in 1992, marriage and fatherhood seemed laughable. But as the years progressed, so did their dreams.

Jamie and Kenny have been all over the world. To be precise, they have traveled to 66 countries. So far, they hasten to add. And they used to live in London. But in their own minds, they are still two small-town country boys from Louisiana.

Their story together started in 1992, when both men were young students (Jamie was born in 1974, Kenny is just six months older) from similar backgrounds at the same university in Louisiana. A mutual friend introduced them at a cafeteria, and they hit it off.

They hailed from very small and very religious communities that disapproved of homosexuality. Without any positive role models, Jamie and Kenny had internalized those negative views: The way they looked at their own lives, they assumed they would lead lives of ridicule, be unwilling to commit to one partner, would contract HIV and soon after die of AIDS.


When they found each other, they realized that a stable relationship was what they both wanted. In 1992, marriage and children weren't in the realm of possibilities; they weren't even thoughts.

Despite these challenges ­­–– some real, some imagined –– they stayed together through their college years. They threw themselves on their work. They moved to the big city, New York. And finally, with a work transfer for Jamie, they undertook a move to London. They even managed to obtain British citizenship and a few years ago they became, technically, British-Americans.

Meanwhile, the world had been changing for the better. Seeing more and more same-sex families, the men began to dream bigger and bigger. When marriage became a possibility, Jamie and Kenny had a wedding in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in September 2008.

From their home in London, they began envisioning a future for them as dads. They looked at several options. Their personal circumstances –– Americans living in the United Kingdom –– made adoption extremely complicated. Surrogacy then became the preferred way of creating a family. While they were saving money to cover the enormous costs of the entire process, they identified a fertility clinic in Idaho they wanted to work with; soon they found a surrogate in Illinois.

At the end of 2016 they and their surrogate became pregnant with twins, one girl, one boy. With the Atlantic Ocean between them, the pregnancy presented some particular challenges. Appointments with doctors in Illinois were attended via FaceTime and Skype. Other information was shared via phone, email or text message.

Before they embarked on their surrogacy journey, the men and their surrogate had made clear to each other what their expectations were and how they would communicate. As a result of that, and because of the relationships that they forged between them, their arrangement worked very well.

Of course, not all anxiety can be overcome that way. The men were very aware of the inherent risks, both to the surrogate and to the babies, of a twin pregnancy. Out of a desire to be physically closer to their surrogate, they struck a deal with their British employers that allowed them to work remotely from America. And only 10 days after they relocated to Chicago to be closer to their Illinois-based surrogate, their twins were born prematurely.

That day in July 2017 was the scariest and happiest day of their lives. And only when their kids were born, Kenny and Jamie finally felt complete.

The new family of four flew back to London where they remained until being transferred more permanently to New York City earlier this year.

James continued to work as a chief compliance officer for a British bank, while Kenny became a stay-at-home dad.

These twins, Grayson James and Elizabeth (Izzie) Grace Rials-McCullough celebrated their second birthday in July!

Show Comments ()
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How These Gay Dads Prepared for Twins

Marc and Steve, who are expecting twins girls later this year, tell us how they've prepared to grow their family

Guest post by Marc and Steve

As mentioned in our previous blog it was a shock to find out that we will be expecting twins later on this year. It had taken some getting used to idea but now we are counting down the last few months before we can welcome our twin girls into the family.

Both Marc and I knew we always wanted to have more than one child, the main reason for this was so our first (Spencer) always had some company, someone to play with and so he never felt like he was alone. From around the age of three Spencer has been asking about having a sibling, we knew this day would come as inevitably he was going to have friends who had siblings, so at some point he was going to question why he was an only child. We always said we wanted to have as small of an age gap as possible but unfortunately this did not happen for various reasons. Not that it makes that much difference to us now, in fact we believe it has worked out better this way, with Spencer being that little bit older and more independent he can be a lot more involved with the care of his sisters. He is already telling us that he will help us by getting them nappies and wipes.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Gay Dads Freddie and Jeff Featured in CNN Documentary About Surrogacy

"Just in three days, I see the world differently," said new dad Jeff after the birth of his son Jace.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"On our third date, Jeff and I discussed our desire to become parents someday, so we've always wanted to be dads," said Freddie. Jeff and Freddie Beisler-Snell met through a mutual friend and have been together 13 years, married for three. Right from the very beginning, they saw fatherhood as part of their future. In May 2019, they welcomed their son Jace via surrogacy.

When Jeff, 40, and Freddie, 36, started their journey, they began looking into adoption. Although they both yearned for a biological connection to their future kids, they didn't know much about surrogacy, or if it was a viable option for them. After doing a little more research, they attended a Gay Parents To Be event, sponsored by RMA of Connecticut taking place in Atlanta. "This event was great because it opened our eyes up to the entire surrogacy process," said Freddie. "After the event, we did some additional research on potential agencies and IVF doctors. We ended up narrowing down our search, and landed on Circle Surrogacy as our agency, and RMA-CT for our IVF clinic."

And from there, their surrogacy journey began.

Keep reading... Show less
Surrogacy for Gay Men

5 Questions for Gay Dads Considering Twins in Their Surrogacy Journey

To twin or not to twin: it's a question every gay dad contemplating surrogacy will have to face at some point.

Gay dads-to-be who are creating embryos for surrogacy have a big decision to make: who will be the bio dad? Some dads would BOTH like to be bio dads, and express an interest in having twins, where one baby is biologically related to each dad. The decision to do a Multiple Embryo Transfer (MET) which would possibly lead to a twin pregnancy is a big one, with much to consider in addition to bringing home two bundles of joy from the hospital.

Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation speaks with gay intended parents every day about the options they have to grow their families, including embarking on a twin journey.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself if you're considering a twin pregnancy:

1. Am I ready for my surrogacy journey to cost more?

With an average singleton surrogacy journey costing anywhere between $110,000 and $120,000 (excluding IVF), intended parents should prepare for additional fees associated with a twin pregnancy. First, your surrogate will be paid additional compensation to carry twins. Second, the maternity expenses are typically twice as high with a twin pregnancy, as high risk OBGYNs are often involved. There can also be risks to the babies with a twin pregnancy. We have found that twins can be born one month early, with roughly half of twins needing to spend time in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit). At Circle, we have seen the average cost in the NICU approach $100,000.

2. Have I spoken to my IVF Doctor?

Your IVF clinic is your best resource for understanding what it means to do a multiple embryo transfer and try and for twins. There are some IVF clinics that will allow any IPs that would like to try for twins to transfer 2 embryos, as long as the IPs and surrogate fully understand the risks. However, other clinics will not transfer 2 embryos unless there's a medical reason. You should consult your IVF doctor.

3. Have I discussed twins with my surrogacy agency?

It's important to discuss a twin pregnancy with your agency who will be supporting you and your surrogate throughout your journey. Circle Surrogacy, for example, would support Intended Parents on a twin journey if they make an informed decision to have a twin pregnancy; and Circle would ensure the Intended Parents fully understood the risks associated with transferring two embryos. Considerations include:

  1. A twin pregnancy provides risks to the surrogate and to the babies.
  2. The maternity expenses are typically twice as high with a twin pregnancy, as high risk OBGYNs may be involved.
  3. There are also risks for the children. On average, we find that twins are born one month early, roughly half of twins end up in the NICU and, in our experience, incurring NICU fees.
  4. Matching Intended Parents who want twins may take longer, as many surrogates are either not medically approved to carry twins or are unwilling.
  5. The overall cost of the journey will be greater as complications often occur, most deliveries are via c-section and surrogates often end up on bedrest.

4. Am I ready to care for two babies?

Caring for one baby can feel overwhelming at first, so caring for TWO babies (double the feedings and diapers!) may require additional help and support. You should be prepared to speak to your IVF clinic and agency about your plan for caring for twins once they arrive.

5. Am I open to hearing about doing a 'dual journey' instead of a twin pregnancy?

An option to doing a twin pregnancy is doing what is called a dual journey: when two surrogates are pregnant at the same time with singletons with staggered due dates. Scott Buckley, VP of Client Services at Circle Surrogacy, recommends dual journeys – or sibling journeys – as options to a twin pregnancy: "With a dual journey or sibling journey, there are fewer expenses because there are fewer risks with singleton pregnancies and births. Intended Parents will receive a discount on agency fees for a second journey. Plus, when parents decide to do a sibling journey and work with the same surrogate, their discount is doubled. Essentially, you grow your family with two babies without the risk of a multiples pregnancy."

If you're considering growing your family with twins, the first step is to talk with your IVF clinic, and see what your doctor recommends. From there, speaking with your surrogacy agency will help you understand what a twin pregnancy means for costs and fees, as well as for matching times and surrogate availability. There are a few options to have two bio dads in your family, you just need to find the one that works best for you.

'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

Help us congratulate gay dads on their recent births and adoptions last month!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded in the last month or so a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

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

We Gained a Son Through Foster Care — He Didn't Lose his Family

Foster-adopt expert Trey Rabun writes a moving essay about his own experiences as a parent in the foster care system.

My husband, Phil, and I talked about having children since out first date over 11 years ago. Like many other gay dads, we waited to start the journey to become parents until we felt secure with our careers, finances, and home life. This meant we didn't start the partnering journey until 2016 when we were eight years into our relationship.

When we first met, I was completing my graduate studies in social work and subsequently started a career working in foster care and adoption. This made our decision to pursue foster care-adoption as our path to parenthood a fairly easy one. In fact, I can't recall us discussing other avenues to parenthood, but I'm sure we briefly discussed them before solidifying our decision to become foster parents.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

In the Philly Area? Attend 'Family Pride' On October 5th!

Philadelphia Family Pride is hosting their 10th Annual "Family Matters" Conference on October 5th for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, and their kids!

Guest post by Stephanie Haynes, the executive director of Philadelphia Family Pride

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Philadelphia Family Pride will hold their 10th Annual Family Matters Conference from 9am to 3:30pm for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their kids of all ages at the University of the Sciences in West Philadelphia. The theme this year is "Telling Our Stories." Registration is now open!

In an interactive keynote, Anndee Hochman, author of the Philadelphia Inquirer's weekly "Parent Trip" column, will share highlights from her work as a journalist and memoirist. She'll invite conversation about the stories that shape us—what tales do we share? who does the telling? who is left out?—and how those stories, added up, are changing the world. Read her bio.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Adoption

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for Your Home Study

Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network lists the 5 things gay men should keep in mind when preparing for your home study

The homestudy is the first step in the adoption process. In every state the homestudy is done a little differently, but all of them have the some combo of paperwork, trainings, and interviews. The homestudy can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months to complete. Without it, you cannot adopt.

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