Gay Dad Family Stories

After Four Years on a Waiting List, a Chance Encounter at Work Made This Adoptive Dad's Dreams Come True

After a chance encounter with an adoptive mother at his workplace, Andre Barros finally had the family he'd always dreamed of

After four long years on an adoption waitlist, Andre Barros wasn't sure if he'd ever become a dad. But a chance encounter with an adoptive parent at his place of work changed his life forever. Things began to move quickly. Within a few months, he was in a hospital room with his son's birth mother, cutting the cord, and giving his son his very first kiss.


Andre's son, Lucca

Andre, originally from Brazil, lives in Waterloo, Canada and is a nurse. He came out to a loving family whom he thinks might love him even more now that he's living his authentic life. Andre always wanted to be father, so in 2013, he began his adoption journey as single gay man. He was open to adopting from 0 to 10 years old, and siblings, too.

After four years on the waiting list and still no headway, Andre began his day at the hospital like any other. He was doing a well-child check for an infant and noticed there wasn't any delivery information. Andre asked the mother and she told him she had adopted the baby. During the visit, Andre opened up and told the mother that he, too, was hoping to adopt but had been waiting four years and had never received any calls from his agency about a potential match.

The mother asked who his social worker was, and then gave Andre the details to the social worker who had helped her adopt her child. "I didn't want to believe my social worker was working against me," said Andre, so he decided not to reach out to the recommended agent for fear to cause any hard feelings or to maybe change the path I was waiting so long already.

Two weeks later, he received an email asking him he was interested in adopting a child that was yet to be born. "I said yes, of course!" said Andre. "That was the first email with good news I had ever received from the agency."

Later that week, Andre received a call stating the birth mother had selected two profiles – one of which was his - and she wanted to interview the potential adoptive parents before making a decision. "I was extremely tense on the interview day," said Andre. "After the interview, I asked the social worker how she decided to take on my case seeing as she wasn't my primary social worker. She said, 'You have an angel advocating for you,' and nothing else!"

A couple of days went by and the social worker called Andre again asking for another interview and a letter describing his point of view on open adoption and how he would feel having the birth family around. "I was clear that I would like to have contact with the birth family," explained Andre, "I didn't want my child to wonder in the future."

During the second meeting, the birth mother asked Andre, if he was chosen, if he'd like to be in the delivery room to be passed the child right away as she didn't want any contact with the child after the delivery. Andre replied, "Of course, that would be amazing! Cutting the cord and to give the first kiss on my child would be a dream!"

The birth mom then said, "So, get ready; you will be in the delivery room!"

"I don't even need to tell you that it was the best day of my life," said Andre. "I cried like a baby!"

On October 8, 2017, little Lucca was born and went straight to his Daddy's arms.

"My life has changed completely! Everything I do and think now is about my son. My schedule is all about him, I've become much more organized and practical as I can't afford to waste time. I need and I want to be there for my son."

Today, Lucca is almost 17 months, and he and Andre have a wonderful relationship with Lucca's biological family. They see each other regularly, and Lucca has a 4-year-old brother and grandmother as well, and they're always excited to see him. Andre describes the open adoption relationship as an amazing extension to his son's family. "He was never unwanted, rejected, abused or neglected," said Andre. "[His birth mother] loved him so much that she had a very difficult decision to give him away for a better life!"

As a single dad, Andre juggles a lot on his plate but with a well-structured schedule, he and Lucca make it work. And they still find time to play, go shopping, travel and visit friends.

And despite the wait and discrimination, Andre would do it all over again. "Obstacles can be complex and difficult; it's hard to keep motivation high over time. But becoming a father and having a family will justify all your hard work!"

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Keith Willey, 49, and his husband Kevin Kablutsiak, 42, who live in Ottawa, Canada, first met online in 2010. The couple had their first date soon afterwards in a coffee house and, "haven't looked back since," said Keith. They married on May 22nd, 2016.

Keith, who works as a Policy Advisor with the Canadian Federal Government, and Kevin, who works as the Director of Communications with the Canadian National Inuit Organization (ITK), always knew they wanted kids together, and talked about it early on in their relationship. Still, as gay men, they weren't sure that option would ever be available to them.

"I grew up in the UK in the 1970s so I assumed it would be impossible to have children," said Keith. "I always assumed that I would have to lead a life sort of in the shadows and in secret. Attitudes were so different in the 70s to how they are now that I simply believe that we thought it would be impossible to have a child."

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The Inuit Custom Adoption Process was originally used in the small Inuit societies in the arctic, Kevin explained. It's primarily (though not exclusively) intended as a path for adoption within families. The process is legally recognized by the Canadian legal system.

As Kevin went on to explain, Inuit custom adoption was traditional used to support survival within, what were until quite recently, people living a nomadic lifestyle. It is, in essence, a deeply loving and selfless tradition of giving the gift of life to a carefully selected couple, most often with the guidance of elders (usually the matriarch within a family). If a couple couldn't conceive, for instance, others would sometimes offer their help. Similarly, if a couple lost a child, the grieving parents might be given a baby to help ease the ache of their loss. While most Inuit parents have zero intention of custom adopting their children to other families, adoption continues to be an established method in Inuit regions.

Through this process, and with everyone's agreement, the two men legally adopted Kevin's sister and her husband's child from birth. They named her Abbie. "Kevin's sister and her husband came to stay with us in Ottawa prior to the birth so Abbie was in our care from the moment she was born," said Keith. "She got to come home with us the day after the birth with the legal process taking around 11 months to complete from start to finish."


As far as their parenting styles, the couple say they've drawn on each of their pasts. "Both Kevin and I had somewhat difficult childhoods and have spent a lot of time working through and dealing with childhood trauma," Keith said. "As a result, we are better parents and we continue to look after ourselves and each other as we continue to grow in parenthood."

Though the couple come from different cultures, they said they've had no difficulty developing a parenting approach that works for them both. "I don't think either of us raise Abbie in the same parenting style that we experienced," Keith said, "We both talked and agreed on our approach before Abbie was born and we work well together as a parenting couple."

The result is a parenting style that incorporates some elements of both of their backgrounds, Keith said. "Inuit culture tends to shower children in love and we certainly do that," said Kevin. From English-style parenting, the couple have also borrowed the tendency of English parents to be "pretty obsessive," Keith said, about routines, such as scheduling meals, naps and bedtimes.

Though life was good before Abbie joined the family, "now it's fantastic!" Keith said. "I feel like being a parent was what I was put on this earth to be." Because neither man ever expected to become fathers, moreover, both say they look at parenthood as a privilege rather than a right — a helpful perspective they suggest to other gay men considering fatherhood. "Parenthood is an amazing gift," Keith said, "But remember it's about them, not you — and they deserve the best start in life we can give them."

Though fatherhood came to them somewhat unexpectedly, Keith and Kevin say they couldn't be happier with the way things turned out. "When I reflect on our life together, and where we both came from, it is incredible to me that we are now married, content, and parents to our wonderful panik," Keith said, using the Inuktitut word for daughter. "We are totally blessed."


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The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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