Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Do We Have a Biological Right to Fatherhood? Absolutely, Says This Gay Dad

Jay Bostick, a gay foster dad, responds to Kevin Saunders' controversial essay "Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children"

Editor's Note: Below is an essay by Jay Bostick who eloquently lays out many of the reasons why he and many other readers were upset by a post we ran yesterday by Kevin Saunders titled, "Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children." This post clearly touched a nerve! (Check out the ongoing discussion on our Facebook page.) While some of our readers appreciated Saunders' viewpoint, many others felt slighted by his reasoning for not having children, calling him everything from "self-involved," "selfish," and an "insufferable narcissist." Many other readers rightly questioned why Gays With Kids would even run an essay from a man who does not want children on (of all place) a parenting website.

The former point is a matter of opinion, but I'll offer some clarification on the latter. We agreed to run this post for two reasons. First, Saunders' perspective is unique among many adopted gay men. We have run countless essays on this site featuring adopted gay men who, inspired by their own upbringing, decided to give back by opening up their homes to children who need them. Saunders' experience, however, led him to conscience decision not to have children, a perspective worthy of discussion particularly by anyone who has been touched by adoption in some way. Secondly, as a 52-year-old gay man, Saunders is starting to find himself alienated from many in his LGBTQ peer group for his decision not to have kids. Again, we are so much more familiar with the opposite perspective on our page: when they become parents, many gay men find themselves ostracized from the broader, childless LGBTQ community. That the inverse is also starting to become true is a testament to the increase in LGBTQ parents in the United States, and an interesting dichotomy we believed warranted further exploration.

All that said, Saunders' essay is a matter of opinion, and one our readers (nor we) certainly don't have to agree with. This is why we were thrilled to receive this "counterpoint" to Saunders's essay from Bostick. We, at least, are enjoying the respectful exchange of ideas, and hope you are as well. Give Bostick's essay a read, as well as the original, and then let us know what you think in the comments or at dads@gayswithkids.com.

--David Dodge, Managing Editor


Guest Post by Jay Bostick

As a gay man who has fostered six children, and adopted two with my husband Joe, I am used to catching shade. Subtle shade in the form of, "It must be so hard for two working men without a nanny to take care of two growing boys." Sometimes full on shade, "Is that your real son?" (while pointing at my oldest son who is black; side note, what does that even mean – "real son"?). To the straight up crazy shade, "Children need a mother and father period. Two men shouldn't be allowed to foster children." (thanks Uncle Mike and Aunt Kari – glad to know where you stand).

I think that I have learned to take most of this in stride, usually laugh it off, occasionally clap back, but as my two sons grow older (both age 8 now) and become aware of when someone is condemning our family (for example the protestors screaming at us and them while entering the Pride Festival in Houston, TX this weekend), I become less tolerant. And I certainly become less tolerant when someone from my own community, who I rely on for support, decide to question my decision to become a father (even if under the guise of "reflecting upon themselves").

So imagine my confusion when I woke up this morning while on a business trip, Facetime'd my sons to say good morning, and then started scrolling Facebook while having my morning coffee at the hotel, only to find an article on Gays with Kids with the subtitle, "Do we have a biological right to parenthood?" Here is why this struck a chord with me.

Joe and I have talked to countless gay couples who would love to foster and/or adopt but are scared. Scared they don't make enough money. Scared they don't have enough time with busy work schedules. Scared that the things they hated in their parents will come to the surface in themselves as parents. Scared that they will face additional scrutiny from society. Scared that the adoption agency won't choose them for a child. Scared they won't have the resources available to foster or adopt a child that may have (insert issue here).

The last thing we need is another gay man listing all the reasons why we may not have a "biological right" to fatherhood. Kids need love, support, and consistency. Period.

Being 100% real, none of my kids have come to our home without their own set of baggage. But guess what – I didn't come into fatherhood without my own set of baggage myself. And that's just it – being a gay man and having gone through tough times (lack of acceptance, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, workplace discrimination) made me more empathetic to their plight. And so yes, in that regard, I think I do have a biological right to fatherhood – maybe not through my own DNA, but through helping someone who needed a hand in life. Not everyone is cut out for fatherhood – and I applaud this author for figuring that out, but I don't need to visit Gays with Kids to hear some story on all the reasons you aren't equipped to be a father. I need to visit Gays with Kids to lift me up on days when I am feeling low and reinforce me on days when I am feeling good.

I would be remiss if I didn't end this with some facts on children in foster care (source: National Foster Youth Institute):

  • Almost 400,000 children in the U.S. are currently in foster care; over 58,000 of these children are in group homes or institutions due to various issues including lack of avaialble foster families.
  • 100,000 children are eligible for adoption, every year – on average only 7,000 will be adopted.
  • 32% of children in the system will be in foster care for at least three years before they are even eligible to be adopted.
  • 33% of foster children have attended 5+ elementary schools (in just 6 years).
  • 23,000 children will age out of foster care at age 18 this year, and instantly approximately 4,600 of them will be homeless.
  • 70% of young women who age out of foster care at 18 will be pregnant before the age of 21.

In finality, if you are questioning whether you are good enough for fatherhood, and whether you have a biological right – let me end any self-doubt right now for you – you are good enough and if you want to do good, you will. Parenthood isn't easy for anyone, but with love and patience the reward far outweighs the sacrifices, for everyone involved.

Show Comments ()
Expert Advice

Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

We asked our Instagram community for their biggest questions about adoption. Then asked Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network to answer them.

As part of our new "Ask an Expert" series on Instagram, our community of dads and dads-to-be sent us their questions on adoption in the United States. Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network, answered them.

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
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
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Pics of the Moment Before and After Gay Men Become Dads

Dig through your phones — what was the last pic taken of you BEFORE you became a dad?

We all have THAT photo: the one taken moments after we become fathers for the first time. For some of us, we're doing "skin to skin" in a delivery room. For others, we're standing proudly alongside our newly adopted child and judge in a courtroom. However or wherever it happens, though, we make sure to snap a picture of it.

But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

Enjoy some of our favorites! Want to play along? Dig through your phones and send us your pics to dads@gayswithkids.com!

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Gay Dad in Sundance's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' is Relatable AF

Sundance hit "Brittany Runs a Marathon" stars a gay dad trying to get in shape.

Who would make for the best marathon training partner for an overweight, overly boozed 27-year-old woman? A gay dad, of course!

The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

Popular

'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
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

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse