Foster/Foster-Adopt

These Gay Dads Were the First to Foster-Adopt in the British Island, Jersey

And these "Jersey Boys" are already filing paperwork for their second!

Near the coast of Normandy, France, lies a tiny island, British in every way ­­– Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. A so-called Crown dependency, Jersey drives on the left, uses the British pound, and speaks the Queen's English. And it is home to husbands Jon and Tristan Stasiak-Gray and their 2-year-old son Harvey. How this little family of three came to be you will find out in the story below. Welcome to the Jersey Boys!


Jon, 36, and Tristan, 29, met at a dance club in Jersey more than eight years ago. After five years together, they decided to get married, in Hawaii. (Jersey did not have marriage equality until this year.)

Their plans to start a family began even earlier. The initial application to adopt was filed in late 2014, after which the guys took an extensive training course in January and February of 2015. The rest of that year was spent moving from a one-bedroom flat to their current family home and working through the all of the assessments, interviews and health checks. They were officially approved to become adoptive parents in February 2016. When they both got new jobs (they work in finance), they asked the adoption agency in March to postpone placement for one year.

But things developed quite differently. As Jon describes it, "We were called in to see our social workers in June, two weeks into my job and before Tristan had started his, to discuss fostering. We were not interested in fostering at the time, but wanted to show willingness and be polite. At the meeting, our social worker asked us if we would consider fostering a baby that hadn't yet been born, with an intention to adopt them, in one month's time! We were shocked, surprised, excited and apprehensive. Jersey had never done the "fostering-to-adopt" process before so if successful, we would be the first."

There were several unknowns: Two other families were being considered; Jon and Tristan hadn't even been approved as foster parents yet! But after Jersey's social services fast-tracked their fostering application, they were lucky enough to be chosen as the preferred family.

During the adoption course the men had been warned to manage their expectations, and to accept the following three things in particular: 1. You will never get a relinquished baby; 2. You will never get a newborn; and 3. You will not be able to name your adopted child.

Their son Harvey was born on August 8, 2016. Only five hours later the boy would safely rest in his new fathers' arms. But for a few months there would still be ambiguity about the adoption. The dads were told not to allow their family (and themselves) to become too attached to the little boy, as the adoption might still be derailed.

But no such tragedy happened. They met Harvey's birth family who gave them their blessing. On April 21, 2017, eight and a half months after Harvey was born, the adoption was finalized. And all of their wildest expectations had been met!

The young family meet with other gay dad families on the island regularly, and, even though the Channel Islands are thought of as a little old-fashioned and set in its ways, none of the families have ever experienced any unpleasantness.

Jon and Tristan have already started the adoption process for a second baby. Unfortunately, they need to go through every step of the incredibly long process again, even though they have successfully completed one recently. If they aren't successful soon, they're thinking of surrogacy, as they'd really like Harvey's sibling to be close in age to him.

Their plans for the future are to grow their family –– maybe three kids? Especially Tristan, who has lived in Jersey –– only around 100,00 people, only 45 square miles! –– all his life, would like to spread his wings and move somewhere much bigger. They're contemplating a move across the globe, to Australia!

The world is getting more tolerant. Jon and Tristan are happier than they've ever been. As they told us, "Raising a child is really the best thing you can do in your life." From what we gather, these Jersey boys are the luckiest guys in the world.




Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

Adoption for These Dads Was Like a "Rollercoaster" But Well Worth the Ride

After multiple scam attempts, bizarre leads, and a birth mom's change of heart, Jason and Alex finally became dads.

Photo credit: Dale Stine

Every gay man who pursues fatherhood fights for their right to become a dad. They've had to keep going even when at times it's seemed hopeless. Jason Hunt-Suarez and Alex Suarez's story is no different. They had their hearts set on adoption; overcame multiple scams, some very bizarre leads, a birth mother's change of heart at the 11th hour, their adoption agency going bankrupt, and tens of thousands of dollars lost along the way. But after a long, turbulent, and heart-wrenching three-year-long journey, it was all worth it.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Salt Lake Gay Couple Behind Viral Wedding Proposal Become Foster Dads

They've gone viral, appeared on Ellen, and were married by Queen Latifa. What can top all that? Fatherhood.

Photo credit: Tiffany Burke, Follow Your Art Photography.

Over 5 years ago, you might remember seeing an amazing proposal that took place in a Home Depot in Utah. With the help of close friends and family, Spencer organized an incredible flash mob to sweep Dustin off his feet. If you did see it, you're one of the 14 million viewers who did. (If you have been living under a rock, you can see the video below!)

The fiancés quickly became an overnight sensation thanks to this unbelievably romantic stunt. They even appeared on Ellen and were given engagement gifts. (You know you've made it once Ellen starts giving you stuff.) Dustin and Spencer were also part of a symbolic wedding ceremony with many other couples who were married during the 2014 Grammy's event, by Queen Latifa, while Macklemore sang "Same Love."

And for their next act? Fatherhood.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

9-Year-Old Girl Starts Successful Jewelry Line With Help of Gay Dads

Riley Petersen is 9 (!) and already a Creative Director, with the help of her gay dads

Riley Kinnane-Petersen is 9 years old, enjoys playing tennis, being with friends, has a pet cat, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two dads, John Petersen and William Kinnane. She's also the official Creative Director of a successful jewelry line she founded with the help of her dads. Two years ago, John even quit his day job to assist in the day-to-day operations of the jewelry company.

What began as a long road to adoption for William and John, has become a thriving creative business, and more importantly a family.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

5 Pics of Ricky Martin In Newborn Baby Bliss

He may be a superstar most of the year, but with a new baby girl at home, Ricky Martin is just a regular ol' dad deep in the throes of newborn baby bliss.

On January 1st, 2019 superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

Fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker are the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine

I literally never thought I'd see the day. Literally.

Gay fathers on the cover of Parents Magazine! Gay fathers being celebrated in a "main stream" publication about being parents. Gay fathers!

I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone. A massive cultural milestone.

Sure, gay dads have come a long way in being accepted in our popular culture, but to my eye we've never been on the cover of a big popular parenting magazine celebrating our parenting skills. As if we are the norm.

We are now - thanks to Parents Magazine.

This is a particular milestone for me because I have a bit of a history with the magazine and with parenting publications in general. My first job out of grad school was in brand marketing at Johnson's Baby Products where I did indeed run advertising in this particular magazine. Back then though we only featured married, straight couples. There were no other kinds of parents to feature back in the day! And if I'm to be really honest, they were generally white, married, straight couples.

I distinctly remember one photo shoot where I forgot to put a wedding ring on the "husband's" finger and we had to reshoot it. No photoshop back then!

Now admittedly this was before I was a dad and before I was out, but as the years went by and I embraced my own journey as a gay dad, there were no role models or pop culture markers to say that I (and other gay dads) were accepted. There were no Andy Cohens publicly making baby announcements. We were alone on our parenting.

It was hard. There was a constant barrage of straight parenting norms that constantly reminded us that we were different.
Not any more! Being a gay dad, or any dad, is now simply being a parent. A good parent. A loving parent. And we have Parents Magazine to thank for the reminder and endorsement, with hopefully more to come.

And I can't help but think, and actually know, that this kind of normalization will inspire the next generation of gay dads who will simply accept, without hesitation, that fatherhood as a gay man is a real, accepted, and normal option.

Bravo!

Sponsored

Broadway Husbands Talk Eggs, Embryos and Exciting News

The husbands explain what is considered a good egg retrieval.

In their previous video, Broadway Husbands Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna shared that they found their egg donor. In this video, the dads-to-be discuss their embryo creation process. And - spoiler alert - there are now frozen Hanna-Shuford embryos, and the husbands are ready for their next step: finding a gestational carrier.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse