Gay Dad Life

A Forever Family Forged in a Leap in Faith

In April this year, O'Brian and Daryl received a call about twin 3-month-old boys who were up for adoption in Pennsylvania. The dads-to-be were hesitant; they had already experienced one birth mother's change of heart. They weren't sure they could endure that kind of heartache again. However, they took a leap of faith and went to collect the boys. Now, they say it was the best decision of their life. O'Brian, Daryl, and their twins became a forever family on October 25. Here's their story.


Tell us about your path to fatherhood. Daryl and I definitely considered surrogacy as well as fostering to adopt. After an extensive amount of research we settled on private adoption because this route aligned the most with our goals. We did not have a strong desire to have biological ties to our children so that pretty much excluded surrogacy. Working in local government I was able to get some first-hand advice on fostering to adopt. Although it was appealing, we really wanted an infant and didn't want to endure the sometimes lengthy process to completing an adoption through the state.

Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. We began our adoption journey with a local agency that is licensed specifically in the D.C/Maryland/Virginia area. They were very supportive in helping us through the trainings and getting home study approved. Unfortunately, there weren't a lot of cases coming through so after about six months of no movement we started to open our adoption search to national agencies. We settled on an agency in Pennsylvania and immediately began to receive cases from all over the US. In July of 2016 we were matched with a birth mother from Georgia who was expected to deliver a baby girl around September! The joy we experienced was other worldly. But the day the birth mom delivered she had a change of heart and decided to parent. The pain of that loss is a feeling we won't soon forget, compounded by the fact that we booked flights and hauled all of our babies luggage down to Georgia only to return empty handed. We took a week away from the world to mourn and regroup and decided to jump back in the game. There were a number of cases that came after, but Daryl and I were extremely cautious as we wanted to make sure it was the best fit possible in hopes of avoiding another failed adoption. Then in April of 2017, we received a call about 3-month-old twin boys. After much prayer we decided to step out on faith and within two days we were on our way to Pennsylvania to meet our beautiful sons!


How has your life changed since you became a father? It took Daryl and I about two weeks to fully get in a groove. We were so used to "happy hours," brunches and partying at a moment's notice. Our life now revolves around their schedule. It sounds cliché, but babies thrive in a structured environment. I was fortunate to have three months of leave when we brought the twins home and I literally felt like a bottle making, diaper changing machine. Daryl would come home from work and handle the night shift which balanced things out. It is the most exhausted I think we'd ever been, but the most rewarding experience thus far.

What have you learned from your twins since you became a dad? I think we've learned patience for sure. Learning to take care of a baby is a task in itself, but juggling twins is super hero status. Daryl and I quickly learned to depend on our strengths to ensure our sons are healthy and happy. I go into work later so I get the kids up and ready for daycare and Daryl loves their smiling faces when he picks them up in the evenings. We've learned a love that we never knew before. There are literally two little humans that depend on us for everything and we want to make sure they can reach their full potential.

Was there ever a moment that you or Daryl experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself. Definitely when we experienced the failed adoption. Daryl and I had many discussions about continuing the process. Ultimately, we decided to press forward and we were double blessed for our trouble. :)

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? My husband and I are very fortunate to live in a liberal state and in a very diverse community. Our village is extremely large and we definitely don't have a shortage of sitters when we need a date night here and there. Our church is affirming and absolutely adores our sons! They are literally little rock stars whose schedule is quickly out pacing that of their dads.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Our goal is to provide the best life possible for our sons. We want them to be leaders and work hard for the things they want in life. That begins with us nurturing their creativity and sharpening their gifts. We want our sons to be bilingual, master an instrument and excel as the sport of their choice. The journey begins now.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? If you want a quicker placement, I would say go with a national agency, but do your research. It's a long journey, but stay the course. Don't be quick to jump at the first opportunity presented to you. Be sure to check all the facts and then re-check them. And know that your child/children are out there, just be patient.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Only that we are so thankful to the woman who made the ultimate sacrifice. We hope to have a wonderful relationship with her as our sons grow. Adoption really is amazing.

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Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

News

New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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