Gay Dad Family Stories

These Gay Dads Via Surrogacy Have the Perfect Response When Asked, "When Did You Get Her"? in Reference to Their Daughter

Most of the time, gay dads PJ and Corey feel they are treated just like any other family. When they're asked questions like "when did you get her?" they simply respond, "she's ours."

After being on an adoption waitlist for two years with no progress, these dads decided to take matters into their own hands. So they switched paths and on March 20, 2017, they welcomed a baby girl.

PJ and Corey, both 33, met while working in the local mall during college. They've been together 11 years and were married May 23, 2014.

After putting down roots in Texas (the husbands had been living in Southern California) they began their path to fatherhood in February 2013 by signing with an adoption agency. "The adoption experience was very positive and frustrating at the same time," said PJ. "The company we were with was very reputable and in business for over 30 years but the constant decline in pregnancy rates put them in a very tough place where their listing of potential parents heavily outweighed the list of birth parents."


The frustrating wait with no news led PJ to begin researching surrogacy, and after 2 years with no development, they decided to switch course. (They found out in early 2017 that their adoption agency had closed, leaving almost 2,000 clients across eight states in the dark.) They briefly considered fostering but, as PJ and Corey shared honestly, "we did not feel strong enough to deal with the potential heartbreaks."

They began working with their first surrogacy agency in June 2015, but unfortunately that relationship was also unsuccessful. After working with them for six months, they still had not been matched with a surrogate they truly felt comfortable with. "It was important to us to find someone with a great personality that we could consider a friend," explained Corey. They switched agencies and were matched right away.

PJ and Corey on their "baby-moon" in Puerto Rico

They had less trouble with selecting an egg donor. "When looking for an egg donor we really searched for someone who represented the best traits we saw in each other," said PJ. "We wanted our children to share a biological bond with each other and each fertilized half of the eggs from our donor."

In June 2016 they became pregnant on their first transfer. The dads-to-be were thrilled and were able to experience the entire pregnancy process alongside their surrogate. They enjoyed a "baby-moon" in Puerto Rico before they officially became dads, something they encourage others do: "We highly recommend everyone step away from their responsibilities one last time by making time for a fantastic vacation before their world completely changes with the arrival of their child."

Corey (left) and PJ holding baby Etta

On March 20, 2017, the dads were present at daughter's birth and little Etta was placed in their arms immediately.

Now that Etta is well into toddlerhood, the dads are even more aware of what parenting means, their own abilities, and also thankful for their welcoming local community. Etta attends a non-denominational church daycare and they are treated like every other parent by the staff. "We've lost count of how many birthday parties we've attended of other kids who attend our daycare," said Corey. Occasionally the dads will encounter questions from the general public like "when did you get her?" and they simply reply with "she's ours" and they don't feel the need to elaborate.

PJ, Etta and Corey

They are still in touch with their surrogate, chatting almost weekly, swapping updates on Etta and their surrogate's daughter, and discussing what's happening on their favorite shows.

Both dads sometimes worry about Etta being treated differently or having preconceived notions and stereotypes thrust upon her for having gay dads. Although not adverse to pink, Corey's own tastes are more gray and white, but he doesn't want to stifle her desires for "girly" things. "People saying any reason her hair/outfit looks cute is because she has gay dads so 'of course she's going to have great style,'" is something Corey doesn't want unfairly dumped onto Etta.

PJ, Etta and Corey

PJ worries that one day Etta will encounter judgment and prejudice based on her family but so far their experience hasn't reflected this. "I am optimistic that we won't have to encounter negative experiences often; I just want to focus on raising Etta and doing the best we can."

PJ and Etta


Above all, PJ and Corey are both aware of their strengths as parents, and those are the important attributes: patience, stability, and love like no other. "Loving my kid no matter what and being fiercely protective," said Corey, when asked about his best qualities as a dad. He's also keen on teaching Etta an important life lesson: "Knowing not everyone is going to understand or like who you are or how you live you life and being 100% okay with that."

Corey and Etta

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

Meet the First Same-Sex Couple to Receive a Grant Through Best Buy's Adoption Assistance Program

Keegan and Paul Schroepfer are believed to be the first gay couple to receive a grant through Best Buy's adoption assistance program.

Keegan Shoutz and Paul Schroepfer met at college in 2010, when marriage equality wasn't legal in their home state of Minnesota. Back then, kids were a far off distant thought. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2015, the pair married a year later and began discussing their future as dads. In 2017, the husbands began their adoption journey, and the long wait began.

Keegan, 31, works in public relations for Best Buy's corporate communications team, and Paul, 35, is a lawyer. Their journey to adoption took over two and a half years, and they describe it as "a LOT of waiting." The couple considered surrogacy but decided adoption was the right path for their family. The first part of their journey was focused on a pile of paperwork, in-person classes, and then social outreach.

Their nursery sat empty for a year after all their "homework" was completed.

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Family Stories

Sister Act: How Four Siblings Helped Joey and Rob Become Dads

The husbands *also* received help from Men Having Babies, a nonprofit helping gay men become dads via surrogacy.

"I first learned about Men Having Babies while searching the internet for insurances that covered surrogacy," said Joey Guzman-Kuffel, 40, a Marriage and Family Therapist. "As I researched our surrogacy options the Men Having Babies link popped up. When I clicked on their link, I learned that this awesome organization was bringing awareness to men wanting to have babies and the possibilities to do so."

Joey and his husband Rob Kuffel, 47, Protocol Officer for the US Navy, have been together seven years after meeting via OKCupid.com. They chatted for a week via the app, then graduated to a phone call which lasted 3-4 hours. "I always knew that I wanted to have kids and knew that I needed to be with a partner that wanted to have kids as well," said Joey. Rob felt the same way. The two were married in May 2014.

Keep reading...
News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Keep reading...
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse