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

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Gay Dad Family Stories

These Gay Dads Lost Everything After Hurricane Dorian — Except Hope

The couple, who live in "Hope Town" in the Bahamas, lost everything after suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian this past summer.

Max Bethel-Jones, 52, had traveled to more than 120 countries over the last 30 years working with the United Nations, but had never been to the Bahamas — in 2015, he decided to apply for a private teaching job as a special needs teacher in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

Just weeks after his arrival, he'd get a whole lot more than another pin in his map of visited countries when he attended a social event at Freeport Rugby. "My object was to ogle the local male talent but several women had other ideas," he said. One woman was particularly insistent, he said, but after a couple of drinks she got the hint that he batted for the other rugby team. "She promptly told me there was someone I should meet."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

One Dad's Plan to 'Co-Parent Like Crazy' with His Future Husband and Ex-Wife

"I see my daughter being raised in such a loving home," said Nick. "She'll understand equality and love, and I hope I will instill those qualities in her so that she spreads it to others."

When we asked 30-year-old Nick from Fort Worth, Texas, about his path to fatherhood, he told us it was a long story and to get ready. Nick became a dad through a previous straight relationship and only came out a few years ago, but a lot has happened since then.

Growing up, Nick was raised with the belief that he should, one day, become a dad and have a family. He was brought up Catholic, and was taught that his only option to have a family was with a woman.

At first, he didn't question this belief, but he distinctly remembers the first moment when he realized he was attracted to men.

"At around age 14, I remember getting in trouble in class and was sent to sit in the hallway and this guy came walking down the hallway and I thought, 'Oh, he's cute.'" After pondering that thought for a while, Nick began to look at other guys and soon realized that he was attracted to guys. "I never asked my parents, or any religious figures from church, about these thoughts that were rapidly swimming around my head—even when I was supposed to confess my sins in confession at church. I was terrified that the Father of the church would tell my parents and I'd be exiled or forced into being straight."

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Gay Dad Family Stories

One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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What to Buy

Shop with a Purpose with Our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Want to find amazing gift ideas while *also* supporting LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses? Look no further than our 2019 holiday gift guide!

'Tis the season to show loved ones you care. And what better way to show you care, by also supported our LGBTQ+ community and allies whilst doing it! Shop (LGBTQ+) smart with these great suggestions below.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Newly Out Gay Dad Feels 'Demoted' After Divorce

Cameron Call showed up to his first family Thanksgiving since coming out and getting a divorce — and struggles to find himself "stuck with the singles."

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his first article here.

Denial is an interesting thing. It's easy to think you're potentially above it, avoiding it, assume it doesn't apply to you because you'd NEVER do that, or maybe you're just simply avoiding it altogether. After finally coming out, I liked to think that I was done denying anything from now on. But unfortunately that's not the case.

And this fact became very clear to me over Thanksgiving.

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Resources

New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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