Gay Dad Family Stories

A Gay Teenager with a Challenging Past Finds a New Home, and Future, with Two Gay Dads

Sam suffered abuse at the hands of his birth family. But thanks to his adoptive dads, Adam and Josh, his future looks bright.

Being your children's most enthusiastic and loving cheerleader is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. To support, encourage, guide and to provide a safe loving environment where children can truly be themselves. And that's what Adam and Josh Blaylock are doing for their adopted 17-year-old son, Sam Blaylock.

Before meeting his dads, Sam experienced physical and emotional abuse from his birth family and relations. Once child services became involved, he was moved to and from the homes of different family members and a foster home, before finally coming to stay with Josh and Adam.

"After moving in with them I finally felt what a family actually meant," shared Sam.

Adam and Josh created a home environment of love, acceptance, and freedom to be his authentic self. But how did two Portland, Oregon, husbands in their early thirties become dads to a gay teenager? Although it wasn't necessarily part of the "plan," it's become abundantly clear that this was the family they were meant to have. Here's their story.


Adam and Josh at their wedding, July 2015

Both Adam and Josh came out to friends and families after their high school years. Adam, now 34 and a teacher, told his mom on a trip to New York City, while commemorating his 21st birthday. They celebrated by going to museums and Broadway shows.

"Shocking she didn't know already, right?" said Adam. Over dinner the truth came out, and Adam's mother didn't take it well. Adam never came out to his father and unfortunately no longer has any relationship with him because of his beliefs and how he expresses them.

Josh, 33 and a retail manager, came out to his sister on the way home from a Cher concert.

"So looking back, duh, I'm sure everyone knew," said Josh. "But growing up in an Evangelical household, I didn't know what the reaction to the truth was going to be." It would be another few years before he told his mom; Josh phoned her to tell her that he'd got a dog, and ended up saying how he'd moved in with his boyfriend Adam and he was gay. His mom's response was, "Well, you know how I feel about that," (which he didn't) and they left it at that.

From left to right: Adam, Sam and Josh, en route to Disneyland, October 2015

"It has taken awhile, and a lot of work on both parts, but by including my family in our lives, they were able to see the love that we have for each other and for them," said Josh. "They were all at our wedding in 2015, where Adam took my family's last name." Adam feels welcome in Josh's family and they couldn't be happier with their relationship.

When the husbands began thinking about children, Josh and Adam imagined they'd foster or adopt a younger child. "I am teacher, so I have seen first-hand how many children there are out there who need loving homes," said Adam. But when a friend of theirs who works with LGBTQ youth reached out to them and asked if they would temporarily foster a teenager while DHS found a permanent placement, they said yes.

Sam first came to live with his dads when he was 14 years old and after a very traumatic childhood that stretched into his teen years. He suffered abuse from his family and relations, both physical and mental, and then was sexually assaulted in a foster home where he lived temporarily. (Read Sam's story, in his own words, here.) Sam struggled with his sexuality, which was also a source of contention for his family who did not accept who he was or how he chose to express himself. Finally, it lead to child services collecting him from school one day, and taking him to stay with Josh and Adam.

At a friend's wedding, Utah, September 2017

"I felt at home the second I walked into their house," remembered Sam. "I felt a strong connection, and felt like I was in the wrong family for the past 14 years and now have found my people. My true family."

"We knew we could be a loving permanent home for Sam," added Josh. It took another two and a half years of court dates and working with child services, and the process itself was challenging and emotional. "It's very awkward and heartbreaking to sit in the courtroom supporting your kid while his mother is there, obviously caring about her child but not able to provide a safe environment for him," said Adam. "Sam loves his biological family, even though they are not supportive of his sexuality or that the state got involved, and we fully support contact with them as long as it is safe and he is in a stable mental state to see them."

On January 8, 2018, the husbands finalized Sam's adoption.

Adoption day, January 8, 2018

Since becoming dads, Adam and Josh's priorities have changed considerably. They dove head-first into parenting, so never had time to doubt. But even though the path was challenging, they know Sam has a bright future; they know they made the right choice.

"Having two dads is amazing," said Sam who now lives as an out and proud teen. "I never have to worry about anything when it comes to being gay. They understand it all. I never feel judged and can be as weird and as expressive as I want."

Adam and Josh have learned so much about themselves by helping Sam along his way. "We never would have even thought about coming out as teenagers, but Sam is undeniably himself, exploring drag and everything gay," said Adam. "We had always lived very heteronormative lives, but now we have learned to be very proud of our sexuality and family!"

Portland Pride June 2018

Through his safe and supportive family life, Sam has begun to really explore drag. "It started with just makeup, but then I wanted to dress up for pride 2017 and Adam helped me make my cute little tutu," explained Sam. "We were joking around and how it looked like Tinkerbell and thus came my drag name, Twinkerbell." Sam describes drag as being his number one outlet of coping and seeing the beauty in life.

And even though Sam will soon be off to college and they will become empty nesters, Adam and Josh will forever be his dads, and biggest cheerleaders.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

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The Inuit Custom Adoption Program Helped These Dads Form Their Family

After learning about the Inuit Custom Adoption Program from family, Keith and Kevin knew it was the way they wanted to become dads.

Keith Willey, 49, and his husband Kevin Kablutsiak, 42, who live in Ottawa, Canada, first met online in 2010. The couple had their first date soon afterwards in a coffee house and, "haven't looked back since," said Keith. They married on May 22nd, 2016.

Keith, who works as a Policy Advisor with the Canadian Federal Government, and Kevin, who works as the Director of Communications with the Canadian National Inuit Organization (ITK), always knew they wanted kids together, and talked about it early on in their relationship. Still, as gay men, they weren't sure that option would ever be available to them.

"I grew up in the UK in the 1970s so I assumed it would be impossible to have children," said Keith. "I always assumed that I would have to lead a life sort of in the shadows and in secret. Attitudes were so different in the 70s to how they are now that I simply believe that we thought it would be impossible to have a child."

The option materialized for the couple, however, when Kevin's sister, pregnant at the time, approached the two men about adopting her baby through the Inuit adoption process. They knew they couldn't pass up the opportunity.

"Kevin is Inuk and adoption, particularly inter-family adoption, is common in Inuit culture," said Keith.

The Inuit Custom Adoption Process was originally used in the small Inuit societies in the arctic, Kevin explained. It's primarily (though not exclusively) intended as a path for adoption within families. The process is legally recognized by the Canadian legal system.

As Kevin went on to explain, Inuit custom adoption was traditional used to support survival within, what were until quite recently, people living a nomadic lifestyle. It is, in essence, a deeply loving and selfless tradition of giving the gift of life to a carefully selected couple, most often with the guidance of elders (usually the matriarch within a family). If a couple couldn't conceive, for instance, others would sometimes offer their help. Similarly, if a couple lost a child, the grieving parents might be given a baby to help ease the ache of their loss. While most Inuit parents have zero intention of custom adopting their children to other families, adoption continues to be an established method in Inuit regions.

Through this process, and with everyone's agreement, the two men legally adopted Kevin's sister and her husband's child from birth. They named her Abbie. "Kevin's sister and her husband came to stay with us in Ottawa prior to the birth so Abbie was in our care from the moment she was born," said Keith. "She got to come home with us the day after the birth with the legal process taking around 11 months to complete from start to finish."


As far as their parenting styles, the couple say they've drawn on each of their pasts. "Both Kevin and I had somewhat difficult childhoods and have spent a lot of time working through and dealing with childhood trauma," Keith said. "As a result, we are better parents and we continue to look after ourselves and each other as we continue to grow in parenthood."

Though the couple come from different cultures, they said they've had no difficulty developing a parenting approach that works for them both. "I don't think either of us raise Abbie in the same parenting style that we experienced," Keith said, "We both talked and agreed on our approach before Abbie was born and we work well together as a parenting couple."

The result is a parenting style that incorporates some elements of both of their backgrounds, Keith said. "Inuit culture tends to shower children in love and we certainly do that," said Kevin. From English-style parenting, the couple have also borrowed the tendency of English parents to be "pretty obsessive," Keith said, about routines, such as scheduling meals, naps and bedtimes.

Though life was good before Abbie joined the family, "now it's fantastic!" Keith said. "I feel like being a parent was what I was put on this earth to be." Because neither man ever expected to become fathers, moreover, both say they look at parenthood as a privilege rather than a right — a helpful perspective they suggest to other gay men considering fatherhood. "Parenthood is an amazing gift," Keith said, "But remember it's about them, not you — and they deserve the best start in life we can give them."

Though fatherhood came to them somewhat unexpectedly, Keith and Kevin say they couldn't be happier with the way things turned out. "When I reflect on our life together, and where we both came from, it is incredible to me that we are now married, content, and parents to our wonderful panik," Keith said, using the Inuktitut word for daughter. "We are totally blessed."


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Adoption was always the first choice for Joe Motowidlak and husband Roberto Martinez when it came to starting a family. They went the private adoption route, ended up with two different attorneys and had two very different adoption journeys, that lead to two daughters born within a couple of months to one another. Although Joe and Roberto wouldn't change a thing, they consider themselves incredibly fortunate to have the family that they have and are the proud dads with full hearts to their two infant daughters.

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Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


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There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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