Gay Dad Life

Rey, Mike, and Their Many, Many Kids

Mike and Rey met on February 4, 1991, when Rey was back visiting his hometown of Monterey, California, and they have been a couple ever since. Rey had just celebrated his 38th birthday and Mike was almost 31 years old; Rey is now 62 and Mike is 55.

August, 1991: Mike (l) and Rey, when they had been a couple for six months

Rey has four biological kids from a previous marriage and he had full custody of the youngest two when he met Mike; Rey's daughter, Gabriela, was 12 and his son, Paul, was 10. Rey and Mike lived 100 miles apart when they first met. To make the relationship work, both Rey and Mike would take turns commuting to the other's home during the weekends.

Rey's biological kids (from left to right): Gabriela (15), Michael (19), Andrea (19), and Paul (13). This photo was taken at Rey's mom's 75th birthday party in April 1993.

They continued their long-distance relationship for two years until Rey was able to get a job transfer back to Monterey, at which time Rey's daughter decided she wanted to live with her mother. So Mike, Rey and Paul moved to a bigger house and became a permanent family.

Mike and Rey at Rey's mom's 75th birthday party

In 1995 Mike shared with Rey that he really wanted them both to become foster parents. After several months and getting their license, 6-year-old James moved in.

March, 1997: This photo captures the moment after James had said "I love you" to his two dads for the first time. Rey has just finished crying.

Rey and Mike adopted James in December 1998, two weeks before James's 9th birthday.

James was featured on the Rosie O'Donnell Show in April of 2002 after being part of the national show about adoption with Diane Sawyer.

Between 1996 and 2004, Rey and Mike welcomed 20 or more foster kids into their home. In 2004 Mike said he'd like to adopt again; April of the same year John, 8, Nick, 5 and Daniel, 2, moved in and their adoption was finalized January 4th, 2005.

April, 2004: Rey and Mike surprised Nick, Daniel and John with bikes the first weekend they moved in.

April 1, 2005: John, Nick and Daniel's Adoption Day

Rey and Mike stopped fostering while everyone settled in, but in early 2010 they decided they'd like to foster once again.

February, 2007: Family Caribbean cruise

March, 2008: Mexican Riviera cruise

They continued to open their home to another 10 or so kids, right through to 2013 when they decided that they were ready to adopt again. Despite Rey deciding that he'd love to adopt a child out of diapers, they ended up bringing Adam home straight from the hospital on September 2, 2013; Adam was 2 weeks old. Adam's 20-month-old brother, Abram, and 7-year-old half-brother, Abel, moved in later the same year.

Meeting 3-day-old Adam for the first time in August, 2013

September, 2013: Meeting Abram and Abel for the first time

Rey and Mike's kids:

James (25) and John (20) are on their own. Nick (17), Daniel (13), Abel (9), Abram (3) and Adam (2) are still at home with their dads.

November, 2014: National Adoption Day celebration at Kinship

Over the past twenty years, Rey and Mike have cared for and helped raise over 30 foster kids; some staying a short period of time, others staying for years. They've raised and are still raising 7 adopted kids. Rey's biological kids have 9 kids between them, making these two dads grandpas as well!

March 20, 2015: Adoption day for Abel, Abram and Adam

Since becoming Kinship Center's first openly gay couple fostering or adoption, they have become great advocates in recruiting and assisting the gay community find their forever families.

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Gay Dad Life

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

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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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I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

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After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!

And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

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Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

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#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

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#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

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#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

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#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

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Gay Dad Family Stories

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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