Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Lawyer Friend Gave These Gay Dads the Best Gift Ever: A Free Adoption

Jason and Jarrod Gaughan were terrified of the eventual bill when a lawyer friend offered to handle their adoption. Turns out they didn't need to be

This is our adoption story.

After our failed attempt at fostering, my husband (Jarrod) and I (Jason) had given up hope on the possibility of having a child of our own. It wasn't until the summer of 2015 that our hope changed.


I had received a phone call from one of my ex-employees asking me if Jarrod and I were still interested in having a baby. Originally, I thought she was asking me to donate sperm, so I said, "Sure! But you are not going to have it the conventional way..."

and her partner were wanting to have a baby and she was asking us for my sperm.

But that's not what she was asking. An acquaintance of hers was pregnant, it turned out, and the birth mother was looking for someone to adopt her unborn child. I was ecstatic. I was so excited to call Jarrod and ask him what he wanted to do, I think I hung up on her without realizing it.

After speaking with Jarrod I called my friend back to tell her that we would be interested. She put us in touch with the ex-girlfriend to discuss the adoption. After speaking with her we set a date to do the initial meeting.

After meeting with her we were still in disbelief that this was happening.

We met regularly up until the baby's due date in October. I remember one time the baby's mother texted me and asked what we were going to name her. We honestly hadn't thought of a name. So I quickly messaged Jarrod and asked him if he had any names in mind. He messaged back: Savannah, after our favorite place to stay at Disney. I then asked what about a middle name. He said, "what about Rose?" Savannah's mother though it was beautiful.

While waiting for the delivery date, we had to think about the finances of the adoption. Our good friend who is a lawyer handled the adoption. With knowing what he charges per hour and the court costs, we were trying to figure out how we were going to figure out the finances to cover it.

The weekend before the due date in October we received a call from Savannah's mother. She was going into labor. We drove two hours to get to the hospital in Ithaca, but it turned out it was a false alarm. The doctors said it would probably be another week.

We received a call on September 24th that Savannah's mother was in full labor. A two-hour drive later we arrived at Ithaca hospital and we ended up sleeping in the hospital room with Savannah's mother while waiting for her to deliver.

It wasn't until the afternoon of the 25th that Savannah was born.

I was able to cut the umbilical cord. I really thought I was going to get queezy squeezy; to be honest it was like cutting through gristle. The doctor asked if we wanted the placenta. I asked why would someone want to keep that? The doctor said some parents eat it. Now I was queezy.

After Savannah was all cleaned up we were finally able to hold her. She was so tiny and had a head full of hair.

We continued to commute between home and the hospital for three days while mom and Savannah were there. I think everything finally sunk in when we were named the fathers on Savannah's birth certificate and were able to take her home.

The full adoption process took about eight to nine months. After Savannah's "gotcha" day, our friend who was our lawyer handed us an envelope with the bill. Other than the court fees, which amounted to less than $500, his gifted us the rest of the fees associated with the adoption.

That saying, "it takes a village," couldn't be more true. We live in a small town in upstate NY. When the community found out that we were adopting a baby, Savannah became a celebrity over night. We had people leaving us gifts on our porch. Once Savannah was born everyone wanted to meet her.

Savannah is now 3 years old and is in Headstart, and she knows she is loved by all.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Adoption for These Dads Was Like a "Rollercoaster" But Well Worth the Ride

After multiple scam attempts, bizarre leads, and a birth mom's change of heart, Jason and Alex finally became dads.

Photo credit: Dale Stine

Every gay man who pursues fatherhood fights for their right to become a dad. They've had to keep going even when at times it's seemed hopeless. Jason Hunt-Suarez and Alex Suarez's story is no different. They had their hearts set on adoption; overcame multiple scams, some very bizarre leads, a birth mother's change of heart at the 11th hour, their adoption agency going bankrupt, and tens of thousands of dollars lost along the way. But after a long, turbulent, and heart-wrenching three-year-long journey, it was all worth it.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

9-Year-Old Girl Starts Successful Jewelry Line With Help of Gay Dads

Riley Petersen is 9 (!) and already a Creative Director, with the help of her gay dads

Riley Kinnane-Petersen is 9 years old, enjoys playing tennis, being with friends, has a pet cat, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her two dads, John Petersen and William Kinnane. She's also the official Creative Director of a successful jewelry line she founded with the help of her dads. Two years ago, John even quit his day job to assist in the day-to-day operations of the jewelry company.

What began as a long road to adoption for William and John, has become a thriving creative business, and more importantly a family.

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Gay Dad Life

"Overwhelmed With Joy": Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Grew Last Month!

Help us congratulate gay dads whose families expanded via new births and adoptions last month!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded in the last month or so a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

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Change the World

Study Finds Two-Thirds of Gay Dads Experienced Stigma in Last Year

The study also found that over half of gay dads have avoided certain social situations in the last year for fear of experiencing stigma.

According to new research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the vast majority of gay men and their children experience some form of stigma. The findings are based on a survey of 732 gay father across 47 states in the United States.

More gay men are becoming fathers each year, and have more options for doing so than ever before: including adoption, foster care, and surrogacy. However as the study's authors write: "Despite legal, medical, and social advances, gay fathers and their children continue to experience stigma and avoid situations because of fear of stigma. Increasing evidence reveals that stigma is associated with reduced well-being of children and adults, including psychiatric symptoms and suicidality"

Almost two-thirds of respondents, or 63.5%, reported experiencing stigma based on being a gay father within the last year. Over half, or 51.2%, said they have avoided situations for fear of stigma, in the past year. Importantly, the study found that fathers living in states with more legal protections for LGBTQ people and families experienced fewer barriers and stigma. Most experiences of stigma (almost 35%) occurred, unsurprisingly, in a religious environment. But another quarter of gay dads said they experienced stigma from a wide variety of other sources, including: family members, neighbors, waiters, service providers, and salespeople

Surprisingly (or perhaps not?) another source of stigma cited by the study originates from other gay men. "Gay men report suspicion and criticism for their decision to be parents from gay friends who have not chosen parenthood." The study also says gay dads often feel "isolation in their parental role."

The study concludes, "Despite growing acceptance of parenting by same-gender adults, barriers and stigma persist. States' legal and social protections for lesbian and gay individuals and families appear to be effective in reducing experiences of stigma for gay fathers."

Read the whole study here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

5 Pics of Ricky Martin In Newborn Baby Bliss

He may be a superstar most of the year, but with a new baby girl at home, Ricky Martin is just a regular ol' dad deep in the throes of newborn baby bliss.

On January 1st, 2019 superstar Ricky Martin and his husband Jwan Yosef shared a post via Instagram announcing that they'd welcomed a baby girl named Lucia into their family.

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Gay Dad Life

Gay Dads Featured on Cover of Parents Magazine for First Time

Fitness guru Shaun T. and his husband Scott Blokker are the first gay dads to be featured on the cover of Parents Magazine

I literally never thought I'd see the day. Literally.

Gay fathers on the cover of Parents Magazine! Gay fathers being celebrated in a "main stream" publication about being parents. Gay fathers!

I don't want to get overly dramatic here, but this is a milestone. A massive cultural milestone.

Sure, gay dads have come a long way in being accepted in our popular culture, but to my eye we've never been on the cover of a big popular parenting magazine celebrating our parenting skills. As if we are the norm.

We are now - thanks to Parents Magazine.

This is a particular milestone for me because I have a bit of a history with the magazine and with parenting publications in general. My first job out of grad school was in brand marketing at Johnson's Baby Products where I did indeed run advertising in this particular magazine. Back then though we only featured married, straight couples. There were no other kinds of parents to feature back in the day! And if I'm to be really honest, they were generally white, married, straight couples.

I distinctly remember one photo shoot where I forgot to put a wedding ring on the "husband's" finger and we had to reshoot it. No photoshop back then!

Now admittedly this was before I was a dad and before I was out, but as the years went by and I embraced my own journey as a gay dad, there were no role models or pop culture markers to say that I (and other gay dads) were accepted. There were no Andy Cohens publicly making baby announcements. We were alone on our parenting.

It was hard. There was a constant barrage of straight parenting norms that constantly reminded us that we were different.
Not any more! Being a gay dad, or any dad, is now simply being a parent. A good parent. A loving parent. And we have Parents Magazine to thank for the reminder and endorsement, with hopefully more to come.

And I can't help but think, and actually know, that this kind of normalization will inspire the next generation of gay dads who will simply accept, without hesitation, that fatherhood as a gay man is a real, accepted, and normal option.

Bravo!

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Broadway Husbands Talk Eggs, Embryos and Exciting News

The husbands explain what is considered a good egg retrieval.

In their previous video, Broadway Husbands Bret Shuford and Stephen Hanna shared that they found their egg donor. In this video, the dads-to-be discuss their embryo creation process. And - spoiler alert - there are now frozen Hanna-Shuford embryos, and the husbands are ready for their next step: finding a gestational carrier.

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