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"Worth Every Hardship": Congrats to Gay Men Whose Families Grew This Month!

Adoptions, births and more: congrats to the guys in our community whose families expanded this month!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these 10 families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month: it's worth every hardship. Congrats dads!

Congratulations Matthew and David on finalizing the adoption of their youngest son, Finn!

Matthew and David always knew they wanted to adopt and have created their family through three open adoptions. They finalized their youngest son Finn's adoption May 10 at Marlborough Court House, Massachusetts.

"We feel as though our family is complete with the finalization of our son Finn!" said Matthew.

Their eldest Miles was adopted in 2012, then 3 years later they adopted their second child, Ava. Now they are a forever family of five with sweet Finn.

Congratulations to dads Nick and Sean on finalizing the adoption of their daughter Piper!

Sean and Nick have been Piper's dads since birth and before she was born as they attended appointments with her birth mom. On May 23 in Columbus, Ohio, her adoption was finalized.

"After our first born daughter passed away at age 3 months due to prematurity health issues, we know that Piper's sister loved her daddies so much that she wanted a little sister and for us to be happy again."

We're thrilled for this forever two-dad family!

Congratulations to new dads Markus and Alan on the birth of their twins Luca and Nico!

Luca and Nico were born to proud fathers Markus (Daddy) and Alan (Dad) in San Francisco on May 19, 2018.

"Think about all the happy moments in life... now... combine those moments and multiply by a thousand and that was how we felt when our boys were born and realized that we were dads," shared Markus.

"It's been a six year process for us, in terms of trying to have children," said Alan, "and we finally did it!"

Congratulations to this new family of four!

Congratulations to dads Ryan and Rich on the adoption of their baby girl, Charlie!

Ryan and Rich found out three days before Charlie was born that they were going to be dads. They flew to Nevada and met their daughter when she was 2 hours old.

"You can do all the planning in the world, read every book, article and blog on what parenting is all about," said Ryan, "but nothing prepares you for the first time you hold them and you realize that you are their entire world."

"Everything before that, every hardship, unsuccessful match, months of waiting, were all worth it!" added Rich. "We'd do it again because it brought us our beautiful baby girl and made us a family."

Congratulations to Dennis and John on finalizing the adoption of Brendon and Blake!

Brendon and Blake were first placed with John and Dennis in November 2016. They had already been in foster care since May 2015 and with another family prior to John and Dennis. (They're still close with Brendon and Blake's first foster family.) On November 17, 2017, the boys adoption was finalized, and the dads were over the moon.

"The day of the adoption our hearts were all over the place and our emotions were flying!" shared Dennis. "Sitting int he court room waiting for them to call our names, we cried like babies."

"We knew that those moments would make our family whole and would ensure that our boys would be safe with us forever," added John. "It's just a feeling that's indescribable; it was flood of emotions that felt like our lives had been leading up to that moment."

Congratulations to dads Gabriel and Diego on the birth of their son Gauthier!

On June 2, Gauthier was welcomed into the world by his two doting dads! This Argentinian family is thrilled to finally be fathers.

"I felt like I was missing the air in my chest because it was so full with love!" shared Gabriel as he recalled the first time he laid eyes upon his son.

We wish this new family of three all the happiness in the world!

Congratulations to dads Jason and Brian on the birth of their daughter Sydney!

Jason and Brian became first-time dads through adoption when their daughter Sydney was born on June 4 in Salt Lake City, where they live.

"When we saw Sydney for the first time it felt like time stopped," shared Jason. "As kids growing up in a conservative state, we never thought having a family was possible. And as much progress as the world makes, those tiny doubts never really leave you, making life with Sydney equally surreal and incredible."

We wish this new family of three all the happiness in the world!

Congratulations Steve and Ben on finalizing the adoption of your son Hudson!

Husbands Steve and Ben finalized the adoption of their son Hudson on September 17, 2017. Because they were an out of state adoption they finalized in Louisiana after already having Hudson live with them for a year.

"We were nervous for finalization day, but overwhelmed with joy to know that all of the logistics had finally caught up to what we already knew in our hearts from the moment Hudson was born," said Steve.

This forever family of three live in Orlando, Florida.

Congratulations to dads James and Andrew on the adoption of their daughter Olivia!

Olivia had been with her dads and her forever family for 806 days before her adoption as finalized. Needless to say, the dads are overjoyed to have finally made it official.

"Truly there are no words to describe how we felt," said James after the day Olivia's adoption was finalized. "She was our daughter the moment we held her in our arms, but that day we forever became her fathers legally."

"We are beyond lucky to be her dads and we are so grateful," added Andrew.

Olivia joins little brother Brandon in her forever family of four.

Congratulations to new dads Kunal and Jason on the birth of Alessandra!

Kunal and Jason became dads with the help of a close friend who was their surrogate. Their super girl was born June 24, 2018 and the dad cannot wait to spoil her!

"The moment she was born," shared Kunal, "her little finger grasped both our fingers, and at that very moment we felt our whole life had been waiting for this amazing moment."

The new dads are thrilled to share their love with their baby girl.

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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.

Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Entertainment

Amazon's New "Modern Love" Series Includes Episode on Open Adoption

The episode is loosely based on the New York Times "Modern Love" essay written by sex columnist and activist Dan Savage.

In 2005, Dan Savage, the gay sex columnist, contributed one of the most talked about essays for the Modern Love column in The New York Times. Better known for his acerbic wit and cutting political commentary, Savage exposed a more vulnerable side in this piece, sharing the highs, lows and everything in between that comes from the experience of pursuing an open adoption.

His son DJ's birth mother was experiencing what Savage called a "slo-mo suicide": homeless by choice, in and out of prison, and surrounded by drugs. Though Savage has chosen an open adoption so that DJ's birth mother would be a presence in his son's life, she often disappeared for months and sometimes years at a time without contacting the family, leaving their young son with lots of questions and no satisfying answers.

The piece ends on a heartbreaking note, with Savage simply seeking some sort of resolution. "I'm starting to get anxious for this slo-mo suicide to end, whatever that end looks like," he wrote. "I'd prefer that it end with DJ's mother off the streets in an apartment somewhere, pulling her life together. But as she gets older that resolution is getting harder to picture."

At the time, many interpreted Savage's story as a cautionary tale for those considering open adoptions. But in 2016, on the Modern Love Podcast, he asserted that was not his intention: "DJ's mom is alive and well," Savage said. "She's on her feet. She's housed. We talk on the phone occasionally. She and DJ speak on Mother's Day and on DJ's birthday." He added that he "would hate to have anyone listen to that essay or to read it — which was written at a moment of such kind of confusion and despair — and conclude that they shouldn't do the kind of adoption that we did," Savage said. "I think that open adoption is really in the best interest of the child, even if … it presents more challenges for the parents. So I encourage everyone who's thinking about adoption to seriously consider open adoption and not to be dissuaded by my essay."

Now, Savage's piece is getting the small screen treatment as one of 9 episodes included in Amazon Prime's adaption of the column. The episode inspired by Savage's essay, "Hers Was a World of One," contains some departures from Savage's original story — Savage's character, played by Fleabag's Andrew Scott, adopts a daughter rather than a son, for example, and the episode concludes closer to the upbeat note struck in the Podcast version of hist story than in the column.

Either way, we welcome any and all attention to the complexities of open adoption. Check out the episode (which also randomly includes Ed Sheeran in a couple scenes) and tell us what you think!

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...
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...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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