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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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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!

News

Adopting Dogs Improves Gay Couples' Relationships, Says Adorable Study

In what may be a "pre-curser to parenthood," 56% of gay and bi couples reported spending more time with their partners after adopting a dog.

As part of what may be the most adorable study you never knew you needed, pet-sitting website Rover.com found that gay and bi couples who adopt dogs reportedly boast stronger relationships as a result — 56% of gay and bi couples said they spent more time with their partners after adopting a dog. More than half of participants also said that owning a dog can help prepare couples for children.

Interestingly, gay and bi couples were also more likely to prepare for potential difficulties in their arrangements — 21% of gay and bi couples reported setting up a "pet-nup" agreement to determine custody of their new pup in case their relationship didn't last. Only 12% of straight couples, in contrast, did the same.

"You can outline the practicalities of what would happen in the event you split from your partner whether you have joint or sole custody," Rover.com dog behaviorist Louise Glazebrook told Australia's QN News. "It's a real tragedy to see breakups results in dogs needing to be re-homed.

There was, however, one clear downside to pet ownership mentioned in the study — 17% of respondents said they have less sex now that they're sharing a bed with their pup.

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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