Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple Lost Hope, and Thousands, After Their Adoption Agency Went Bankrupt. But They Didn't Give Up Their Dream.

After the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) filed for bankruptcy in 2017, Kunal and Jason Aronne were incredibly disheartened. Eventually, they switched paths, and took one that ultimately resulted in the birth of their daughter, Alessandra

When the Independent Adoption Center (IAC) filed for bankruptcy in early 2017, many prospective gay dads lost huge amounts of money, potential leads, and, for some, the hope that they would ever become fathers one day. Kunal and Jason Aronne were two of those dads-to-be. But they recovered, and decided to change course. In June this year, their daughter Alessandra was born making their dreams of fatherhood come true.


Kunal (left) and Jason on their wedding day, July 13, 2014

It was 2011, and San Diego was experiencing the great Southwest blackout during the late summer. Southern California may have lost its electricity, but Kunal and Jason found each other in a dive bar called Cheers and created their own spark. They were married July 13, 2014.

The topic of kids was discussed early on in their relationship, and they decided adoption was the right decision for them. The signed with IAC, paid the full fees of almost $15k, completed the home study, and were on the waiting list hoping to hear from a prospective mother. Then they received news of IAC filing for bankruptcy.

Kunal (left) and Jason with their surrogate and dear friend, Candice

"We got a very impersonal email stating that the agency was filing for bankruptcy and that they were sorry," recalled Kunal. "There was no explanation, no [guidance] as to what we should be doing next." Kunal and Jason were devastated and felt lost. They had no "next steps," and had lost a huge amount of money. They spoke to lawyers for counsel, but they all said the same thing: due to the agency filing for bankruptcy, there was little they could do.

It took some time, but Kunal and Jason managed to pick themselves up and began to look at their other options. "I researched surrogacy; the exorbitant cost, the legality, and above all, finding the surrogate seemed like a big mountain to climb," said Kunal. But within 6 months, everything seemed to align and with a very generous offer from a friend who agreed to be their surrogate, surrogacy finally became attainable for the husbands.

To help alleviate some of the cost of surrogacy process, Kunal and Jason split their journey between Mexico and America. They chose an egg donor and had the embryo created in Mexico City, but worked closely with a fertility center and doctor, Dr. Sills, in San Diego where their surrogate underwent her fertility cycle. After that was completed, they went back to Mexico City for the embryo transfer. "We found our own lawyer and did the legal process ourselves," added Jason.

Their surrogacy journey was very straight forward and their friend and surrogate became pregnant after the first transfer. On June 24, 2018, the new dads welcomed Alessandra into the world and into their arms. The dads were present at her birth and describe the experience as magical.

"Our lives have changed drastically for good," said Kunal, "nurturing all three of us, and spending more time together as a family – no more late night clubbing!"

"A smile from my daughter melts my heart every time," added Jason.

Kunal, who is "Baba" (which means "dad" in his first language, Bengali), was off for the month of July, enjoying his daughter's first month; Jason, "Dada," is fortunate to have off until the end of December, at which time the family are considering a live-in nanny. "Juggling word and fatherhood is not easy… the first day I went to work, I really really missed my munchkin," said Kunal.

Although Kunal and Jason's fatherhood journey experienced some serious low points, the pieces certainly fell back into place. They're now proud and smitten fathers to baby Alessandra, their "super girl," and they wouldn't change a thing. "Seeing her look up to us every day, makes us realize that we are finally dads… it's been the most magical experience so far," said Kunal.

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Race

How a White Gay Dad Discusses Racial Issues with his Black Sons

In light of the recent killing of George Floyd by the hands of police in Minneapolis, Joseph Sadusky shares two excerpts from his book that deal directly with issues around raising black sons.

Editor's Note: In light of George Floyd's death, this month, author Joseph Sadusky — who has been sharing excerpts from his book Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad each month —will share two posts that deal directly with issues around raising black sons. This is the first, titled "White," which looks at general questions that come up for a white dad raising black boys. Read previous installments here.

It may be presumptuous for a Caucasian gay man to claim to feel terrified and heartsick at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But upon hearing the news that day in 2012, this is exactly how I felt.

The horrible truth is that there are many incidents of racial violence toward black males that I could use as starting points for this topic. But the specific case of Trayvon Martin—whose only crime was being a young black male wearing a hoodie, walking in a neighborhood where he had a home—has a particular resonance for me. Whatever the legalities of George Zimmerman using a gun to "stand his ground" if he felt his life was threatened, the simple truth is that he chose—against the direction of law enforcement, whom he contacted for support—to follow an African American male who had every right to be walking those neighborhood streets, however "thug" he might appear.

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Become a Gay Dad

Curious About Covid 19's Impact on Foster Care and Adoption?

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and foster care processes.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the fields of adoption and foster care to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on adoption or foster care that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Top 5 Questions About Covid-19's Impact On Surrogacy

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the surrogacy process.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the field of surrogacy to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on surrogacy that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Here is a breakdown of the Top 5 Questions About Covid 19's Impact On Surrogacy. These are highlights taken from our live webinar series we held featuring: G...

Transracial Families Series

How These Dads Address White Privilege within Their Transracial Family

The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

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Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

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Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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