Gay Dad Family Stories

Related By Love, Not Blood: Danny and Graham Adopt Collin

Some gay men know from a young age they want to become a father one day. For others, the realization happens later in life. For Danny Finkel and Graham Murphy, it was the latter. Now they're the dads of 2-month-old Collin through open adoption, and although life with a newborn can be challenging, Danny and Graham are loving their new roles as fathers.

Danny and Graham met on over 10 years ago, and have been married since 2014. Graham works for a philanthropy consulting firm, leading a culture and talent team, and Danny is the head of strategy for one of the largest corporate travel agencies in the world.

Fatherhood came onto their radar just as their "clocks" began to tick. They discussed their plans for a year before deciding upon adoption as the best way for them to start a family.

"Everyone in our family isn't related by blood, but by love," said Graham. "Including our adopted dog, Claire."

The two men confess they got lucky, as the whole process went very smoothly and it did not take them long to be matched with a birth mom.

They were matched in February this year, and had weekly calls with their birth mom. Although they were initially hesitant about open adoption, they've formed a wonderful relationship with their birth mom, thanks in part to a unique opportunity to get to know her.

"We heard that our birth mom might go into labor early, so we traveled from Washington State to Florida, which is where she lived," explained Graham. "It turns out she delivered past her due date, so we got to spend about two weeks with our birth mom. We went to her favorite hang out spots and met her friends. It was a wonderful experience."

Danny and Graham even picked her up on the way to the hospital on the morning she was to be induced. Collin Finkel Murphy was born July 13, 2017. His dads were in the room when he was born; Danny cut the cord and both dads did skin-to-skin.

After a 48-hour hospital stay, the new dads were able to take Collin back to their apartment in Florida. Their friends had given them a baby box which Danny and Graham described as a "lifesaver" as it had all the essentials and doubled as Collin's crib for the first two weeks.

During that time, their strategy was to give one dad a full night's sleep, so they did alternate nights feeding.

"We're both morning people, so this was tough," explained Graham. "Thankfully, there's a lot of Sex and the City and Law & Order marathons that play at night!"

After two weeks, the family of three were able to fly home to Washington. They were, however, delayed at the airport by some bureaucracy and missed their first flight, but were able to catch a later one.

When they arrived home, the next two weeks were a whirlwind, not only because they were new parents. They managed to move house, tape an episode of House Hunters (due to air within the next few months) and care for a newborn. Thankfully Collin slept through most of it.

Danny and Graham both received three months paternity leave from their companies so they're staggering their leave so that Collin has at least one of his dads at home for the first six months.

They've quickly learned the realities of raising a newborn – lack of sleep, brain turning to mush, losing one's own schedule – but they're finding ways to compensate.

Graham's secret? Make lists to accomplish chores otherwise new parents forget what they intended to do.

"Your brain basically goes to mush with a baby," he explained.

They knew their lives would change as soon as Collin was born, but they're making sure they still have friends over, go for outings, and enjoy dinner out.

"We found one family-friendly restaurant near us that we've probably gone to way too often with Collin. They started to give us free stuff."

They also swear by their Merlin Magic Sleep Suit for Collin, which helps him sleep through the night. The Holy Grail for all new parents.

Even though Danny and Graham admit that Collin is a relatively easy baby, it's still been a lot of work.

"People say it is a lot of work, but they probably understate it," said Graham. "You're constantly tired and incapable of full thoughts.

"It can put a lot of stress on your relationship, so keep plenty of wine around. It turns out that your arguments are because you're tired or hungry, and then you realize we also whine and carry on just like a baby when we're hungry and tired."

One of the most precious moments for the dads has been when their 14-year-old dog (and first daughter) Claire bestowed her love upon her younger brother by giving him a lick of acceptance.

At the moment there is a big debate on when they will grow their family even further. Danny would like another child right away while Graham is tempted to wait a little. Whatever they decide, we're excited to follow this family's adventures.

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Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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Jeremy was 16 years old when he found out his new dads wanted to adopt him.

In late August 2017, husbands Mark and Andrew Mihopulos, 34 and 36 respectively, remember driving out to the east end of Long Island. They knew at the very same moment they were driving, social workers were letting Jeremy know they wanted to adopt him. "We expected Jeremy to be hesitant or feel mixed emotions," shared Mark. "We didn't know how he would feel about having two dads and about having white parents and family, as he is a black young man."

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"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

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So you're ready to adopt. How do you know your adoption agency won't just discriminate against you as a gay man, but is actively welcoming to LGBTQ people?

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Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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