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 Gay.com 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.

Show Comments ()
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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!

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse