Gay Dad Life

Family Spotlight: Marty and Patrick with their son Grayson

Grayson was born in the middle of May 2010. Two days later, Marty Forth and Patrick Sinclair went to meet their son and bring him home from a hospital just a short walk from their Manhattan home.

“You show up at the hospital to pick up your kid and you have to have a car seat,” says Marty. It felt absurd to bring a car seat with no car, but the law requires it. “So, we showed up with the car seat and it clicked into the stroller and we walked across Central Park to our home. It was the best walk across Central Park ever.”

Other than the car seat, they hadn’t bought a thing for the baby room – they’d been warned not to. The mother had 30 days to change her mind and keep her baby. “No one acted like it wasn’t the real thing for those 30 days, but it was in the back of their minds,” he says.

Meanwhile, Grayson’s birth mother was composing a letter to her son’s new fathers. The young woman had hidden her pregnancy from her family and asked Marty and Patrick to simply send photos and letters as Grayson grew up – she didn’t want contact with him as part of the open adoption arrangement.

But after two days in the hospital with her baby, she had changed her mind.

“She had sent us a long email saying after spending two days in the hospital with him, letters and pictures weren’t going to be enough,” Marty says.

The couple agreed to involve her in Grayson’s life – and, naturally, in theirs. Now, she is practically part of the family. Though she has only slowly revealed the truth about her pregnancy to her own family members, she spends time with Marty and Patrick’s.

Both men had known they wanted kids since before they met, and that they wanted to adopt. They pursued adoption through a New York non-profit agency, Spence-Chapin. The organization specializes in open adoptions, which allow the birth mother to remain in contact with the adoptive family at a level agreed to by both parties.

Though the application process was rigorous – “It’s like getting into college” – they would be connected with an expectant mother without the often protracted foster-to-adopt process, and much more affordably than at many for-profit adoption agencies.

The application process required taking an educational course with other prospective parents, attending monthly meetings and completing a so-called “adoption book” for the expecting mother to read when considering an adoptive family.

“The final project, if you will, is you have to write this single-page letter to the mother, and that’s the first thing they see when they open the book,” Marty says. “They read the letters, they pick two or three of those they want to see, and then you’re contacted and they give you information about the mother, and you choose if you want to go ahead.”

Only then would the birth mother receive the adoption book.

“The first meeting was a little jarring: Everybody has to tell their infertility story. We had been warned about that,” Marty says. “We didn’t want to be flippant, but, ‘We’re gay; we can’t have kids.’ That’s our story.”

Though they were the only gay couple in the class, they would later learn that worked to their benefit: The birth mother who chose them specifically sought out a gay couple to adopt her child.

By February 2010, Marty and Patrick’s application was ready to enter the selection pool. They didn’t have to wait long. The third mother to request their book chose them, and just a few months later, Grayson was born.

Many of the couple's gay friends back home were unsure what to do with a kid in the mix. ”There are guys who don’t want to have brunch on Sundays with a kid,” Marty says. “[There’s] this belief – which is an odd belief – that you have to become a new person in the gay world, so you have to become a ‘gay dad’ rather than just a ‘gay guy.’”

But, he says, their priorities have changed, too. “You now care for this young person, and your life changes. A lot of things take on a new meaning, like holidays.

Their world has changed, and one of those changes was rediscovering old, forgotten joys. “I don’t know if I forgot or what, but Cheerios are amazing and I missed them. Grilled cheeses – all kinds of rediscovering. Watching movies you watched when you were a kid.”

Their family inspired other gay men they knew to consider the possibility. They've even had the opportunity to offer guidance to other gay couples pursuing adoption.

One evening in mid 2014, when Grayson was 4, Marty, Patrick and Grayson’s birth mother met for dinner. Each had something to tell the other. She was thrilled to let them know she had told one of her siblings about Grayson, a step in the direction of telling her whole family.

The couple’s news was troublesome for her: Patrick had accepted a position in Hong Kong and the family would move there on New Year’s Day 2015. Nonetheless, they remain steadfast in their commitment to involve her in their lives.

“We put her into our expat package and she is a member of our ‘immediate family’ who is flown over every year,” Marty says. She visited them earlier this year, and they’ve just returned from a visit to the States, spending time with her and their families.

The family has found a strong network of gay families in Hong Kong, including a group called “Rainbow Families.” Their first Sunday in Hong Kong, the group met near their house for brunch. The entire family was there!

Marty (l) and Patrick with Grayson


Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (A Guide for Gay Dads)

Turns out David Blacker is, in fact, experiencing a midlife crisis — according to the very official results of a Buzzfeed quiz

Today I took one of those Buzzfeed-like quizzes to determine whether or not I am having a midlife crisis. I know what you're thinking. How can 29 be considered mid-life? God bless you, but I'm actually 35. Fine, 41. The Buzzfeed results — granted, we're not talking a true clinical assessment here — implied that I am, in fact, showing symptoms of a midlife crisis. But instead of shopping for a new sports car, I'm looking around for something else.

Problem is, I don't quite know what that is yet.

Keep reading... Show less
Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Nejc suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

Keep reading... Show less

Behind 'A Family of Their Own': The Personal Beginnings of My First Fiction Novel

Author Malcolm O. Varner explains the motivations behind his first novel, "A Family of Their Own."

Growing up without a mother and having a father who was mostly absent throughout my adolescence gave way to parenthood and family being touchy subjects for much of my adulthood. I can recall my twelve-year-old self asking what my mother was like, how she looked, what she did for a living, and why she had abandoned her own two kids. There's one day I keenly remember when my younger sister and I discussed our plans to write Oprah in hopes of reuniting with this woman we only knew from our dreams, but I ultimately never wrote the letter out of fear. And for the father who had raised me throughout most of my school age years, a man that I referred to as "Duck," I only called him dad once before he died in 2011. Although he did his best as a single father, our relationship was significantly strained by his drug addiction and incarcerations during my middle and high school years, not to mention my own effeminate traits. If it wasn't for my grandmother stepping into the picture after one of his jail stints, my attitude towards family would've been indifferent at best. She provided me with a stable foundation in life that included home cooked meals, a peaceful and meticulously decorated home, and enough love to let me know that there was someone in this world who cared for me. She was someone in whose eyes I was special.

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