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

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!

And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

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

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner

Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

These Adoptive Dads Gained an Extended Family Through Foster Care

Adoptive dads Edward and Andrew have maintained a close relationship with their twins' biological family.

Celebrating gay, bi and trans fatherhood is what we do on Gays With Kids. We rejoice in whatever paths our community took to become parents. But many of those journeys come with heartbreak, sometimes for the intended parents, and sometimes for the biological family from whom the adoption or foster placement occurs. With an open adoption, the adoptive and biological families come to an arrangement which best benefits the child, and that's when something truly beautiful can occur. This isn't always possible in every scenario, but when it does, we're exceedingly thankful. Can a child ever have too many family members loving them? Not likely. This was husbands of five years Edward and Andrew Senn's experience.

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