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Traveling 10,000 Miles for Love & Fatherhood

"I couldn't get him out of my head," said Drew about the first time he saw his now-partner Joe. The two met 3 years ago at a gym in Toronto, Canada, but Drew remembers it as if it were yesterday. "It really was love at first sight."


The attraction might have been immediate, but their path towards partnership was a bit more complicated. Both men had recently ended long-term relationships: Joe with his wife of 18 years, and Drew with his partner of 26 years. Joe also has three kids with his ex-wife, and called Sydney, Australia, home. However, Drew and Joe knew that this was love, and they chose to make it work. With that, Drew left Canada to the other-side of the world, became "RooDaa" to Joe's three kids, and they're now a two-dad family.

We heard from Drew to find out how life's going "down under," his strengths and weaknesses as a new dad, and if his family feels accepted by a country who are about to vote on their rights to marry.

Joe (left) and Drew

How has your life changed since you became a father? Everything changed! Uprooting myself from Canada after living there for 30 years, along with two boxers who had to go into quarantine for 6+ months before being granted access to Australia; quitting a job I loved and starting over again; moving to a country where I didn't know anyone other than my partner and his family. Then becoming an instant dad to three children. It was a daunting experience, but one I would never change for anything.

What have you learned from the children since you became a dad? We've learned incredible amounts of humility, loss of ego and privacy. Three children will tell the world everything and anything! They have no filters and it usually leads to some of the funniest moments we've ever experienced. I've seen them at their best and their worst, as they've witnessed of Joe and I. Having kids has expanded our minds, our hearts and our lives in ways we have never imagined. We couldn't imagine our lives without these amazing people we see growing before our eyes.

Was there ever a moment when being a father has challenged you? Kids try your patience and push all your buttons, whenever possible. They know that I'm the softie, so they try to use me as their backdoor to get what they want. They've seen a marked decrease in their opportunities to try and work that angle as of late, as my partner and I talk daily about what the kids needs are, compared to their wants. We hope that by making them responsible for their wants, they'll become more well rounded individuals than spoiled grown ups who felt that everything is owed to them. That was a doubt I had. I didn't know if I'd be strong enough at first to stay true to our word, but we have worked together as a team at instilling good habits, politeness, acceptance, tolerance and responsibility in each of our kids.

Drew with Nayla, 8, Jacob, 6, and holding Sophie who is almost 4

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? We've been fortunate that we have been accepted for the most part. We have had a few instances with some family members and acquaintances that have disputed our right to marry, that has upset the children. We have explained to our kids that families come in all different variations, and they are smart enough to see that love is love. They asked us when was it that everyone voted on straight marriages? For the most part we get treated very well, the kids school has been very accepting and open, although we do get a few stares there, but that is to be expected. You really can't please all of the people all of the time.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? The path we chose wasn't exactly smooth sailing. We each have ex-spouses that we had and have to consider in all of our dealings. It was a long road to travel, but we are happy with our choices. We would suggest that if you are planning on having children, think it through with your partner, as it's a huge undertaking. We have several friends that are in same sex marriages in Canada, that have since divorced over their differences in raising children or wanting children. Both partners have to be 100% on board. I stepped into a ready-made family, and despite the bumps along the way, I wouldn't change a thing. It's made us closer and stronger as a family and the kids see that.

In terms of the future, Drew says it's hard to imagine 5 or 10 years ahead as he's loving every minute being dad to his amazing kids, but he guesses that their relationship will only strengthen more with time. One thing for sure, Drew hopes that some time, in the not too distant future, the family will be planning his and Joe's wedding when Australia finally does what's right and recognizes that love is love and legalizes same-sex marriage.

We hear you, Joe! #LoveWillWin.

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Trump Administration to Allow Discrimination Against LGBTQ Foster and Adoptive Parents

In its latest move against the LGBTQ community, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that will give adoption and foster care agencies license to discriminate on the basis of religion

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule to reverse an Obama-era policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — allowing foster and adoption agencies to legally refuse to work with prospective adoptive and foster parents who identify as LGBTQ on the grounds of religious belief.

Denise Brogan-Kator, speaking to the New York Times, said the proposal would have an "enormous" impact on the LGBTQ community, noting that all organizations that get funding from the department will be "free to discriminate."

The White House, for its part, proclaimed the proposed rule was promoting "religious freedom," saying in a statement that "the federal government should not be in the business of forcing child welfare providers to choose between helping children and their faith."

As the New York Times pointed out, LGBTQ couples with children are far likely than different-sex couples to be raising adopted children. This move in support of so-called "religious freedom," then, will merely negatively impact the more than 400,000 children currently in the foster care system by denying them loving homes with LGBTQ individuals and couples.

Read more about this rule here. We'll be sure to keep readers up to speed as this issue develops.

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Vote Now for Your Fav Family Halloween Costume!

***VOTING CLOSED*** Voting is open until midnight PST! Choose your favorite gay dad family Halloween costume!!!

First off, we just want to say that EVERYONE looked unBOOlievable. Selecting only twenty one family photos to be included in this round was not only hard, it was almost impossible! Thanks to everyone for putting their best cloven hoof forward.

Now we need your help to choose a winner of a $250 Amazon voucher! Vote for your favorites below and don't forget to keep this criteria in mind: creativity, uniqueness, nerve... and overall fabulousness! ***VOTING CLOSED***

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Dads and Their Kids Serving Major Squad Ghouls This Halloween!

Check out our fang-tastic round-up of gay dads and their kids dressed to impress this Halloween!

Every time we think we've seen the best of the best for Halloween, the following year tops the last - and this year's no different! These gay dad families look FANG-TASTIC! If you haven't gotten in on the fun yet, enter out first ever Gays With Kids family Halloween costume contest! Entries are due today!

In the meantime, check out these amazing costumes below!

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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

News

New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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