Dad Life

A Visit to Disney World Convinced This Gay Couple to Become Dads

Michael and Matthew met 12 years ago in Warren, Ohio, the old fashioned way: in a bar. They were married June 17, 2015, and now live in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Initially, they did not want to become parents as they did not see a way for them both to be the dads legally in their state of Ohio, but a chance encounter at Disney World changed their minds. Here's what happened ...


Tell us about your path to parenthood. In January 2016 while in Disney World for a marathon weekend, we ran into a gay couple with a 4 month old daughter. It was the first time we had seen a gay couple with a child and it got us thinking. We ran into that couple another 6 or 7 times during that trip and we become good friends. Upon returning from Disney, we had some serious discussions and came to the conclusion that we both wanted to have a child. We contacted Adoption by Gentle Care and figured out next steps.

Elena with her Disney friends

Did you choose an open adoption with Elena? We have a semi-open adoption. We utilized Adoption by Gentlecare in Columbus Ohio for the adoption and they require that we write a letter to the birth mother with photos each month for the first year and then twice annually each year after. We have met Elena's mother, but we don't have a relationship with her at this point.

Matthew with Elena

Your family has an affinity for Disney! As a family, do you try to go to Disney World often? We love Disney and loved it prior to having Elena. We go three or four times per year. With Elena, it is seeing Disney through her eyes. Meeting characters, riding rides and just seeing the spectacles around Disney through her perspective is heartwarming. I will tell you, we went in July to meet up with Michael's mother just before we finalized and Elena has never slept better. That constant stimulation wore her out.

Matthew with Elena and Minnie Mouse

How have your lives changed since you've become dads? It has changed our lives completely. Before, we would get off of work and shop, watch tv, go out to eat and exercise. Now our lives consist of shopping for Elena and the things we need around the house, eating when we get an opportunity, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and going running with Elena in the stroller. You become less selfish when you have a child and you don't feel angry about it.

Michael and Matthew holding Elena

You and Michael had been together for almost 11 years before you became Elena's dads. How did you adjust to life as a family of three? The changing from just Michael and I to a family of three was interesting. It took us about two or three weeks to get our groove but it was been wonderful. We found a great home daycare for when we are working and we have our evenings and weekends figured. We have been very fortunate that she is an easy baby above all.

What have you learned from your children since you became a dad? A tremendous amount of patience. You realize quickly that everything is on Elena's schedule.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? You just have to be prepared for the questions. You will realize that strangers have no qualms about asking you also sorts of inappropriate questions. Our job is to figure out how to respond in a way that validates us and our daughter.

Michael and Elena

What would you say was your "aha" moment when you first realized that you were a dad? That came on January 20th when she was placed with us. We had only waited two months on the adoption list, so we were already shocked that we had a baby that quick. But on January 20th, We had done all this prep and worrying within the 72-hour window, then we get home, we were exhausted, excited and confused. All that build up in the 72-hour window and it was what do we do next? It dawned on us that our next move and then every move thereafter was going to be to raise ElenaWhat obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? Upon getting on the list, Elena came two months later. To get on the list, it took a great deal of hoops to jump through to compile everything needed to qualify for adoption in Ohio.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Watching our daughter develop and figure out what her dreams are.


Show Comments ()

Kristy and Dana Dumont, a couple of 11 years from Dimondale Michigan, were ready to start their family. They specifically wanted top open their home to a child in need, and began inquiring with various agencies about initiating the foster-adopt process. When they contacted Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services, however, the couple was flatly denied on the basis of their sexual orientation.

"It was kind of a slap in the face," Dana told NPR in a recent interview. "They didn't even know us. How could you say no to people who you don't even know?

Now, the ACLU is suing Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services and the Children's Services Agency, arguing the couple was illegally rejected. According to the suit, the ACLU claims faith-based organizations such as Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services use a "religious test" to discriminate against LGBTQ couples, which is illegal since these groups receive funding from the state government.

"This practice harms vulnerable children by denying them access to loving families that they desperately need," the suit says, claiming such a move stands in violation of the Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution. While private adoption agencies are free to "practice their religion" as they see fit, the lawsuit goes on, they are not free to deny services to LGBTQ families when those services are state-contracted and taxpayer-funded.

"We are just one couple in this situation," Kristy told NPR. "There are lots of couples out there. If it's happening to us, it's happening to others as well."

Click here to read the complete ACLU lawsuit. Gays With Kids will be sure to keep our readers abreast of this case as it unfolds.

Congratulations to these gay dads on the latest additions to their family!

Congratulations to dads Josh and John on the adoption of their daughter Kennedy!

This Chicago family grew by one this September when they welcomed their daughter Kennedy.

"When Kennedy was first born the amount of love you have instantly for another human being is a feeling that can't be explained," said Josh.

The two new dads lives have changed in a blink of an eye and they could not be any happier.

Congratulations to dads Carlos and Richard on the arrival of their daughter Josephine!

Josephine Bellamy was born September 22 and joins her older brother in their two-dad family!

"Lucky is an understatement," shared Carlos. "We are blessed beyond belief to have her in our ever-growing family. We may be tired, but we will never get tired of the love we have for our family!"

Congratulations to dads Andrew and Stephen on the birth of their twins!

Andrew and Stephen live in Brisbane, Australia, and on September 7 this year, they welcomed son is Reilly and daughter Phoenix in Fort Worth, Texas. This Dad and Daddy (respectively) are over the moon and are forever grateful to their surrogate.

"The day our children were born now joins the day we were married as the best day of our lives," shared Stephen "Seeing the twins and hearing them take their first breaths was like falling in love all over again. Our journey has been scary, arduous and rewarding in equal measure but you can't have a rainbow without rain. Our beautiful surrogate is now family for life."

On August 16, 2017, beautiful baby Cami was born. And four days later, she went home with her two loving dads, Doug and Tom.

"She's instantly found her way into our hearts and the hearts of those around us!" shared Tom.

Doug (above, right) is a police officer, and Tom (above, left) is a navy veteran who now works with veteran transition. This family of three was created through foster-adopt and they Seattle, Washington.

Starbucks recently changed its parental leave policy to include adoptive parents, a huge victory for many of the company's LGBTQ workers. We caught up with Annie Sartor of the Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US) campaign to talk more about this exciting change for the company.

Keep reading... Show less

This is the first of a monthly collaboration between Gays With Kids and Two Men and A Baby.

In the words of Dave and Bart: "We've been inspired for years by all the adorable gay families on GWK, and couldn't be more honored to contribute to their community. GWK made us realize that starting our family was achievable, and kept us motivated along the many twists and turns of our journey. We created our channel to complement GWK --- GWK shows you the destination, the amazing pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, whereas our videos aim to cover the many micro-decisions along the way."

"When did you guys decide you wanted kids?"

Keep reading... Show less

While hosting the Virgin Holiday's Attitude Awards event last night in London, Daley talked about his husband, Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, their wedding earlier this year, and their future kids!

Lance Black was unable to be by his husband's side due to a civil rights speaking tour commitment in the United States.

Keep reading... Show less

"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."

Keep reading... Show less

31-year-old Dane had almost resigned himself to the fact that he would never become a dad. But a move from Los Angeles to Fort Collins, Colorado and a new perspective on life and helped him see clearly that being a parent could be part of his future. Dane is yet to take some of the first steps in his journey to fatherhood, other than starting to save, but he's excited for when that day comes. Why does he want to be a dad? "The best relationship I have is with my father," shared Dane. "He makes me want to be a dad."

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

FOLLOW OUR FAMILIES

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse