Gay Dad Family Stories

An Office Romance: From Co-Workers to Co-Dads

Ryan, a new graphic design graduate, was just looking for a job when he walked into a design studio in Fort Lauderdale, resume and portfolio in hand. Little did he know at the time he'd walk out also having met his future husband and father to his children.

"We bonded over our love for design, art, music, travel," Ryan said of Chris, the man who conducted his interview that first day. "We became good friends and eventually had our first kiss in the office! The rest is history!" This is how Ryan and Chris became a family of four.


When the couple was ready to start their family, they looked into all options, but ultimately decide surrogacy was the right path forward for them. "We both felt strongly that we wanted children of our own biology and genetic makeup," Ryan said. "So we chose surrogacy."

While the choice to move ahead with surrogacy was an easy one for the couple, the process, they soon learned, would be anything but. "There are so many unknowns and variables," Ryan said. "First, there is the very preliminary fear of the unknown - having no idea what to expect or what direction to go in. There is the financial fear once we began discovering the costs associated with surrogacy."

Compounding these problems, Ryan said, was this: "I am a worried," he admitted. "So the continuous rollercoaster, the highs and lows, of surrogacy became the biggest obstacle." The couple's first attempt at conceiving didn't work, forcing the men to start from scratch with a new egg donor, and play the "waiting game" once again. "That was an extremely hard time," Ryan said. " here is so much time to question, doubt, fear, stress. So for someone like me, I was constantly nervous! I probably drove our surrogacy agency and our surrogate nuts with constant questions and concerns."


Surrogacy, Ryan cautions, is not for the faint of heart. "It got extremely taxing on us emotionally," Ryan says. At times, particularly after the first cycle did not work, he and Chris doubted whether or not to continue. "But we persevered," he said. "We trusted that the ultimate end result would outweigh the present strain."

And with twins, Connor and Olivia, now part of their lives, Ryan is incredibly thankful for sticking it out. "I remember people would tell us that one day after the babies were born we would look back and wonder what we stressed so much about," he said. "And it's true. We can look back now and feel so relieved that we continued - because it's worth it. It's all for that amazing, irreplaceable, heart-swelling little smile on their face. Or that giggle. Oh my God, that giggle is everything."

So how is life with newborn twins treating the dads? "On a surface level, everything has changed," Ryan said, explaining that the couple has also recently renovated and moved homes to accommodate their growing family. But the changes, Ryan says, go much deeper as well: "I've had to step outside of myself and put these two little humans first. It is a beautiful and sometimes challenging thing to care so much about another life that your thought process and priorities so innately shift. There was no option. It's like all of a sudden these two little ones are the absolute most important thing in my life and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Among the challenges of his newfound fatherhood, Ryan says, is making sure he's taking care of himself and relationship, in addition to his twins. "I remember joking in the very beginning after the birth to a friend about how daily personal hygiene seems to go out the window once babies are born," Ryan said. "I'd really have to struggle to remember if I even brushed my teeth that morning, let alone shower! I am so focused on them and making sure they are taken care of."

Now that several months have passed, however, Ryan says he's doing a better job learning to find balance in his life, something he says he struggled with even before becoming a dad. "Having the twins has forced me find balance because ultimately I've found that in order for me to be the best dad to them, I have to take care of myself as well," he explained. In order to be of "sound mind, body and spirit," and provide a stable environment and lifestyle for the twins, then, Ryan says he makes sure to take time for he and Chris as a couple, and for the things that fulfill him personally. "I have to make it work so I can be the best me for Connor and Olivia and my husband," he said.

As far as life as gay dads, Ryan says they do probably receive more attention in public than most heterosexual parents. "But in a positive way," Ryan says. "People constantly stop us to talk about the twins and comment on how amazing it is that we were able to have them. Chris and I joke that we are lucky to both be the kind of people who are comfortable conversing with random strangers on an almost daily basis. People are so interested in the process of surrogacy and have been extremely supportive."

For other dads considering surrogacy, Ryan stressed that the the right support system is crucial. "Whether it is a significant other or family or close friend," he said, "be strong, don't give up and always remember that everything happens for a reason."



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Gay Dad Family Stories

One Single Gay Dad's Trailblazing Path to Parenthood Via Surrogacy

20 years ago, Gene became the first single gay man to work with Circle Surrogacy in order to become a dad — trailblazing a path for many others since.

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

"I think I was pretty naïve, I guess," chuckled Gene, one of the first single gay dads to work with Circle Surrogacy over 19 years ago. "I just had made a decision and went out and did it, and wasn't really thinking about how difficult it might be or what other people thought, being first at doing something."

So how did Gene hear about surrogacy as an option for single gay men? Well, it began with Gene flipping through a bar magazine. He recalls seeing an ad about a woman providing a service to connect gay men with lesbians in platonic co-parenting relationships. While he started down that path, working with the founder, Jennifer, he remembers thinking, "What if I meet someone? What if I want to move? It would create all these complications."

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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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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.

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Gay Dad Life

Karamo Brown Co-Writes Children's Book with Son, Jason

The 'Queer Eye' star and his son named the story on a family mantra: You are Perfectly Designed

When his sons, Jason and Chris, were young, "Queer Eye" Star Karamo Brown repeated the same saying to them: "You are perfectly designed."

That mantra is now a Children's Book, cowritten by Karamo and his 22-year-old son, Jason, who used to come how and "say things like, 'I don't want to be me, I wish I was someone else, I wish I had a different life." As a parent, that "broke my heart," Karamo told Yahoo! Lifestyle. "I would say to him, 'You are blessed and you are perfect just the way you are,' as a reminder that you have been given so much and you should be appreciative and know that you're enough — I know that the world will try to tear you down, but if you can say to yourself, 'I am perfectly designed,' maybe it can quiet out some of those negative messages."

The illustrations, by Anoosha Syed, also make a point of displaying families of a variety of races and sexual orientations throughout the book.

Read more about Karamo's fascinating path to becoming a gay dad here, and then check out the video below that delves deeper into the inspiration behind "You Are Perfectly Designed," available on Amazon.



Change the World

"Dadvocates" Gather in D.C. to Demand Paid Family Leave for ALL Parents

"Dadvocate" and new gay dad Rudy Segovia joined others in D.C. recently to educate lawmakers on the need for paid family leave for ALL parents

On Tuesday October 22, Dove Men+Care and PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States) led the Dads' Day of Action on Capitol Hill. A group of over 40 dads and "dadvocates" from across the states lobbied key member of Congress on the issue of paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads. They shared stories of their struggles to take time off when welcoming new family members and the challenges dads face with no paid paternity leave.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Falling for Fall: 33 Photos of Gay Dads and Kids at the Pumpkin Patch

Oh my gourd, it's fall! To celebrate, we rounded up 33 pics (and whole lot of pun-kins) in our annual fall photo essay!

Don your checked shirt, grab them apples, and shine those smiles while perched on pumpkins — it's the annual fall family photo op! A trip to the pumpkin patch and / or apple orchard is a staple family fall outing, and we're here for it. 🎃🍎🍂👨👨👧👦

Thanks to these dads who shared their pics with us! Share your own to dads@gayswithkids.com and we'll add them to this post!

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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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Fatherhood, the gay way

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