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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Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

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.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

Adopting an Older Child Through Foster Care Was the Best Path for These Dads

After learning more about older-child adoption through You Gotta Believe, Mark and Andrew decided it was the best way for them to form their family.

"Hey! I got adopted today! These are my dads, Mark and Andrew!"

Jeremy was 16 years old when he found out his new dads wanted to adopt him.

In late August 2017, husbands Mark and Andrew Mihopulos, 34 and 36 respectively, remember driving out to the east end of Long Island. They knew at the very same moment they were driving, social workers were letting Jeremy know they wanted to adopt him. "We expected Jeremy to be hesitant or feel mixed emotions," shared Mark. "We didn't know how he would feel about having two dads and about having white parents and family, as he is a black young man."

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Philippe "Swiped Right" on This Handsome Young Dad

At first, Philippe wasn't sure he could date a man who was a dad. But Steve, and his son Gabriel, have helped him realize a "fatherly side" of himself he didn't know he had.

"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.

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Gay Adoption

5 Ways to Know Your Adoption Agency Is LGBTQ-Friendly

So you're ready to adopt. How do you know your adoption agency won't just discriminate against you as a gay man, but is actively welcoming to LGBTQ people?

You know what is the worst? Adoption agencies who discriminate! So how do you know your agency welcomes you? Check out our list of five immediate ways to know if your agency is LGBTQ affirming.

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Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

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Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

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Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.

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