Meet Gay Dads: Scott & Mike

Scott and Mike have been together since 2009 when a mutual friend invited them both to play tennis. "The rest was history," they say. Scott works as a design director for a jewelry company, and Mike as a travel agent. Together, they adopted their son, Taylor, who was born in February, 2017. We caught up with the new dads to see how fatherhood was treating them.

Why did you decide on your particular path to parenthood? Did you consider other options? One of first conversations after dating was about having children. I have wanted children since the earliest moments I can remember. Mike had always wanted children as well, however he had a strained relationship with his family, which added nervousness to the process. Flash forward years later and we are thinking about adoption at the same time we were thinking about getting married. The Supreme Court passed the legalization of marriage for same sex couples and we got our marriage license that day. After careful consideration about going all out on an over the top tennis themed wedding or saving money for adoption – we chose adoption.

What obstacles did you face in your path to parenthood if any? After a lot of research, we chose to work with an adoption facilitator out of Chicago. In 2015, we paid for a two year contract, made our profile and got home study approved. It seemed like it was going to happen sooner rather than later. After only 3 months online we had been selected by a birthmother in Missouri. We found out she was pregnant with a baby girl and expecting in only a few months. Obviously we were excited and did everything that people gave us advice not to. The nursery was done up in pink and we splurged on all the cutest baby clothes. Our relationship with the birthmother was fairly rocky from the start and communication was often at a minimum. We made ourselves believe that she needed her time and things would turn around. Overlooking all of the warning signs, we moved forward. Almost two weeks before her due date, she dropped all contact with us. We were heartbroken. It was the lowest time in our 7-year relationship. We closed the door to the nursery to not see what could have been and moved on. We concentrated on work, and enjoying each other. It's times like this that I am so happy that we had each other to lean on. The waiting and the not knowing was the hardest part of the adoption process.

How hard was it to keep your dream of becoming dads alive after that setback?We concentrated on work, and enjoying each other. It's times like this that I am so happy that we had each other to lean on. The waiting and the not knowing was the hardest part of the adoption process. But flash forward about 6 months and we were sitting watching one of the trashy reality shows that we had on for background noise and Mike said to me “if we have a boy, can we give him the middle name Ben?” I was touched. Ben was the name of my best friend who died during my childhood. The next morning we woke up and we got the call. A birthmother in Tennessee had selected us and was pregnant with a boy! We heard right before the holidays of 2016. It was hard not to tell everyone again, but this time we kept the secret from most people. We were due in February and this time were able to develop a loving and open relationship with our birth mom. We drove from RI to Tennessee two days before the due date to be ready. On February 10th we got the call that we were in labor. We got to spend 30 hours with our birth mom in her hospital room getting to know each other and hearing all of her dreams for “our” son! It was something that I will cherish and we were so happy that we were able to be there. Taylor Benjamin was born on February 12 by C-Section and we welcomed him into our lives 5 minutes later. The first 2 weeks were exciting, exhausting and stressful, being in and out of the hospital and waiting for clearance to leave the state in our hotel, but it provided an amazing time to bond with our new addition and one we would never give up.

How has your life changed since you became fathers?  We have tried our best to keep our lives as close to the way they were before. We feel that integrating our son into our lives would be easier than the opposite. Besides not being able to play tennis 7 days a week, our daily lives have not changed now that we have a child. Our lives have just become more enriched. Waking up and knowing that you are responsible for another human being is what is the most amazing thing. We are told every day that people cannot believe how relaxed we are with Taylor and how relaxed he seems. We get told that is because we didn't drastically change what we were doing before.

What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? We have learned patience for sure. But we both never knew that you could unconditionally love someone as much as a baby. We have learned to lean and listen to each other more than before as well. Mike has a flawed relationship with his family, so having a child has started to heal that pain.

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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!

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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.

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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 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.

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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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Change the World

Single Gay Man Adopts Girl Passed Over by 20 Previous Families

Luca Trapanese, a gay dad from Naples, Italy, adopted a baby with Down syndrome who had been rejected twenty times previously

Luca Trapanese, a single 41-year-old gay man from Naples, Italy, had always wanted to become a dad. But in Italy, it was only legal for married heterosexual couples to adopt until 2017. Even then, he was told that he'd only be able to adopt a "hard to place" child, with mental or physical challenges.

"They told me that they would only give me sick children, with severe disabilities, or with behavioral problems," he told the BBC in an interview. "I was absolutely ok with that."

And that's how Alba, a little girl with Down syndrome, came into his life. Abandoned at birth, she had been passed over by 20 separate families before Luca was approached about providing her a home. Luca, who has worked and volunteered with people with disabilities from a young age, readily agreed.

"I'm proud to be her father," Luca said. "Alba was never a second option because she had a disability. I wanted her to be my daughter."

Listen to the entire interview here.

Gay Dad Photo Essays

Gay Dads + Kids = MAJOR Family Halloween Costumes

All October long, we'll be posting pics of gay dads and their major Halloween costumes from previous years for inspiration! We'll ALSO let you know where to get the looks!

We've said it before and we'll say it again — NO ONE does Halloween (aka queer Christmas) better than the gays. So if you're in need of some inspiration for this year's family costume, look no further! We selected 31 of our favorites off Instagram from last year, one for each spooky day of October, to help get your creative juices flowing.

We can't wait to see what creepy, creative and/or cute costumes dads have up their sleeves (or maybe capes?) this year!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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