Gay Dad Life

After Countless Rejections, Sean and Lee Bring Home Twins

Sean and Lee Chetwyn-Horan were introduced to one another through Lee's younger brother, Nathan, and were friends for 2 years before starting a relationship. They have been together 5 and a half years, and were married August 22, 2016. Sean, a civil servant, and Lee, a special needs teacher, live in Liverpool, U.K. with their two adopted children, Arlo and Cleo. We caught up with the dads to find out how they were enjoying fatherhood.


Tell us about your path to parenthood. Did you consider other options? We felt we didn't really have any other options when we realised just how many children were in the care system in the UK. Surrogacy was never an option for us due to the cost implications here in the UK.

Cleo and Arlo

What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? We went through the adoption process for 9 months, which is standard regardless of orientation. However, it took the social services 20 months to place a child with us. We asked for feedback on why we were being pipped at the post by other adopters but we felt we weren't given credible, constructive feedback. This made us feel inadequate as gay adopters. We were told off the record that straight adopters were chosen over us on more than one occasion. As a couple, We made a complaint to the children's services manager and we were immediately invited to attend a meeting where our profile was reviewed. Within a few months of making the formal complaint about suspected unconscious bias/homophobia we were placed with our beautiful twins!

How has your life changed since you became a father? Life for us was good before we adopted. We both work full time and spent our spare time with our friends socialising and attending festivals. But we were ready for kids and had been for so long. I don't think you can really prepare for becoming a father and it was quite overwhelming at first. The first few weeks were challenging as we were adapting to the twins and their routines and their needs etc, and also getting used to the lifestyle change. But now, 5 months on, we feel like we have nailed it. Each day Arlo and Cleo are growing and learning and so are we with them. We still socialise with our friends but in different ways- mainly for breakfast and lunch instead of going to a bar or a club. We have even taken our twins to a few festivals already. We feel like our life has been given a new meaning since we adopted. We feel fulfilled and are so much happier than we were before- which we didn't think was possible as we were so happy before too.

What have you learned from your children since you became a dad? They have taught me that I can be a morning person! When I hear their little voices on the baby monitor of a morning, It's the best sound in the world and I now love getting up to see them. Every day gets more and more exciting!

Was there ever a moment that you or Lee experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? With the adoption/ matching process taking so long and with us facing so many rejections from children's social workers, we did feel we weren't good enough. After about a year we did discuss maybe leaving it and trying again in a few more years, possibly when attitudes towards same sex adopters have changed. However, we did continue to look and it paid off.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Up to now (touch wood) we haven't experienced any prejudices. Everything we have experienced from strangers or on hospital visits, shopping etc has been positive. Even before we adopted, we were never faced with any animosity as a gay couple.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? I see us even bigger than now, with maybe a younger brother or sister for Arlo and Cleo, and possibly living abroad which is something Lee and I have discussed also. Canada specifically, where Lee has family.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering adoption? We have so many gay couples as friends who want to adopt but they are apprehensive because of they feel there is a stigma still attached to gay adopters. I advise them that they should pursue it and don't let their own preconceptions hold them back, like it almost did us.

Anything else you'd like to share? Only that until you have experienced it, there is now way to describe becoming a parent. To have two little babies depending on us for everything means the world to me and I feel like my life has a new meaning to it. It's the best feeling in the world!

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

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Gay Dad Life

"Worth Every Blood, Sweat, and Tear": Congrats to Gay Dads on Recent Births and Adoptions!

Wishing all of these gay dads whose families expanded a lifetime of happiness! Congrats to everyone in our community on their recent births and adoptions!

Gay men go through a lot of ups and downs on the path to parenthood. It can be one of the most emotionally draining times in our lives. But as each of these families who are celebrating births and adoptions this month agree: it's worth every hardship.

Congrats to the dads whose families grew this month!

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News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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