Gay Dad Life

Meet Gay Dads: Tony and Brian

Tony Chien and Brian Mills live in Roseland, New Jersey with their daughter. The couple met on OKCupid, have been together 5 years, and were married on August 30, 2014. Brian works in human resources at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Tony runs marketing at Atari. They both work in New York City. We caught up with the dads to see how fatherhood was treating them!


Tell us about your path to parenthood. [We chose] surrogacy. We always wanted a family and knew surrogacy was a viable option for us.

Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. The gestational surrogacy process was complex but completely worth it in the end. Starting from scratch and not knowing how to go about having a baby via gestational surrogacy was a challenging experience. We prepared ourselves by doing research online and talking to many people from various sources such as the LGBT Center in New York City and other gay men who were going through the same process. We attended seminars hosted by the organization, Men Having Babies, and also joined their Facebook group to connect with others. Speaking with fellow gays who already had a baby through surrogacy was the most inspirational because it showed us this was all possible. We had a lot of questions along the way such as figuring out which surrogacy agency and IVF doctor to use, what the best approach would be – should we transfer fresh or frozen embryos, how many embryos should we transfer and other important questions. Our first surrogate had a miscarriage at 8.5 weeks and that was devastating. That was our biggest obstacle to overcome. The miscarriage was tough on us and it took time to process our loss but we knew we still wanted to have a baby and we shouldn’t give up. We were fortunate to have more embryos and the resources to try again.

How has your life changed since you became a father? We are so happy now that our baby girl is finally with us in this world and we couldn’t imagine our lives without her. Taking care of our baby was something we had to figure out on our own, but just like many first time parents, gay or straight, you learn and get more comfortable with time and experience. Our lives haven’t really changed that much. We both still work and do the same things we did before our baby arrived, but are more homebodies now. We are fortunate that my parents live nearby and can help out and our in-laws are within driving distance.

Was there ever a moment that you or your husband experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? After our surrogate had a miscarriage in 2015 we questioned if having a baby of our own was meant to be. But after speaking with others who also experienced a miscarriage and went on to have a healthy baby, it gave us hope and inspired us to not give up.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Our family and friends are wonderful – they are inclusive, supportive and we are very lucky. We have yet to fully venture out in public with our baby since she is still a newborn but the few times we have gone out we have not experienced any negativity.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Our family and friends have been extremely supportive throughout our journey.

What Does She Call You? Tony is called "Baba" which is Mandarin for Dad; Brian is "Dad."

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? We hope to add another baby into our family in the next couple of years. From here on out we want to go on more adventures with our family and watch our kid (or kids) grow-up. We are excited for what the future holds!

***

Fill out this short survey to be featured in an upcoming family profile!

Read more:

With Only 48 Hours to Prepare, Rob & Zack Become Dads 

Worth the Wait: Mitch & Jake's Adoption Journey

Foster Dads Shed Selfishness, Gain a Family

 

Show Comments ()
Entertainment

Take a Virtual Tour of The Homes of These Famous Gay Dads

Many famous gay dads — including Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin — have opened up their homes to fans on the pages of Architectural Digest.

In each issue, Architectural Digest offers a peak into the homes of different celebrities. In recent years, they've featured the homes of several famous gay dads. Check out the videos and stories the magazine pulled together on the beautiful homes of Neil Patrick Harris, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Ricky Martin below!

Keep reading... Show less
Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How the Shut Down Opened Me Up to Being a Better Dad

David Blacker's dad used to tell him to 'stop and smell the roses' — the shut down has led him to finally take the advice

"Stop and smell the roses." It was the thing my dad always said to me when I was growing up. But like many know-it-all kids, I didn't listen. I was determined to keep my eye on the prize. Whether it was getting good grades in school, getting my work published, scoring the next big promotion, buying a house or starting a family. For me, there was no such thing as resting on my laurels. It has always been about what's next and mapping out the exact course of action to get me there.

Then Covid.

Ten weeks ago, I — along with the rest of the world — was ordered to shelter-in-place... to stop thinking about what's next, and instead, focus on the here and the now. In many ways, the shut down made me shut off everything I thought I knew about being content and living a productive life. And so, for the first time in my 41 years, I have literally been forced to stop and smell the roses. The question is, would I like the way they smell?

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

How This Transracial Family Creates a 'Safe Space' to Talk About Their Differences

Kevin and David know they can never understand what it's like growing up as a young black girl — but they strive to create a 'safe space' for their daughters to talk about the experience

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Is adopting a child whose race and culture is different from your own something that us queer dads need to talk about? Share our experiences? Learn from others? We've been hearing from our community, and the answer has been a resounding, "yes."

With over one-fifth (21.4%) of same-sex couples raising adopted children in the United States today (compared to 3% of different-sex couples), it's highly likely, at the very least, that those families are transcultural. According to April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc., all adoptive families are transcultural. "All, in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same."

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Movie Night: My Favorite Family Tradition

As his sons have gotten older, the movies have morphed away from cartoons and towards things blowing up — but movie night remains his favorite family tradition.

Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about his life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Of all of our traditions and rituals, probably the most consistent and longest-lasting one was movie night. Sure, we read the heck out of Harry Potter. But our capacity for watching Harry Potter? We're talking Quidditch World Cup here, folks.

In its early version, movie night looked like this: During the week, I would order a movie and a cartoon from Netflix—back when "Netflix" meant "mail." On Saturday night—and I mean, faithfully, every Saturday night—we would order a pepperoni pizza (which Mark faithfully took the meat off of—I'll get to food later) for delivery and then sit and watch our cartoon and movies while eating. The kids had a say in the movie, but I got to pick the cartoon. They watched enough of their own cartoons on the regular, and besides, this gave me a great opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Josie and the Pussycats.


Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse