Gay Dad Life

The Call That Changed This Couple's Life Overnight

Portland husbands, Biff Chaplow and Trystan Reese, have three children: two adopted kids, Riley and Hailey, and Leo, their biological child who was carried by Trystan, a trans dad.

Trystan never wanted to be a dad. That was until he met Biff seven years ago at a queer brunch and they hit it off right away. For the first year of their relationship, they spent their weekends being carefree, partying and flying to Vegas. Then they received a call that would change their lives.


A social worker phoned Biff and told him that his niece and nephew were in desperate need of a safe home and were going into foster care at the end of the weekend, unless he took them. That call changed the direction of their lives together, and overnight they became twenty-something dads.

Their story was shared on the WNYC podcast "The Longest Shortest Time" (listen to it here), which covered the couple's adoption journey, their fight in court to keep the kids, Trystan's decision to carry their third child, and then, finally, life as dads to their newborn.

We caught up with Trystan to see how life as a dad of three is going, and if he has any advice to others taking a similar path.

Tell us about your path to fatherhood. We adopted Biff's niece and nephew when they needed a home and safe, loving parents. So it was kind of foisted upon us. And when we wanted to grow our family, it was easiest for me to carry our baby myself. As a transgender man, I was able to stop taking hormones and safely get pregnant. I gave birth to our beautiful baby boy, Leo, in July.

How has your life changed since you became a father? Everything is different. We moved into a more kid-friendly neighborhood (then a more kid-friendly state). I changed jobs so I had more flexibility and higher pay. Biff quit his job to stay home full-time. We can't go out as often, we have less money, we can barely travel. There are diapers and homework and a mortgage... none of which we had when we first started dating!

What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? Everything you could imagine. How to be patient when you had no sleep the night before and your kid is yelling at you. How to coach a kid to clean up after themselves, how to be a good citizen and friend. I've found hope for the world, and lost it again (when we told our pregnancy story publicly) and then found it again when Leo was born. I've learned how to love in a completely different way. I've laughed harder than I ever had before.

Was there ever a moment that you or Biff experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself. Yes, all the time. The kids were dropped in our lap, and there were many times when it was so hard to parent them. They had been through neglect, trauma, and abuse. They were hard to like at times, and our patience faltered over and over again. We had to fight a legal battle to keep them, and that was extraordinarily challenging. And somehow, while all that was happening, we fell in love with them. And once that happened, we realized that we would do anything to keep them safe, and that became our guiding light— do what is best for them, even if it's hard for us.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? Other then being subjected to a spotlight on our pregnancy, not really.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Wait until you have your shit really together. Kids will put a strain on your relationship, your finances, your house... everything!!! Until you're really ready to make them a major focus of your life, and have a healthy dynamic with your partner, wait! It's never too late to bring kids into your life, but it is often too early.

Follow Biff and Trystan via their Instagram and Facebook profiles, and visit their website.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less

'Life Is Amazing': Congrats to Gay Dads Whose Families Recently Grew!

Help us congratulate gay dads on their recent births and adoptions last month!

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

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

We Gained a Son Through Foster Care — He Didn't Lose his Family

Foster-adopt expert Trey Rabun writes a moving essay about his own experiences as a parent in the foster care system.

My husband, Phil, and I talked about having children since out first date over 11 years ago. Like many other gay dads, we waited to start the journey to become parents until we felt secure with our careers, finances, and home life. This meant we didn't start the partnering journey until 2016 when we were eight years into our relationship.

When we first met, I was completing my graduate studies in social work and subsequently started a career working in foster care and adoption. This made our decision to pursue foster care-adoption as our path to parenthood a fairly easy one. In fact, I can't recall us discussing other avenues to parenthood, but I'm sure we briefly discussed them before solidifying our decision to become foster parents.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

In the Philly Area? Attend 'Family Pride' On October 5th!

Philadelphia Family Pride is hosting their 10th Annual "Family Matters" Conference on October 5th for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents, and their kids!

Guest post by Stephanie Haynes, the executive director of Philadelphia Family Pride

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, Philadelphia Family Pride will hold their 10th Annual Family Matters Conference from 9am to 3:30pm for LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their kids of all ages at the University of the Sciences in West Philadelphia. The theme this year is "Telling Our Stories." Registration is now open!

In an interactive keynote, Anndee Hochman, author of the Philadelphia Inquirer's weekly "Parent Trip" column, will share highlights from her work as a journalist and memoirist. She'll invite conversation about the stories that shape us—what tales do we share? who does the telling? who is left out?—and how those stories, added up, are changing the world. Read her bio.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Adoption

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for Your Home Study

Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network lists the 5 things gay men should keep in mind when preparing for your home study

The homestudy is the first step in the adoption process. In every state the homestudy is done a little differently, but all of them have the some combo of paperwork, trainings, and interviews. The homestudy can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months to complete. Without it, you cannot adopt.

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