Gay Dad Life

Meet New Dads: Tommy and Robert

Tommy Barraza and Robert Martin live in Orlando, Florida with their daughter, Mia Valentina. The two met through friends, and have been together for 14 years. They got married in September 2015. We caught up with Tommy, who will be "daddy," and Robert, who will be "Papi," to see how parenthood is treating them. 


Tell us about your path to parenthood. Did you consider other options? [We] tried adoption and went through the entire process paying an agency and then home study approvals etc but was just a long wait with no results so took another route with surrogacy.

What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? The adoption process was so complicated. When there are so many qualified couples to adopt they make it so difficult which really makes no sense. On the IVF and surrogacy route we did have some ups and downs. Lots of preparation for the egg donor, surrogate and ourselves takes place before a transfer is done. Our first try she didn't get pregnant so we had to basically start from zero again and do another attempt. On the second try we did get both embryos to attach at 8 weeks, and heard and saw both heart beats. At the week 12 ultrasound we were told that the baby boy had passed at 9 weeks. Now we are blessed with our beautiful daughter Mia Valentina. The surrogate wanted us to still have the baby brother for Mia so we tried again for a boy recently. First try didn't work and we did a second attempt again and now she is 4 weeks pregnant with our baby boy. Still early in the game but hopefully all turns out the way it should and Mia will have her brother soon.

How has your life changed since you became a father? We have always been lucky to have a great and rewarding life but now with Mia in our lives things seem to have more of a meaning. Our day to day activities have changed, meals, leaving the house, and basically any activity we do has to now have more preparation and planning.

Was there ever a moment that you or your husband experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? And if so, what were they? How did you overcome them? Having tried both adoption and surrogacy we found ourselves with doubts and even if this was the right thing to do. We just talked things through and supported one another and now we know for sure it was all worth it!

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? To our surprise the treatment from others has been great. A rare occasional stare or comment of just ignorance here and there but everyone for the most part has been welcoming supportive and just amazing.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Growing all stronger as a family, and doing the best we can to be outstanding citizens and role models.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Surround yourself with family, friends and create a good support system so to make the journey easier, this way when setbacks occur or problems are encountered you have where to get advice and the help needed to pick up and keep going.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering fatherhood? Be strong, patient and don't let any obstacles stop you. No one said it would be easy but it is for sure rewarding.

***Fill out this short survey for the opportunity to be featured in an upcoming family profile!***


Read more:

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

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

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third 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 my 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!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Expert Advice

4 Tips for Single Gay Dads Raising Daughters

Here are some ways to create a safe space for your daughter to discover who she is, with you by her side.

There's nothing quite like father-daughter relationships, and when it comes to single dads, your little girl likely holds a very special place in your heart. From the moment she's born, it's as if you can see every moment of her life in front of you, from her first steps to walking her down the aisle at her wedding. You'll be the first man she'll know and talk to, and you'll be her biggest example of what a loving man looks like. She'll come to you for advice on how to navigate challenges, be independent, treat others and grow into herself.

Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

After Suffering a Violent Homophobic Attack, This Gay Dad Turned to Advocacy

After Rene suffered a brutal homophobic attack that left him hospitalized, he and his family have turned to advocacy to heal

Guest post written by Rene and Nejc

We are Rene (35) and Nejc (29) and we come from Slovenia, Europe. I was an avid athlete, a Judoist, but now I am an LGBT activist and Nejc is a writer, who published a gay autobiography called Prepovedano. He was also a participant in a reality show in Slovenia (Bar) and he is an LGBT activist too. Nejc and I met by a mere coincidence on Facebook, and already after the first phone call we realized that we are made for each other. Nejc and I have been together as couple almost one year. We think we have been joined by some energy, as we have both experienced a lot of bad things with previous relationships and now we wish to create and shape our common path.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

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