Antwon and Nate became dads through the foster care system. Nine months after becoming licensed, they received a call on a Tuesday, and two days later, their daughter moved in. "It was very quick," said Nate. "Honestly, it was more just shock and nervousness for me."

As new parents, Nate took unpaid leave for two weeks, before going back to work part-time. Antwon didn't receive any leave.

"It's definitely important to have time off to bond, but it's also important to be financially stable when you do it," said Antwon. "I don't think you should have to choose between staying financially afloat or showing your kid love... and I don't think anyone should have to make that choice."

Only 15% of dads in the U.S. have access to paid paternity leave. We want to change this.

Watch Nate and Antwon's video to find out how:

Sign the pledge: www.dovemencare.com/pledge

Like Antwon and Nate, we're helping Dove Men+Care advocate for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads! Over the next three months, we will be sharing stories of gay dad families and their paternity leave experience. Our goal is to get 100,000 folks to sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

Dove Men+Care has collected over 30,000 signatures on the Pledge for Paternity Leave in three short months, in a mission to champion and support new legislation for federally mandated paid leave laws in the U.S. With the conversation growing on Capitol Hill, Dove Men+Care will target key legislators to drive urgency behind paid paternity leave policy and provide a social proof in the form of real dad testimonials, expert research and signature support from families across the country.

Our goal is to help Dove Men+Care bring 100,000 signatures to key policymakers in Washington, D.C. for their Day of Action on the Hill, and drive urgency behind this issue.

If you believe *ALL* dads should receive paid paternity leave, sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

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"Patience!" Terrell and Jarius both said, without hesitation, when asked what they've learned after becoming dads to twins via traditional surrogacy. "You learn a new level of patience when you have kids," added Terrell. "But also a new level of love."

The Atlanta-based dads said they were "super scared" to learn they were going to become dads — even though they'd prepared for it. "You can never prepare for that moment," said Terrell. "Reading that pregnancy test, was life changing."

As far as the couple's experience with paid paternity leave, they couldn't have been more different. At Jarius's job, he was offered a full year off — six months for each child — at 80% of his total salary. "It's not like that for everyone," he said. "I was very lucky."

"I was not," Jarius said, who was offered two weeks off — though he was lucky to get even that. "They had just implemented the policy like a couple month before," he said.

Sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

"It's important for all dads to receive paternity leave," said Jarius. "They're part of the child's life, too. Just a few weeks is not adequate enough for such a big life change."

Terrell agreed, saying the time is "important to bond with your child," and also to make sure "your house isn't going to suffer from a financial standpoint."

Watch their video:


Our goal is to help Dove Men+Care bring 100,000 signatures to key policymakers in Washington, D.C. for their Day of Action on the Hill, and drive urgency behind this issue.

If you believe *ALL* dads should receive paid paternity leave, sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

Dennis McDonough and John Kihm have been together for over eight years and married since May 2015. Becoming dads was always part of their plan. In 2016, they became foster dads and during the following six months after becoming licensed, they cared for nine foster kids.

"We knew that we would be able to help children who were in need, children who were scared and had no where to go and no one to love them," shared Dennis. "We knew that somewhere along the process we would eventually have children who would need our love forever." Currently, the dads have four children, two of which they've adopted.

As this family has welcomed more children, helped reunite others with their biological families, and finalized two of their sons' adoptions, neither dad received any paid paternity leave.

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Eight years ago, Biff and Trystan's fatherhood journey began when they received a somewhat unexpected call. Biff's sister was no longer able to take care of her two kids, and they wanted to know if Biff and Trystan could look after them. Overnight, the one-time uncles quickly transitioned into the role of dads to Biff's niece and nephew. Six years later, they expanded their family when they welcomed their son Leo, carried by trans dad Trystan.

Trystan and Biff had two different paternity leave situations when they grew their family, and those experiences shaped how they feel about paid paternity leave today.

"I had no parental leave that I could take when we became parents overnight," said Trystan. "I basically ended up depleting basically every single day I had ever accrued... just to take care of them." Biff, for his part, was given no time off, except for a half day here and there for court days.

When it came to Leo, the son Trystan carried, Trystan was initially given six weeks off. "It was really paltry," Trystan said. "I sat down with the board and said ... the parental leave policy you have is not in line with the values of this organization." The board fortunately listened, and doubled Trystan's parental leave to three months to give him time to care for and bond with Leo.

"Parental leave is really important, because when you have a new baby or when you adopt kids, especially when you adopt kids, there's an adjustment period," Biff said, which goes beyond just the need for the gestational parent to recover, physically.

"Those first few months are building a foundation for the rest of your life as a family," Trystan added. "If we want dads to be equally involved in raising kids, contributing to a household, being part of family, we have to give them the opportunity to do that in the very beginning.

If you believe *ALL* dads should receive paid paternity leave, sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

Watch their story:

Sign the pledge: www.dovemencare.com/pledge

Gay Dad Photo Essays

Pics of the Moment Before and After Gay Men Become Dads

Dig through your phones — what was the last pic taken of you BEFORE you became a dad?

We all have THAT photo: the one taken moments after we become fathers for the first time. For some of us, we're doing "skin to skin" in a delivery room. For others, we're standing proudly alongside our newly adopted child and judge in a courtroom. However or wherever it happens, though, we make sure to snap a picture of it.

But what about that last photo BEFORE you first became a dad? What does that image look like, we wondered? Well, we asked our Instagram community to dig through through phones and find out. Some of us are enjoying a last carefree meal or glass of wine, others of us are captured nervously contemplating our futures. Whatever it is, we've decided these BEFORE pictures are just as meaningful.

Enjoy some of our favorites! Want to play along? Dig through your phones and send us your pics to dads@gayswithkids.com!

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Entertainment

Gay Dad in Sundance's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' is Relatable AF

Sundance hit "Brittany Runs a Marathon" stars a gay dad trying to get in shape.

Who would make for the best marathon training partner for an overweight, overly boozed 27-year-old woman? A gay dad, of course!

The pairing, for any gay man who has been subjected to impossible beauty standards (not unlike... literally all women?) makes a bit too much sense after watching the new Sundance film, "Brittany Runs a Marathon," starring SNL writer Jillian Bell (as the 27-year-old) and Micah Stock as the (somewhat *ahem* older) gay dad.

Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

We won't give too much more away, apart from saying that the trio — based off of actual people and events — really works. It's the feel good film you're waiting to see.

Expert Advice

Your 15 Most Common Questions About Adoption, Answered by an Expert

We asked our Instagram community for their biggest questions about adoption. Then asked Molly Rampe Thomas of Choice Network to answer them.

As part of our new "Ask an Expert" series on Instagram, our community of dads and dads-to-be sent us their questions on adoption in the United States. Molly Rampe Thomas, founder of Choice Network, answered them.

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Popular

'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!

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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