Gay Dad Life

"Not About Me Anymore?" Not So, Says This New Gay Dad

It's common to hear new parents say that having children means it's "not about you" anymore. But Ryan Michael Sirois says now that he's a dad it's more about him than ever before.

On May 16, 2017, Olivia and Connor decided it was their time to enter the world via an emergency C-section. We received a call at 5:30am from the agency asking if we were ready to be parents. Up to that point, dozens of people asked, are you ready? Our answer was generally the same: I think so. We had already gone through so many hurdles just to get pregnant, it was hard to imagine being any more prepared.


I had no idea the magnitude of change in store. Almost eight months later, we are in a new home with teething babies who crawl, eat real food and remind us daily how unbelievably lucky we are. How insignificant the surrogacy journey was in comparison to the wealth of fatherhood. It's corny and cliché, I'm very aware, but it is also true. Nothing could have prepared us for becoming dads – no book, no YouTube video, no pep talks or preplanning. In hindsight, the best advice we were ever given, which wasn't really intended to be advice, was someone saying, "You'll figure it out." Apparently the magic secret to being a parent is to figure it out as you go along.

But I'm so thankful it all happened when it did. We wanted to be parents for years, talked about it, dreamed of it, but for some reason it wasn't in the cards. We thought we needed a certain amount of money saved, we needed to be in a better place career wise, had to be in the right home, had to develop a stronger sense of self to provide a more stable foundation –

When these babies came, we were ready, whether we believed it or not.


The author, after being thrown up on

In eight months I've been shit on, peed on, thrown up on. I've done an unthinkable amount of laundry, changed an ungodly number of diapers. I've learned a new level of stress while discovering an unimaginable level of love. I've seen my family in a new light as they've embraced these twins with an unshakable love, bonding with my children in a way that warms my heart. I've watched my son fall out his stroller face first onto a cement floor, heard my daughter's head smack the tile when she fell from our bed. I've seen these two babies laugh uncontrollably, love unconditionally and discover the very beginning of what it means to be human. I've seen these under 6 pound newborns grow to almost 20 pounds, from being completely dependent on us to crawling and holding their own bottle. I've felt myself change – truly felt my mind, body and spirit evolve in a way it never has. I've seen clothes that were far too big become far too small, newborn diapers rotate to number 3 diapers. Our dogs have repeatedly raided diaper cans, destroyed expensive kid toys and lick those baby cheeks as if they were their own puppies. I've seen my boyfriend, who became my husband, become co-father of our twins and that feeling alone is indescribable. Together we have faced this new life with the same determination we've faced everything else – an honest reflection on what the fuck is going on – the great times, the hard times and the stuff in between. We love hard and fight rough, but we try to keep it honest and do the best we can for each other – and now for our family.

In eight months everything has changed while still so much remains familiar, like watching the same movie twenty years later with a totally new perspective. For whatever reason the movie American Beauty comes to mind. When I first saw that film I related to the teenagers and their angst, rebelling against crazy parents and suburban life. I recently watched the movie again and, while I still find the Annette Benning and Kevin Spacey characters to be insane, I suddenly have a deeper understanding for their journey. Each character in a place where they lost themselves, neglecting their own needs and ultimately drifting apart. Being stuck in the monotony of what is expected from society and loosing sight of passion, of freedom, of self exploration. Realizing there is more to life than the manufactured illusion in plain view, becoming restless, reckless and hungry for more. It was a new comprehension of a film I thought made clear sense years before.

Things are changing.

And as things change, I am left to figure out who I am in the midst of it all – as a father, as a husband, as a son, as an individual today. There's no guide for unraveling new versions of yourself, let alone how this newly uncovered person functions as a human in society. Suddenly there are new responsibilities without the luxury of letting someone else do the work for me. These two amazing little humans are in my life, two little people who I feel I've known in so many lives before. I'm not scared of screwing them up or being a terrible father, I genuinely believe no matter what happens I will provide a good foundation.

And they give me so much strength simply by existing. They show me that life is a constant series of changes and all I can do is try my best, lead with integrity and find acceptance. Or something like that. To be honest I'm not entirely sure – and that confession in itself is me trying my best – to be honest and accept that I'm figuring shit out just like everyone else.

People say now that I'm a dad, it's not about me anymore. But I am beginning to think it's just the opposite. I'm beginning to think now that I'm a dad it has to be more about me than ever, so I can ensure I'm the best version of myself for them. If I don't put myself first, take the time to find my peace – whatever the hell that means – then I will never be the father I want for my children. I've learned that in order to operate at my highest frequency, I have to be selfish. I have to take time to do things that bring joy to an otherwise strange mind. And most of that time requires me to first actually figure out what brings me joy, because for so long I searched in all the wrong places. And what helps lift my spirit today can be very different than what worked a week ago because, guess what, things change.



Those wide-eyes and moldable brains absorb whatever energy, action, emotion, word or intention I release. If I put them before myself, if I abandon my path to care solely for them, I'll be shit dad. I have years of experience to prove this not-so-mystified truth, with a track record of putting people on pedestals and equating exterior things to happiness – when none of that has brought me the same level of wholeness as truly taking care of myself.

I want to be the best dad I can be, but more importantly, I want to be the best human I can be. And all the books, the workshops and seminars out there can't help me if I'm not willing to take action and make change. If I'm not willing to allow myself the space to breathe.

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Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Sponsored

The Most Important Woman a Gay Man Will Ever Date

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy gives some tips and tricks for getting to know your surrogate once matched

It's time to fine tune your dating skills because you're about to enter into the most important courtship you'll encounter. And it all starts with the biggest first date of your life.

And it's with a woman.

This woman is your gestational carrier; the woman who will carry and care for your baby until she delivers this little bundle of joy right into your arms.

Matching with a gestational carrier – or surrogate – is one of the most exciting milestones in your journey to parenthood through surrogacy. However, it can also be the most nerve wracking. Chances are you've seen a profile about your potential surrogate match so you know a little bit about her and her family. But before you commit to this woman, you'll need to meet her first – either in person or via video. And this is one first meeting you've probably never prepared for!

Circle Surrogacy has been matching surrogates and gay dads for almost 25 years. Here are tried and true tips and tricks to getting to know your surrogate...and keeping the relationship alive during pregnancy and after birth!

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Gay Dad Life

"Daddy, Which Belly Did I Come From?"

How do gay dads talk to their kids about the women that helped bring them into the world?

When you tell your kids the story of how they came to be, is the woman who delivered them identified by a face and a name? That's a decision that every gay dad has to make when it comes to having kids through surrogacy or adoption. In this episode we explored two ways of keeping in touch with the birthmother (for adoptive kids) or the gestational surrogate (for IVF and surrogacy) as part of gay dads' children's birth story.Some adoptive parents choose to have an 'open adoption,' where the child gets to meet the birthmother. Parents who go through surrogacy sometimes keep in touch with the surrogate and have their kids meet her when they are old enough.

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Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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