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"Tiny Beautiful Moments": One Gay Couple's Turn to Fatherhood

Nic and Tim didn't think fatherhood was in their cards. Now that they find themselves raising a son? It's what they want most out of life.

"I never thought I'd be a parent," Tim Wang confessed. "It was just not on the radar." He didn't think it was much on the mind of his partner, Nic Cher, either until five years into their relationship when he was dealt a surprise: Nic had babies on the mind. For a moment, Tim thought their different views on the subject would be enough to threaten their relationship.


"But Nic was very patient," Tim said.

And patience for these two Australian dads-to-be would certainly prove to be a virtue. It would take nearly five years from this discussion before the couple would make the decision to become dads.

Nic (left) and Tim's commitment ceremony, 2014

Part of their hesitation centered on a concern both men shared: what if their future child was bullied on account of having two dads? What if their son or daughter was made to feel different? Is that fair to bring a child into a "non-traditional" family headed by two men? These are questions that every LGBTQ parent faces at some point in the process. And sometimes it falls to our allies to help us realize how little sexual orientation should matter in the process of forming a family. It was Nic and Tim's straight friends, in fact, that helped the couple see past their reservations and encouraged them to consider more important thing: such as how much love they could bring into a child's life.

"We have lovely straight friends who saw in us the capacity to love and they helped change our perspectives on parenting," said Tim.

Nic and Tim with their friends at their commitment ceremony, 2014

Prior to starting the process, however, the couple had other business to attend to: making a commitment to one another. On April 28, 2012, Tim and Nic held a beautiful commitment ceremony in front of friends and family. (Same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Australia at the time.)

Two years later, they finally started their surrogacy journey. "We considered adoption," said Tim of their thought process at the time. "But it was very challenging and was going to take too long." Each state and territory has different rules and legislation governing adoption, the couple pointed out, making the process somewhat difficult and intimidating.

Surrogacy, of course, comes with its own set of hurdles in Australia, the first of which was the most obvious: the practice is illegal. So once the dads had settled on surrogacy as their path to parenthood, they looked to the west coast of the United States to start the process. After conducting a wide search, they settled on the Pacific Fertility Center in Los Angeles. With their help, their son Dylan was born in July 2015. Both dads say it was a very smooth process.

Tim holding baby Dylan

So what is life like for these men, who once thought they'd never be dads? It's certainly been an adjustment, they say, learning to juggle sleep deprivation, midnight feedings and diaper changes all while pursuing ambitious careers. But these shifts in their life style were somewhat to be expected. The bigger surprises brought on by fatherhood, according to the couple, were far more existential.

"I've learnt to let things go and to stop trying to control everything and get things perfect," said Tim. "But more than that, I've learned to stop always pursuing the next best thing. Instead, I revel in the very tiny beautiful moments that life just rolls our way."

"It's been a beautiful change," added Nic. "My favorite moments are at bedtime, when we're curled up under the sheets and singing or reading."

Nic holding Dylan with Tim at Mardi Gras, February 2016

Recently, the family has introduced even more change into their lives: they decided to uproot their lives in Sydney and move to the smaller city of Brisbane to allow for a slightly slower pace of life, and to give Dylan more space. Their new home has provided them with different opportunities. Nic has opened his own veterinary clinic and Tim has gone back to school to get his doctorate degree. They are accomplishing these major life goals, moreover, without losing sight of their number one priority: spending more time with their son.

"We're a lot more connected to family and the wider community," said Nic, noting that Tim's parents also decided to relocate to Brisbane to be closer to their grandson. "And the lovely thing is that we're still very close to our gay and lesbian friends."

Nic, Dylan and Tim, June 2016

And what does Tim, who originally didn't think fatherhood would be in his cards, now think about his status as a dad? "I've always searched for that role or for a path in life that gave me a sense of meaning," he said. "Being a father was the only thing I've experienced that I've walked into and gone, 'yes, this is what I want for the rest of my life' right from the get-go."

It has felt so right to he and Nic, in fact, that the couple are now looking to expand their family further, once again with the help of Pacific Fertility Center. This time, unfortunately, the couple has encountered more road blocks.

Nic, Dylan and Tim, May 2017

"I think we're feeling doubts now in relation to a potential second and third child," said Nic. "We haven't had much success with the subsequent pregnancies and we're about to enter into a new journey with Pacific Fertility. There's always anxiety when you begin anew."

But given the success they had with their son, Dylan, the dads know they're in excellent hands. And regardless of what the future holds, Nic and Tim say their family already feels complete.

"We've had to talk long and quietly between the two of us as to what we hope our family will look like, and get to a point of acceptance that even if we don't get there, our son is exactly who we need, who we've always wanted, and that he is more than enough for us," said Tim.

Dylan on Tim's shoulders

Tim and Nic also have a message to other gay men considering fatherhood: they are cheering you on!

"We want you all to join us simply because the more rainbow kids and 'gaybies' there are, the better it is for all rainbow families," said Nic.

"And gay men make excellent, excellent loving parents," added Tim.

*We've partnered with Pacific Fertility Center to share some of the stories of the men whom they helped become dads. Be sure to keep an eye out for next month's family!


February 2018

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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.

Popular

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

How Long Does a Surrogacy Journey Take?

From the minute you sign with a surrogacy agency, how long will it take until you have a baby in your arms?

You've been waiting a long time to become a gay dad. You've done your research, and decided that surrogacy is the best fit for you. You're excited to get started, and even more excited at the prospect of the arrival of your little one.

But exactly how long is it going to take from the minute you sign on, until you have your baby in your arms?

On average, a surrogacy journey – from start to finish – can average between 16-21 months.

And while that sounds like a long time, remember that 9 months of that is your surrogate's pregnancy!

To help you better understand how long a surrogacy journey takes to complete, it's helpful to understand the different milestones along the way. Below is a general surrogacy process timeline from Circle Surrogacy. Remember, every surrogacy journey is unique, so the exact timing of your journey may be different than these estimates.

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Change the World

Judge's Decision in NY 'Compassionate Surrogacy' Case Involving Gay Dad Overturned

Though compensated surrogacy remains illegal in New York State, "compassionate surrogacy" arrangements are remain legal

Last week, an unanimous four-judge panel, part of the New York Appellate Division in Brooklyn, New York, revived a gay dad's petition to adopt his son born via surrogacy. The dad, identified as "Joseph P." in court documents, had earlier been denied his petition to adopt by a Queens County Family Court Judge, John M. Hunt. The Queens judge denied the petition because compensated surrogacy contracts are illegal in New York. However, the child born to Joseph was born via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning his gestational surrogate was not compensated.

The Appellate court's decision, written by Justice Alan D. Scheinkmanm called Hunt's decision "clearly erroneous," and held that a new Family Court judge should re-hear the case.

Judge Hunt's decision is all the more confusing since Joseph had actually already become a father via surrogacy in New York—three times over. In each instance, he used donor eggs and a friend serving, voluntarily, as the gestational surrogate. He had his first child in 2012, and then twins the following year. In all three instances, a Family Court judge granted Joseph's adoption petition, given that each child was conceived via "compassionate surrogacy," meaning no money changes hands in the course of a surrogacy journey between carrier an intended parent. This type of surrogacy arrangement is not illegal under to New York law. The social worker in Joseph's latest attempt to adopt, Gay City News noted, also gave him a favorable review, calling him "a mature, stable, and caring person who intentionally created a family of himself, the twins, and John."

Gay City News notes: "Justice Scheinkman provided a careful description of the laws governing surrogacy in New York. The Legislature provided that surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and treated as void. However, the only surrogacy contracts actually outlawed are those where the surrogate is compensated. It was clear to the Appellate Division that the Legislature did not mean to outlaw voluntary surrogacy arrangements, merely to make them unenforceable in the courts. Those who enter into a compensated surrogacy agreement face a small monetary fine and people who act as brokers to arrange such agreements are liable for a larger penalty. There is no penalty for voluntary, uncompensated surrogacy arrangements."

Read the full article here.

Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

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Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Fatherhood, the gay way

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