Gay Dad Life

First Came Love, Marriage and the Baby Carriage. Then Came the Animals.

Fifty animals later, Nick, Steve and their adopted son Wyatt have a small zoo on their hands

"Before life was fun!" said Nick Phomkasornsri. "Lots of friend time, easy to travel, and late nights out on they town. But now, it's a whole different kind of fun."

And life couldn't be more different for Nick, a massage therapist and stay-at-home dad, and Steve Wiltgen, a product manager for a big tech company after they adopted their son, Wyatt. But that's not all! They also run an animal sanctuary in Texas called "Wyatt's Second Chance Ranch." They're providing the family life they always wanted to as dads. Here's their story.


Steve (left), Nick and Wyatt


Nick and his partner Steve have been together over seven years. In the past, they had shuffled back and forth between Texas and California, due to changing jobs and life circumstances. But as they were packing up and heading back to California for the second time, they received a call that would ultimately decide where they were to put down roots.

"We got a phone call from a very close friend of mine," shared Nick. "She told me her sister had a baby and that she was unable to parent the child. She asked if we would be interested in adopting him."

Nick and Steve remember talking for less than 10 minutes, but just knew this was it: it was their chance to become dads.

They called Nick's friend back and said "yes."

Nick and Steven moved back to California and began working at becoming Wyatt's foster parents. They encountered some pushback from the manager of the children and family services who disapproved of them as a couple for religious reasons. But, the dads-to-be fought the objections and the issue was resolved. Soon after, they became foster parents to their one-and-half-month-old son, Wyatt.

The family's stay in California turned out to be temporary. Nick and Steve had always envisioned raising their family with space for the kids to run around. So it wasn't long before they bought a house back in Texas and moved back.

Then came the animals.

Nick had always loved animals, so when they were back in Texas, he started taking animals in as a hobby. Fifty animals later, and the family have a small zoo on their hands. The dads decided to turn their menagerie into a rescue and they named it after their son, "Wyatt's Second Chance Ranch." They have all sorts of animals from cows, pigs and goats, to parrots, emus and mini horses. And Wyatt loves them all.

"He sits on horses, and his pet cow. Plays with chickens, cuddles turkeys, collects fresh chicken eggs, and has two acres dedicated of the yard just for him to run and ride his little motor bike."

Nick and Steve are created the dream childhood for Wyatt.

2017 was a big year for the family. They moved twice, bought a house, started their animal rescue and finalized Wyatt's adoption in November. Looking ahead, the dads would love to grow their family to include older foster children but they may not be for a couple more years. For now, they're loving being parents to Wyatt and enjoying their new life as animal rescuers.

And what about their new definition of fun? The dads now agree that it's the little things that have become the most important.

"Watching him grow and learn new things on the daily is so much more fulfilling," shared Nick. "He has given us a purpose in which we never experienced before."

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Race

How a White Gay Dad Discusses Racial Issues with his Black Sons

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Editor's Note: In light of George Floyd's death, this month, author Joseph Sadusky — who has been sharing excerpts from his book Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad each month —will share two posts that deal directly with issues around raising black sons. This is the first, titled "White," which looks at general questions that come up for a white dad raising black boys. Read previous installments here.

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Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on adoption or foster care that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

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Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the surrogacy process.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the field of surrogacy to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

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Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on surrogacy that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

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Transracial Families Series

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The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

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Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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