It Was "Love at First Sight," Say Foster Dads Scott and Joel

Meet husbands and dads Scott, 44, the Director of Strategy for the University of Maryland Medical Center, and Joel, 41, a stay-at-home dad to their young daughter. Together for more than 10 years, this forever family lives in Glen Burnie, Maryland.


The men met online in 2005 via Match.com thanks to Joel’s friend, who secretly created a profile for him in an effort to help him meet more people. Scott says he responded to Joel’s profile and “it was a love-at-first-sight type of romance.” A few years later, on July 1, 2009, the guys celebrated their commitment by getting legally married.

Scott and Joel in 2005

Scott says he always wanted to be a father and he and Joel spoke of children early on in their relationship. They decided on foster-adopt as their path to fatherhood and became foster parents in 2013. Shortly after completing the process they were placed with a beautiful 18-month-old girl. Scott describes the original meeting of their daughter as another instance of “love at first sight,” further explaining that from the very first day they just knew that she was their daughter. Her adoption was finalized a year later.

Scott and Joel’s wedding day, July 1, 2009

The dads named their daughter Joyce LaRay. paying homage both to her birth name (LaRay) and Joel’s beloved grandmother (Joyce). Scott joyfully explains that today Joyce LaRay is “a sassy 4-year-old diva!”

Week one with their daughter

When asked what they consider to be the most important lesson they’re teaching their daughter, Scott replied that, “every family is special in their own way and we need to celebrate and appreciate our differences.” We couldn’t agree more!

Adoption day, 2014

Scott says that before they became dads he had hoped to be called “daddy” while Joel would be “papa.” But Joyce LaRay apparently had other plans, always referring to Scott as her “papa” and Joel as her “daddy.” Eventually the men stopped correcting her, and welcomed their daughter’s independent spirit by proudly adapting to the names she bestowed on each of them.

2016

Scott and Joel both place tremendous value on the importance of family. They live a short distance away from Joel’s mom, dad and six siblings, all of whom are integral members of their daughter’s extended family. Scott’s family is sprinkled through the midwest so they don’t get to see them as often as they’d like. But Scott’s best friend, Dermal, is like a brother and has been very involved in their lives. Joyce LaRay even refers to him as Uncle Dermal, and the dads greatly value the love he brings to their family and the influence he has on their daughter’s life.

In addition to raising their daughter, the dads are currently caring for a sibling group of three foster children who are not available for adoption. They’ve discussed the possibility of adding to their forever family, but want to hold off on the decision until after the sibling group is reunited with their family. Meantime, when asked if she would like a brother or sister, Joyce LaRay emphatically says “Yes! Both!”

Before signing off, Scott shared these departing words, “Along with meeting and marrying the man of my dreams, the best thing ever is the day our daughter entered our lives. I wouldn’t change a thing!”

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
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."


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
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

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
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