Become a Gay Dad

Gay Foster Dad: Paths to Fatherhood for Gay Men

Little research exists on LGBT foster parents. (Anyone beginning to sense a theme here?) So what do we know of GBT dads who become foster parents? According to Dr. Gates of the Williams Institute, of the 8 percent of same-sex male couples are raising children under 18 years old, “1 percent identified at least one of their children as a foster child." In raw numbers, this means that approximately 2,600 same-sex couples are raising an estimated 3,400 foster children in the US.


Similar to adoption, same-sex couples are much more likely to be raising foster children than are their heterosexual counterparts. According to the Williams Institute, in fact, same-sex couples are six times more likely than their different-sex counterparts to be raising foster children.

GBT individuals often face additional challenges when deciding to become foster parents that their heterosexual and cisgender (meaning "not transgender") brethren do not. The legal context for LGBT foster parents is often unclear, for instance. According to the Family Equality Council, seven states in the country have passed laws that specifically restrict discrimination against LGBT people seeking to become foster parents. The law is ambiguous in most other states.

According to the ACLU, an estimated 500,000 children were in foster care in 2014 around the country, and 100,000 of these children needed to be adopted full time. However, only 20,000 adoptive parents were available last year for these children. Given these statistics, it is ridiculous to think that some states make the process of becoming a foster parent difficult for deserving LGBT people like Edward Peddell, who we first introduced Gays With Kids readers to in a Family Spotlight this past April.

Ed Peddell with his children

“I felt as if something was missing in my life!" Ed told me, when I asked him what made him decide to become a foster parent. “I have always been a humanitarian and reached out to help those less fortunate. As an educator I saw the need for people to step up and assist children in need. They enter the system through no fault of their own. Parents have made poor choices and decisions; thus, the children are removed for their own protection. We take them in, love them, provide for them and build a support team around them until they are reunified with their biological parents."

Raymond and Daniel Trumble-Stazzone, who we introduced you to in an article last December, also said that fostering children is a rich and rewarding, albeit it challenging, experience. “Being a foster parent can be the most rewarding and difficult experience of your life," Raymond wrote to me via email. “Children in foster care have typically experienced more trauma in their lives at such and young and fragile age than most adults will ever go through. Working with these children and helping them through their specific needs can be very challenging."

Daniel and Raymond Trumble-Stazzone with their kids Cody and Jacob

Raymond and Daniel planned to foster children they hoped to ultimately adopt one day, and cautioned other GBT men to not feel bad about setting this type of parameters while working with foster and adoption agencies. You might have a preference for single child versus a sibling group, he said, for example, or might also want to only work with foster children who are eligible for adoption.

Raymond and Daniel with Jacob and Cody

What advice does Ed have for someone thinking of this route to parenthood? “Be sure that you are willing to give 100 percent. Being a parent is a full-time job! You should be your child's biggest advocate and love them unconditionally. Your life as you know it will change, so be sure this is what you desire and most of all be prepared for anything."

If you are considering becoming a foster parent, be sure to research the laws in your state through organizations like the Family Equality Council, and check out the resources available by groups like the Humans Rights Campaign. Gays With Kids writers have also brought readers several fascinating stories on the subject, so be sure to check those out here.

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Gay Surrogacy in the U.S. for International Dads

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy breaks down the process of surrogacy for gay men outside of the United States

Written by Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, who has been helping international gay men become dads for over two decades.

Becoming a gay dad through a surrogacy agency in the U.S. – when you live outside of the United States – can feel overwhelming. You may have questions such as: Why should I come all the way to the US for surrogacy? What do I need to know as an international intended parent? How do I get my baby home?

We spoke with Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation who has been working with international gay parents for over two decades. Circle Surrogacy was founded by a gay dad and lawyer, and is the most successful surrogacy agency with a full legal team on staff who are experts working with international parents.

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Researching surrogacy but feel like it's all Ancient Greek to you? You're not alone! The surrogacy process is filled with jargon, so we've started this surrogacy glossary of commonly used terms every gay dad should know as he embarks on the surrogacy journey.
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Become a Gay Dad

Jewish Agency to Help Cover the Costs of Surrogacy for Gay Couples

Isaac Herzog, of the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Agency for Israel is about to become first state organization to provide financial assistance to gay employees seeking child surrogacy services overseas. The move is intended to help offset the high costs associated with conducting surrogacy abroad.

The move to do so was led by Isaac Herzog, the Jewish Agency's Chairman of the Executive, who has made it a priority to support employees family-planning journeys, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The decision will apply to the agency's roughly 1,250 employees. The loans can be used to help cover the costs of necessary medical procedures before surrogacy, and for the process of surrogacy itself, the article notes.

Last year, in a controversial move, the Israeli government expanded the ability of single women to access surrogacy services in the country, but excluded single men and gay couples from the policy.

Herzog said the following in announcing the new initiative:

"We are also making a symbolic statement, because it reflects the egalitarian stance of a large organization that is recognizing the right of every man or woman to actualize their wish to be parents and to raise a family, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The Jewish Agency is one big family, and all its members are equal."

News

Indiana Court Says Couples Using Sperm Donors​ Can Both Be Listed on Birth Certificate — But Ruling Excludes Male Couples

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, a major victory for LGBTQ parents — but the Attorney General may appeal to the Supreme Court.

On Friday, a US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from a lower court that said that both parents in a same-sex relationship are entitled to be listed on the birth certificate — previously, the state of Indiana had required the non-biological parent within a same-sex relationship using assisted reproductive technologies to adopt their child after the birth in order to get her or his name listed on the birth certificate, a lengthy and expensive process not required of straight couples in the same situation.

It's a double standard LGBTQ parents have long been subjected to in many states across the country. So this represent a major win. As reported by CNN, this ruling "takes a lot of weight off" the shoulders of LGBTQ parents, said Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer representing one of the couples in the case. "They've been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart."

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals deliberated the case, according to CNN, for more than two and a half years, which is one of the longest in the court's history.

However, because all the plaintiffs in the case involved female same-sex couples using sperm donors, the ruling left open the similar question of parenting rights with respect to male couples. Indiana's Attorney General, moreover, may also appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

We'll be following the case closely and be sure to keep you up to date. For more on this recent decision, read CNN's article here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

As a Gay Dad, What's the Impact of Letting My Son Perform Drag?

Michael Duncan was excited when his 10-year-old son asked if he could perform in drag for charity — but he also felt fear and anxiety.

As LGBT parents, we have all lived through some sort of trauma in our lives. For many it is the rejection of our family, being bullied, or abuse. We learn to be vigilant of our surroundings and often are very cautious of who we trust. As adults, we start to become watchful of how much we share and we look for "red flags" around every corner.

So, what effect does this have on our children? Does it unintentionally cause us to be more jaded with our interactions involving others? For some the answer may be a resounding "no." But as we look deeper into the situation, we often find that through survival our interactions with others have changed and we may not even realize exactly how much we are projecting on those around us.

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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