What to Buy

Gay Dads Inspired These Sisters to Create an LGBTQA+ Baby Clothing Line

Two sisters were so inspired by their gay uncle's journey to parenthood they decided to create an LGBTQ clothing children's line.

Guest post written by Sam Cardenas, founder of Peatree. Sam and her sister Jess became so inspired by their gay uncle's journey to parenthood, they decided to create a clothing line for LGBTQ kids.

"Emma is pregnant….with her brother's baby." This was Uncle Brian's favorite way to share that Aunt Emma was a surrogate to Uncle Rafael's baby.

Let's rewind to early 2009, when Uncle Raf & his husband Steve first started researching the adoption process. As same-sex partners, the options were limited and the requirements were different. Prior to the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage, only one parent in a same-sex couple could be recognized as the legal parent in some states. Although the legalization of same-sex marriage allows both partners to be listed as parents, adoption agencies were still able to deny Rafael and Steve on the basis of religious beliefs. Even after finding an agency that would support a same-sex couple, the next steps were just as difficult. Rafael & Steve now faced a significant financial investment in addition to the emotional and mental experience of parenting classes. The process for a gay couple was systematically more difficult than that of a straight couple.


During the summer of 2009, the couple decided to change course to pursue surrogacy instead of adoption, which brought about a new set of challenges. They had to choose an egg donor and a surrogate to birth their child. Overwhelmed with the process, Raf and Steve shared their journey with our family. During one of the many conversations, Rafael's sister, Emma, shared how fond she was of being pregnant and would consider being a surrogate. Then in October of 2009, we found out that Emma agreed to be a surrogate for the couple.

With one major step accomplished, now it was time to choose an egg donor. Donors can be filtered by educational background, profession, physical attributes and so many others. Rafael described the process as a "match.com" for donors. Ultimately, they chose an egg donor who would represent Rafael's heritage because Steve would be the biological parent. This allowed both of them to be represented in their child's genetics.

In the same email Rafael told us Emma would be the surrogate, he also asked for prayers and good vibes because he knew they had a long road ahead. IVF (in vitro fertilization) often takes a minimum of three tries before the probability increases to about 40%. The odds were not in anyone's favor. We truly believe that LOVE & science brought our baby cousin, Olivia, into this world because Emma's body accepted the IVF...

on

the

FIRST

try!

Unheard of! Even the doctor was shocked. To our family, this could only be explained by the miracles of science complemented by our family's overwhelming love for Rafael & Steve. Untethered by societal norms, our family could not be more happy to welcome Olivia into this world in October 2010. One year and 2 weeks from when they announced they started their surrogacy journey, Olivia joined our family.

Naturally, our family was ready to host a baby shower and prep the soon to be parents with gifts! Jessica and Rafael were close in age growing up so it was natural for her to shop for the baby shower. It was difficult to find any décor or gifts that were signs of two dads. She would have to custom order a sign that read "Welcome new Dad & Papa." Similar to Sam, she was disappointed in the heteronormative shopping experience. Sam was shopping in London on a student's budget and would browse the window displays. Baby bodysuits often read "Mommy's Dude," "Daddy's Princess," and other heteronormative sayings. We were raised with the belief that all families are created equal because they come in different forms: two dads, two moms, one dad, one mom, adoption, surrogacy.

Based on our experience, Jessica & I decided to launch, PeaTree, an inclusive and sustainable baby bodysuit brand for our community, by our community. Our first collection is in honor of Steve, Rafael & Olivia. We believe in LGBTQA rights, we believe in sustainability and we believe in immigration. Based on our values, it is important to us that our baby bodysuits (Gerber has a trademark on 'onesie'...womp) are gender neutral, made of 100% organic cotton with non toxic or low impact dye. We're all about dressing cute babies while taking care of Mother Earth. Plus, our onesies are hand sewn in Los Angeles, CA so we can support our local community.

We believe in genuine representation. As an inclusive brand, we seek out designers who identify as LGBTQA+ or women of color because representation matters. In the coming year, we will establish ourselves as a 'must have' brand. We want to be the go-to destination for sweet, whimsical designs that make a bold statement. We want to grow with our customer. The Conways' daughter wore our "Daddies' Little Love" bodysuit as a newborn. We hope to dress her as she grows into a toddler by offering additional sizing. We want PeaTree to be a household brand name.

(As in... We want to hand deliver our influencer package to Andy Cohen at brunch with him and Sarah Jessica Parker.)

Happy Father's Day to all our Gay Dads!

XOXO,

Sam

Founder of PeaTree

www.babypeatree.com

@BabyPeaTree

Founders Sam and Jess

Show Comments ()
What to Buy

Shop with a Purpose with Our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Want to find amazing gift ideas while *also* supporting LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses? Look no further than our 2019 holiday gift guide!

'Tis the season to show loved ones you care. And what better way to show you care, by also supported our LGBTQ+ community and allies whilst doing it! Shop (LGBTQ+) smart with these great suggestions below.

Keep reading... Show less
What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

Keep reading... Show less
What to Buy

Sick of Switching Genders on Their Daughter's Kids Books, These Moms Created Their Own

Keren Moran, co-founder of Mememe Press, created a customizable line of books that is inclusive of ALL families

Guest post written by Keren Moran Co-founder at mememepress.com

We spent the first 4 years of our daughter's bedtime cheerfully snuggled up reading books, swapping genders and pronouns, populating her picture books with little vignettes of happy gay families like ours. This worked fine until the day she realized Sally and Conrad, the kids in 'The Cat in the Hat' have a mom and a dad (not two moms like us) and was NOT impressed with our deception.

From that point on she took it upon herself to tirelessly police our reading in to the hetero normative narratives that matched the text (what she couldn't read she expertly deduced from the pictures) and most of the representations in the book-world around her.

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

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse