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

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What to Buy

"The Boy with the Rainbow Heart" Is Being Turned Into a 5-Book Series

Will Mason has launched a kickstarter to turn his children's book "The Boy with the Rainbow Heart" into a 5-book series

Guest post written by Will Mason, author of "The Boy with the Rainbow Heart," which he wrote in honor of his lesbian sister, her children, and all children who find themselves feeling different in some way.

I, Will Mason, kindly ask you to support my Kickstarter, to help launch the latest book in the LGBTQ Rainbow Heart children's series, "The Invasion of Big Angry Red." 5% of sales will go to GLSEN, in honor of Jamel Myles, the 9-year-old student who took his life this past August after he was bullied for being gay.

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What to Buy

8 Children’s Books About Surrogacy For Kids with Gay Dads

Check out our favorite children's books about surrogacy for gay dads and their kids

Foreword by BJ Barone, author of Milo's Adventures: A Story About Love

It's important for our kids to read books about surrogacy featuring two dads so they can see themselves and their family in the literature we read to them! All children should be reading stories that show families are created different and that love comes in many forms. There is no right or wrong way to be a family!

***

Milo's Adventures: A Story About Love

Told from Milo's perspective, Milo's Adventures is a story of surrogacy, love and becoming a family. The hoping, waiting, excitement, and love are universal experiences of a loving family but Milo's story is unique as he has two daddies, a surrogate and a whole world who celebrates his birth on World Pride Weekend. We hope that this story helps everyone understand that Family is About Love!


Gal and Noa's Daddies

Noa and Gal have two fathers, Itai and Yoav. They call them by their nicknames, Daddy-Yo and Daddy-I. Noa and Gal were born to gay parents in a process called surrogacy, with the help of two special women that enabled the arrival of the twins into the world. In this unique book, the writer, Shosh Pinkas, shares the story of many same-sex families around the world. Gal and Noa's Daddies describes in a simple, clear, and humorous way, without any apologies, a loving and caring same-sex family. This is a brave and important book for children, and it also provides an appropriate answer for the needs of adults, as well. Family members, teachers, and friends will learn how to cope with the questions of curious children who seek to know more about the different types of families they see around them.


The Baby Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, a Gay Parenting Story

A sweet children's story of how two kangaroos: Jack and Sam, a gay couple, have their own baby by means of an egg donor and surrogacy. Using kangaroos in the story enables children to easily understand the methods related to their conception in a simple and loving way.


The 2 Boys Who Wanted to Become Daddies

The best way to explain surrogacy to kids. The 2 boys who wanted to become daddies introduces young children to the concept of surrogacy. The story gently guides the reader through the love of the parents and their desire to have a child, the surrogate's decision-making process, the egg donation, the pregnancy, and the resulting baby that is then given back to the biological parents. When two boys wish to have a baby, it takes a fabulous recipe and an amazing adventure to gather three treasures. Follow them in their exciting journey to create a magical family! This book has been reviewed by both a child psychologist and a behavioral specialist to ensure that the story answers questions that a typical child would have and that it is communicated effectively.


Why I'm So Special Surrogacy

Why I'm So Special, A Book About Surrogacy With Two Daddies, tackles a very difficult, complicated subject in a sweet, whimsical way. It is a lighthearted picture book on surrogacy with two daddies. The book is a story that all parents who used a surrogate may share with their young children to let them know just how special they are. This story is ultimately about hope, perseverance, and lots of love.


Daddy and Pop

Daddy and Pop is the heartwarming story of Jessie, a little girl with two fathers. Jessie doesn't realize that her family isn't 'typical' until a girl in her class asks about her mom. Jessie's Daddy and Pop tell her about the amazing journey they took to have her, by using an egg donor and a surrogate, in this fun-filled musical book! Daddy and Pop is part of the Love Makes a Family book series by Guess Who? Multimedia (in association with Pacific Fertility Center, Los Angeles), celebrating families made possible by egg and sperm donation, surrogacy, and adoption. *The book has an accompanying musical CD, which is sold separately.


Sophia's Crayons

Sophia's Broken Crayons is a book for young children, recommended for children ages 2 to 6 years old which tells a story of surrogacy from a young child's perspective in a practical way that children can understand and grasp. A little girl by the name of Sophia is heartbroken after she discovers all of her crayons are broken. Sophia's friend's share their crayons with her as she experiences seeing her parents choose to give the gift of surrogacy to their friends. Sophia's Broken Crayons is a very easy and understanding way to help explain surrogacy to a young child which include questions such as why can't everyone have a baby? Why would someone choose a surrogate to help grow their family? Why would someone choose to become a surrogate? Follow the story of Sophia as she learns about sharing and helping out friends in need as well as why moms and dads choose surrogates to help grow their families and why surrogates choose to help other families that way.


The Twin Kangaroo Treasure Hunt, a Gay Parenting Story

This children's story is ideal for gay parenting. The story is about two kangaroos: Jack and Sam, a gay couple, who have their own twins by means of an egg donor and surrogacy. Using kangaroos in the story enables children to easily understand the complicated methods related to their conception in a simple and loving way.


Every book or product on Gays With Kids is independently selected by our staff, writers and experts. If you click on a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.


What to Buy

This Gay Man Wrote a Children's Book After His 3-Year-Old Godson Asked Him to

Dr. Alphonso A. Buie tells Gays With Kids about his new children's book about a gay dad family

Guest post written by Dr. Alphonso A. Buie.

Hello Everyone,

My name is Dr. Alphonso A. Buie. I was born and raised in Chicago, IL but now I reside between Los Angeles, CA and Beijing, China as a Professor in the School of Business. So how did I become a children's book author? Well the answer is simple, a child told me to…

Yes that is right, my godson told me one day at the tender age of 3 years old that I should write books because I am smart. So, with this little guy being my inspiration, I began writing a children's book that I felt could be the beginning of a series that could impact the world, My Two Dads.

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Adults

Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children

Do we have a biological right to parenthood? Kevin Saunders, a childless 52-year-old gay man, says no.

Guest post written by Kevin Saunders.

Two dear friends of mine, each partnered, capable gay men of relatively sound mind and body, have recently decided to become fathers, and I could not be more unnerved. The expense, the risk, the potential for disappointment, the logistical complexity that they must navigate leave me baffled and at times enraged with the lingering question that I have, out of respect, refrained from asking, "WHY, WHY, WHY do you want to do this?!" These feelings toward what most would consider a happy occasion beg a reciprocal enquiry: "Why do you care?" The answer is rooted in a disposition and a history that has left me skeptical of the innate right to biological parenthood that many, gay or straight, seem to feel entitled to.

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Gay Dad Life

Gays WITHOUT Kids (If Just For a Day...)

Andrew Kohn explains why he decided to leave his kids at home this Pride

I'm not a monster. Yes, I saw the wagons carrying lovely toddler children waiving their flags and eating their graham crackers. The children were plentiful wearing their Pride family shirts, bejeweled in rainbow. The weather was perfect and the crowds were as prideful as ever. But my husband and I had a day where we didn't have to worry about someone else, not on the constant lookout for the next available bathroom or calming emotions because we could buy one unicorn costume and not every unicorn costume. We had a day without kids.

Yes, Pride has become commercialized. Some companies want my gay money, but others march and have a presence because one gay voice spoke up and asked why the company hasn't marched. I marched in the parade with my employer – who marched for the first time this year – because I started the conversation about why we hadn't marched before. My husband and I were present. We honored Stonewall. And praised Nina West. And we did it without carrying a bag with extra panties and a couple sippy cups.

Believe me, I get sharing the day with your children. With your family. But in my house, we live Pride every day. Two white dads caring for two black kids makes us walking billboards for equality, love, and acceptance. I don't need a day to celebrate my family with my children. We do it in the grocery store. We do it at preschool. We recognize our uniqueness and celebrate it. My children don't need a meltdown and a long walk to tell them about their history and their fathers' connection to the past.

Instead of worrying about where we would find lunch and, again, where the closest bathroom was, I saw beauty that took me by surprise – and I was able to be in the moment with it. Trans men waking boldly and bravely around only wearing only their bindings. Watching high school kids sitting in the grass, wearing crop tops and eating french fries, literally carefree looking up at the clouds. We experienced a community that was free and uninhibited, if just for one afternoon, where who you are isn't odd or something to be hidden. But rather something that is a definition of you and should be your reality 365 days a year.

I know that being gay and having kids can be overwhelming at times. We ask ourselves if we're representing our community adequately (or have we become too heteronormative?). If we have children of a different race, are we giving them the experiences they need to know who they are, as well as navigate that world with gay parents? Are we so embraced at school functions because of our contributions to community or are we a token family? And yes, I'll ask it, are we good enough for acceptance by all gay families, who as if we're single again, judge each other on wealth, looks, and status? No family is better than any other, and gay parents certainly have opportunities to be better towards one another.

Our Pride ended in a small fight while walking to the car, like all good Pride's should. But it wasn't about kids bickering, or kids getting upset they didn't get the right treat. It was about us centering ourselves in a community that isn't exactly welcoming in certain spaces to gay families other times of the year. It was about us catching up with our past while also seeing our collective future.

And the kids didn't seem to mind. They had fun with a babysitter and lived their Pride out loud when they shopped for daddy and papa gifts for Father's Day. That's our Pride. Maybe when the kids are older, and really get the meaning of Pride, we'll start marching together in solidarity. But for right now, daddies needed a little time alone to reconnect with their LGBT family. And while there may be too many beer ads and not enough voter registration tables, we celebrate visibility and love. And my husband and I had time together, reminding us of who we are, who our original family was, and how we will connect who we are now, and our children, with that family as it grows.

At the end of the day, we're all in it together. And my children will be enriched by the experience. Just not this year. This year, we fertilized our roots so that our branches can grow.

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.

Gay Dad Life

Gays With Kids Turns Five!

Wow! Time certainly flies when you're busy becoming the world's biggest online resource and magazine for gay, bi and trans dads!

As if we don't have enough going on this June (Stonewall's 50th anniversary! Father's Day! Taylor Swift rounding up all the gays in West Hollywood for her latest music video!) we're also celebrating another milestone here at Gays With Kids: we're officially turning five this month. (And we don't look a day over two, right?!)

To celebrate, we took a look back at some of our most popular essays, photos, news stories and more. What do you want to see us cover in the NEXT five years? Let us know at dads@gayswithkids.com


#10. The Hardest Part of Foster Care? The Wait, Say These Dads-to-Be

Several years ago, we brought you this article: The Hardest Part of Foster Care? The Wait, Say These Dads-to-Be. The article included a video of Antwon and Nate, who were in the midst of their process to become foster dads, which quickly became one of our most popular posts of all time. In this video, they shared how difficult it was waiting for "the" call from the agency letting them know their lives would be forever changed once a child came to live with them.

Want to see how the dads are getting on several years later? Check out this updated video here!

#9. Famous Gay Dads and Their Kids!

Our article, Famous Gay Dads and Their Kids, featuring well-known gay dads from Neil Patrick Harris to Ryan Murphy, quickly became one of our most popular. In the years since, as the ranks of gay dads has continued to grow, we've brought you MANY more stories of gay men in the limelight who are venturing into fatherhood. Check them all out here!

#8. The Story Behind America's Youngest Gay Dad

The Story Behind America's Youngest Gay Dad, which ran back in 2015, is also one of our most popular posts of all time! The post explores the story of Brian Mariano, who became a father with an ex-girlfriend while still in high school. "Everybody in my life is really supportive of me," he said. "If it's someone new and a friend mentions I'm a dad, they will stop. 'Wait, what? How are you a dad? You're gay.' It's like that 'Mean Girls' quote sometimes. You know – 'if you're from Africa, why are you white?'"

#7. When His Son Got a Tattoo, He Freaked Out. Then He Saw What it Was

This article, When His Son Got a Tattoo, He Freaked Out, definitely plucked the heartstrings of our readers! Which is why it's one of the most popular articles on our site of all time.

"Guess what dad I'm getting a tattoo," Richard's son, Jonathan, texted him. "Don't you dare," was Richard's response. But Jonathan went ahead with it anyway. At first, his dad "fumed." But then he found out what the tattoo was.

"So I got my first tattoo!!" Jonathan wrote on Facebook, of his roman numeral tattoo on his side. "This date is the day that my life changed. This is the day my dads adopted me. The greatest day in my life knowing that for the rest of my life I would finally have a loving family that loved me for me!" (Another one of our most popular posts is this photo essay of gay dads who explain the meaning behind their tattoos.)

#6. 8 Black Dads Share What Black History Month Means to Their Families

Last year, during February's Black History Month, we ran an article titled 8 Black Dads Share What Black History Month Means to Their Families. To create the post, we asked our community a simple question: as a Black gay dad, what does this month mean to you, your family, and your community? The answers we got back were reflective, poignant and deeply moving, which is why this article became one of our most-viewed ever.

Check out the story here.

#5. 19 Photos of Matt Dallas & Blue Hamilton That Will Make You Green with Parenting Envy

Ok the popularity of this article, 19 Photos of Matt Dallas & Blue Hamilton That Will Make You Green with Parenting Envy, doesn't need that much explanation. Gorgeous, talented, successful and good dads? What's not to love! Also check out this more recent post, Things Husbands (and Gay Dads) Do According to Matt Dallas and Blue Hamilton, which is also quickly climbing the ranks of our most popular!

#4. A Gay Dad's Message From His Heart to his Facebook Friends

This article, A Gay Dad's Message From the Heart to his Facebook Friends, by gay dad Michael Anderson, ran in the troubling aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, when so many LGBTQ people, our allies, and other vulnerable communities looked (and continue to look) towards an uncertain future.

"Suddenly I don't feel secure anymore," Michael wrote. "Vice president-elect Pence has an extensive anti-gay record from supporting gay conversion therapy on kids that literally includes trying to (but failing to) electro-shock the gay out, to signing legislation in his state in 2013 to jail any same-sex couple who attempted to get a marriage certificate. All of the progress that we have made that gives my family a sense of belonging and security is very likely to be erased."

For more of our ongoing political coverage, including the 2020 race, check out these articles as well.

#3. Helping Gay Men Afford Adoption Through Sizable Grants

Our third most popular article, Helping Gay Men Afford Adoption Through Sizable Grants, features our good friends Help Us Adopt, an amazing non-profit organization that helps adoptive parents offset the substantial costs associated with the process. They are also dedicated to inclusivity, and are one of the few financial resources available for gay adoptive parents. Check out this great profile of their work!

#2. 9 Times Gay Dads Crushed Their Pregnancy Announcement Pics

Gay dads love a good photo opportunity. So obviously this photo essay of gay dad pregnancy announcement pics is high up on our list as well. This photo essay, 9 Times Gay Men Crushed Their Pregnancy Announcement Pics, is our second most popular. Check out this most recent roundup of pregnancy announcement pics, which is also climbing the

And Our MOST Viewed Article of All Time Is... 

Gay dads do Halloween right! So it's no surprise that this article, 13 Dads Giving You Major Family Halloween Costume Goals, is our most viewed of all time! And though Halloween may still be months away, why not prepare early with a look at some of our other most popular Halloween articles!

Gay Dads Snap Pics at the Pumpkin Patch
Nobody Does Halloween Like Neil Patrick Harris and Fam
31 Gay Dads Serving Major Halloween Costume Inspo (and Where to Get The Looks!)
Get Your DIY Skills On for Halloween, Dads!







THANK YOU!

Lastly, a big thank you to all of our readers! It's thanks to you that we now can claim the biggest online community of gay, bi, and trans dads in the world (not to mention two GLAAD award nominations ;) We can't wait to see what the next five years bring!

Fatherhood, the gay way

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