Gay Dad Family Stories

For Gay Dads Malcolm and Rob, Fatherhood Was in Their DNA

How Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles gave gay dads Rob and Malcolm what they wanted most: a family

Malcolm and Rob Pausmith, 36 and 40, respectively, have both always wanted children. Rob had an amazing upbringing, with two loving parents who showered him and his sister with love and opportunity. He always knew that he wanted to provide that same atmosphere for his own child someday. Similarly, Malcolm always felt very paternal. He remembers taking care of family members, being a babysitter when he was younger, and he always knew that someday he wanted a child of his own to care for and nurture.


On one of their first dates in 2012, the California-based couple sat down to get to know each other at a more profound level. They didn't shy away from hard questions: What kind of person are you? What are your goals, your dreams for the future? At the top of both of their lists was becoming a parent. Rob remembers thinking, “This is the man I want to marry; this is the man I want to start a family with."

For years, the two men had assumed they would create a family through adoption. Cameron, Rob's best friend, frequently talked about how special he felt being adopted. Rob and Malcolm wanted to offer that same love to a child who needed a family as well.

PrestonPhoto credit: Next Exit Photography

In 2015, two years after they got married, Malcolm and Rob decided it was time to start the process. They filled out reams of forms and paperwork, underwent home visits and had their entire lives investigated. They sent letters to birth mothers and met with prospective birth parents. Their families and friends wrote letters to vouch for their characters.

Each time a new adoption appeared on the horizon, the men were overcome with excitement at the possibility that they would finally become fathers. But it didn't happen. Sometimes the birth parents decided to keep the child. Sometimes they chose different couples. And each time Rob and Malcolm's hearts were broken a little more.

Malcolm persuaded Rob to keep trying, but ultimately, they decided to chart a different course; they began looking into surrogacy. Once they made that choice, things began to go their way quickly. “It was amazing!" Rob said of the experience. As their fertility agency, they chose to work with the Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles. Things progressed quickly from there; a surrogate who had been recommended to them but had decided to retire changed her mind after she met with the two aspiring dads.

Malcolm (left), Preston and Rob, Halloween

Malcolm and Rob cried once they realized that they were getting closer to realizing their dream. Looking to optimize the conditions for success, they asked the agency to conduct all kind of tests on both their sperm. Via egg donation they obtained five high-quality eggs. In Rob own words, “Our doctors could not have been any more amazing. From day one we felt like we had a team of specialists holding out hands and guiding us. We had the eggs fertilized and met with our surrogate again. We met and discussed how the surrogacy would work, and our surrogate asked us if we had any special requests during the pregnancy. In the end, we decided that she was the expert and after spending so much time with her, we knew we could trust her. We told her that all we wanted was a healthy baby." Finally the news came: their surrogate was officially pregnant.

Rob and Malcolm became very involved in their surrogate's pregnancy. Rob made constant phone calls and sent many, many text messages, he said. He kept asking her to take pregnancy tests over and over and over again. Each time they came back positive, but it wasn't until the doctor confirmed this that he was finally able to breathe. "We loved her and we were so happy that she had decided to do this for us. We would get together every week to have dinner and to talk. Over the nine-month process, she became family."


The doctors found out their baby was going to be a boy. By March 2017, the guys could feel him kicking and moving around.

Soon, the nursery was all set up. Friends and family got in on the action by inundating their home with baby stuff.

On June 6, 2017, Malcolm and Rob took their surrogate to the hospital. At 12:34 in the afternoon, a gorgeous boy entered the world, surrounded by the people who love him most. They named him Preston Dean Pausmith.

Before they became dads, Rob and Malcolm prioritized their careers over all else. Their main worries, they say, were being able to make enough money to travel and buy nice things. But the moment they held their son in their arms, nothing else in the world mattered but his happiness and wellbeing.

According to Malcolm, Rob used to work seven days a week. But since having Preston, he has cut his days in the office to four. He makes sure that he is home in time to help Malcolm put their son to bed.

Malcolm has also cut down on his work in order to provide better care for their son.

Fortunately for the dads, Preston has turned out be an easy child thus far, so their social life hasn't had to change much. They still go out to eat all the time, and go over to friends' houses for parties and get-togethers. They take Preston with them everywhere, who has traveled with them as far as Hawaii.

Some things have changed dramatically, though. Simple things Leaving the house is one of those things. They used to grab their keys and go; now they have to plan things around his naps and feedings. In order to be at dinner by 6, they have to start getting ready to go at 4. New friends tend to be parents. And all of a sudden their weekends are filled with kids parties rather than Sunday brunches in West Hollywood!

Rob (left) and Malcolm and Preston

Before they became parents, Malcolm and Rob used to go “a million miles per hour." But when you have a baby, you learn to look at all the details of something, they say. It has made them pause, slow down. Preston is also teaching them patience and flexibility. Things don't happen on Rob and Malcolm's time anymore; things happen on Preston's time. He has created a sense of calm. Malcolm and Rob find themselves talking sweeter to one another, hearing each other out more, and spending time just enjoying one another's company.

Once a baby is born, parents tend to forget to some extent how difficult the road to fatherhood was. “Malcolm was ready to be a father at birth," says Rob. “He seems to have been pre-wired with information that would allow him to be a dad. As soon as Preston was born, Malcolm instinctively knew how to handle situations and always had the right answer. Malcom never had any doubts."

And Rob was pretty confident about his own parenting abilities. That is, until about a week before Preston was born. That's when Rob, in a fit of near-hysteria, called his best friend Cameron (who is now Preston's godfather). He suddenly had this overwhelming fear that he was not going to be able to do this. "I don't know what came over me. I just started thinking about all of the things that could go wrong," he remembers thinking.

Fortunately, Cameron had some wisdom to dispense. He reminded him that there are no books on how to be the perfect parent. That everything was just someone else's opinion. He told him that, of course, he would do something to mess this kid up; they just need to be prepared to pay for therapy later on in life. This made Rob laugh and he calmed down.

When asked if their family is treated any differently than others, Rob says that for the most part people have been amazing. "Malcolm and I are very open about our love for one another and our life. We love sharing our experience, and are always happy to answer any questions people have. I think when we walk through life considering ourselves as normal as can be, other people view us the same." When asked who he "belongs" to, the dads have learned to respond with a sly answer: “he's mine and my husband's," they'll say.

As far as what the future holds for the couple, they see themselves having at least one more child in the next five to ten years. They see lots of PTA meetings and sports games. They look forward to traveling and introducing their children to new and exciting things.

They also have some advice for anyone else thinking of pursuing their dreams of fatherhood: don't let fear get in the way.

*We've partnered with Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles to share some of the stories of the men whom they helped become dads. Be sure to keep an eye out for next month's family!

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Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Sponsored

The Most Important Woman a Gay Man Will Ever Date

Kristin Marsoli of Circle Surrogacy gives some tips and tricks for getting to know your surrogate once matched

It's time to fine tune your dating skills because you're about to enter into the most important courtship you'll encounter. And it all starts with the biggest first date of your life.

And it's with a woman.

This woman is your gestational carrier; the woman who will carry and care for your baby until she delivers this little bundle of joy right into your arms.

Matching with a gestational carrier – or surrogate – is one of the most exciting milestones in your journey to parenthood through surrogacy. However, it can also be the most nerve wracking. Chances are you've seen a profile about your potential surrogate match so you know a little bit about her and her family. But before you commit to this woman, you'll need to meet her first – either in person or via video. And this is one first meeting you've probably never prepared for!

Circle Surrogacy has been matching surrogates and gay dads for almost 25 years. Here are tried and true tips and tricks to getting to know your surrogate...and keeping the relationship alive during pregnancy and after birth!

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Gay Dad Life

"Daddy, Which Belly Did I Come From?"

How do gay dads talk to their kids about the women that helped bring them into the world?

When you tell your kids the story of how they came to be, is the woman who delivered them identified by a face and a name? That's a decision that every gay dad has to make when it comes to having kids through surrogacy or adoption. In this episode we explored two ways of keeping in touch with the birthmother (for adoptive kids) or the gestational surrogate (for IVF and surrogacy) as part of gay dads' children's birth story.Some adoptive parents choose to have an 'open adoption,' where the child gets to meet the birthmother. Parents who go through surrogacy sometimes keep in touch with the surrogate and have their kids meet her when they are old enough.

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Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

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Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Thoughts and Prayers Aren't Working:​ One Father's Plea for Gun Reform

One gay dad's plea to our leaders to enact sensible gun control

My articles on GaysWithKids aspire to be lighthearted, helpful and humorous. This one won't be any of those things. Because I'm feeling heavyhearted, helpless and sad. Last week I woke up to news of yet another mass shooting. This time at a family-friendly Garlic Festival in northern California. I don't know if it's because this one hit so close to home, or if it's because the headline included a picture of the innocent 6-year old who was among those killed, but I am overcome with emotion. But mostly I am angry. And I don't know what to do with my anger.

Then, just a few days later came two additional horrific mass shootings that stole the lives of at least 32 more innocent people, many of them children. And then there's the "everyday" gun violence that plagues American cities like Chicago, where guns injured another 46 people this past weekend alone… creating so much turmoil, a hospital had to briefly stop taking patients.

How does one verbalize the collective sadness felt around the world? One can't. And that's why I am asking everyone reading this article to commit to getting involved in some way, to help end this epidemic once and for all. Even though the solution is so obvious, we can't allow ourselves to become numb to mass shootings. Because becoming numb isn't going to save anyone.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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