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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Gay Dad Life

In the U.K.? Join These Dads at Events Supporting LGBTQ Parents!

The dads behind the blog TwoDads.U.K are ramping up their support of other LGBTQ parents. Check out these events they're a part of!

What a couple of years it's been for us! When our daughter Talulah was born via UK surrogacy back in October 2016, we decided to take to Instagram and Facebook to document the parental highs and lows. Little did we expect for it to be where it is now. We always had the ambition to help other intended fathers understand more about surrogacy, and we also had the added driver to do our best to influence others – help open some of the closed minds with regards to same-sex parenting.

Here we are now, pregnant again with our son which we revealed Live on Facebook! We're due in August, we're now writing several blogs, social media influencers and launching a new business focusing on our main mission to support others and being advocates for UK surrogacy. It's no wonder we're shattered!

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

How Long Does a Surrogacy Journey Take?

From the minute you sign with a surrogacy agency, how long will it take until you have a baby in your arms?

You've been waiting a long time to become a gay dad. You've done your research, and decided that surrogacy is the best fit for you. You're excited to get started, and even more excited at the prospect of the arrival of your little one.

But exactly how long is it going to take from the minute you sign on, until you have your baby in your arms?

On average, a surrogacy journey – from start to finish – can average between 16-21 months.

And while that sounds like a long time, remember that 9 months of that is your surrogate's pregnancy!

To help you better understand how long a surrogacy journey takes to complete, it's helpful to understand the different milestones along the way. Below is a general surrogacy process timeline from Circle Surrogacy. Remember, every surrogacy journey is unique, so the exact timing of your journey may be different than these estimates.

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Change the World

Surrogate Pens Powerful Op-Ed, Urging New York Legislators to Legalize the Practice

Victoria Ashton says she was "fully in control of her body" while serving as a surrogate for two New York families.

In an essay for Gay City News, Victoria Ashton, who has serves as a gestational surrogate for two New York-based families, powerfully defended her decision to help others form their family, and urged legislator to enact the Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA) to legalize the practice in New York State.

She says, for her, the decision to become a surrogate was "easy." After she had her own two children, and her family felt complete, Victoria says she "still felt this nagging desire to bring more children into this world. I loved being pregnant and both of my pregnancies were easy and textbook. But since I thought the only way to be pregnant again was to have another child of my own, I tried to push it aside and move on, because at the time two children was the perfect fit for us."

So she began to educate herself and research the process for becoming a gestational surrogate. "I understood the commitment, I understood the process, I understood the risk — but my overwhelming desire to help someone in need by giving them life is a reward that tops it all. Somewhere out in the world another family or couple deserves to be just as happy as I am. A man or woman deserves to be called Mommy and Daddy, if they wish. They deserve to experience firsts. They deserve unconditional love."

Victoria also sought to clear up misconceptions that some may have about the role and rights of a surrogate throughout the process, saying she had "full control over" her body throughout the process. "I made decisions about my own body and my own health," she wrote. "I felt protected and secure. It was a partnership from day one." But, she noted further, she was lucky to live in a state where surrogate enjoy full protection under the law. "Had those not existed," she wrote, "it would have complicated my own decision."

Currently, those protections don't exist in New York, she pointed out. But the soon could, if the New York State Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA) is passed. The bill, Victoria writes, "goes above and beyond in providing the necessary protections that create successful surrogacy partnerships."

Read Victoria's full essay here.

Change the World

Three Eagles, Two Male one Female, Form Nontraditional Family

Three bald eagles in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are sharing a nest and incubating eggs together

According to the Advocate, three bald eagles — two male and one female — are sharing a news and incubating eggs together.

"Families come in all shapes and sizes, and that's true for wildlife too!" wrote the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services on Facebook. "Meet Valor I, Valor II and Starr, a breeding trio of bald eagles that live along the Mississippi River in Illinois. For several years, fans from all over the world have been watching this nontraditional family through a webcam as the eagles deal with the trials and tribulations of parenting."

The thruple came to be in unique way. "The nest was originally inhabited by Valor I and another female eagle named Hope," wrote the Advocate. "Initially, Valor I had poor parenting skills — he didn't hunt or guard the nest while Hope was away. Valor II entered the nest in 2013 to pick up the slack — and taught Valor I some parenting skills in the process. Hope left the nest in March 2017 after she was injured by other birds. But instead of going off to find new mates, the male eagles decided to stick together until Starr joined their nest in September 2017."

Though rare, this isn't the first time that a trio of eagles have come to share nests in this way. According to USA Today, other trruples were have been spotted in Alaska in 1977, in Minnesota in 1983 and in California in 1992.

Check out this family below!


Trio Eagle Cam Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge Live Stream www.youtube.com


Change the World

These Guys Are Proof: Bisexual Dads Exist!

Far more LGBTQ parents fall into the "B" category than any other. Here are three of their inspiring stories.

A couple months ago, Gays With Kids received the following message via one of our social media channels:

"Hey guys, love what you do. But where are your stories about bi men who are dads? Do they not exist? I get the sense from your page that most queer dads identify as gay. I identify as bi (or pansexual) and want to become a dad one day, but just never see my story represented. Are they just not out there?"We can say with resounding certainly that YES bisexual dads absolutely exist. In fact, of all the letters in our acronym, far more LGBTQ parents fall into the "b" category than any other.

But our reader is certainly right in one respect--we don't hear the stories of bisexual/pansexual dads told nearly often enough. While we occasionally find stories to tell about bi dads, like this great one from earlier this year from a dad who just came out, we otherwise aren't often finding stories of bi dads nearly as easy as we do gay dads. We're sure this is due to any number of reasons--societal pressure to stay closeted from both the straight and LGBTQ communities along with erasure of bisexuality both come to mind.

But it's also because we haven't done the best job reaching out specifically to the bi dad community! We hope to start changing that, starting by bringing you the stories of three bid dads in our community.

(Are you a bi dad? Click here so we can help tell your story and increase exposure for the bi dad community, or drop us a line at dads@gayswithkids.com!)

James Shoemaker, bisexual dad of three, in Alton Illinois

James Shoemaker, who is 65-years-old and lives in Alton, Illinois, says he's known he was bisexual since the age of five. Still he lived what he called a "happily socially heterosexual" life throughout his adolescence, until he had his first same-sex experience in college at the age of 18-years-old.

In his 20s, he began his first same-sex relationship with a man, which lasted about five years. But soon the conversation turned towards children. James wanted his own biological children, something that would have been difficult, particularly at the time, to achieve. He and his boyfriends split, and soon after James met the woman who would become his wife. Since he had previously been in a relationship with a man, and his friends and family were aware of his sexuality, there was no hiding his bisexuality from his wife. There was no hiding my bisexuality from her

"We were both in our 30's, and both wanted kids," James said. "Wo were both kind of desperate to find a partner and she expressed that."

He and his wife proceeded to have three daughters together and lived what he called a fairly "conventional" life. "There was so much societal support [for raising a family] within conventional marriage," he said. "This was new to me, since I came out at age 17, and was used to being "different".

Being in a relationship with a woman, James said, alienated him from much of the LGBTQ activism that began to take hold in the 1980s and 1990s. "I felt I could not act as a representative for gay rights while married to a woman and raising kids with her," he said.

When his youngest daughter turned 18, he and his wife split and, and James began, once again, to date other men. Eventually, he met Paul Mutphy, who he has been dating for four years. Since reentering the world dating another man, he's had to confront, at times, people's misconceptions about his bisexuality. "It's not just gay guys looking for more social acceptance," James said, noting that "Bi rights" has not really caught the public's attention in the same way as "gay rights".

Maxwell Hosford, bi trans dad of one, in Yakima Washington


Maxwell Hosford, who lives in Yakima, Washington, came out as bisexual when he was 13-years-old. "I was still questioning myself," he said "and the term bisexual seemed to fit me."

A year later, when he was 14, Maxwell also came out as trans. "I had heard about Chaz Bono on the radio one morning before school and it got me thinking," he said. "I realized that I wasn't the only one who felt that way and that there was a term for how I've felt."

Though people often conflate sexual orientation and gender identity, Maxwell stressed that he sees his identity as trans and bisexual as perfectly natural. "I see them interacting in a way of fluidity," he said. "Not straight but not gay. Just a feeling of love."

Maxwell described his path to parenthood as a bit of an accident. "I was on testosterone for two years but had a four-week break because i was switching doctors," he said. During that break, Maxwell ended up getting pregnant, and wasn't aware of the pregnancy for several months after. "I just thought my body was just being weird from starting T again," he said. Once he took the test and saw the two pink lines, though he knew his life was about to change forever. He went to Planned Parenthood the very next day.

Being pregnant while trans, Maxwell said, was an incredible experience. "I was comfortable enough with my gender identity that I didn't have very much dysphoria," he said, though he noted he did face a lot of misgendering from strangers. "But I understood that because I did have a big ole pregnant belly," he said. He was grateful for his medical team who all referred to him according to the correct pronouns.

Soon after, his son Harrison was born. As soon as he held him in his arms, Maxwell said the entire process was worth it. "All the misgendering, all the questions and people misunderstanding doesn't matter once you have that baby in your arms nothing matters but that little bundle of joy."

Three years ago, Maxwell met his current fiancé, Chase Heiserman, via a gay dating app, and the three now live together as a family. He says he couldn't be happier, but he does face some difficulty as a bi trans man within his broader community. "In some peoples eyes my fiancé and I are a straight couple because I'm trans and he's cisgender," he said. Some of the difficulty has even stemmed from other trans men. "I've had some bad comments from other transmen regarding my pregnancy and how it doesn't make me trans," he said, noting he continues to fight the perception that he is not "trans enough" because he chose to carry his own baby.

Through it all, though, Maxwell says becoming a father has been the biggest blessing in his life. "Being able to carry my baby and bond through those nine months was amazing," he said. "I'm breastfeeding, which is hard as I'm trans, and so I'm self conscious of my large breasts now but it's such a bonding experience that it doesn't matter when I see the look of love and the comfort he gets from it."

For other gay, bi and trans men considering fatherhood, Maxwell has this simple piece of advice: "Go for it."

Michael MacDonald, bi dad of two, in Monterery California 

Michael MacDonald, who is 28-years-old and living in Monterey California, says he came out as bisexual over two years ago. He has two daughters, who are four and two-and-a-half years old, that were born while he was married to his ex-wife. "My children are amazing," he said. "They have been so incredibly strong and brave having mom in one house and dad in another."

Both children were fairly young when Michael and his ex separated, so "they didn't really break a deeply ingrained idea of what a family unit is like. They have always just sort of known that mom and dad don't live together."

Co-parenting isn't always easy, Michael said, noting it's "one of the hardest things in the world." He and his ex overcome any potential difficulty, though, by always putting the children first. "As long as they are happy, healthy and loved, that is all that matters," he said. "I'm so fortunate to have such an incredible/pain in the butt partner to help me raise these amazing little girls."

Though the separation was hard on all of them, Michael said it's also been an amazing experience watching his children's resiliency. "I am so proud of the beautiful little people they are," he said. "Their adaptability, courage and love is something really spectacular."

Since the separation, Michael hasn't been in a serious relationship, but he has dated both men and women, something he says has been "absolutely challenging. Not only does he need to overcome all the typical challenges of a newly divorced parent ("Do they like kids? Would they be a good stepparent?") but also the added stresses of being bisexual. "It can sometimes just be a bit too much for some women to handle," he said.

He has been intentional about making sure his children have known, from a young age, that "daddy likes girls and boys," he said. "They have grown up seeing me interact with people I've dated in a romantic way, like hand holding, abd expressing affection, so I think as they get older it's not something that will ever really seem foreign or different to them to see me with a man or woman," he said.

In his dates with other men, Michael says most guys tend to be surprised to learn that he has biological children. "But once I explain that I am bisexual, it's usually much more easily understood," he said. He is more irritated, though, when people question or outright refuse to recognize his bisexuality. "While I understand and have witnessed many guys who use bisexuality as a "stepping stone" of sorts when coming out," he said, it does not mean that "bisexuality is not real or valid."

As a bisexual dad, he also says he can feel isolated at times within the broader parenting community. "It can be a little intimidating feeling like you don't really belong to one side or another," he said. "There's this huge network of gay parents, and, of course straight parents. Being sort of in the middle can sometimes create a feeling of isolation"

The biggest misconception about bisexual dads who have split with their wives, he said, is that sexual orientation isn't always the reason for the separation. "When my ex wife and I separated, while my bisexuality did play a small part in it, it was not the reason we separated," he said. He added that while life might not be perfect, it's good. "My children are happy, healthy, and loved," he said. "That's really what matters the most."

Change the World

Mayor Pete Hopes His (Future) Kids Are "Puzzled" That Coming Out Was Ever Newsworthy

Mayor Pete and husband Chasten don't have any kids yet, but have talked openly and often about their hopes to be dads one day

Pete Buttigieg, who is making waves in the political world by competing to be the first openly gay and (at 37 years old) first Millennial President of the United States, currently doesn't have any children with husband Chasten. But it's clear from his public comments and writings that he and Chasten hope to become dads one day.

And when that day comes, Buttigieg says he hopes his kids will find it puzzling that coming out as gay was ever a newsworthy event. Back in 2015, well before he began his campaign for president, Buttigieg wrote an essay in the South Bend Tribune that said the following:

"Like most people, I would like to get married one day and eventually raise a family. I hope that when my children are old enough to understand politics, they will be puzzled that someone like me revealing he is gay was ever considered to be newsworthy. By then, all the relevant laws and court decisions will be seen as steps along the path to equality. But the true compass that will have guided us there will be the basic regard and concern that we have for one another as fellow human beings — based not on categories of politics, orientation, background, status or creed, but on our shared knowledge that the greatest thing any of us has to offer is love."

In the meantime, Pete and Chasten are kept plenty busy with their two fur babies, Truman and Buddy.


Personal Essays by Gay Dads

An All-Boys School: One Gay Dad's  Short-Lived Experience in the Traditional Environment

"The most dangerous phrase in the language is 'we have always done it this way.'" —Rear Admiral Grace Hopper

The process of entrance to Manhattan's elite private schools can be similar or even more rigorous than college admissions. And you can take that and multiply it tenfold when you're dealing with an all-boys environment. I know this from experience, as my partner Andy and I have spent the last year and a half dealing with one such establishment, that has been in existence for "136 years," and touts the cliché slogan of "educating boys to become scholars and gentlemen."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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