Gay Dad Family Stories

These Workout Buddies Are Tackling Their Toughest Routine Yet: Fatherhood

Woodie was already well on his way to becoming a father by the time things turned romantic with his workout buddy, Sean

Like a lot of gay men, Sean and Woodie met at the gym. "Woodie was the class clown," said Sean, "and I was more of a wall flower, focusing on working out." Woodie approached Sean and they became workout partners. Woodie made Sean laugh like never before and they became fast friends. They remained friends for a few years before realizing they both had feelings for one another. If you ask Woodie, he'll tell you Sean asked him out, but if you talk to Sean, he swears it was the other way around.


The "honeymoon" phase of their relationship wasn't a typical love bubble like it can be for a lot of couples. Very early on, Woodie made it clear that he wanted kids, and if Sean wasn't cool with that it was already a bit too late: Woodie was already partway through his journey. Earlier that year, he made the decision to conceive a child via surrogacy, and his surrogate had just become pregnant with his baby boy. He'd always wanted to be a dad and had made the brave decision to go it alone rather than wait for the right partner.

Sean, fortunately, was on board. "I admired that so much," said Sean. "Over the course of more dates, we had very deep and honest conversations about what we wanted in life, our plans for the future and what we valued in a partner." It didn't take long for the two to realize that they were the perfect match.

Woodie holding Max, and Sean

On February 19, 2017, Max was born in Santa Barbara. Both dads' lives changed forever.

Despite the initial euphoria of fatherhood, the couple had to learn how to carefully navigate through their emotions as first-time parents as well as with each other as new partners. "The first few months of your child's life are riddled with anxiety: are they breathing? Are they eating enough? Am I doing everything correctly?" said Woodie. "Answering those questions is interesting when you're also asking yourself those same questions about your partner: am I giving them enough room to breathe? Are we satisfying each other properly? Am I being a good partner?"

But overall, life just got better. It finally all made sense. "I now truly know what it means to be in love, in more ways than one," said Sean. Both Woodie and Sean put Max's needs before their own needs, at all costs. "I also understand the profound appreciation of having a partner to share in the responsibility, anxiety and beauty of that love for a child," added Woodie.

Sean does admit to some initial anxiety in the beginning of this adventure. Woodie had already made a monumentally huge life decision and it was up to Sean to decide if he was in for the family ride or not. But that initial doubt was natural and quickly dissipated when Max was born and Sean fell quite naturally into a co-parenting role. And they're happy to report that they've only ever received an outpouring of support from friends, family and even strangers.

The dads are currently in the midst of uprooting their lives and relocating to Denver, Colorado. They're also beginning their second surrogacy journey for baby number two.

"Don't wait," says Sean. "Do it as soon as you're able," he said, talking to those out there considering fatherhood. "Woodie always tells me that he wishes he didn't wait as long as he did."

"Do it. Become dads!" added Woodie. "We as gay men have lived long enough in fear and as "others," that history and those experiences have left us with so much love to give. And children deserve nothing than to experience love and compassion."

You heard it here, folks. What are you waiting for?

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Race

How a White Gay Dad Discusses Racial Issues with his Black Sons

In light of the recent killing of George Floyd by the hands of police in Minneapolis, Joseph Sadusky shares two excerpts from his book that deal directly with issues around raising black sons.

Editor's Note: In light of George Floyd's death, this month, author Joseph Sadusky — who has been sharing excerpts from his book Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad each month —will share two posts that deal directly with issues around raising black sons. This is the first, titled "White," which looks at general questions that come up for a white dad raising black boys. Read previous installments here.

It may be presumptuous for a Caucasian gay man to claim to feel terrified and heartsick at the shooting of Trayvon Martin. But upon hearing the news that day in 2012, this is exactly how I felt.

The horrible truth is that there are many incidents of racial violence toward black males that I could use as starting points for this topic. But the specific case of Trayvon Martin—whose only crime was being a young black male wearing a hoodie, walking in a neighborhood where he had a home—has a particular resonance for me. Whatever the legalities of George Zimmerman using a gun to "stand his ground" if he felt his life was threatened, the simple truth is that he chose—against the direction of law enforcement, whom he contacted for support—to follow an African American male who had every right to be walking those neighborhood streets, however "thug" he might appear.

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Become a Gay Dad

Curious About Covid 19's Impact on Foster Care and Adoption?

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the adoption and foster care processes.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the fields of adoption and foster care to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on adoption or foster care that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Top 5 Questions About Covid-19's Impact On Surrogacy

Leading industry experts answer questions from queer men about the impact of Covid-19 on the surrogacy process.

Recently, GWK hosted a series of free webinars with leading experts led by industry experts in the field of surrogacy to learn about up-to-date insights on how the coronavirus affects family building. The presentations left lots of room for audience Q&A, to allow participants to get their individual questions answered — there were some common questions raised during each webinar, however, so we've put together a quick video of our experts answering some of the top concerns from queer men interested in pursuing surrogacy.

Our team of experts include:

Have other questions about the impact of the coronavirus on surrogacy that you'd like our experts to answer? Be sure to email us at dads@gayswithkids.com.

Here is a breakdown of the Top 5 Questions About Covid 19's Impact On Surrogacy. These are highlights taken from our live webinar series we held featuring: G...

Transracial Families Series

How These Dads Address White Privilege within Their Transracial Family

The "white savior" complex is real, said Andrew and Don, who are raising two Black children.

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Andrew Kohn, 40, and his husband Donald (Don) Jones, 47, together 13 years, are two white dads raising two Black children in Columbus, Ohio. Do they stick out? Sure. Have they encountered racism? They say they haven't. "I keep waiting for the moment so that I can become my best Julia Sugarbaker," said Andrew. "I think because we're a gay couple with Black kids, we're the other-other and people don't really say things to us. We have never had people touch our kids hair or do something that was inappropriate."

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Children's Books

New LGBTQ-Inclusive Children's Book Asks: What Makes a Family?

A new children's book by Seamus Kirst follows a young girl's journey of emotional discovery after she is asked which of her two dads is her "real dad."

Editor's note: This is a guest post from Seamus Kirst, author of the new LGBTQ-inclusive children's book "Papa, Daddy, Riley."

Throughout my life, I have discovered that reading provides an almost miraculous way of changing the way I think.

There is no medium that better offers insight into the perceptions, feelings and humanity of someone who is different from us. Through reading we become empathetic. Through reading we evolve. I have often emerged from reading a book, and felt like I was changed. In that, even in this digital age, I know I am not alone.

As children, reading shapes how we see the world. The characters, places, and stories we come to love in our books inform us as to what life might offer us as we grow up, and our world begins to expand beyond our own backyards.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

Interested in Foster Care? These Amazing Dads Have Some Advice

As National Foster Care Month comes to a close, we rounded up some amazing examples of gay men serving as foster care dads, helping provide kids with a bright future.

Every May in the United States, we celebrate National Foster Care Month. With over 437,000 children and youth in foster care, it's our honor to take a look at some of the awesome dads in our community who are opening their hearts and their homes, and providing these kids with a bright future.

Thinking about becoming a foster parent? Check out these resources here, and visit AdoptUSKids.

Meet the Foster Dads!

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Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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