Gay Dad Life

In Just 6 Months, These Selfless Foster Dads Housed 9 Kids

Names: John Kihm and Dennis McDonough

Location: Viera, Florida

Relationship Status: 

They have been together for 6 1/2 years and were married in May 2015.

Occupations: John owns and operates a massage therapy establishment. Dennis is a corporate account manager for a national facilities service provider.

"Whether they were ours or not, we wanted to be a part of a child's life, a part of their upbringing, a part of their hearts."

Why did you decide to pursue foster care?  We initially looked into foster care because we knew we wanted kids. We had a desire to be parents and knew it was a path that was meant for us. We explored several options including private adoption and surrogacy. However after learning about the children and the need for foster homes we decided to explore that path. We began the 9 week parenting classes and about halfway through decided this was the road for us. We knew that we would be able to help children who were in need, children who were scared and had no where to go and no one to love them. We knew that somewhere along the process we would eventually have children who would need our love forever. We got licensed and immediately took in two children. After a few months, we were approached with the option to take a third child temporarily. We ended up enjoying it and became licensed as a home for three children. From June of 2016 through November 2016 we homed nine children.

Do you any plans to try and eventually adopt through the foster care system? We've had the same three since late November. Two of them have a case plan moving towards what we hope will be adoption. The third we are fighting to help his father win custody.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a foster dad? Seeing a child come into your home scared, alone, with nothing but a small bag of clothes and watching them transform into a happy and loving kid. Knowing that you helped a child who was terrified and had been ripped from their home, feel like they have found a new home and a new family. Every child we've had will remain part of our hearts and part of our family. Knowing that with every child we help our family grows by one more. That is the most rewarding thing about being a foster dad.

What is the most challenging aspect to being a foster dad? Some of the parents. It's heartbreaking to have children who miss their parents and are excited for their weekly visits with them only to have them disappear for weeks or months at a time with no contact. Or to see parents who have lost their children but continue to care about only themselves and put their children in harms way to benefit their own personal needs. 

Did you face any obstacles on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? We actually have not had any obstacles due to our sexual orientation. So far all of the reactions and feedback we've received has been extremely positive.

What's your best piece of advice for other gay men considering fostering? Do it. It the most rewarding thing you could do and the positivity that surrounds it is overwhelming. We hesitated about doing this with concerns of what people would say or if biological parents would lash out because of our sexual orientation, but the amount of support we've received has been absolutely astonishing. There are so many children who need love and need people to teach them structure and family. Be those people, show these children that there is a better way. Do it.


Fill out this short survey to be featured in an upcoming family profile!

Foster care articles:

Faces of Gay Dad Foster-Adopt Families

Path to Gay Fatherhood: The Foster Dad

Read more family stories:

Finally Fathers After Four Failed Rounds of IVF

With Only 48 Hours to Prepare, Rob & Zack Become Dads

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

Keep reading... Show less
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
Gay Dad Life

10 of Our Most Popular Posts Featuring Single Gay Dads

Happy Single Parent's Day! To celebrate, we rounded up some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads.

Did you know March 21st is Single Parents Day? Well now you do, and you should mark the occasion by checking out our round up of some of our most popular articles featuring single gay dads!

Keep reading... Show less

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."

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
Gay Dad Life

What's Life Like as a Single Gay Dad? These Guys Sound Off

We checked in with some of the single gay dads in our community to see what life is like while parenting solo

March 21st is Single Parents Day! To celebrate, we checked in with some single gay men in our community to sound off on what life is like while parenting solo — the good, the challening and everything in between.

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