Gay Dad Life

Being Gay Didn't Hold These Men Back From Becoming Dads

Adam White and Eric Evans have been together for 12 years, and were married on June 25, 2014. They live in Crown Point, Indiana with their two children, Eric and Cora. Adam works as a Middle School Administrator, and Eric is a Director of Prevention Services. We caught up with the dads recently to see how life was treating them.

Tell us about your path to parenthood. When we decided it was time to start building our family, we did consider all possible options. However, it came down to cost. Surrogacy was too risky for us due to our financial constraints, so we chose adoption, specifically open adoption.

Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. Several years before we started our family, Eric's sister's family adopted internationally through China. While we did consider international adoption briefly, we quickly found out how few opportunities there were for same-sex couples.

At one point, the agency his sister used reached out to them again to see if they were interested in adopting a second time because of such a high need. This was about the time we had started the adoption process. However, even though the need was so great that the agency was reaching out to families who were not actively looking, we could not be considered because we are a same-sex couple. We encountered this obstacle several times as we were searching for the adoption agency to go through. Because of our financial situation at the time, agency price was a factor in selection. We discovered the low cost for adoption through agencies like Catholic Charities, but like the international adoption agency, they would not consider us as a perspective family because we are a same-sex couple.

How has your life changed since you became a father? Life has changed very little for us. What we considered to be important before children still is important to us now. We decide to utilize these opportunities and go together to teach life lessons and make family memories. Now, there are just many more bags to pack!

What have you learned from your kids since you became a dad? We both have learned to slow down. In a blink of an eye, children grow up. Neither us realized how quickly this happens. And now, after 4 short years, our son is almost ready to start school. We have learned to place priority on what is truly important in order to cherish the time together and make lasting memories. We have also learned the joy of innocence. Experiencing life through the eyes of a 4 year old and a 1 year old is magical. It allows us to be silly, messy, and carefree.

Was there ever a moment that you or your husband experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? While there were moments of doubt and struggle in the journey, there was never a moment that cast such a doubt on our dream to have a family that we felt we could not overcome the obstacle.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? We have been very fortunate to not experience any instances of discrimination or being treated differently because our family is made up of two dads. We are very fortunate to have our children part of organizations, such as their daycare/preschool, that not only respect our family make up but go out of their way to ensure that both our children never feel as if they are different.

What we quickly realized once we started growing our family was how "mommy" focused family building is. Baby registries and company programs, such as Amazon Mom, showed us how society placed much of child raising on either the woman or parents made up of a mom and a dad. The reactions we would get from family outings and family programs soon felt as if we were serving as the "poster dads" for same sex couples, whether we wanted to or not, when we just needed a good deal on diapers or an energy outlet for the kids.

Additionally, once becoming dads, we became cognizant of forms that automatically asked for information about "mom" and "dad." When possible, we try to send a subtle message by crossing out the words “dad" and “mom" and inserting “parent."

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? Be patient! There were times during the adoption of both of our kids that we thought it would never happen. Through open adoption, you are at the mercy of the process. There are few ways to speed things up and, for us, that caused both stress and anxiety that we should be doing more. No matter what we did, though, it did not make our kids come faster.

Know that things happen for a reason. During both our adoptions, we had failed connections. The hardest one was with our first child. After almost a year into the process and so very green to adoption, we were connected with a birth mother. She was so certain about us that, when we found out about her, she had already signed the initial paperwork. We ended up having dinner with her twice and things were going so well. We felt that we could invite our family and friends in on the process by sharing the news of this connection. We also started shopping and setting up the nursery. And then one day, she disappeared. We both were devastated and began to mourn the loss of this child we built up in our minds. Several month later, we got a call and were connected with the birth mother of our now son. In looking back, we realize that if it were not for the failed connection, we would never have our son. At the time it was impossible to understand, but we know that things happen for a reason. And this was the greatest lesson we remembered as we went through the adoption process for the second time.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? As we imagined building our family, we looked forward to the experiences that naturally come with raising children. From school events to music lessons and sports, we both relish in the thoughts of the busyness that is having children as the upcoming years pass.

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For More Stories on Adoption:

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Two Dads, Five Foster Kids

After 12 Years of Struggle, Richard and Carlos are Finally Dads

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Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

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Gay Dad Life

Need a Sitter for Your Kids? Gays With Kids Reviews UrbanSitter

Back-to-school is already here for some of us, and if you're looking for a sitter to help out with school runs, after-school pick-ups, and the occasional date night, check out our review of UrbanSitter.

Instagram @davidcblacker

We moved from New York to Boston the summer of 2017. Along with the Manhattan skyline, our beloved Broadway, and late-night cookie deliveries, we also left behind our sitters — two sisters who had become more like family.

After settling for several months into our new home and neighborhood, we realized we hadn't had a dads' night out since our move. Our kids were still too young to leave alone at night, so I began what I presumed would be the tedious task of finding a sitter.

The first thing I did was to leave a post on our local parents' Facebook group. The dad of one of our daughters' classmates told me about UrbanSitter, a website and mobile app that he'd had success using to find last-minute sitters a few times. He also mentioned that within the app, I could see see babysitters and nannies recommended by parents at our kids' school in addition to local parenting groups.

While I appreciated the tip, I let him know that I was really hoping for a direct referral. But when none others came from the — other than a couple of middle schoolers looking for their first sitting jobs — I decided to give it a try.

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Move over Modern Family, there are some new gay dads taking over the small screen! Big Bad Boo Studios is bringing their animated series The Bravest Knight to Hulu. The series is based upon a children's book called "The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived" by Daniel Errico, and it follows the life of Sir Cedric - now grown and married to Prince Andrew - as he regales their adopted daughter Nia with tales of his knighthood journey as she trains to become a knight herself.

"We are so excited about The Bravest Knight, its values and our partnership with Hulu," said Shabnam Rezaei, the director of the series and co-founder of Big Bad Boo Studios. "They understand how to push the envelope with authentic storytelling."

"I immediately fell in love with the idea of a girl wanting to work hard and make something of herself," Rezaei continued. "I also have a nephew who has two dads, so it's a very personal issue for me. I want him to have role models when he's watching TV. I want him to feel like having two dads is completely normal. That's what this show is going to do for him."

Errico's book was first realized as an animation when Hulu created a short film based upon his writing and were interested in exploring the concept of a full series. "I watched the eight minutes on Hulu and at the end the prince and the knight get married and I was in tears," says Rezaei. Rezaei then stepped in to create all new art work including new character design by Tim Linklater and backgrounds by Sarita Kolhatra. Together, they created a kickass bible and pitched the series to Hulu and were successful.

Diversity and inclusivity is celebrated throughout The Bravest Knight, reflected by its casting choices. Nia is played by Storm Reid, from "A Wrinkle in Time," and her dads Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew are voiced by T.R. Knight and Wilson Cruz respectively. The star studded cast also includes Wanda Sykes, Bobby Moynihan, RuPaul, Steven Weber, Teri Polo, AJ McLean, Jazz Jennings, Maz Jobrani and Christine Baranski as the formidable Red Dragon.

"With so many wonderful stories yet to be told, we hope that The Bravest Knight stands as an example of the undeniable strength in inclusivity, and the inherent joy in all forms of love and identity," said Errico, the author of the original book.

The first 5 episodes were released on June 21, and there are 8 more planned for release before the end of the year. Be sure to tune in!

This is the Main Title Song for Big Bad Boo's Hulu Original Series "The Bravest Knight". The song is performed by Justin Tranter and composed by Michael Plow...

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.

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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Politics

Gay Russian Dads Forced to Flee Moscow

Fearing the Russian government might take their adopted kids into custody because of their sexual orientation, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev fled Moscow

A married couple in Russia, with two adopted children, were just forced the flee their home in Moscow for fear that the authorities would take their children away, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

Trouble started last month after investigators in Russia opened a criminal inquiry into the proceedings that had allowed the gay couple, Andrei Vaganov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, to legally adopt the two boys —adoption by LGBTQ people in Russia has typically not been recognized. The government became aware of the adoption proceedings after the gay couple brought their 12-year-old son to the hospital, who was complaining of a stomachache. The boy was fine, but after he mentioned offhand that he was adopted and lived with two fathers, the doctor called the police.

Andrei and Yevgeny granted an interview with Deutsche Welle after escaping Moscow, but on the advice of their lawyers have yet to disclose where they are currently located. Here is a quick recap of that conversation:

"In connection with the 'propaganda of non-traditional values,' the state representatives are accused of having neglected their duty of supervision," Andrei said, when asked to explain on what basis the Russian government might take his children into custody. "This means that lesbian couples could even have their biological children taken away because, through their lifestyle choices, they propagate "certain values."

Yevgeny also explained the events that led to the couple's harrowing escape "I was alone in Moscow at that time. A week after Andrei and the children had left the country, there was a knock on my door, but nobody called 'police, open up.' After half an hour the violent knocking stopped. My parents' home was searched. They were looking for the children and our Danish marriage certificate because we got married in Denmark in 2016. My friends then got me out of the country."

Read the full interview here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

This Couple is Using 'Wheel of Fortune' Winnings to Help Fund Their Adoption

Need to raise money for your adoption fund? Why not try your luck on Wheel of Fortune like these guys!

Doug and Nick Roberts connected three and a half years ago via a dating app, and on their first date, the two immediately felt a connection. Doug, a psychologist, and Nick, a neuroscientist, were married 18 months later. Today the couple live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and they're ready to start their next exciting adventure together: fatherhood.

The husbands would like to have children, and Nick has always wanted to adopt. "We considered surrogacy, and may consider it in the future as we expand our family," said Doug, "but right now, it is cost-prohibitive. Adoption was easily the right choice for us as we begin to grow our family.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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