Gay Dad Family Stories

Ever Consider Having Kids With a Female Friend? This Single Gay Dad Says It Was His "Greatest Decision"

Jeffrey Walker had two children with a female friend in what he calls a "leap of faith." He doesn't regret a thing.

Meet Jeffrey Walker, a 56-year-old Communications Director for a large nonprofit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Over a decade ago, he made the "greatest decision ever" and became a proud single dad to two incredible daughters through an intentional co-parenting arrangement. Here's his story.


"When I came out in my early twenties I was very hopeful that I would fall in love and start a family," said Jeff. "I had a few relationships and during a 10 year relationship in my 30's had explored adoption with my then partner. We weren't prepared for the expense and many of the logistical realities it would entail. Unrelated, that relationship ended and became an important friendship and family-ship."

During the 80's and 90's, Jeff recalls there not being many visible role models for queer parenting. "There was at the time a lot of attempts by gay couples to foster parent that were being battled in the courts, and adoption was riddled with discrimination and homophobia," he explained. "In the turn of the new millennium there was an increase in the number of gay and lesbian families, and while that increased my hope it might be possible, it seemed unlikely for me as a single gay man." Jeff didn't want to have to be in relationship to afford the cost or manage the important responsibilities and time commitment, but these were real factors he had to consider.

When Jeff was in his forties, he met Mayeti, a successful, career-driven single woman in her thirties with whom he became close friends. "We shared a desire to be parents and often talked about it," said Jeff. "We often talked about the challenges of single parenting which gave way to conversations about co-parenting."

The two friends began to talk about what it would look like to create a family together. They had long conversations, exploring the many different ways people had become parents. They eventually recognized that near half of children were being raised by parents who didn't live together and shared parenting, most through the prevalence of divorce. "We looked at our lifestyles and our desires, our sameness and differences, and our personalities and qualities," shared Jeff. "We mostly talked about our shared intention to raise children who felt unconditionally loved, supported in their evolving identities, and cared for physically, emotionally and spiritually."

They decided that intentional parenting - or co-parenting - made perfect sense. "So we took the leap of faith – the greatest decision ever."

Through simple home insemination, they got pregnant twice, and have two amazing daughters who are 10 years old and 7 years old. "They understand that they have two queer parents and that we love each other as friends and family and that we've never been in love. And most importantly they understand they are loved and came into being through intention, faith, and grace."

Jeff and Mayeti live in bordering cities, only a few miles apart. The children are at each parent's homes equally and the parents have a schedule that provides them each half the week to do things as single adults and explore their interests. "We are also both deeply immersed in a community of other parents and children and spend time together as a family at times," says Jeff. "We have different interests and each take the kids on vacations that fit our interests and theirs - and we've gone on vacations together. We all went to Disney last year because neither of us wanted to miss their first trip to Disney. We have an extended family, a literal village of friends and relatives, who love and support our daughters."

Jeff says he learns from his children every day. "I would sum up a vast majority of these lessons as opportunities for me to be re-parented. Everyday they teach me to stop my narrative that runs on auto-pilot and to listen to them and more importantly hear them - so I can make intentional decisions about how to be the dad they need."

And for others who are considering a similar path to parenthood? "The greatest blessings follow a leap of faith. Leap!"

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Gay Dad Life

Retired NFL Player Reveals He, His Husband and Ex-Wife Live and Raise Kids Together

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer says "we get in fights" thanks to the unique co-parenting arrangement, but that they're "doing the best we can."

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jeff Rohrer, who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1982 to 1989, came out as gay not long ago and became the first NFL player to marry another man, Joshua Ross. Jeff is a father of two teenage boys, who he had with his ex-wife, Heather Rohrer. In a recent interview with People, Jeff, Joshua and Heather discussed their unique co-parenting situation.

"It wasn't that Jeffrey came out to me, but once I figured it out, it was obvious he was gay," Heather said. "He thought it was wrong; he was so angry. He thought his children wouldn't love him, that he'd lose his job. I tried to help him. I kept trying to tell him it was okay, that it was no big deal. But it was to him."

Today, all three adults live together, along with their two children, Isabella, 16, and Dondillon, 15.

"We get in our fights, but we find a way to make up. We're just trying to do the best that we can," Joshua said.

"Jeff and Josh are my family, and we're a better team together than apart," Heather said for her part. "Being together for the kids is the important thing for us. It's been difficult to get to this place, but it's worth it."

Read the entire piece on People.

Gay Dad Family Stories

Gay Couple, Both Dads From Former Straight Relationships, Forge New Future Together

Ryan Lippert and David Pirrotta, who met two years ago on a dating app, are both dads to kids via former straight relationships

Ryan Lippert, 46, and his fiancé David Pirrotta, 42, are successful entrepreneurs. They're both founders of their own companies - Scout Model Agency, and David Pirrotta Brands, a Beauty Brand Manager and Distributor, respectively. They met over two years ago via a dating app and spent their first date talking and dining at a Los Angeles restaurant for 4 hours, till the restaurant closed. They're hard-working, passionate, and interesting guys. You could say they bring a lot to the table.

But there's more than just the two of them at that table. Together, they have three kids from previous straight relationships.

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Single Parenting

Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said.

Kyle Ashworth has four kids from a previous straight relationship. After ten years of marriage, he came out to his wife. "It was the most painful and wrenching experience of my life," said Kyle. "In the cold morning hours that coming-out-day in March, I began a journey of authenticity and honesty." Today, Kyle is 36 years old and ready to live his next chapter. But before we get to that, we need to look back at what led him to where he is now: an out and proud single gay dad.

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Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

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Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

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Politics

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Popular

Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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