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 Family Stories

One Dad's Plan to 'Co-Parent Like Crazy' with His Future Husband and Ex-Wife

"I see my daughter being raised in such a loving home," said Nick. "She'll understand equality and love, and I hope I will instill those qualities in her so that she spreads it to others."

When we asked 30-year-old Nick from Fort Worth, Texas, about his path to fatherhood, he told us it was a long story and to get ready. Nick became a dad through a previous straight relationship and only came out a few years ago, but a lot has happened since then.

Growing up, Nick was raised with the belief that he should, one day, become a dad and have a family. He was brought up Catholic, and was taught that his only option to have a family was with a woman.

At first, he didn't question this belief, but he distinctly remembers the first moment when he realized he was attracted to men.

"At around age 14, I remember getting in trouble in class and was sent to sit in the hallway and this guy came walking down the hallway and I thought, 'Oh, he's cute.'" After pondering that thought for a while, Nick began to look at other guys and soon realized that he was attracted to guys. "I never asked my parents, or any religious figures from church, about these thoughts that were rapidly swimming around my head—even when I was supposed to confess my sins in confession at church. I was terrified that the Father of the church would tell my parents and I'd be exiled or forced into being straight."

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Entertainment

"To Have and To Hold" Features Gay Dads Co-Parenting with Ex-Wife

To Have and To Hold: Charlotte, on Oprah's OWN channel, includes two gay dads and the challenges and opportunities that arise while co-parenting with one of the men's ex-wife

A modern family of two dads and a mom are featured in the latest reality television show, To Have or to Hold: Charlotte, showing on Oprah's OWN channel. And we can't wait to tune in!

To Have and To Hold: Charlotte follows the real challenges couples face, from financial stress, to issues with intimacy, to the ups and downs of parenthood. Dads Joshua Anglero and Peter Anthonii, and mom Juliana Gutierrez are raising their two kids together and are ready to share what life is like as a co-parenting family.

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Change the World

Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay.

In a moving video posted to Facebook, Republican lawmaker Nathan Ivie finally admitted publicly something he's known since the age of 9: he's gay. Ivie, who serves as a County commissioner, is now the first openly gay Republican elected official in the state of Utah. His coming out video has already been viewed more than 25,000 times:

"There's no easy way to say this, I might as well just jump up and say it: I'm gay," Ivie says in the video. "That's my reality and that's what I need to talk to you about today."

In the video, Ivie reveals that he and his wife has separated. He refers to her as his "best friend and supporter," however, and that he is continuing to co-parent their two children with her.

"It's ok to be different, it's ok to live authentically," Ivie says in his video. "You can be gay and a Republican. You need to trust that people will love you for who you really are."

Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City's openly lesbian Democratic mayor, praised Ivie via Twitter, writing: "All the best to you, I love how a simple act of love among strangers helped you find your truth and that you are being embraced by family and friends."

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Gains Clarity After a Health Scare

A recent health scare helped give Erik Alexander clarity.

Sometimes fear can cripple the mind and hinder ones judgement. Having children of my own, I have come to grips with accepting the things I cannot change and learned to take action when there is no other choice. When it comes to my own personal health, the future and well being of my family gives me all the clarity I need to make the right decision about any kind of health scare.

This episode is dedicated to all the parents out there that are going through or have gone through similar situations.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This European Couple Became Dads Through a U.K.-Based Surrogacy Program

Janno, from Estonia, and Matthias, from Belgium, were accepted into the "Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy" Program.

Janno Talu, an accountant, and Matthias Nijs, an art gallery director, were born in different parts of Europe. Janno, 39, is from Estonia, and Matthias, 28, is from Belgium. Their paths crossed when the two moved to London, each from their different corners of the European Union.

Janno relocated to London earlier than Matthias, when he was 24, and his main reason for the move was his sexuality. "Although Estonia is considered one of the more progressive countries in Eastern Europe, when it comes to gay rights, it is still decades behind Western society in terms of tolerance," said Janno. "And things are not moving in the right direction." In 2016, same-sex civil union became legal, but the junior party in the current coalition government is seeking to repeal the same-sex partnership bill. "In addition," Janno continued, "they wish to include the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the country's constitution. Even today, there are people in Estonia who liken homosexuality to pedophilia, which is why I decided to start a new life in the UK, where I could finally be myself."

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Surrogacy for Gay Men

Interested in Surrogacy? Check Out These Bay Area Events This Weekend

If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, two major events are happening that will be of interest for dads-to-be and surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF)

If you're in San Francisco or the surrounding area, clear your calendar this weekend. Two events are happening simultaneously that are significant for dads-to-be AND surrogacy advocates: the Men Having Babies San Francisco Conference, and the SF Advocacy and Research Forum for Surrogacy and LGBT Parenting (ARF). For an outlines of both events, check out below.

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News

Gay Dads Show Up at Boston Event to Drown Out Anti-Trans Protesters

When Trystan Reese found out protesters were planning to show up to an event in Boston he was presenting at, he put out a call to his community for help — and gay dads showed up.

A couple months ago, Trystan Reese, a gay, trans dad based in Portland, Oregon, took to Instagram to share a moving, if incredibly concerning, experience. Reese, who works with Family Equality Council, was speaking at an event in Boston, and learned before his appearance that a group of protesters were planning to attend.

"As a trans person, I was terrified to be targeted by anti-LGBTQ people and experienced genuine fear for my own safety," Trystan wrote. In response, he did what many LGBTQ people would do in a similar situation — reach out to his community in Boston, and ask for their support. "And they came," he wrote. But it wasn't just anyone within the LGBTQ community that came to his defense, he emphasized — "you know who came? Gay men. Gay dads, to be exact. They came, ready to block people from coming in, ready to call building security, ready to protect me so I could lead my event. They did it without question and without reward. They did it because it was the right thing to do."

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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