Gay Dad Life

"I Don't Feel Empty Anymore": A Single Gay Man Finds Happiness at Home

31-year-old Guillermo Arias is a single dad to daughter Astrid who was born via surrogacy on April 4, 2017. Raised in the Dominican Republic, along with three siblings, by his mom, Guillermo moved to the U.S. in 2008. He married his partner of 3 years in 2015 but they have since separated. His ex was already a dad to an adopted 11-year-old boy when they met. It was this relationship that sparked a fire inside Guillermo to become a dad as well. Here's his story.

Tell us about your path to fatherhood. I was in a relationship for 3 years and my ex-husband had an adopted son he had with his ex partner. When we moved in together I had no idea I was going to also fall so deeply in love with this child. This kid showed me what unconditional love meant, he even called me Dad. Every time he would leave for vacation or holidays with his other Dad my heart would be broken. I spoke to my ex about having a child through surrogacy but he never agreed. When we broke up, I immediately started looking at options.

As soon as I moved out I went to the Dominican Republic and spoke to my brother, who is a doctor, about my desire to have a child. He immediately put me in contact with an amazing clinic that literally did everything for me, and so we started the process. Transference of embryo happened on August 9th 2016, and at the end of the same month I was told that I was expecting a baby. In December, I found out I was having a girl, which freaked me out. I had originally hoped for a boy. But I started getting ready anyway. I got everything I needed for her. And on April 4th 2017 at 5:30PM my Princess Astrid Del Carmen Arias was born at 7.5 pounds. I have to say that I would not change my Nana for 100 baby boys in this world. Parenthood with her has exceeded my expectations one million percent.

Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. My path to having my child was very smooth, My beautiful daughter was born in the Dominican Republic because the price for surrogacy back there is 3 times cheaper than doing it here in the US (where I reside). My biggest challenge throughout the whole pregnancy was that I did not see the surrogate mother even once. I did not return to the Dominican Republic until the day of the birth, so I had to be okay only looking at pictures of her belly, videos and the staff from the clinic telling me that everything was okay. I wish I had been closer to her.

How has your life changed since you became a father? I am writing this with tears in my face... Having my daughter has been the greatest challenge yet the most rewarding experience I have ever and will ever have. I used to be a party boy, like everyone in my age range (30). I used to be out 5 out of 7 days a week, I used to travel to go to clubs and party brunches and a lot of crazy stuff. Astrid came to give me that light my life needed, deep inside I was so all over the place because I felt empty inside. I would smile the whole time while I was out drinking but after getting into my apartment tears would shed out of my eyes uncontrollably. When my daughter was born everything changed. I am a more responsible man. I live for her, everything I do, I do it with her in my mind. I do not feel empty anymore. She's reciprocating that love I give her and I am over the clouds. It's definitely not easy, but with no doubt the best decision I have ever made.

What have you learned from your child since you became a dad? My daughter is extra special. She's a bit cranky and moody and has this strong personality I discovered since she was a few days born. I had no experience whatsoever in parenting and instead of reading, I started asking everyone in my circle with children about their experience and I absorbed as much as I could. But no one ever told me how tough it is to have a new born. I am blessed and grateful for this patience I have developed since Astrid was born.

Was there ever a moment that you experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself. I was always sure I wanted to do it. The economic part is always something to consider, but beyond that, no.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? My family has been very supportive of me since day one. My mother had a bit of a rough time accepting it but with time she understood how strong of a man I am and that I am not the kind of guy who would allow anyone disrespect and she respects me for that.

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? With a big smile I tell everyone that having a child is the best decision I have ever made. My daughter has changed my life completely for good. I have a reason to live and she's my very own. I am glad I do not have to share my paternity with anyone, but I won't lie. Doing this as a single father is no easy job. Would I do it again? Yes, only through the same process. I never considered adoption as an option for me.

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? I would love to be able to raise my daughter in the Dominican Republic, at least a few years because I want her to speak Spanish as well as me. And I want her to have a little of what I had while I was growing up back home.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? In a world where relationships come and go I always thought that what I was looking for was going to be given to me by a man. I could not be any more wrong. My child is the best thing I have ever experience and I have grown so much. I am a completely different human being now.

Show Comments ()
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
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

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
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (A Guide for Gay Dads)

Turns out David Blacker is, in fact, experiencing a midlife crisis — according to the very official results of a Buzzfeed quiz

Today I took one of those Buzzfeed-like quizzes to determine whether or not I am having a midlife crisis. I know what you're thinking. How can 29 be considered mid-life? God bless you, but I'm actually 35. Fine, 41. The Buzzfeed results — granted, we're not talking a true clinical assessment here — implied that I am, in fact, showing symptoms of a midlife crisis. But instead of shopping for a new sports car, I'm looking around for something else.

Problem is, I don't quite know what that is yet.

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