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.

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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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