Gay Dad Life

Stories Gay Dads Tell Their Kids About Adoption and Surrogacy

We've published 1,200 stories on Gays With Kids, many of which were written to help gay men become dads and to help gay dads navigate fatherhood. Within the pages of our website, you'll find inspiring and even heroic stories involving families created through adoption and foster care, surrogacy, co-parenting and heterosexual relationships. Throughout each of these stories are two common themes: the incredible loving bond between dad and child, and the realization that even those who share similar paths to fatherhood encounter experiences that make their journeys uniquely their own.

Like any family, our kids are interested in learning how their families came to be. Given the inherent complexities involved in creating many of our families, it can seem like a complicated task. To help you, we've shared the stories we created for our own families.

We adopted our son at birth and his twin sisters joined our family through surrogacy just 17 months later. Here are the stories we share with them about how our family came to be.

Levi – An Adoption Story


This is the story of a boy. Not just any boy, oh no. This is the story of the most amazing boy in the world.

But let me begin at the beginning. Once upon a time, there were two people, Brian and Ferd, who loved each other very much. How could they be so sure? That’s easy: they knew it in their hearts.

Brian and Ferd had loved each other for a long time and they were very happy. But in their hearts they knew something was missing. No, not something; someone. They really wanted a family. Little kids they could take care of, watch grow up and love as much as any kids had ever been loved. How could they be so sure? That’s easy: they knew it in their hearts.

Brian and Ferd are boys, and boys can’t have babies growing in their bellies. So they asked everyone they knew, and lots of people they didn’t know, if they knew of a baby who needed a family. They looked for weeks and months and years. It was taking so long they were beginning to think it would never happen.

But then, one day, Brian and Ferd got a phone call. They were told that a woman in Brooklyn had just given birth to a baby boy. This woman couldn’t take care of the baby, so he needed a family. Brian and Ferd were asked if they could give this boy a loving home.

Give the boy a loving home? Of course they could! For all these years this is what they had been hoping for! They rushed to the hospital in Brooklyn, and there they laid eyes on the most amazing boy, with the shiniest black hair, the softest caramel skin, and the cutest dimple on his left cheek.

I told you, this is the story of a boy. That boy. The moment Brian and Ferd saw that boy, they fell in love with him. They became his Daddy and Papa and name him Levi Parlow Rosenberg-Van Gameren, after different family members. They knew they would love him forever and ever. How could they be so sure? That’s easy: they knew it in their hearts.

Ella and Sadie – A Surrogacy Story

This next story is about two girls. Not just any girls, oh no. This is the story of the two most special girls in the world.

But let me begin at the beginning of this story too. Papa Ferd and Daddy Brian now had a son Levi, and they were even happier than before. But they wanted Levi to have siblings so they could all play together. They were really hoping to have a larger family, with more little kids they could take care of, watch grow up and love as much as any kids had ever been loved. How could they be so sure? That’s easy: they knew it in their hearts.

But, as you know, Papa and Daddy are boys, and boys can’t have babies growing in their bellies. So this time, they looked for a woman who could grow their babies in her belly for them. They looked and looked and looked and finally, they found her in West Virginia. The name of this very special woman was Annie*.

Annie said she would love to carry and give birth to Daddy and Papa’s babies. And so she did: for almost nine months (that’s how long it takes!) she had two little baby girls growing in her belly. And when it was almost time, she went to the hospital. Just a few minutes later two little girls were born.

Brian & Ferd with their twins Sadie (left) and Ella just a few hours after their birth

I told you, this is the story of two girls. Those two girls. Daddy and Papa arrived at the hospital, rushed to Annie’s room, and there they laid eyes on those two most special girls in the world. One was a little bigger, with lots of gorgeous dark hair, the most beautiful hazel eyes and the longest eyelashes; they named her Sadie Nel Rosenberg-Van Gameren. The other one was a little smaller, with the fairest hair and the clearest, bluest eyes; they called her Ella Judith Rosenberg-Van Gameren.

As soon as Daddy and Papa laid eyes on these girls, they fell in love with them. They knew they would love them forever and ever. How could they be so sure? That’s easy: they knew it in their hearts.

Read gay dad David Blacker's “How You Came To Us” story for his son.

Show Comments ()
Transracial Families Series

This Transracial Family Relies on a 'Support Group' of African American Women

Puerto Rican dads Ferdinand and Manuel are raising a daughter of Jamaican descent — and love to find ways to celebrate their family's diversity

Our second feature in our transracial family series. Read the first one here.

Ferdinand Ortiz, 39, and his husband Manuel Gonzalez, 38, have been together for 7 years. In 2017, they became foster dads when they brought their daughter, Mia Valentina, home from the hospital. She was just three days old at the time. On December 13, 2018, her adoption was finalized.

Mia is of Jamaican and African American heritage, and her dads are both Puerto Rican. When Manuel and Ferdinand began their parenting journey through the foster care system, they received specific training on how to be the parents of a child whose race and culture was different from their own. "We learned that it's important to celebrate our child's culture and surround ourselves with people who can help her be proud of her culture." However, as helpful as this training was, the dads agreed that it would've been beneficial to hear from other transracial families and the type of challenges that they faced.

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How the Shut Down Opened Me Up to Being a Better Dad

David Blacker's dad used to tell him to 'stop and smell the roses' — the shut down has led him to finally take the advice

"Stop and smell the roses." It was the thing my dad always said to me when I was growing up. But like many know-it-all kids, I didn't listen. I was determined to keep my eye on the prize. Whether it was getting good grades in school, getting my work published, scoring the next big promotion, buying a house or starting a family. For me, there was no such thing as resting on my laurels. It has always been about what's next and mapping out the exact course of action to get me there.

Then Covid.

Ten weeks ago, I — along with the rest of the world — was ordered to shelter-in-place... to stop thinking about what's next, and instead, focus on the here and the now. In many ways, the shut down made me shut off everything I thought I knew about being content and living a productive life. And so, for the first time in my 41 years, I have literally been forced to stop and smell the roses. The question is, would I like the way they smell?

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

How This Transracial Family Creates a 'Safe Space' to Talk About Their Differences

Kevin and David know they can never understand what it's like growing up as a young black girl — but they strive to create a 'safe space' for their daughters to talk about the experience

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Is adopting a child whose race and culture is different from your own something that us queer dads need to talk about? Share our experiences? Learn from others? We've been hearing from our community, and the answer has been a resounding, "yes."

With over one-fifth (21.4%) of same-sex couples raising adopted children in the United States today (compared to 3% of different-sex couples), it's highly likely, at the very least, that those families are transcultural. According to April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc., all adoptive families are transcultural. "All, in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same."

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Movie Night: My Favorite Family Tradition

As his sons have gotten older, the movies have morphed away from cartoons and towards things blowing up — but movie night remains his favorite family tradition.

Editor's Note: This is the next 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 his 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!

Of all of our traditions and rituals, probably the most consistent and longest-lasting one was movie night. Sure, we read the heck out of Harry Potter. But our capacity for watching Harry Potter? We're talking Quidditch World Cup here, folks.

In its early version, movie night looked like this: During the week, I would order a movie and a cartoon from Netflix—back when "Netflix" meant "mail." On Saturday night—and I mean, faithfully, every Saturday night—we would order a pepperoni pizza (which Mark faithfully took the meat off of—I'll get to food later) for delivery and then sit and watch our cartoon and movies while eating. The kids had a say in the movie, but I got to pick the cartoon. They watched enough of their own cartoons on the regular, and besides, this gave me a great opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Josie and the Pussycats.


Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Happy Mother's Day From Gays With Kids!

To all of the women who have supported the journey of gay, bi and trans men towards fatherhood — thank you, and happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day can be complicated holiday for many gay, bi and trans dads and their kids. Choosing how, when — or even if — to celebrate the day is a uniquely personal decision. But no matter how we've become dads, women have helped us achieve our dreams of fatherhood. And for that reason, we've loved celebrating all of the women who have supported our journeys to fatherhood, in ways big and small, over the years. Check out some of our favorite photos, essays, articles and more below!


Keep reading... Show less
Become a Gay Dad

Webinar Series: Becoming a Dad During a Pandemic

Gays With Kids launches a webinar series with surrogacy, adoption and foster care experts — to explore family planning options for gay, bi and trans men in the age of the coronavirus.

Gay, bi or trans and considering building or growing your family? Gays With Kids is offering FREE webinars led by industry experts in surrogacy, adoption and foster care to give you up-to-date insight on how the coronavirus affects family building. There will be lots of time for audience Q&A, so come prepared for this webinar with your specific questions on starting or continuing your surrogacy journey.

Register via the links below!

SURROGACY

Thinking About Becoming A Dad? Explore Your Options in our Surrogacy Webinar Series.

Come discuss: surrogates, egg Donation, IVF, and embryo creation with leading surrogacy and fertility experts.

Please register for just one of the following 3 surrogacy webinars

Monday, May 4, 2020
4:00-5:00pm PT / 7:00-8:00pm ET

  • Dr. Guy Ringler, California Fertility Partners
  • Victoria Ferrara, Worldwide Surrogacy
Register here (pre-registration required)
------------------------------------------------
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
4:00-5:00pm PT / 7:00-8:00pm ET
  • Dr. Jerald S. Goldstein, Fertility Specialists of Texas
  • Sam Hyde, Circle Surrogacy
Register here (pre-registration required)
------------------------------------------------
Friday, May 8, 2020
12:00-1:00pm PT / 3:00-4:00pm ET
  • Dr. Mark Leondires, Reproductive Medical Associates of CT
  • Kristin Hanson, Simple Surrogacy

Register here (pre-registration required)

ADOPTION & FOSTER CARE

Thinking About Becoming A Dad? Explore Your Options in our Adoption Webinar Series.

Come discuss: matching, placements, home studies and finalizations with leading experts in adoption and foster care.

Please register for just one of the following 2 adoption / foster webinars
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
3:00-4:00pm PT / 6:00-7:00pm ET

  • Monica Baker, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children
  • Rita Soronen, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • Molly Rampe Thomas, Choice Network
Register here (pre-registration required)

------------------------------------------------
Friday, May 15, 2020
10:00-11:00am PT / 1:00-2:00pm ET

  • Monica Baker, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children
  • Rita Soronen, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • Molly Rampe Thomas, Choice Network
Register here (pre-registration required)

Gay Dad Life

Top Memes From Parents Sheltered in Place with Kids

Perhaps the ONLY good thing to come out of the coronavirus crisis... hilarious parenting memes.

Very, very few good things have come about since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, but one of the tiny silver linings — and one of the only ways most of us parents sheltering at home with our kids are staying sane — is this: parenting memes.

We've rounded up our favorites below. (If you know who originated some of these, please let us know so we can give credit!)

Enjoy!


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