Gay Dad Life

When a Surrogate Becomes Part of the Family

Altruistic surrogacy---when a surrogate carries a baby to term for the intended parents without compensation---is the only legal form of surrogacy in Canada. These women give incredible gifts to the intended parents they assist. And for new dads Jean Pierre and Tom, their surrogate, Ann, gave them so much more. Today, they not only have a newborn son, Augustine, but a friendship with Ann and her family that they could not have imagined.


Jean Pierre (left) and Tom with Augustine

Wanted: A Loving Surrogate

Over two years ago, Jean Pierre and Tom attended a 12-week program called "Daddies and Papas To Be" at their local LGBTQ center in Toronto to learn about the different ways they could become dads. Tom was interested in having a biological connection to a child, so the two of them decided to first try surrogacy.

They met with a fertility clinic, an egg donor agency, and a surrogacy agency but also decided to try and find a surrogate on their own.

"We wrote a post on Facebook that a friend of Tom's read," Jean Pierre told Gays With Kids. "She forwarded it to a female co-worker of hers who was already considering becoming a surrogate. We fell in love with Ann from that very first meeting and, luckily, she felt the same about us."

Together, Jean Pierre, Tom and Ann embarked on their journey and on March 15 this year, Augustine was born.

Photo credit: Stacy's Creations Photography

During the labor, Jean Pierre and Tom were close to Ann from the moment they arrived at the hospital, comforting her in any way they could. When it was time for her to begin pushing, it only took a few moments before their son made his world debut. Tom held Augustine for his first skin to skin moment, and Jean Pierre cut the cord. Both men were overjoyed.

"Those first moments of contact were surreal," Jean Pierre reminisced. "Being able to finally welcome our little boy into our arms and knowing that without a doubt, we had committed our lives to him and we would do everything in our hands to protect and to love him unconditionally."

The New Routine

Since then life has been turned upside down but in the best possible way. Both dads are adapting to their new roles as fathers and caring for their baby 10-week-old son. Tom, who owns his a consulting practice within the medical diagnostics industry, and Jean Pierre, a flight attendant for WestJet, are not working at the moment so they are sharing the nighttime duties: Jean Pierre takes the first round, feeding Augustine at 2:30 a.m., and Tom gets up at dawn for his shift. (He's the morning person of the pair, he says, so this arrangement works well.)

Augustine is fed breast milk which Ann provides on a weekly basis, and for which the dads are incredibly grateful.

The most challenging aspect of their newfound fatherhood they say is complaint familiar to any new parent: lack of sleep. They try to squeeze naps in but this isn't always successful.

"We have come to have a great appreciation and admiration for single parents," said Jean Pierre. "Without each other's support, we would have a very hard time coping with the responsibilities of caring for Augustine while in a constant state of sleep depravation."

Family Support

One thing that hasn't surprised Jean Pierre and Tom, but has been greatly appreciated, has been the amount of support and love the new dads have received from friends and family.

Ann and her two sons have also become apart of Jean Pierre and Tom's family; even their extended relations know each other.

Ann holding Augustine

"We could write pages about how important Ann has become to our family," explained Jean Pierre. "To make a long story short, we love Ann as one of our kin."

Jean Pierre and Tom are even considering another baby further down the track and Ann has insisted to be their gestational surrogate again.

In less than two years since they began their journey, not only are Tom and Jean Pierre now dads, but they have also gained three more family members: Ann, their surrogate, and her two sons. One thing we've learned here at Gays With Kids, is that families come in all shapes and forms, bonded together through love.

Tom (left) and Jean Pierre holding Augustine with Ann (right)

Feature photo credit: Stacy's Creations Photography


For more on surrogacy:

Watch Jean Pierre, Tom and Ann speak about how they became a family.

Surrogacy Counseling for Gay Men: What to Expect

Thinking of Asking Your Sister to Serve as Your Egg Donor?

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Gay Dad Life

The Suburban Gay Dad

Are you intimidated by the suburbs? This gay dad was — but then he moved there.

In a recent article for Yahoo! Lifestyle, Steve Jacobs says the thought of living in the suburbs as a gay dad "intimidated" him. But when he started fantasizing about garages, he began to question that notion. Any apprehension he had soon evaporated, he said, one winter morning while trying to navigate the snowy streets of New York City with a stroller.

While "pushing the stroller through snow banks and pools of slush with snowflakes stinging our faces," he wrote, "a vision came to me: I pictured us walking into a garage, hopping into a car, and arriving at a diner with 10 times less drama. This image planted the seed of moving to the 'burbs that I couldn't shake."

Soon, the family of four found a house in a town a half hour outside the city. "It had grass and a beautiful yard for our spirited kiddos. The schools were good. There were even good restaurants. The only red flag: Census data estimated only 0.1 percent of the population was gay male."

There were some "growing pains" while trying to make friends in this environment. "When we attended our first dinner party, within minutes the hostess went to the kitchen and the other wives followed her, while the husbands settled into the living room. Ira and I froze, looking at each other. In the city, our straight friends hadn't separated out like this for the evening. Should we stay with the dudes, exert our masculinity, and blow off the mom we liked? Or does one of us go with the wives and accept the personal branding that comes with that? We did a quick rock paper scissors in the foyer. Ira went with the wives."

But ultimately, "being a parent defined me more than I ever imagined it would," he wrote, and he settled in nicely to his new suburban life.

Have you had a similar adjustment, from city life to the suburbs? Tell us about it at dads@gayswithkids.com for an upcoming piece!

Gay Dad Life

"Fridays with Fitz": A New Kid's Book Based Upon the Son of These Two Dads

Tracey Wimperly, author of the new children's book, said she hopes to give a more honest portrayal of the role grandparents play in the lives of children.

Guest post Tracey Wimperly

I've recently written a children's picture book (aimed at 2-4 year olds) called "Fridays with Fitz: Fitz Goes to the Pool." Every Friday - when his two dads go to work - Fitz and his grandparents (my husband, Steve and I) head off on an adventure. Through the eyes of a curious and energetic 3 year old, even ordinary adventures, like riding the bus or foraging for fungus in the forest can be fun and magical.

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Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

David and Ben Met on the Dance Floor — and Are Now Grooving Their Way Through Fatherhood

David and Ben, who became fathers with the help of Northwest Surrogacy Center, live in Melbourne with their daughter, Maia.

In 2003, while both studying at Reading University in the UK, Ben Suter and David Cocks met after locking eyes on the dance floor and then being introduced by a mutual friend. Ben, a meteorologist and Operations Manager, and David, an Assistant Principal, have been together ever since. They moved to Australia together in 2010, seeking a different life, and an overall better work-life balance. The chose Cairns in Queensland as their new home, between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, "taking life a bit easier," said David. The couple were also married in June 2016, back home in England.

While David always wanted kids, Ben took a little convincing. So they started their parenting journey with a dog, Titan, who quickly became like their first born. From there, Ben came around rather quickly.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Single Gay Dad and the City

When Kyle decided to take his four kids, ages 6-11, to New York City on vacation, his friends thought he was crazy.

"You're crazy, Kyle."

"You can't be serious? A single dad taking four kids to the Big Apple? Think again."

"That's bold. There's no way I'd do that."

Those were a few of the responses I heard from my friends as I told them I was thinking of booking a trip to New York City with four kids, ages 11-6. My children's fall vacation from school was approaching and I wanted to get out of the house and explore. Was the Big Apple too much of an adventure?

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News

National's Pitcher Cites Wife's Two Moms as Reason for Declining White House Invite

"I think that's an important part of allyship," Doolittle said of his wife's two moms.

Sean Doolittle, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, declined an invitation to the White House after his team won the World Series this year. In an interview with the Washington Post, he listed his numerous reasons for staying home — and a main consideration, he revealed, was his wife's two moms.

"I want to show support for them. I think that's an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them," Doolittle said during the interview.

Trump's treatment of a minority groups, generally, factored into his decision as well. "I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."

Doolitttle clarified that his decision had little to do with policy disagreements with the White House. "There's a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries.'"

He concluded by saying he respected his teammates decision to attend the White house ceremony. "I want people to know that I put thought into this, and at the end of the day, I just can't go."

Read more of the Washington Post interview here.

News

New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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