Gay Dad Family Stories

Salt Lake Gay Couple Behind Viral Wedding Proposal Become Foster Dads

They've gone viral, appeared on Ellen, and were married by Queen Latifa. What can top all that? Fatherhood.

Photo credit: Tiffany Burke, Follow Your Art Photography.

Over 5 years ago, you might remember seeing an amazing proposal that took place in a Home Depot in Utah. With the help of close friends and family, Spencer organized an incredible flash mob to sweep Dustin off his feet. If you did see it, you're one of the 14 million viewers who did. (If you have been living under a rock, you can see the video below!)

The fiancés quickly became an overnight sensation thanks to this unbelievably romantic stunt. They even appeared on Ellen and were given engagement gifts. (You know you've made it once Ellen starts giving you stuff.) Dustin and Spencer were also part of a symbolic wedding ceremony with many other couples who were married during the 2014 Grammy's event, by Queen Latifa, while Macklemore sang "Same Love."

And for their next act? Fatherhood.

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Change the World

Antwon and Nate On Their First Year As Foster Dads

"Whether she stays or not," say new foster dads Antwon and Nate, "we'll never be the same."

We have had our foster daughter for over a year, and everyday brings different challenges and victories. The biggest challenge has been the uncertainty of knowing if she will stay with us or not. It brings the back and forth of both emotionally trying to self-preserve and wanting to fight to have her be ours.

The victories are endless. She knows we are her people, and she's our little girl. I think about going back to the way things were, but it's impossible. Because whether she stays or not, we'll never be the same.

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Gay Dad Family Stories

After Meeting in Culinary School, These Gay Dads Are Creating a Wonderful Life Together, Using Simple Ingredients

Jason and Patrick live in Charlottesville, Virginia with their daughters, and run a successful French-inspired bakery.

These gay dads own a successful French-inspired bakery and restaurant located in historic Charlottesville, Virginia. Chef Jason Becton, 41, lives in Charlottesville (where Thomas Jefferson's home Monticello is situated) with his baker husband Patrick Evans, 36, and their two daughters, Marian and Betty; they together are the owners of MarieBette, a popular bakery-restaurant in downtown Charlottesville that specializes in European foods, especially in delicious pastries from France. "Our business has become a gathering place for Charlottesvillians and we feel very welcomed here," shared Patrick. "The majority of people know that it is a business owned by two men married to each other with two kids."

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These Gay Dads Were the First to Foster-Adopt in the British Island, Jersey

And these "Jersey Boys" are already filing paperwork for their second!

Near the coast of Normandy, France, lies a tiny island, British in every way ­­– Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. A so-called Crown dependency, Jersey drives on the left, uses the British pound, and speaks the Queen's English. And it is home to husbands Jon and Tristan Stasiak-Gray and their 2-year-old son Harvey. How this little family of three came to be you will find out in the story below. Welcome to the Jersey Boys!

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Gay Dad Family Stories

This Gay Couple Opens Their Home to Kids at Risk of Aging Out of the Foster Care System

"I consider it my mission in life to adopt, and help others adopt" said Rich, who along with husband Ken adopted four teenage sons and now serves as the Associate Director for Family Focus Adoption Services.

"At first our decision was practical," said Rich Buley-Neumar about his decision to adopt older children. Neither he nor his husband Ken could afford to stay home with a baby, so they began investigating other options. "We came to the understanding that the age of the of the child didn't matter," said Rich, "it was their need for parents that mattered." So the dads set their sights on older children whose chances were running out and became fathers to four teenage boys.

With over 400,000 children in the United States foster care system, almost a third cannot be returned to their families and are waiting to be adopted. There are more males than females, and African American children are disproportionately represented.* Of the children waiting to be adopted on the AdoptUSKids website, 65% are between 13 and 19 years of age. Many will never be adopted and will age out of the system.

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Adopted Himself, This Gay Man and His Husband Looked to the Foster Care System to Start Their Family

"I was adopted myself and had an amazing upbringing," shared Taylor, who became a gay dads along with husband Michael through the California Foster Care System. "I knew I wanted to do that for other children."

"It has changed drastically in the most inspiring and positive way," replied Taylor McGregor, when asked how life had changed since fatherhood. "We have learned to stop and take moments … we find ourselves spending more time as a family and less time on our phones and iPads!" Since 2016, Taylor and his husband, Michael Crocker have been proud dads to Jack through the California foster care system. Here's how they became a forever family.

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Tripp and Terry’s road to fatherhood of siblings began with the purchase of a bunk bed.

In 2012, two young gay men living in Los Angeles finished their foster-adopt training. Tripp and Terry were 28 and 30 years old at the time. They had met in their final year of college and had been together for six years when they got married on August 21, 2010.

Tripp and Terry always wanted to be dads, but neither of them had any great desire to have a newborn. Tripp’s preferred minimum age was 3, and Tripp describes Terry as being fantastic with teenagers; they met somewhere in the middle and started looking to foster kids in between the age of 6 and 9.

It was the purchase of that bunk bed that launched their search for brothers.

But the road to fatherhood wasn't easy for Tripp and Terry, and their experience with the foster system could best be described as a nightmare. They went through two foster agencies after the first one was shut down due to the CEO embezzling money from the agency. The second agency came with its own set of issues and neuroses, as became clear when they inspected Tripp and Terry’s home and threw away over a hundred dollars worth of spices from the cabinets because the production year had passed!

Tripp (left) and Terry with Chris and Alex

Tripp and Terry's advice to future dads considering fostering: Do your homework! They admit that they did not do enough research for the best possible foster agency and after a quick Google search signed up for classes with the first possible agency. Tripp and Terry also highly recommend that your kids have a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). The role of a CASA is to advocate for abused and neglected children; to gather information, make recommendations to the judge and to represent the child's best interests. “They will be the only person in the courtroom during the process that will advocate for the children,” shared Tripp.

The day after Tripp and Terry completed their training in early May 2012, the phone started ringing. Having only just completed the training program, Terry and Tripp didn’t feel ready for the bombardment of calls, and asked if they were to expect daily calls to start so quickly. When the agency responded affirmatively, Tripp said, “Call us on May 16.”

On May 16, the phone rang. The agency was calling, with the following message: “We have two boys, 6 and 10. They are unwashed, non-English speaking, borderline-intellectual functioning, and severely neglected. Do you want them?” This time, Terry and Tripp said yes.

When the two boys, Chris, 10, and Alex, 6, walked through their door that night, Terry and Tripp were surprised to meet two English-speaking, intelligent boys with, as it turned out, only some minor special needs. Tripp and Terry consider that evening, that moment, as the beginning of their family.

Tripp with Alex

But Tripp and Terry's family wasn't complete. The boys had a sister, Kat, who at first was placed with a different foster family and then went back to live with their birth mom. On December 16, 2014, Terry and Tripp received a call from the Department of Children and Family Services that Kat, who was 15 at the time, had voluntarily left her birth mom’s house and needed a place to live. Despite their initial nervousness, Terry and Tripp knew this was the best alternative and Kat came to live with them.

Alex, Kat and Chris

Today, Alex is 10 years old, Chris is 14 and Kat is 17. When asked to describe each of their kids, here’s what Tripp and Terry had to say:

“Alex is a Tasmanian Devil who has fallen in love with the idea of himself as a super-villain. He's funny and creative and believes he's dating the animated character, Raven, from Teen Titans Go! He's very sweet but prone to anger and aggression when frustrated. At the end of the day, though, quiet, simple moments with Alex (puzzling or drawing or making dinner) are some of my happiest.

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About 200 miles north of Toronto in Canada lies North Bay, Ontario, a small military and mining town of just over 50,000 people. Probably not a great place for a gay dad family, you might think. But you’d be wrong.

Five years ago in North Bay, Nathan, then 22 years old, met 24-year-old John through the dating website Plenty of Fish. The guys were both born in North Bay and both grew up there.

On December 17, 2011, only a few months after they began dating, Nathan proposed to John with the help of a flash mob made up of friends and family. (See video below.) Nine months later they got married.

Today the young couple are still living in North Bay, as “Daddy” (Nathan) and “Dad" (John) to their two little girls, Brynn and Emery.

This is how they created their family. When local same-sex parents saw the flash mob marriage proposal video on YouTube they contacted Nathan and offered their adoption expertise if ever they were interested. And they certainly were. Both guys come from large families and had always had a desire to become dads.

They started doing their research about the adoption process and took the P.R.I.D.E. [Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education] course. Once they had completed the course, they expected to wait for a long time for a child placement would occur. (The average wait is between one and three years.)

Nathan (left) and John

Much to their surprise, they were approached by a social worker with the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) after only three months! They had been selected as a potential match for one of the kids in CAS foster care.

Unfortunately, at the time the guys were in limbo between homes, and felt it was impossible for them to move forward, afraid it would cause too much stress on the child. Understandably, they were very upset about it, but in the course of time they came to the realization that this placement just wasn't meant to be.

Four months later, on a Tuesday, they received another phone call. Again, it was a social worker with CAS stating that they were a match for a little 18-month-old girl. This time they immediately said, “Yes! Let’s meet!” And so they met with the social worker that Thursday.

Now, one has to keep in mind that once a child is a crown ward [the official term in Ontario for a foster child], that child is officially available for adoption, but at least three families have to be interviewed about the placement.

During the interview they learned all about this 18-month-old girl and once the interview process was over they were shown her pictures. They immediately fell in love.

John (left) and Nathan walking with Brynn

They resumed their normal day-to-day routines as best the could and returned to work the following day.

Nathan was hard at work in the pharmacy when he glanced up to see a customer in line waiting for his medication. When he looked back down for a moment he realized it was his husband John with tears in his eyes.

He looked back up and saw John holding a flower arrangement in his hands and a balloon with the words Our New Little Princess. Nathan couldn’t hold back his tears either. They were now officially dad and daddy. It was a moment they had longed for since before they got married.

They knew not to get too excited, because it might take a long time for an adoptive child to accept her new family.

Soon they realized that there was no need for concern: Their new daughter, Brynn, interacted with her new dads right away, when they all met at the local CAS agency the next day.

The next two weeks were packed full with visits. First a few one-hour visits, then full-day and overnight visits. Then, after two weeks, she moved in and the rest, as they say, is history.

John (left) holds Emery and Nathan holds Brynn at the adoption signing for Emery

Once Brynn’s adoption was finalized, they learned of a sibling, a younger sister. As soon as the agency mentioned her, Nathan and John said, “Without a doubt!” Without even looking at her medical history, they knew it was a sure fit.

One year exactly after Brynn moved in they started Emery’s adoption process with Emery. Again, they had two weeks  of visits. And then Emery moved in!

The dads have nothing but great things to say about the adoption process and about the help Children’s Aid Society gave them. In their own words, "We have had such a wonderful experience! We could never have asked for a better life. People do have to realize, however, that the process does not move along that fast for everyone; some people have to wait months, even years. We were truly lucky.”

Are they done building a family? Nathan and John say that they are just enjoying their time together for now, but are thinking of possibly adopting a boy in the future.

When asked what the most important lesson is they are teaching their children, they say, "To love one another no matter your background. Family is about loving and caring for one another, not about your genes.”

John, Brynn, Nathan and Emery

They have a few more things to say.

"We are so overjoyed to have partaken in this crazy adventure of parenting. It is the most rewarding thing we have ever done. We have adopted two beautiful girls in the process and will hopefully adopt a boy in the future. John and I both have large families so we truly understand how much of a blessing family really is. For us as Canadians, the thought and process of adoption seemed so obvious for us. It is such a common thing here in Canada to see same-sex parents. That is why I love what you are doing with Gays With Kids because it shows same-sex couples all over the world that having a family is possible and that there are many of us out there ready to lend our support.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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