As gay dads, we all have our stories about how we became parents, whether it was through adoption, foster-care, surrogacy, or straight relationships (to name a few more common paths). But sometimes it's worth taking a look back at our before-kids photos, just to then look at our family photos again, and be extra thankful this Fathers' Day.
Here's a walk down memory lane for some of the dads in our community: the before and after photos.
Happy Fathers' Day, dads!
Chris and Troy
Photo: Chris and Troy, April 2015. (This photo was used in their adoption profile.)
Dads Chris and Troy with their daughter Olivia
Chris and Troy's adoption profile went live on June 25, 2015. They waited nine months before they were matched, and on March 17, 2016, they spoke with Olivia's incredibly strong birth mother. They spent the next three months getting to know her and her family through visits, calls and letters.
On July 4, 2016, their baby girl was born and Chad and Troy became dads to their "smart, independent and beautiful daughter."
“We are the luckiest. So much love."
Family photo: June 2017
Patrick and Mel
Photo: Patrick (left) and Mel, 2014
Dads Patrick and Mel with their daughter Kylie
For Mel and Patrick, kids were always part of the plan, but they didn't use an adoption agency; Kylie came to them through a family adoption around a year ago. Although neither of them were prepared at the time, they made it work and they couldn't be happier as a family of three!
"Sharing our love with her has been the biggest blessing!"
Family photo: June 2018
Arejay and Mauricio
Photo: Arejay (left) and Mauricio, February 2015
Dads Arejay and Mauricio with their son Dylan
Arejay and Mauricio began the process to become licensed foster parents after their wedding in 2015. After working with an non-receptive agency, they switched to a more embracing agency, and seven months later, they were licensed. Dylan, their son, came to their house just days after he was born, and in October 2017 his adoption was finalized.
The dads to Dylan: "We cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives loving you, protecting you, and doing whatever we need to make you happy."
Family photo: May 2018
Nick and Chris
Photo: Chris (left) and Nick, 2014. (This photo was used for their adoption book.)
Dads Nick and Chris with daughter Ari
Nick and Chris began showing their adoption profile book in March 2016. Within a month they were matched with a birth mom who was well into her pregnancy. It wasn't meant to be, and their first match decided to parent the baby.
In July of the same year, they were matched again, and the dads were there when their baby girl entered the world. Born on December 22, 2016, the dads left the hospital with Ari on Christmas Eve, and the adoption was finalized on July 18, 2017, also their 3rd wedding anniversary.
"We are blessed beyond words and just want to soak up all these tiny moments that make up this journey."
Family photo: April 2018
Danny and Graham
Photo: Graham (left) and Danny with their dog Claire, February 2016. (This photo was used for their adoption profile.)
Dads Danny and Graham with son Collin
Danny and Graham's adoption profile went live after Thanksgiving 2016. Initially they used a different photo - one from their wedding - but after hearing nothing from potential birth moms, they decided to swap the photo for the one above with their beloved dog Claire. They were quickly matched after exchanging the photo, and one of the reasons their birth mother chose them was because of this photo. She shared that if they could make a dog that happy, she knew they would be great parents.
On July 13, 2017, their son Collin was born. The whole process happened rather quickly, they both admit, but the legal paperwork wasn't completed till October.
"Everyone in our family isn't related by blood, but by love," said Graham. "Including our adopted dog, Claire."
Family photo: Danny (left) and Graham with Collin, June 2018
Brandon and Chad
Photo: Brandon (left) and Chad, July 2016. (This photo was used for their adoption profile, online and print.)
Dads Brandon and Chad with baby Alba
Brandon and Chad's profile went live in October 2016. They were matched 13 weeks later. Sadly, after six months with the birth mom, the match ultimately did not work out. But they didn't have to wait long till they were connected with Alba's birth mother.
Eight weeks passed and they received another call for a baby who was due any day. Seven days later they were dads!
"When the nurses brought Alba out and presented her to us, they said, 'Baby Girl, meet your daddies; daddies, meet your beautiful daughter!' One thing for certain, it was love at first sight!"
Family photo: June 2018
Mark and Jason
Photo: Jason (left) and Mark, 2016. (This photo was used for their adoption profile.)
Dads Mark and Jason with baby Jett
Mark and Jason's adoption profile went live on August 15, 2017. Three months later they found out they were matched with a birth mom, and on November 16 they became dads to Jett.
"We have so much to be thankful for, but nothing can compare to the love that surrounds us and our new son."
Family photo: November 2017
Jason and Joshua
Photo: Jason (left) and Joshua, June, 2014
Dads Jason and Joshua with their kids
Jason and Joshua began their journey in August 2015 when they contacted local social services and started their adoption journey. In took six months to become approved to adopt, and after that they began the matching process.
In July 2016 they were made aware of a brother and sister that needing a forever home. The dads immediately fell in love and expressed their interest in the siblings, and after a long period of assessments and meetings, they were officially matched with them in December 2016. The became a family of four in January 2017.
"Life is truly amazing, we never knew how much love and joy they could bring into our lives."
Family photo: July 2017
Zac and Chris
Photo: Chris (left) and Zac, March 2017. (This photo was used for their adoption profile.)
Dads Zac and Chris with baby Jett
Zac and Chris had originally decided upon surrogacy as their chosen path to fatherhood, but after following another couple's adoption journey, they had a change of heart and switched to adoption. Their profile went live on April 28, 2017, and four months later, they were matched with a birth family.
Jett was born October 15, 2017, and his adoption was finalized on May 2, 2018.
"We wouldn't trade it for anything."
Family photo: June 2018
Ricky and Jeff
Photo: Ricky and Jeff, November 2015. (This photo was used for their adoption profile.)
Dads Ricky and Jeff with their son Kayden
Ricky and Jeff began their adoption journey in 2014 and became certified in 2015. Soon after, their profile went live. On January 16, 2017, the husbands were notified of a 2-day old baby up for adoption. Kayden came home with them six days later.
On September 29, 2017, the adoption was finalized and they became an official family of three!
"The best thing about being a dad is how he relies on us for comfort and love; watching him grow into the loving little man that he's becoming."
Family photo: March 2018
Mitch and Jake
Photo: Mitch (left) and Jake, November 2015
Dads Mitch and Jake with Aiden and Andrew
After Mitch and Jake's adoption profile went live in spring 2015, and they were matched twice before becoming dads. The first birth mother decided to parent herself, and the second went silent. They later found out the second birth mother had suffered a miscarriage. But in August 2016, the dads-to-be were matched for a third time, and this time it was meant to be.
On November 3, 2016, their twins Aiden and Andrew were born at 35 weeks.
"Our dreams came true on Thursday, November 3rd at 1:10 pm and 1:12 pm, when our sons Aiden and Andrew were born ... We are completely smitten and over the moon."
Family photo: June 2018