#GWKThenAndNow: David with his kids Aaron and Jules

This week’s #GWKThenAndNow is a Gays With Kids first: Today we follow the journey of single gay dad David Stephens, from his 10-year marriage with his ex-wife and the birth of their two beautiful children, to coming out four years ago and being a proud gay dad today.

David and his ex-wife have a good relationship that greatly benefits their kids, working together as co-parents.

David's son Aaron's first beach trip, 2005

At the time of their first trip as a family to the beach, David’s then-wife was pregnant with their second child. David remembers fondly how happy Aaron was as a baby, always smiling.

2006: Baby bath time

Aaron has autism and is only 18 months older than his sister Jules. David says that his children are very close both in age and emotion, at times almost behaving like twins – they're inseparable even now!

Comic Con 2006: David carries Jules as they explore her very first Comic-Con

Comic-Con has always been an important part of this family's lives. David remembers how fascinated Jules was with everything she saw and how he had to carry her around for almost the entire day.

2010: Tamale Festival

As part of the Tamale festival, David and his kids were invited to go on a ride through downtown Indio, California, in a 1930s Dodge fire truck. The ride was for several other kids with autism and Down syndrome. David remembers it fondly as a great day of love and celebration.

2014: David with his mom and his daughter Jules at her dance recital

David's mother has been one of her son's biggest supporters throughout his journey.

Venice Beach, 2014

David knows that the best way to put smiles on his children’s faces is to take them to the beach for the day. The above photo is of David with his daughter on a trip to Venice Beach in 2014.

Family photo, 2015

David’s journey of self-acceptance has been a long one. When he first came out, David was scared of what his children would think and how they would react. As time went on, David believes that both Aaron and Jules have become more and more comfortable with who he is as both their dad and a man.

Palm Springs Pride parade, 2015

Last November, David decided to take his kids to the Palm Springs Pride parade and festival. David walked proudly hand in hand with his kids as part of the parade, and taught them the important lesson to be true to who you are. David knows that his son Aaron often struggles with self-acceptance because of his autism, so he wants to use his own struggles to show his son to be proud of who he is.

2015 Christmas card; 2007 Christmas card

Last year, David and his kids decided to recreate one of their favorite Christmas card photos.

2016: Someone’s stealing Dad David’s hot chocolate!

Family photo, 2016

David recently shared a 2007 family photo of his kids and ex-wife on his Instagram page. In David’s words: “She gave me the two most precious things in this world. If I could go back and change things ... I wouldn’t." David’s priority will always be his children as he reflects, "They are my world and if I didn't have them, I don't know what I'd do." David believes the most important lesson he is teaching his kids is for them to be proud of who they are, and he’s doing that through modeling and living his own life as a proud, single gay dad.

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