Within an hour of meeting one another and chatting, two young men realized they shared a dream: becoming dads one day. During the next three years, they worked hard to realize that dream, earning and saving enough money to afford the expensive adoption fees. How did they do this? They flipped houses! Meet the gay dads who call themselves the Property Gays.
A Novel Way to Save
Josh was a credit strategist and Joey was working at Carvana when they met on a gay dating app in July 2013. They started messaging each other; then they began speaking on the phone. On their first date, two days later, it was a kiss that sealed the deal – one that Joey describes as "something straight from a movie." Everything happened in quick succession after that kiss: They professed their love for one another, exchanged keys to their apartments and within months they even made wedding plans. August 30, 2017 will be their third wedding anniversary!
For Josh, 32, and Joey, 31, becoming dads was the next obvious step, and they already knew that they wanted to pursue adoption. Now they needed to make sure they had saved enough money to cover the adoption fees. They began the adoption process in May 2015, just after they sold their first home to help raise capital.
Kitchen renovation in one of Josh and Joey's projects, before and after
Despite neither of the dads-to-be having much experience of renovating prior to 2015, both had a passion for interior design. Josh is also a licensed real estate agent (since 2010), so he'd had quite a bit of experience in the field from working with clients. Over the next two years, it became a secondary business for them as they honed their skills; Josh initially was more the designer and finder of the homes, but now Joey began to take on that role as well.
In the past 18 months, they have purchased, renovated and sold three homes!
People often say that flipping houses is very a stressful pastime. So, how did a newlywed couple handle the stress of buying, renovating and selling, AND the adoption process?
Living and dining room renovation in one of Josh and Joey's projects, before and after
"Alcohol. Kidding, not really," shared Joey. "We definitely have had our moments of pure frustration and anger but we know there is light at the end of the tunnel. It allowed us to make a significant amount of money in a short period of time to afford the big chunk of money we have to put down towards adoption costs."
They knew that their hard work would pay off and get them closer to their dream of having a family.
On the Road to Adoption
Soon they signed with LifeLong Adoptions in California, an agency specializing in LGBT adoptions. The agency connected them with a birth mother not long afterwards, but despite their best efforts the adoption didn't happen. Ultimately, the mother decided to keep her child. It was a difficult time for Joey and Josh, because despite the agency's warnings, they had already grown very attached.
Joey (left) and Josh with Myles
But things seemed to work themselves out, eventually. In February 2016, they were matched again, to a birth mom in Alabama. The next three months were frantic as the dads-to-be were moving into their next home, and trying to build a relationship with the birth mom, Ashley*, who was on methadone and required daily trips to the clinic. In order to prevent unnecessary stress to the birth mother and the baby, the aspiring dads paid for all those trips. For a while, the birth mom's boyfriend claimed to be the baby daddy and tried to extort Josh and Joey for more money. That paternity claim, thankfully, was false, and so the problem vanished, although it nearly came to a breaking point when Joey and Josh wondered whether to continue this journey with this birth mom.
It was Ashley who knew that her child was going to have a better life with Joey and Josh, and for that reason she never wavered from her decision for them to adopt.
Daughter Myles was born five and half weeks early, on May 25, 2016, after a death scare. Ashley's placenta erupted and Myles was born 32 minutes later by an emergency c-section – Ashley and her unborn baby almost died! Fortunately, Ashley and Myles recovered quickly. And there was more good news: Myles showed no typical methadone withdrawal or side effects. When Myles was born, Joey decided to become a full-time dad. The adoption was finalized September 2016.
Despite being close with Ashley during the last four months of the pregnancy, Joey and Josh have lost contact her recently. They know she is going through a difficult time and are ready to reestablish a relationship with her when she's ready. Ashley has entered rehab and has been struggling since October. Josh and Joey wish her the best. They remain close with Ashley's sister who is currently caring for two of Myles' brothers and they are thriving under her care.
Ready for More Kids?
Today the gay dads are in their fourth house, and might be in their fifth house come spring. They have also taken steps to adopt again. This time they're using Adoption Information Services, an agency closer to their home in Atlanta, Georgia. Although they recommend LifeLong Adoptions, both Josh and Joey wanted to try an agency close enough to make face-to-face conversations possible. Moreover, this agency acts more as a third party to help alleviate some of the more difficult steps of the adoption, such as the revocation period. For Myles' adoption, there were five very stressful days when Ashley could have changed her mind about the adoption. Now, their new agency works only in states where the revocation period is 48 hours.
"We do want more children," said Joey. "I think four would be an ideal number, but we are taking a break after two. In the future we would like to try surrogacy, but if that is not an option, we will definitely adopt again."
Bathroom renovation in one of Josh and Joey's projects, before and after
From their very successful side project of flipping homes, they have been able to fund one adoption and have started their second. The dads admit the drawbacks of flipping homes is definitely the stress of moving and packing, but both agree that nothing beat renovating a home and then living in it. Sure, there have been times that they just had to walk away from one another. Moving everything you own to a new house is hard. They also have three dogs, five fish and a baby. Sometimes moving becomes even more challenging when the new house doesn't have a functioning kitchen yet! However, the happy ending to their emotional roller coaster of an adoption journey makes every low bearable and every high more incredible.
Josh and Joey are so proud and excited to be Myles' Dada and Daddy first, and the Property Gays second.
*Ashley is not the birth mother's real name.