Gay Dad Life

Tot Locked and Loaded

This is the 13th article in Jason P’s series about Foster-Adopt. To read the first in the series, click here.


Between the time we completed our first three-hour home study interview as a couple and our individual interviews with the social worker, we began to modify our home to meet foster certification requirements.

I’ll be honest – the very first time I heard that we would be required to “lock” any cabinets or drawers which contained medicine, knives, chemicals and/or alcohol, I had this vision of having gigantic, over-sized master locks securing all of our cabinets and wondered how in the world this environment could ever allow a child to feel comfortable in our home, much-less, part of our family. This isn't an exaggeration - I seriously envisioned large silver and black dial-turning master locks securing our steak knives.

“Your Honor, please let this serve as evidence that never in my life had I ever imagined having children.”

Thankfully, a classmate asked if we were allowed to use Tot Loks, the infamous magnetic locking system that can be turned on and off, works wonders, but is a horrible, pain-in-the-ass to install.  And so I ordered them –  lots of them.

Wanting to ensure that no one would ever doubt our level of caution, I went Tot Lok-crazy and against Eric’s better judgment, I had them installed on nearly every cabinet in our home. From the laundry room to the kitchen to the wet bar, our home became one giant magnetic locking system. We were now officially prepared for either the worst natural disaster known to man or a child (or an invasion by wild orangutans who would be horribly frustrated by their inability to access our Benadryl or Drano or wine... or pretty much anything else in our house).

With our new first-aid kit fully loaded, our fire extinguishers on standby, our refrigerator lock box for medicine that must be kept cold tucked away nicely in the meat drawer and our bathroom lockbox for meds orangutan-proofed behind the Tot Locking system, we cruised through our individual interviews.

The series of questions in the one-on-one setting seemed more like an interrogation, which felt entirely appropriate at this point. The focus was now on discovering who we really we. What made us tick? Who made us hurt? What life-events turned us into the people we are today?

Going into this process I had thought that one of my biggest attributes was going to be that I had lost both of my parents by the time I was 32. I thought this would help me relate and understand and that this would be a valuable tool for me to help a child suffering loss. But what I found instead was that this experience was actually a concern.

The social worker asked me how I coped, how I grieved and if I was still grieving? "How did you deal with your loss," she prodded. Would I reflect any issues I might still have about losing my parents on to my child? Ah, another one of those unexpected but perfectly clear reminders that this isn’t about you - it's about the child.

Next came questions about Eric - a test of sorts. How well did I really know him? What was his family was like? His temperament? His emotional state? What drugs has he done? How much did he drink? What happens when …

Knowing that they would match my answers against his about himself, I began to worry that we might get some of these answers wrong. Was there something I didn’t know? Was there anything he forgot to tell me or that he needed to tell me but didn’t? After so many years together, did we really even know each other? What if the social worker saw something that we did’t?

Anxiety once again reared its ugly head. Were we really doing this? Was this the right thing? Or should we stop and just say it wasn’t for us? We expected that after a while this feeling of anxiousness would fade, but instead we reached the most unexpected point - the part where the hurt set in.

To read Jason P’s next post in the series, click here.

+ Photo credit: flickr, Rain0975, 20120127-IMG_2188

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Gay Dad Life

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

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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!

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

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"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."

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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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