Personal Essays by Gay Dads

We Gained a Son Through Foster Care — He Didn't Lose his Family

Foster-adopt expert Trey Rabun writes a moving essay about his own experiences as a parent in the foster care system.

My husband, Phil, and I talked about having children since out first date over 11 years ago. Like many other gay dads, we waited to start the journey to become parents until we felt secure with our careers, finances, and home life. This meant we didn't start the partnering journey until 2016 when we were eight years into our relationship.

When we first met, I was completing my graduate studies in social work and subsequently started a career working in foster care and adoption. This made our decision to pursue foster care-adoption as our path to parenthood a fairly easy one. In fact, I can't recall us discussing other avenues to parenthood, but I'm sure we briefly discussed them before solidifying our decision to become foster parents.


We submitted the application to become foster parents around Christmas 2015 and were officially licensed in early 2016. We got licensed quicker than anticipated, so we went on hold to finish getting our lives ready for a child and to take our baby-moon trip to Europe!

We started to receive placement calls and e-mails in June 2016, and in July 2016 we were placed with a cute 15-month boy. After experiencing the crazy ride that is foster care, he would eventually become our forever son. I was planning to take three months of parent leave and Phil was going to take a few weeks off, but just as we were getting into our groove we got a call ten days into placement telling us the court ordered a move to a relative and that a social worker would be coming to our house in a few hours to pick him up. We were devastated and heartbroken…we had no idea you could fall in love with a child so quickly!! However, we knew that it was in Reggie's best interest to live with family and a relative he had lived with prior to us.

A few months later we ended up taking placement of 4-month-old baby who was with us for three months, before going back home to his parents. We knew early on this baby would be going back home, which made it a bit easier to plan for emotionally, but once again we were very sad to see him go after three months. However, we were able to get to know his parents and knew he was going back to a good situation, and we were genuinely happy for them. His parents even offered to write a reference for us when we did end up adopting, which was very touching and humbling.

We took a few months off from fostering to heal from having two sweet, little ones leave our home and had our trip to Palm Springs all booked when we received a call asking if we were interested in having Reggie return to our home. We immediately cancelled our trip and began preparing our home to welcome back the now-almost-two year old. This time, he was considered a long-term placement, and we quickly became the identified pre-adopt home if the state was unable to return him to his to parent(s), or find a relative interested in being an adoptive home.

Our son has Native American heritage so the Indian Child Welfare Act applied, which meant his tribe was continually seeking to find a tribal placement, but they ultimately couldn't find a viable home. After several conversations and an agreement with the tribe that we could keep our son connected to his culture, the tribal elders voted to approve us as the adoptive home for our child! This was yet another humbling moment in the journey.

It took about a year from the time parental rights were terminated until we finalized the adoption in June, 2019 of a now 4-year-old boy! The adoption occurred the Friday of Seattle's Pride which made for a fun weekend to celebrate family 😊 We have thoroughly enjoyed our almost three years of getting to love on Reggie. He is the silliest, kindest, and brightest kid in the world and we are truly lucky the universe brought us together! We look forward to a lifetime of guiding this awesome little person into adulthood and beyond.

It's no surprise that it was our goal to eventually adopt. But, we also became foster parents to help children return home and tried to keep this spirit at the center of what we did. Even though Reggie had very limited contact with his birth parents while in foster care, this spirit meant doing what we could to keep him connected to extended family members. Over the past few years we've gotten to know his grandma, aunts and cousins and we're proud to call them part of our family now, and vice versa. We've also recently met his birth dad and look forward to getting to know him over the years to come. And just because we get the honor of gaining a child, it doesn't mean little man has to lose his family. I'm sure it won't always be a smooth ride navigating these relationships, but it's worth it for Reggie to have these relationships and know his whole story. We hope to connect with maternal relatives at some point too. We take the responsibility very seriously to keep Reggie connected to his Native American heritage and plan to visit his the side of his family who lives out of state near the tribe's reservation.

Our biggest advice to other gay dads considering foster-to-adopt is to be patient and to focus on being there for children in the moment and not solely focus on the end goal of adoption. Between the paperwork and home study process, and potentially having multiple children placed in your home before adopting, the process can be very lengthy! It also comes with lots of ups and downs, but the ups far outweigh the downs. Having a child placed in your home and then reunify with family is one of the emotionally hardest things to experience, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and it ultimately brings you closer to your partner. We take great pride and fulfillment knowing we were able to support a family who is struggling and this feeling helps you get through the many unknowns as you wait to see what the permanency outcome will be for the child in your home!

We are keeping our foster license open, but taking a break from any placements through the end of year to enjoy our current family dynamic and figure out what future fostering journeys makes since for our family!



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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Just Like Dad: Ways My Kids and I Are Alike

Joseph Sadusky recounts the ways he and his adopted sons are cut from the same cloth.

Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about my life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

"Rollercoaster and Sons," Explores the Journey of One Single Gay Dad Through the Foster-Adopt System

When it comes to the foster-adopt system, "there is no roadmap," said single gay dad Chase Turner

Guest post written by Chase Turner

Many of us thought long and hard about what avenues were best to pursue being a dad. For me, fostering to adoption was the selected road. There is no roadmap here, many things that came my way were learned by doing. Along the way, I started wishing I had a better support group or people who could understand what it's like to be gay and attempting to adopt. Often we (people who are LGBT) feel scrutinized and judged for choices that the majority makes but for us there is pushback. Once my adoption was complete, I felt it was necessary that I put pen to paper and write this story, from a gay male perspective.

My goal was to provide a voice in the space of foster care and adoption where there is a void. Additionally, I wanted to provide an authentic look at all facets of the process, from the kids, to the obstacles and challenges that happened within my personal life. I do hope you enjoy and more importantly can relate or prepare yourself for a similar journey.

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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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These Dads Had 'Twins' — Just Four Months Apart

Angel and Dan's wanted twins, without the complications of a twin pregnancy — so they worked with two separate surrogates at once.

If you have ever been out late on a Saturday night, you may have high hopes of meeting a handsome stranger, but you probably wouldn't expect to meet your future husband. Angel Mario Martinez Garcia, 45, surely didn't when, five years ago on a very early Saturday morning in Barcelona, he casually approached Dan's Mouquet, 40, and asked him, over many gin and tonics, what he wanted out of life. The nightlife setting notwithstanding, Dan's told Angel he ultimately wanted a quiet life, with a partner and children.

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Politics

Gestational Surrogacy Legalized in New York State

The Child-Parent Security Act, which legalizes commercial surrogacy in New York State, was included in the 2020 New York State Budget signed by Governor Cuomo

Yesterday, a years-long battle about the state of compensated gestational surrogacy came to an end in New York when the Governor signed into a law the Child-Parent Security Act in the 2020 as part of the state budget.

The effort stalled last year after opponents, including several Democrats, successfully argued that the bill didn't go far enough to protect women who serve as surrogates — even though it included a surrogate "bill of rights," the first of its kind in the country, aimed at ensuring protections.

"Millions of New Yorkers need assistance building their families — people struggling with infertility, cancer survivors impacted by treatment, and members of the LGBTQ+ community," the Family Equality Council said in a statement about the victory. "For many, surrogacy is a critically important option. For others, it is the only option. Passage of the Child-Parent Security Act is a massive step forward in providing paths to parenthood for New Yorkers who use reproductive technology, and creates a 'surrogate's bill of rights' that will set a new standard for protecting surrogates nationwide."

Opponents, led by Senator Liz Krueger, had once again attempted to torpedo legalization efforts this year by introducing a second bill that would legalize surrogacy in New York, but also make it the most restrictive state in the country to do so. "A bill that complicates the legal proceedings for the parents and potentially allows them to lose their genetic child is truly unfortunate," said Sam Hyde, President of Circle Surrogacy, referencing to the bill's 8-day waiting period. He also took issue with the bills underlying assumptions about why women decide to serve as a surrogate. The added restrictions imply that "they're entering into these arrangements without full forethought and consideration of the intended parents that they're partnering with," he said.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, an out gay man who became a father via surrogacy, and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who has been public with her experiences with infertility.

"My husband and I had our two daughters through surrogacy," Holyman told Gay City News. "But we had to travel 3,000 miles away to California in order to do it. As a gay dad, I'm thrilled parents like us and people struggling with infertility will finally have the chance to create their own families through surrogacy here in New York."

"This law will [give intended parents] the opportunity to have a family in New York and not travel around the country, incurring exorbitant costs simply because they want to be parents," Paulin said for her part. It will "bring New York law in line with the needs of modern families."


Expert Advice

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Your relationship with your daughter may be shaped by your personal history, whether you've been through a difficult divorce or breakup, you've transitioned out of a straight relationship, or you made the courageous decision to pursue surrogacy on your own. Whatever your situation is, studies have shown that children with involved fathers excel more in school and have fewer behavioral issues in adolescence.

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