Gay Dad Life

These Two Dads are Their Daughter's Biggest Advocates

Seattle dads Richard and Brian met while playing rugby in San Francisco. They married on May 9, 2010, and have been together for 14 years. Richard, a United States Coast Guard, and Brian, a rugby player, always wanted kids. In 2015 they adopted their daughter, Emerson, through open adoption.


Richard with Emerson in a carrier, and Brian. Whistler, December 2015

Choosing a Path

Although Richard and Brian did look at other paths to fatherhood, their first choice was always adoption.

"Neither of us felt any burning desire to have a biological child, and providing love and guidance to a child that was already in need appealed to us," explained Richard and Brian.

They researched the different types of adoption and agencies, and were excited when they discovered Open Adoption Family Services (OAFS) in the Pacific Northwest.

"They embodied values that drew us to work with them," said the dads. "They were pro-choice, inclusive, diverse, and their priorities were centered around the birth family's needs, which included open adoption."

Richard and Brian's wedding, September 2010

Lessons Learned

After deciding that adoption was their preferred path, Richard and Brian began to take their next steps, beginning a thorough vetting process that all prospective adoptive parents must go through in the state of Washington. At first, they were resentful of the perceived "hurdles" when they saw how easy it was for most of their straight friends to become parents. They were good people, successful at their careers and financially stable---why were there all these barriers? But then they became thankful for their rigorous training.

"Confronting these issues forced discussion that at times delved into both the vulnerable and revealing," explained the two dads. "Unexpectedly, we discovered more about each other than we had in the 10 years prior. At the end of the journey our desire to be parents was emboldened and our approach on how we would parent together in sync."

At the end of a year's worth of visits and interviews, Richard and Brian felt ready for fatherhood.

Emerson is born, January 2015

A Baby Needs a Family

When they were first notified that a birth mother had selected them for placement, the excitement was tempered by the higher-than-average chance that the newborn could have some developmental issues, both physical and mental disabilities. Even though the dads knew that many adoptions come with these risks, they had always dreamed of holding a healthy newborn.

Faced with this reality, they needed to ask themselves some very real questions: Were they capable of raising a child with special needs? Would one of them need to quit their jobs and stay home full time? What would they need to sacrifice? In hindsight, Richard and Brian believe these questions could seem selfish and petty, but they needed to face reality.

After a lot of discussion, advice from friends and family, and many sleepless nights, they concluded that this child was going to need parents regardless of her condition.

"We were the ones selected in part because we had financial and logistical resources to give her a good home and could provide additional help if she needed it," they explained.

The goal of adoption was not centered around Richard and Brian becoming fathers, it was to provide what was best for this child. With that in mind, they jumped in with both feet.

Hiking August 2016

Having a Daughter

Now 2 years on, the dads say Emerson matches or exceeds her peers in every measure.

"She's teaching us so much about what it means to raise a daughter," said the dads. "In some ways, she's a typical little girl. In others she's a complete outlier. She loves purple and Frozen. but lights up when she sees airplanes and trains. At bedtime, she wants her grey Audi R8 car and her baby doll."

Due to the current political climate, Richard and Brian are even more fiercely proud to be raising a confident, strong girl who will be empowered to speak her mind and defend her convictions.

"It is imperative and urgent to raise a girl who believes the opportunities available to her are the same as the 2-year-old boy down the street," said Richard and Brian. "We've become more aware of society's outlook of girls and women and we want to ensure even at the toddler stage, she doesn't feel limited by her gender or singled out for having two dads."

Backyard fun, June 2016

Open Adoption

Both Brian and Richard are very close with their own immediate and extended families. Brian grew up within 5 miles of all his relatives in a small Kentucky town, and Richard comes from a large Filipino family. Their love and support is hugely important to them, and they wanted to ensure Emerson felt that, too.

"Her 2-year-old mind comprehends and loves Mommy while at the same time understands Dadda and Daddy are raising her," Richard and Brian explained.

Emerson sees her birth mom nearly every other month, and Richard and Brian share photos weekly. They believe their daughter's birth mother benefits greatly from this relationship and has no worry about the status or security of Emerson.

"Emerson's relationship with her mother and her birth family is not a threat to her relationship with us," said the two dads. "Her mother chose us to raise her and we, in turn, feel responsible, to do our very best."

Veterans Day, November 2015

Read more:

Simon Says: Don't Let Your Sexuality Hold You Back

Ellen Features Two of the Most Inspiring Dads We Know

Why This Dad Felt Relief on His Son's College Graduation Day

Show Comments ()
Gay Uncles

Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Need a Sitter for Your Kids? Gays With Kids Reviews UrbanSitter

Back-to-school is already here for some of us, and if you're looking for a sitter to help out with school runs, after-school pick-ups, and the occasional date night, check out our review of UrbanSitter.

Instagram @davidcblacker

We moved from New York to Boston the summer of 2017. Along with the Manhattan skyline, our beloved Broadway, and late-night cookie deliveries, we also left behind our sitters — two sisters who had become more like family.

After settling for several months into our new home and neighborhood, we realized we hadn't had a dads' night out since our move. Our kids were still too young to leave alone at night, so I began what I presumed would be the tedious task of finding a sitter.

The first thing I did was to leave a post on our local parents' Facebook group. The dad of one of our daughters' classmates told me about UrbanSitter, a website and mobile app that he'd had success using to find last-minute sitters a few times. He also mentioned that within the app, I could see see babysitters and nannies recommended by parents at our kids' school in addition to local parenting groups.

While I appreciated the tip, I let him know that I was really hoping for a direct referral. But when none others came from the — other than a couple of middle schoolers looking for their first sitting jobs — I decided to give it a try.

Keep reading... Show less

Move over Modern Family, there are some new gay dads taking over the small screen! Big Bad Boo Studios is bringing their animated series The Bravest Knight to Hulu. The series is based upon a children's book called "The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived" by Daniel Errico, and it follows the life of Sir Cedric - now grown and married to Prince Andrew - as he regales their adopted daughter Nia with tales of his knighthood journey as she trains to become a knight herself.

"We are so excited about The Bravest Knight, its values and our partnership with Hulu," said Shabnam Rezaei, the director of the series and co-founder of Big Bad Boo Studios. "They understand how to push the envelope with authentic storytelling."

"I immediately fell in love with the idea of a girl wanting to work hard and make something of herself," Rezaei continued. "I also have a nephew who has two dads, so it's a very personal issue for me. I want him to have role models when he's watching TV. I want him to feel like having two dads is completely normal. That's what this show is going to do for him."

Errico's book was first realized as an animation when Hulu created a short film based upon his writing and were interested in exploring the concept of a full series. "I watched the eight minutes on Hulu and at the end the prince and the knight get married and I was in tears," says Rezaei. Rezaei then stepped in to create all new art work including new character design by Tim Linklater and backgrounds by Sarita Kolhatra. Together, they created a kickass bible and pitched the series to Hulu and were successful.

Diversity and inclusivity is celebrated throughout The Bravest Knight, reflected by its casting choices. Nia is played by Storm Reid, from "A Wrinkle in Time," and her dads Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew are voiced by T.R. Knight and Wilson Cruz respectively. The star studded cast also includes Wanda Sykes, Bobby Moynihan, RuPaul, Steven Weber, Teri Polo, AJ McLean, Jazz Jennings, Maz Jobrani and Christine Baranski as the formidable Red Dragon.

"With so many wonderful stories yet to be told, we hope that The Bravest Knight stands as an example of the undeniable strength in inclusivity, and the inherent joy in all forms of love and identity," said Errico, the author of the original book.

The first 5 episodes were released on June 21, and there are 8 more planned for release before the end of the year. Be sure to tune in!

This is the Main Title Song for Big Bad Boo's Hulu Original Series "The Bravest Knight". The song is performed by Justin Tranter and composed by Michael Plow...

Fun

Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

"They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

Read the whole article on DPA here.

Change the World

Hungarian Company Raising Money for LGBTQ+ Organization with a LEGO® Heart

Startup WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is helping combat misinformation and prejudice in Central and Eastern Europe

Guest Post from WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD

WE LOVE WHAT YOU BUILD is an innovative startup venture that sells LEGO® parts and unique creations. The core values of our company include social equality regardless of gender identity or origin. As LEGO® is a variety of colors and shapes, so are the people.

We all know that LEGO® is a brand that nearly everyone knows and likes between the age of 3 and 99 so this gives a great opportunity to connect unique LEGO® creations and Pride. We started a fundraising campaign for a Hungarian LGBTQ+ organization who's aim is to bring people closer to the LGBTQ+ community, they help to combat misinformation and prejudice regarding LGBTQ+ issues in Central- Eastern Europe since 2000.

You might know that gender equality and the circumstances of LGBTQ+ people is not the easiest in the former communist Eastern European countries like Hungary so this program is in a real need for help. For example a couple of month ago a member of the government said that homosexual people are not equal part of our society.

The essence of the campaign is when one buys a Pride Heart, a custom creation made of brand new and genuine LEGO® bricks the organization gets $10.00 donation so they can continue their important work. This Pride Heart is a nice necklace, a decoration in your home, and a cool gift to the one you love.

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

Single Gay Dad Featured on Season Three of GLOW

Actor Kevin Cahoon joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting in Vegas as a single gay dad — and drag queen — on Season Three of the hit Netflix show

For a couple of years now, Hollywood has been obsessed with gay dad characters (and who can blame them?) But the latest show to get hip to a story line featuring gay man raising kids is Netflix's GLOW, which explores a female wresting troop in the late 1980s.

But GLOW is helping represent a gay character that rarely gets time in the limelight:the single gay dad. In Season three of the hit comedy — which stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, and Marc Maron — actor Kevin Cahoon joins the case as Bobby Barnes, a single gay father who plays a female impersonator. (80s divas only, of course — Joan Collins and Babs among them)


"I've never done female impersonation," the openly gay actor told OutSmart Magazine, "so I tried to learn really quick. You will know them all; I was very familiar with all of them. There were plenty of talk shows and performances on YouTube to study. I learned that their breathing was very informative."

A single gay dad AND drag queen on television? It's about damn time if you ask us.

Read the full interview with Cahoon here.

Politics

Utah Court Rules Gay Couples Can't Be Excluded From Surrogacy Contracts

The Utah Supreme Court found in favor of a gay couple attempting to enter into a surrogacy contract.

DRAKE BUSATH/ UTCOURTS.GOV

Earlier this month, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a same-sex couples can't be excluded from entering into enforceable surrogacy contracts, and sent a case concerning a gay male couple back to trial court to approve their petition for a surrogacy arrangement.

As reported in Gay City News, the case concerns Utah's 2005 law on surrogacy, which was enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. As a result, the content of the law is gendered, saying that surrogacy contracts should only be enforceable if the "intended mother" is unable to bear a child. When a gay couple approached District Judge Jeffrey C. Wilcox to enter into a surrogacy arrangement, he denied them, arguing that the state's law only concerned opposite sex couples.

"This opinion is an important contribution to the growing body of cases adopting a broad construction of the precedent created by Obergefell v. Hodges and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Pavan v. Smith," according to GCN. "It's also worth noting that same-sex couples in Utah now enjoy a right denied them here in New York, where compensated gestational surrogacy contracts remain illegal for all couples."

Read the full article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse