Gay Dad Life

Two Dads, Five Foster Kids

Names: Mikkel Short and Bailey Shake

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Relationship Status: Engaged. We'll have been together 6 years this Christmas. We were married June 30, 2015.

Occupations: Mikkel is a physician connectivity consultant with Humana. Bailey is a stay-at-home dad with the kids.

How Many Kids Do You Have? Five kids, ages 2, 3, 4, 7 and 9.

What Does They Call You? Mikkel is "Dad" and Bailey is “Daddy."


Where and how did you and your fiancé meet? The first time we saw each other, we ran our carts into each other at the grocery store on accident. We saw each other there again the next week and joked about it. Exchanged our numbers, the next week added each other on Facebook; and the romance began

Tell us about your path to parenthood. Did you consider other options? After 3 years together we started the conversation of children. I didn't think Bailey would be ready since he was in his early 20's but I was in my 40's and the clock was ticking. A year and a half later we went to a Foster Parent orientation at Benchmark Family Service. We instantly knew after leaving that this was the right thing to do and the right time. 34 days later we were licensed and our home was open and ready for babies!

What obstacles did you face on your path to fatherhood? We wanted to be the perfect parents and do everything right. Like a picture perfect family. We quickly learned that as brand new parents with no experience; and 5 kids, that "perfect parenting" wasn't an option. We had too much to learn!

How has your life changed since you became a father? Let's see, we haven't been out to a club in 14 months. And thats OK! Weekends at home a cooking out and family walks are the new norm and we love it. We barely sleep more than 5 hours, as someone is always coming into the bed at night from a bad dream. It's adorable.

What have you learned from your children since you became a dad? That the littlest things to us are the most important things to them. A bed time story, playing blocks on the floor, having a picnic on the deck for lunch, hanging pictures that they color up on their walls. These are all amazing memories to little children. Especially those who have come from a horrible background of trauma with their biological parents.

Was there ever a moment that you or Bailey experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself? We are often asked by friends and family "why on earth do you need 5 kids"? It's an easy answer. It's not that "we" need the kids. It's that the kids need us! There are over 7,000 children in the system in Kentucky alone. These children have been sexually, physically, and verbally abused. They have started off their lives in this world in such a horrible place, a place that many adults will never experience in their lifetime. There have been many times we have lay in bed, asking ourselves, "is everyone right, do we need five kids"? They answer is yes! We have the ability, the drive, the love, and support to do it so we will continue to do it. We will continue to love shelter and teach as many kids as possible throughout our lifetime. Every child deserves a loving home.

Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation? Not for a single second! I love and support that we have received from my friends and family has been overwhelming. Far more support than we ever dreamed. We have family cookouts on the weekends with 12 to 20 people. Our friends perform talent shows in the backyard to entertain kids. They will come over and take them out for lunch dates and quality time. Our parents treat them just like they would any of the other grandchildren in the family. It's been such a wonderful experience and we are truly blessed to have this much support from family friends in the community! Especially the community. Not once has anyone ever made us feel anything other than love and support everywhere we go. And traveling with seven of us, you tend to get a lot of attention. Whether it's at Home Depot, target, the pet store, Kroger; we feel like Beyoncé traveling with her squad!

Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Hopefully we will be adopting two of the children that we have now. We are in the process of this now in the court system.The other three children we have hopefully will be returning home sometime in late summer. After that, we will simply continue to foster more children. Our main goal is to adopt two, then continue to foster until we're old and gray. Our goal is to change hundreds of lives over the course of the next 20 years. And to keep in contact with these children as they grow up and then have their own children!

What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering foster-to-adopt? Do it! There are so many children in need. These agencies LOVE to have same sex couples. Your Family dynamic does not determine your ability to love and protect children. We now live in a time where to dads or two moms is the new normal. People are afraid to talk about it or embrace it. And the children, they could care less. They don't care if it's two dads or two moms. At the end of the day, all they care about is that there is someone there to love them and protect them. Please don't be afraid. Call your local foster family service agency. That's the first step; and from there you can determine if it's the right program for you. I would also suggest reaching out to people who are already foster parents. They can tell you the good the bad and the ugly. What to expect . It's not always picture perfect, there are days I find myself out in the garage crying alone, stressed out, and wondering what the hell I'm doing. lol But there are many many more days that I lay beside my children and cry, feeling so blessed that I have been given this opportunity to love these children and to be loved back ! I would not change his opportunity for anything in the world.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? It will change your life! In many ways. All good. but don't expect to live the exact same lifestyle as everyone else around you without kids. Sure you'll still have times where you go out on the weekends and have fun. You need those moments actually, you need to get away from the day-to-day routine and still be an adult that likes to go out and have a great time. Make time for date nights. It's critical that you maintain a happy healthy relationship with your partner. You NEED each other to be strong for each other. Parenting is hard! But it's even harder if both parents aren't in sync. Bailey loves to gym 5 days a week so I make sure he gets time for that. Just don't feel like every second of your life has to involve children. Remember; they are happy with the littlest things!

***Fill out this short survey for the opportunity to be featured in an upcoming family profile!***


Read More:

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

8 Ways for Dads to Find Work/Life Balance

Finding work/life balance is hard enough... but can be even harder for gay dads.

Having kids is an amazing part of life, and it should be fun. Life does tend to get in the way sometimes, and one huge aspect of that is work. Striking that balance between work and home life is tough. If you both work it's even harder.

And if you're a gay couple, it can have it's own set of problems above and beyond the standard work-life issues that people face. Recently, the Harvard Business Review conducted a study that focused specifically on the experiences of same-sex couples who wanted to make moves towards a work/life balance.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

'NolaPapa' Launches YouTube Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

Check out Erik Alexander's new YouTune Channel: Story of a Gay Dad

When we first found out that our second daughter was African American I froze. Not because of her race, but because I knew NOTHING about African American hair. So I frantically tried to learn as much as I could while she was a newborn so I was ready to style it when she was a little older.

I decided to launch our YouTube channel Nolapapa: Story of a Gay Dad to focus on this very topic! Episodes 1-5 will solely be dedicated to learning how to wash, care for and styling African American hair. Afterwards, the content will shift towards personal & family situations, adoption, gay parenting questions and other great content! I'd love your support and become part of our little village as we launch this new project!

Sending Nola love to each of ya!

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Encouraged by His Son, Single Dad Richard Started Dating Again — and Just Got Married!

After his 14 year relationship ended, Richard got a gentle push into the dating pool from an unexpected source — his son!

In 2014, Richard Rothman's relationship of 15 years ended, leaving him understandably reluctant to jump back into the world of dating as a single gay dad. But after spending one too many Friday nights at home, he got a gentle nudge from somebody unexpected —his teenaged son, Jonathan.

"Dad," Jonathan said. "Would you just get out of the house and go on a date already?" (You may remember wise-beyond-his-years Jonathan from this post that went viral of a tattoo he got commemorating his adoption day.)

On his son's encouragement, Richard started dipping a tentative toe back into the dating pool. In 2015, he met Kevin thanks to mutual friends that introduced them via social media. It took four months before Richard introduced Kevin to his son, who was a Sophomore in high school at the time.

On New Year's Eve in 2017, Kevin proposed while the couple was vacationing in Palm Springs. The city has an outdoor festival every year, he explained, which the couple attended. The band Plain White T's happened to be performing their hit "Hey There Delilah" as Kevin got down on one knee and proposed. "Now whenever I hear that song it brings back memories of that night," Richard said.

Richard and Kevin married on March 30, 2019 back at the scene of the crime — in Palm Springs, at the Frederick Loewe Estate. Jonathan was Richard's best man, and also walked him down the aisle (awwww.....). Kevin's brother Bobby served as his best man.

"As so many wonderful moments continue to happen for us in Palm Springs, we now own a home there in addition to our primary residence in Bentonville, Arkansas," said Richard.

Check out video from the couple's special day below!


And Jonathan is now an E4 Master-at-Arms in the US Navy.

Coming Out

My Gay Shame Is Officially Cancelled

After years of feeling ashamed of being gay, David Blacker has finally overcome it. And his son had a lot to do with it.

Scrolling through my social media feeds, reading all the posts about National Coming Out Day reminds me just how valuable it is for us to share our stories and be as open, vulnerable and authentic as possible. Warning: this article is about to get real AF, so now might be a good time to switch back to the Face-Aging app that gives Russia all your personal data.

Oh good, you stayed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Keep reading... Show less

Today is National Coming Out Day, and as we celebrate, we're sharing six coming out stories from dads in our community. Their personal stories are heartwarming, relatable, and empowering. Happy Coming Out Day, and remember, live your truth!

Keep reading... Show less
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Growing a Thicker Skin

Experiencing hateful and hurtful comments, Erik Alexander had to learn an important lesson: how to ignore the trolls.

Photo credit: BSA Photography

Twenty years ago when I came out, it was unbearably hard. As I have written before, I am from the Deep South. Anyone who dared to deviate from social norms was sure to be ostracized. It's not that these people were born hateful or mean; rather, it probably had more to do with them not being subjected to other lifestyles. Anything different from their own experiences sparked fear and confusion. Homosexuality, interracial relationships, religious differences – these were all unfamiliar territories to the average person I grew up around. Thus, growing up was particularly difficult.

I remember lying in bed at night when I was a little boy. I would pray and beg God to not let me be gay. Every single night I would end my prayers with "... and God, please don't let me have nightmares and please don't let me be gay." I remember crying myself to sleep many nights. I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I wanted God to cure me.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

10 Inspiring Coming Out Stories From Gay Dads

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our recent stories about gay men with kids coming out to live their most authentic lives.

Happy National Coming Out Day! To celebrate, we've rounded up some of our best articles of gay dads coming out to live their authentic lives.

#1. Former NFL Player Jeff Rohrer, and Father of Two, Comes Out as Gay and Marries Longterm Partner


Jeff Rohrer, a father of two teenage boys via a previous relationship with a woman, is the first NFL player to marry another man. Read the article here.

#2. Coming Out to His Wife Was Painful, Says This Salt Lake-Based Dad of Four. But it Started Him on a Path of Authenticity

After Kyle came out to his wife, with whom he has four children, "she listened, she mourned and she loved," he said. Read the article here.

#3. Gay Dads Share Their Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day

We asked several gay dads to share their coming out stories in honor of National Coming Out Day, whose stories are heartwarming, instructive, and everything in between. Read the article here.

#4. Gay Muslim Single Dad Writes Op Ed on His Path to Self Acceptance

Maivon Wahid writes about the challenges of reconciling three separate, but equally important, identities in an opinion piece for Gay Star News. Read the article here.

#5. One Gay Dad's Path Towards Realizing Being Gay and Christian are Not Mutually Exclusive

Gay dads Matt and David Clark-Sally talk about coming out, parenting as gay men, and reconciling faith and sexuality. Read the article here.

#6. Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay. Read the article here.

#7. How Coming Out Helped This Gay Man Find the Strength to Be a Dad

Steven Kerr shares the moment he came out to his ex-girlfriend. "From that moment on," he writes, "my strength and purpose have grown." Read the article here.

#8. Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. Read the article here.

#9. The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter

"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out. Read the article here.

#10. These Gay Dads Via Previous Marriages Have Adopted a Motto Since Coming Out and Finding Each Other: "United We Stand"

Vincent and Richard both had children in previous marriages with women; together, with their ex-wives, they are helping raise seven beautiful kids. Read the article here.

Fatherhood, the gay way

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

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse