Thursday, October 2, 2014

[Australia] "It's Time to Adopt Change" by Dr Simon Crouch

Friends and members of Gay Dads of Australia and Rainbow Families Council will be very familiar with Dr Simon Crouch's work on the health and well being of children from same-sex attracted parents (ACHESS). He is an amazing advocate for our families and he doesn't stop in speaking up for us.

Simon has just written a piece called "It's Time to Adopt Change" in respect of Adoption Rights for GLBTI people in Victoria in light of the fast approaching State election.

Please read and share this piece widely with family, friends and importantly your local member of parliament.

Bubbling along below the surface of this state election is an issue that is of major importance for some Victorian families. While it won’t determine the outcome of many seats, it speaks volumes about the social conscience of Victoria’s politicians, who have yet to join the growing list of states and territories that have legalised the adoption of children by gay and lesbian parents.

It is already legal in New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, and many Victorians might be surprised to learn that same-sex couples cannot adopt here in the Garden State. In rare circumstances, a same-sex-attracted single person can adopt a child who is already known to him or her, but many same-sex couples raising children in long-term foster arrangements, as well as same-sex step-parents, are in a precarious position. Their children, many of whom have only ever known a secure family environment with their same-sex parents, live with chronic uncertainty over what might become of them and their siblings if anything were to happen to their parents.

Continue Reading at Election Watch

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

[Thailand] "Surrogacy in Thailand: What option do gay dads have now?" - Nicholes Family Lawyers

Our friends at Nicholes Family Lawyers have recently posted a piece on surrogacy in Thailand and what options there are now for gay men in Australia.

With adoption waiting periods averaging 7 years or more and domestic surrogacy options being extremely limited, international commercial surrogacy arrangements are one of a few options available to gay dads to start a family.

Following the Surrogacy Law reforms in India, Thailand experienced a significant increase in the number of gay dads entering into commercial surrogacy arrangements in their country. However following the public outcry caused by the controversy surrounding baby Gammy, the Thai baby born through a surrogacy arrangement and allegedly abandoned post birth, the Thai Military government announced a crackdown on the Thai Surrogacy industry, including but not limited to precluding gay parents from engaging in commercial surrogacy.

Continue reading at Nicholes Family Lawyers.


Friday, September 26, 2014

[Australia] 2SER Interview Regarding Surrogacy and Gay Men with Rodney Chiang-Cruise

For some young couples making a baby can be extremely difficult, but for those who can't, finding someone to make one for you is another matter entirely.

Recent controversy around overseas commercial surrogacy has caused the Thai government to ban the practice for everyone other than relatives of the birth mother. And back in Australia, state surrogacy laws are confusing and outdated. So the situation is particularly dire for same-sex couples who have few other options to start their own families.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise, the co-moderator of Gay Dads Australia spoke to Mitch about the issues faced by same-sex couples searching for a child of their own

Listen Online Here

[Mexico] "Surrogacy boom in Mexico brings tales of missing money and stolen eggs" by Jo Tuckman

A report in the Guardian outlines some significant concerns with surrogacy in Mexico, particularly in view of the closure of the "Thailand Option".  An interesting read and important for anyone contemplating surrogacy in Mexico.

Five days after her caesarean section, Nancy boarded a night bus in the southern Mexican city of Villahermosa and made the 10-hour journey back to her home in the capital. Instead of a baby, she nursed a wad of bills buried in a blue handbag she never let out of her sight.

The cash was the final instalment of her 150,000-peso (£7,000) fee to be a surrogate mother for a gay couple from San Francisco. After a traumatic year that included being all but abandoned by the agency supposedly looking after her, and being falsely accused of demanding additional cash to hand over the baby, Nancy was not so sure it had been worth it. “I just wanted to get my money, go home, rest and forget about it all,” said the 24-year-old, sitting in her tiny apartment in a poor barrio of Mexico City. “And now the money is all gone.”

Nancy’s story says much about the southern Mexican state of Tabasco’s emergence as the world’s most dynamic new centre of international surrogacy, fuelled by the tightening of restrictions in other countries such as India and Thailand.

While some Mexican “surrogacy journeys” progress smoothly, there are horror stories of unscrupulous or mismanaged agencies stealing money and eggs, subjecting pregnant women to psychological abuse, and cutting corners on their payments. There is also evidence that many surrogates are recruited without rigorous screening of their mental and physically suitability.

Read More at the Guardian

Thursday, September 18, 2014

[USA] "Looking Back on Two Decades of Helping Gay Men Have Kids" by Dr Guy Ringler

Many gay dads in Australia will have had the pleasure of working with the very professional Dr Guy Ringler in the creation of their families.  Here is piece from Dr Ringler talking about his time helping gay men have kids. Enjoy!

This summer, I was finally able to legally marry my partner in our home state of California. After 14 years, it was fulfilling to be surrounded by family and pledge a lifelong commitment to the man with whom I'll spend the rest of my life. It's been a long road to marriage equality, and it seems we're still only halfway there.

For the last two decades I've been on another fulfilling journey with our community. It's made fewer headlines than our fight for marriage rights, but it's been so important for so many families just now finding that legal recognition.

Almost 20 years ago, I was approached by a young gay couple about having a baby through surrogacy. The future fathers wanted their child to share their genetics by combining the sperm of one partner with the eggs of the other partner's sister. Their neighbor had agreed to be their surrogate and carry the pregnancy.

This was new ground for me: I had never been approached by a gay couple interested in having a child through surrogacy. It was a new frontier for the entire reproductive community. In the early 1990s, same-sex marriage and family-building were pipe dreams, something not even fantasy movies would touch on.

At the same time, I was inspired. Even as a gay physician I had struggled with leaving behind the dream of having kids because I was gay. During that time, part of a gay man's acceptance of his sexuality had included giving up the idea of having kids. For both my parents and me, it was a hard truth to accept.

Then along came this couple with a vision for a family I thought wasn't possible. I was inspired, honored and impassioned to help these two young men build the family they so very much wanted.

Continue Reading at HuffPost

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[US] "Confessions of a Gay Dad: The Pressure to Have Two Kids" by Frank Lowe

An interesting piece from Frank Lowe (aka @GayAtHomeDad) in The Advocate. 

Before we adopted our son, we purchased a decent-size home that could theoretically house four kids and us. We used to tell people that we were going to adopt twice and then do surrogacy until we reached the magic number of four. People jokingly called us Angelina and Brad, and we agreed and laughed along with them. Then we adopted one child, and all of that changed.

In the beginning, we just enjoyed him as a baby and got used to our new addition. It was all very manageable. I met my group of mom friends and we scheduled fun play dates – which consisted of us sitting around drinking wine while the babies rolled around on a blanket. Adorable. Easy. Our son slept incredibly well for an infant, so I didn’t have to experience many sleepless nights (partially due to the fact that he was formula-fed). Really, the first couple years were a blast and a fabulous foray into parenthood. Then he hit two.

Continue Reading at The Advocate

[UK] "Parenting is parenting regardless of sexuality, says gay former Corrie star Charlie Condou"

Former Coronation Street star Charlie Condou has said that his family is just like any other despite its unconventional set-up.

The actor, 41, who played Marcus Dent in the Manchester soap, has a three-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter and is bringing them up with his boyfriend.

The children spend half their time living with their two fathers and the other half with their biological mother.

Condou tells the new Radio 4 documentary Same Sex Parents: "The fact is that parenting is parenting, regardless of your sexuality.

"When you're a parent, you keep your sexuality away from your kids.

"There have always been gay parents, but people tend to be more open about it these days."

Radio Times says that the actor tells the show: "All the children I know from same-sex families are doing really well.

"But I don't imagine that's got anything to do with their parents' sexuality. It's probably to do with all sorts of other things, just like any family."

Read More at Manchester Evening News

[USA] "Fear of Russia’s anti-gay laws keeps parents from seeing son compete" by Luke Decock

Jordan Windle, center with his adoptive father Jerry Windle,
right, and Jerry Windle's partner Andres Rodriguez.
Russia's anti-gay hate laws extend beyond their borders.  That is the problem with hate - it infects broadly.  But this is still a wonderful story about Jordan.

Watching on his computer screen from thousands of miles away, Jerry Windle saw his son Jordan follow the U.S. flag into the opening ceremonies for the World Junior Diving Championships on Monday. He could see Jordan smile, a message he knew was meant for him, that everything was OK, even though he wasn’t there.

It was as heartbreaking as it was comforting, because if it was anywhere but Penzi, Russia, Jerry Windle would be there. Instead, this modern family of two gay dads and adopted son will be apart during one of the most important weeks of Jordan’s life, out of fear of Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Jordan Windle, 15, is a potential 2016 Olympian who lives in Morrisville and trains at Duke. Jerry Windle adopted him from a Cambodian orphanage as a single father when Jordan was 18 months old.

Read more here

[USA] "You Don't Tell Your Friends You Have Two Dads?" by Ian Colvin

This is an interesting and sweet piece, that many of us "gay dads" can relate to.  Enjoy!

"No."

It wasn't the answer I was expecting. I asked again.

"You don't tell your friends at daycare you have two dads?"

"No!"

I had no idea how to respond.

Ever since our kids were born, we've tried to help them understand and be proud of the fact that their family looks a bit different than others. We've read all the bedtime stories: Daddy, Papa and Me, A Tale of Two Daddies and, of course, And Tango Makes Three. We've also joined a few gay parent groups so our kids could meet other families like theirs. But with two active kids, we don't always have time to attend "gay parent" get-togethers.

I asked one more time. "You don't?"

"No!"

I started to wonder if we'd made a mistake switching our son to a new daycare last fall. It was rated one of the top daycares in the community and right next to the elementary school our kids were going to attend. When we received a call that a spot was available, we had less than 24 hours to decide to take it. Maybe we hadn't thought it through completely.

Continue Reading at HuffPost

Monday, September 15, 2014

[USA] "US state of Wisconsin grants second same-sex stepparent adoption" by David Hudson

A lesbian couple in Dane County have been granted permission to adopt each other’s children – while a final decision is still pending from the US Supreme Court on same-sex marriage in the state.

Although same-sex marriage in Wisconsin remains barred for the time being, two judges in the state have granted adoptions that recognize the marriage of same-sex couples. Adoptions by same-sex couples have previously been illegal in the State.

A ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin was overruled in June when federal Judge Barbara Crabb said that the ban was unconstitutional. Over 500 same-sex couples rushed to take advantage of their legal ability to marry.

Read More at Gay Star News

[Australia] New South Wales - "Gay Dads NSW Father's Day catch up" by Ashley Scott

Ashley Scott
Gay Dads NSW
Ashley Scott from Gay Dads NSW sent us a short update on the recent Gay Dads Father's Day picnic in New South Wales.  Thanks Ashley!

Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us in Sydney for Father's Day. It was threatening rain all morning. We decided to risk getting wet and thankfully the rain held off.

The weather meant we had less Dads and children than we hoped for. We still had a great turn out of about 20 Dads and the same number of children.

Our community is very diverse and so was our group of Dads which is great. There were a few Dads with pregnant surrogates, some Dads with children born through surrogacy in India, Thailand and the US. As well as some Dads with their adopted children, and a Dad with his daughter who he co-parents.

The Gay Dad’s catch ups are a great way for Dads to share their stories and experiences with other Dads - a good opportunity to see old friends and make new ones.

It is also a fantastic chance for our children to make friends with other children who’s families look like theirs.

Hopefully the weather will be better for our Christmas get together in December. Keep and eye out for details.

[Canada] "Dads' Housework Inspires Girls' Ambitions" by Ann Lukits

This seems like important and interesting research for gay dads. It has a wonderful applicability to those gay male parented families who have female children.  What a wonderful by-product of our families if having male parents doing housework inspires or encourages our girls to aspire to careers and occupations outside the gender norms.

"Fathers Who Helped With Household Chores Were More Likely to Have Daughters Who Aspired to Less Traditionally Feminine Occupations

Fathers who help with the dishes and laundry may play an important role in shaping their daughters' future, suggests a study in the August issue of Psychological Science.

Researchers found that fathers who performed an equal share of household chores were more likely to have daughters who aspired to less traditionally feminine occupations, such as astronaut, marine biologist, geologist, police officer and professional hockey or soccer player.

Fathers who believed in gender equality and yet left most of the housework to mothers had daughters who favored more traditionally feminine careers, such as nursing, fashion designer, librarian and stay-at-home mom.

By pitching in at home, fathers may be signaling to daughters that they can expect men to help with chores, allowing women more time for work, researchers said.

From 2011 to 2012, researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, recruited 172 boys and 154 girls, ages 7 to 13, from a local science center and at least one of the 204 mothers and 140 fathers who were present.

The division of labor in each household and the attitudes of parents and children toward domestic chores were assessed with questionnaires. Children's career aspirations were assessed.

On average, mothers reported doing 68.2% of child care and housework, compared with 42.2% reported by fathers, but fathers spent twice as many hours at paid jobs. Both parents shared domestic chores equally in less than 15% of households. Two-thirds of fathers and 14.4% of mothers reported inconsistencies in their beliefs about gender roles and the example they set at the home.

Girls were more likely to envision themselves working outside the home, as engineers, paleontologists and medical researchers, for example, if both parents held less traditional beliefs. But it was the father's day-to-day participation in daily chores that predicted girls' unconventional career aspirations.

Boys aspired to traditional male careers such as surgeon, engineer and CEO, regardless of their parents' beliefs or the division of labor at home".

Read More at WSJ

[Australia] "Australian couples caught in Thailand's surrogacy crackdown" by Lindsay Murdoch (Sydney Morning Herald)

"Drama continues to engulf Thailand's surrogacy industry.

The country's military-dominated parliament has moved to legislate to stop the practice, except in cases involving relatives, after Fairfax Media revealed the plight of baby Gammy in August.
Officials from Australia and Thailand remain locked in talks on a transition process aimed at allowing more than 150 Australian couples  who have arrangements with Thai surrogates to take their babies home.

But Thai officials have warned Bangkok authorities will enforce a requirement  that foreign couples obtain a court order to allow them to leave the country with their babies, which could take months".

Read More at Sydney Morning Herald

[USA] First Look at New Independent Film "Paternity Leave"

There is a new film in the making called "Paternity Leave" that will likely appeal to many of us gay dads.  The film synopsis says: "Greg (Jacob York) finds out that he's pregnant with his partner Ken's (Charlie David) baby. Dumbstruck by the news, their relationship takes twists and turns through hardship and hilarity, while we're left wondering if they're going to make it through the most unexpected and difficult period of their lives together".

The films stars Chris Salvatore and Charlie David (from "the Cove"). Check out the trailer/short below.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

[USA] "Same sex couple raising daughter in modern day family" by Amy DuPont

"The National Council on Family Relations says kids who grow up in two parent households are more successful than children raised by single parents. The participate in fewer risky behaviors, do better in school, and as adults, typically earn more money. Their research doesn't say whether those benefits are the result of marriage or simply having two parents in the home.  

An Onalaska couple, who hopes to someday marry, believes they can raise a successful, loving child either way. 

Like most other 7-year-olds, doing chores doesn't top Olivia's list of fun things to do. Still, the Onalaska second grader knows taking on responsibility is an important part of growing up. So is being kind, respectful, honest, as well as brave. All of the things Olivia's two moms try to teach her to be.

After ten years together Tina Buchal and Kelly Konrardy wanted to grow their family of two to three. The couple thought long and hard about bringing a child into a same sex family. They worried about what a sometimes insensitive society would say to them, and more importantly to their child. The women believed they could be great parents. "We knew she would be loved," said Kelly. 

With the help of in vitro fertilization and a sperm donor, Tina gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Moments after Olivia's birth, the "what if's" of gay parenting seemed to fade away. "When you're a parent, you're a parent. You're not thinking throughout the day 'I'm a straight parent or I'm a gay parent.' We do have the same struggle and we're just trying to do the best we can." explains Tina.

Tina and Kelly split the duties of parenting equally. Both enjoy their alone time with Olivia as well as their time together. The couple says they have the support of relatives and friends and even their church. Olivia's young classmates also seem to accept this modern day family. "A lot of her friends don't even think about her having two moms as anything different because they might have a mom and a step-mom or a dad and a step-dad."
Still, there are some things love and acceptance can't conquer. Because Tina and Kelly cannot legally wed, the law doesn't consider Kelly Olivia's parent. Kelly is Olivia's guardian; not enough to guarantee Kelly keep custody of Olivia if something were to happen to Tina. "It's a pretty scary thing for me knowing we did everything we can do, but it might not be enough."

Just like every other parent, gay or straight, married or not, Olivia's moms are doing the best they can. "We know she will have struggles when she gets older, but if we give her that good foundation of love and confidence and bravery and that she knows she always has a safe place to come to, then you just kind of send them out."    

Gay marriage is currently illegal in Wisconsin. An appeals court overturned the law as unconstitutional in June, but the ruling has been put on hold pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court.  If gay marriage becomes legal in Wisconsin, Tina and Kelly say they would marry. Not only would their marriage make Kelly an equal parent in the eyes of the law, but the couple says it's important for their daughter to hear her moms make a public commitment to each other."

Read More at WXOW