Some Friends Fade, But Family is Forever



To excited first time parents to be, I would offer encouragement and well wishes, but a bit of sobering advice as well: Be prepared to lose some friends.  Most experienced parents know of this phenomenon, but for a couple reasons that I will go into below, I think this effect is felt even more acutely by gay parents.

Fact: I have lost more friends becoming a gay parent than I have coming out as gay in the first place.  I have always been a bit of a nerd and thus in grade school I wasn’t a popular kid, but I mingled with a group of similarly studious friends.  Two of my best friends, “Rich” and “Nick” remained tight with me even though we all went to different colleges.  When I came out of the closet in college, I was pleased that both of them were accepting of me and remained close friends well into adulthood.  Rich and Nick were in turn friendly when I introduced them to Josh.  Even though the three of us lived in different places, when we visited we would all hang out together like old times.  Nick would share about his girlfriend problems, and Rich invited Josh and me to celebrate his engagement and his wedding to his wife.  It was around this time of transitioning to a different phase of adulthood that Josh and I started talking about having children in earnest.  Just like Rich and Nick shared their major life events with us, Josh and I were excited to share about this endeavor with them.  Rich was clearly in a happy place in his life and was happy for us when we shared the news.  I distinctly remember calling Nick to giddily tell him about how Josh and I were going to California to look into gestational surrogacy and become parents.  My heart sank when he responded by saying, “Why are you telling me this?” In further discussion it became clear that Nick did not understand why we would ever want to have to children, and that he was not particularly happy for us.  I ended the rapidly deteriorating conversation and hung up the phone before it became an argument.  We exchanged superficial pleasantries at Rich’s wedding, and then we did not speak for about two years.  Around the time that we were planning AJ and JJ’s first birthday party, I received an email from Nick.  He was attempting to strike up a conversation and asked the question,  “What ever happened between us?” as if he was oblivious to how my feelings were deeply hurt.  I responded angrily that he knew very well what happened, and he again responded, this time stating openly what I knew to be the truth all along: He disagreed with the idea of two men raising children and felt it would adversely affect children to be raised in a non-traditional household.  In retrospect I feel that Nick was perfectly fine with the novelty of having gay friends that hung out in gay bars doing stereotypically gay things, but as soon as his gay friends decided to be real people and live their lives outside of a socially acceptable second class box, he became disapproving.

After AJ and JJ were born, many good friends, most of them gay, faded away more slowly.  In our first few years living in Florida, Josh and I had amassed a large group of gay friends.  Most of them had no interest in having children, but they were all very happy for us all the same when we announced that we were expecting.  We invited them all to a baby shower shortly before AJ and JJ were born and the party was very well attended.  After AJ and JJ were born, I appreciated that these friends continued to invite us to go out at night to the bars or have wine tasting parties in their homes.  Because we were busy with twin babies, we would either pass or try to send one of us out to have fun while the other stayed home with the kids.  Inevitably, the invitations became fewer and far between.  Unlike Nick, there have been no hard feelings involved, so I don’t fault these friends in the slightest.  Our unusual situation as gay guys with kids just didn’t fit into their social calendars neatly.  That’s okay.

Losing so many friends over the years both gay and straight, either suddenly or slowly over the years, I have only a touch of sadness.  In place of these friends, I have a large beautiful family.  These four children bring me unlimited and enduring joy and fulfillment.  We are beginning to make a few new friends as well. They are usually fellow parents, and often happen to be gay dads themselves, who seem to be more understanding of our priorities.  Reaching out online we have found some groups of like minded gay parents like the Handsome Father and Gays With Kids.  These groups do amazing and much needed work connecting gay dads around the country and offering support for our special family situation.

Everything I really need in life is right here.

Everything I really need in life is right here.

L’shanah Tovah!

This evening we celebrated the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.  Josh’s parents came over and we sang the blessings before having a meal including apples dipped in honey for a sweet year.  I am proud to have mastered brisket recipe shared from a coworker.  AJ and JJ loved the brisket so much they asked for second and third helpings until it was completely devoured!

A Chinese man made this brisket and the Jewish side of the family endorses it as legit

A Chinese man made this brisket and the Jewish side of the family endorses it as legit

In other news, AJ and JJ have started third grade.  They are matched with two teachers that work as a team this year.  One teacher focuses on math, the other focuses on reading and writing.  They swap classes in the afternoon, so AJ and JJ are working on the same things with the same teachers while separated through the course of the day.  A wonderful benefit from this arrangement is that the boys have the same homework sent home each day.  This is much less confusing for Josh and I to supervise, and all we have to do is make sure they don’t cheat off each other’s work.  The school year seems to have gotten off to a sweet start!

1st day of 3rd grade. Yes, AJ is wearing a pepperoni pizza backpack

1st day of 3rd grade. Yes, AJ is wearing a pepperoni pizza backpack

About MJ and DJ

MJ and DJ are our second set of twins born through surrogacy.  A few years ago Josh and I started talking about the idea of having more children.  We thought it would be nice to have a girl to break up all the testosterone in the house, and it would also be an opportunity for the non-donor partner from our last surrogacy experience to make a genetic contribution to our family.  Because of the economy and our finances at the time, international surrogacy seemed the way to go this time around.  We researched our options and decided to look into an agency and a clinic operating in India.

The next step in our plan was to travel to Mumbai, India to see for ourselves.  We visited the clinic and were presented with some options for prospective surrogates.  We personally met and chose to work with Pavitra because she was experienced having served as a surrogate previously.  Regardless of language barrier, we knew that Pavitra understood exactly what kind of process she was getting involved with because she had done it once before.  We knew that we would not have the close relationship with Pavitra like we did with our first surrogate, but the financial benefit for Pavitra and her family in India’s economy would be life changing.  The beaming smile on Pavitra’s face when she learned we had chosen her told us everything we needed to know.

When we did IVF in India, we asked for the doctor to transfer two embryos instead of the standard three because we were trying to aim for a singleton.  As fate would have it, two embryos implanted anyway and we had a second set of twins on our hands!  Because of laws against sex selection in India, we did not know the if we had boys, girls or both until their birth.  Baby girl DJ was delivered first via c-section and baby boy MJ arrived moments later.  MJ and DJ were born during a period of change in the surrogacy industry of India, and this complicated and prolonged the process that ultimately allowed MJ and DJ to come home to the US one month after their birth.  After we left, the door seems to have slammed shut for gay couples seeking surrogacy in India.  Thailand and Nepal have followed suit in the years since, and we do not recommend international surrogacy at this time.

MJ has a name that is the masculinization of Josh’s grandmother that died a few years before.  DJ is named after a pop culture icon.  It is a name I have been saving for my daughter since before AJ and JJ were born!  DJ is a bit of a fashionista.  She insists on choosing her own outfits out of the closet proclaiming them to be “cute!”  She is partial to clothes with her favorite characters Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty.  MJ has a voice that carries and honestly was singing before he could talk.  He started out with “ABC” and “Twinkle Twinkle” but has begun to branch out into singing along to pop tunes on the car radio.

Baby girl DJ on the left and baby boy MJ on the right shortly after their birth

DJ and MJ shortly after their birth

2nd Birthday cupcakes

2nd Birthday cupcakes



Married four times, won't let gays marry once.

Married four times, won’t let gays marry once.

I just want to take a moment to say, “I told you so.” Five months ago I posted about all the fuss with bakers and florists refusing to serve gays, and I predicted that the true dilemma would be government officials like Kim Davis, County Clerk in Kentucky, refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

After she turned same sex couples away, they filed suit along with the ACLU and asked for punitive fines, not jail time. Kim enjoyed free (and bad) legal representation from Liberty Counsel and proceeded to refuse court orders to do her job. She was quickly dismissed by the SCOTUS earlier this week and was thrown in jail for contempt of court yesterday after again refusing to issue licenses, or even to allow her deputies without moral objections to do so in her stead.

And now the conservatives have their darling martyr of the moment sitting in jail. She is surely raking in cash donations from sympathetic haters nationwide and will be laughing all the way to the bank as soon as she is released. I want the media to do a “Where Are They Now?” investigation on Sweetcakes by Melissa, Memories Pizza, and Kim Davis 10 years after their 15 minutes of infamy to see how holy they are living their lives after cashing in on hate.

About AJ and JJ

To replace my now obsolete page comparing international and domestic surrogacy, I have decided to put up pages about each of our two sets of amazing twins.

AJ and JJ are our first set of twins born through surrogacy in the Summer of 2007.  Up until their birth we took turns visiting the surrogate Marie in California to spend time with her and her family, as well as prepare for the arrivals.  Josh had in fact spent the weekend before they were born in California to attend the 32 week ultrasound and tour the hospital.  Josh returned to our home in Florida on a red-eye flight early Monday morning, only to get that fateful call Monday evening that the babies had decided to make an early arrival!  The boys were born premature at just over 4 lbs. each.  We both raced back to meet our boys in the NICU Tuesday morning and instantly fell in love.  Marie graciously agreed to pump breast milk to help the boys thrive in the NICU.  We spent several weeks camped out in an extended stay hotel close to the hospital shuttling breast milk to the hospital every three hours to help the NICU nurses feed and care for our boys.  I remember the NICU nurses fondly because they were so kind to us as a gay couple and helped teach us the basics of feeding, diapering, and not panicking when these fragile little babies starting crying.  The boys were discharged from the hospital after they had grown to 5 lbs., and we returned to Florida where our parenting adventure continued.

We tried to juggle AJ and JJ on our own for the first few months, but with some of the preemie issues they had feeding and apnea, we felt our sanity slipping by the Fall.  We met our wonderful nanny Pat, who has been a godsend for all of our children ever since. These preemie twin boys grew to have some typical speech delay issues, so they spent a year going to speech therapy before entering preschool.  They have flourished since, and AJ and JJ are now working their way through elementary school in the gifted program.  AJ and JJ have personalities that complement but sometimes clash.  JJ has a detail oriented approach to life, and has turned out to be an avid gamer just like his Papa (me!).  AJ is an easygoing kid and has distinguished himself as a bit of an athlete.  He enjoys basketball, bicycling, and swimming in the pool at our home at every opportunity.  They get along well most of the time, but their level of twin closeness naturally leads to occasional flareups as well.  I foresee them sharing a special bond as twins and in their special circumstance for many years to come.

AJ and JJ having their first encounter "on the outside" before discharge from NICU. BFF's ever since!

AJ and JJ having their first encounter “on the outside” before discharge from NICU. BFF’s ever since!

AJ and JJ - Summer 2015

Summer 2015 – AJ is on the left and JJ is on the right in both photos

For more on our story, keep an eye out for a page about our second dynamic duo DJ and MJ to be posted soon.  Our journey to become gay parents will also be featured in an upcoming book to be published early 2016.  For more details, check out