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Parents

15 LGBT Parents Share The Story Of Building Their Family

Parents are born in so many ways.

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1. "We wanted this baby to somehow have both of our bloodlines, but thought it was impossible..."

Instagram: @noahsgoneexploring

"My wife and I wanted a baby for so long. We wanted this baby to somehow have both of our bloodlines, but didn't think it was possible until I called my brother, Danny. His words were 'Sis, why would I not give you this gift? You helped raise me, I turned out well. You're an amazing godmother to my child and want you to have this gift too.'

"Noah, our son, is thriving. He just had his nine-month checkup, took his first steps, and can say four words already. He claps and throws balls and is just a happy baby. What seemed like an impossible dream is my reality. Each day I am grateful and thankful for the gift my brother gave us. My son. I could never give him something as amazing, but a lifetime of gratitude.

—Mal Vasquez, Facebook

2. "I realized I wasn’t just going to wake up pregnant."

Michael Bellavia

"I’d always promised myself I’d be a dad by the time I was 40. By 41 I realized I’d

been a self-indulgent gay and that I wasn’t just going to wake up pregnant. I pursued adoption first and completed the certification process but I still felt that

biological tug. I asked a single lesbian friend if she’d be interested in donating eggs. She agreed and I started the hunt for a gestational surrogate.

"After interviewing a bunch and some false starts, I found one who embraced the process: a military wife who was born in Iraq but now lived in San Diego with her husband and two kids.

"During the IVF process, my egg friend decided she’d like to be more involved. It wasn’t unexpected as I’d left the door open to co-parenting, which is like what a divorced couple does — except ours was by design. Oh, and during the process, my friend started dating another woman and they got married after same-sex marriage became legal.

"Now 10 months later, Dominik has no clue about the convoluted backstory to how he got here. He just knows that he’s surrounded by tons of love and, yes, a bunch of

gays who are gaga for him."

—Michael Bellavia, via email

3. "I've never been very good at the expectations set by straight people."

Casey Brown

"We started our family with the standard lesbian starter kit: legal marriage, anonymous sperm, and a gender neutral–named baby surrounded by handmade wooden toys. We ended our family with the same kit: amicable divorce, co-parenting with minimal drama, and 50-50 custody.

"I knew I'd be a parent, but I didn't know it would be like this. I didn't know that by being queer, I'd get to opt out of so many of the parenting expectations set up by straight people. I've never been very good at the expectations set by straight people. As a nonbinary trans divorced parent, my kid and I get to figure it out as we go. She's all princess and gender theory, so I'll let her lead. We'll be just fine."

—Casey Brown, via email

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4. "Our daughter was born and placed with us right before our wedding."

Studio-laska / Getty Images

"My husband and I started our adoption journey around the same time as our 10th anniversary, just as we were planning to get married. Our adoption social worker kept telling us that there was no way we would have a baby by the time we got married, and that we should plan our wedding, have a great time, and let the process work itself out. Of course, our daughter was born and placed with us right before the wedding, so our guest of honor was a beautiful 5-week-old. It made the day more special."

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5. "She had given birth to two beautiful little girls while in a previous relationship, but it was a huge bonus for me!"

Cassandra Zetta Photography / Via cassandrazetta.com

"I just happened to fall in love with the most amazing girl in the world. She had given birth to two beautiful little girls while in a previous relationship, which turned out to be a huge bonus for me! My life was completely changed when I became their mama. They don't know life without me and we make our blended family work. Crazy in love!"

—Megan Neal, via Facebook

6. "Our son was born a month early, so we rushed as fast as one can rush cross-country and were there late that evening of the day he was born."

Brent Almond

"Having kids was discussed early on in our relationship — like, EARLY early. But our careers were in full swing, so we focused on work and on us. As we got older and more financially secure, we moved farther out of the city, bought a home, adopted a dog — you know the drill.

"And since we hadn’t screwed up any of those things too badly, we finally felt ready to take the plunge into parenthood. We’d always known we were going to adopt, but didn’t know from where. International adoptions had gotten increasingly complicated, so we worked with a local agency for a while, then settled on one in Portland, Oregon that had worked with a lot of same-sex couples. Fast-forward (it was actually painfully slow) two and a half years — after home studies, social worker interviews, multiple trips to the doctor, and even our first attempt falling through — and we were finally matched with our birth mom. She had chosen us for many reasons, the most special of which was that she liked that we called each other 'husbands.' At the time, same-sex marriage still wasn’t legal in our state.

"Our son was born a month early, so we rushed as fast as one can rush cross country and were there late that evening of the day he was born. The hospital had set up a room for just the three of us — Daddy, Papa, and Jon — and it was the most intimate, harrowing, and wonderfully fulfilling thing I’d ever experienced. Holding my little boy for the first time was…indescribably precious."

—Brent Almond, via email

7. "I carried my wife's baby via reciprocal IVF..."

Jules Otarres

"This is what our path looked like: Surgeries and meds, meds, and more meds, but we have a beautiful 3-month-old baby boy now! We were lucky enough to get pregnant on the first try with reciprocal in vitro fertilization. This means I carried my wife's baby. He was born three months premature and has had a very tough road in the NICU (today marks 100 days), but hopefully we will be home soon. Getting pregnant was tough and his prematurity was tough but we wouldn't have it any other way. He is such a precious boy!"

—Jules Otarres, via Facebook

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8. "We have some great doctors here caring for us, and the enthusiasm they have for a transgender person to give birth is really extraordinary!"

Cory Hovland / Via facebook.com

"My partner is a transgender male and we have been together for nine years. Last year we decided to try to have a baby. After many professionals told us that we shouldn't bother trying due to the endometrial ablation he had at 16, he decided to go off the testosterone so we could try to conceive our own child. We are now at 17 weeks on into our pregnancy. We have some great doctors here caring for us, and the enthusiasm they have for a transgender person to give birth is really extraordinary! Hopefully, on or around Oct. 22, we will be proud parents of our first child!"

—Cory Hovland, Facebook

9. "We never thought we’d be able to have children since Florida always had a ban on gay adoption."

Via DesignerDaddy.com

"We never thought we’d be able to have children since Florida always had a ban on gay adoption. So, with years of preparation and many professionals/surrogate/donor/fertility teams/legal teams, etc. involved, we had our first child, Nate, via surrogate in California."

—Tony Fortier as told to Brent Almond

10. "Last November we welcomed our beautiful baby daughter into our blended brood."

Sy Taylor / Via Facebook

"My partner and I blended our families, as we both had children from previous marriages. Her daughter is 15, my two girls are 5 and 9, and last November we welcomed our beautiful baby daughter into our blended brood. She was conceived at home with donor sperm donated by a friend of ours (contracts were signed and exchanged) and all six of us are happy, healthy and love our crazy little crew."

—Sy Taylor, Facebook

11. "Before she started taking feminizing hormones, we decided to bank sperm while also trying to have a baby the good old fashioned way."

Rayes / Getty Images

"My partner is MTF trans, and before she started taking feminizing hormones we decided to bank sperm while also trying to have a baby the good old-fashioned way. We conceived in the last possible weeks before her new hormones really kicked in (and destroyed her fertility) and I'm now almost three months pregnant. We're aware of the challenges that we might face, but we're OK with it because we love each other and we know we're going to be the best parents we can be to our future child."

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12. "It sounds funny — I didn't think the turkey baster would work, but it did."

Chelsie Riehle Stephens / Via Facebook

"We had our son in 2014 by means of a sperm donor and turkey baster. It sounds funny and I didn't think it would work but it did. Our donor is a close friend of ours who is still in our son's life as his uncle. Contracts were signed before we conceived, and he has already agreed to be our donor for our next child."

—Chelsie Riehle Stephens

13. "Fertility treatments are not for the faint of heart..."

Nicole Ashley / Via facebook.com

"We became foster parents, and after parenting many newborns through fostering, we decided we wanted to conceive a child of our own. We are expecting our first child this November. We conceived via intrauterine insemination. Fertility treatments are not for the faint of heart and I couldn't have gotten through them without my wife by my side, and injecting my side nightly!"

—Nicole Ashley, Facebook

14. "We knew we'd never be the same."

Heather Lawson Gauvey / Via Facebook

"Seven years into our relationship, with a deployment to Iraq under our belts and one year of legal marriage, we decided it was time to grow our little family a little bit more. On Halloween of 2013 we found out we were pregnant on our second try of IUI. It seemed too easy and we we're ecstatic for a summer baby.

"A little over a week before our due date we went in for our last checkup. We happily hurried because for the first time ever I had overslept. We still arrived on time for our appointment and just like any other I gave my sample, checked my weight and blood pressure and all was on track. The doctor came in and began to use the mobile handheld ultrasound device to listen to his little heart just like the week before. But there was no longer a heartbeat. We hurried to the exam room and used the real deal ultrasound and there was our beautiful baby boy, Liam. Still, peaceful, and gone. He'd left us through the night with no known cause of death. We broke. We knew we'd never be the same. We're not. We still carry a scar on our hearts and we'll always remember him.

"In February 2015 we were pregnant again, this time we were due on Halloween thanks to IUI and our last donor sample. Perhaps a sign from our little Liam that he'd watch over our his little sibling. Oct. 5, 2015 we met our youngest son, Rowan. Beautiful, healthy, happy, and with a set of lungs that could clear a room. A little boy who was his own but favored his older brother. Our hearts could beat again with a love who was untouchable. Little Liam and Rowan made us mommies and we are so thankful to have them both touch our lives."

—Heather Lawson Gauvey, via Facebook

15. "As two single moms, neither of us thought we would co-habitate with a partner, let alone a partner with a child."

Kite Town

"We've got two girls from previous relationships, and as single moms neither of us thought we would ever co-habitate with a partner again, let alone a partner with a child. And yet here we are!"

—Kite Town, Facebook

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16. "He is the greatest gift we could ever have hoped for."

Photodisc / Getty Images

"My wife and I both knew that we wanted to start our family with adoption. As former teachers we shared a passion for young people and witnessed the impacts of children in foster care. After our first year of marriage we became licensed foster parents and received our son seven months later. He was six days old when we picked him up from the hospital. This past week we actually signed the official adoption petition and will finally be able to share our last name with our son.

"Our social worker contacted us after we signed the petition and said 'I'm so in love with you both! Our first purpose in life is to give love, to be loved, and to create more opportunities of love and that's you.' We are looking forward to the adventures ahead and to continue growing our family through adoption."

rashaundal

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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