So you want to be a parent?
by Rob Howard
I came to being a gay father in a more traditional way – I was married to a wonderful woman. Together, we brought our son, Nathan into the world in 1976. Eight years later I came out, Nate’s mother and I divorced and I entered a life of being a gay father.
I have to say, being Nate’s father is, by far, the most significant – and satisfying – achievement of my life. You usually hear that from parents. Now that same-sex couples can get married across the country, and with same-sex couple adoption being allowed in every state, more and more same-sex couples are having children.
Female couples can have children by one of the pair having a biological baby. For male couples, that’s not so easy. But adoption is always an option and finding a surrogate mother to bear a biological child is also a possibility.
So what’s it like being a gay father? I’m not sure that there is a lot of difference in being a gay father or a straight one. We all want what is best for our children. We all want their life to be as easy as possible. We want him or her to maximize their achievement in their life.
I will say, having a partner to help raise your child certainly makes a difficult task easier. If you and your husband (or you and your wife) want to have children, there is a lot of stress involved and it’s just easier with two parents than one.
Being a parent is a full-time job. After all, you are training your child to have a good life. You have to make conscious decisions about a lot of things. And you need to go into it with your eyes wide open.
One of the most important is understanding what raising a child costs. Whether you have a biological child, or adopt one, bringing the kid into the family is expensive. According to Creatingafamily.org, the average cost of adopting through an agency is $42,300. Adopting through an attorney averages $32,000.
My best friend and his husband did a private adoption, and were lucky enough to have it cost only $7,000.
There is a federal adoption tax credit. In 2016 it was $13,460. You can carry the benefit forward for five years, which is a significant benefit, but if your adoption costs $40,000, you can only get part of it back.
Assuming you both work, because most couples do, the next big expense is daycare. My friends pay about $1,000 a month. The average cost of center-based daycare in the United State is $11,666 per year, but prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year.
But enough about what it costs. Once you get over the hurdle of how much it costs, you can enter into one of the most satisfying and difficult tasks anyone can do. The rewards are huge.
As your child grows, your relationship with him or her grows as well. In my case, there was never something that we could not talk about. There still isn’t. You can rejoice in their achievements in school, you can prepare them for life in our society. I learned more than I probably wanted to know about high school students and sex, but at least we could talk about it. And as an adult you can do neat things like travel together, or have great experiences together.
One of mine and Nate’s was going fishing in Alaska a couple of times. I discovered that he does a mean I Will Survive in karaoke. We both discovered that we liked fishing.
If you are thinking about having a child, I would say go for it. You will be forever glad that you did.
Copyright 2017 The Gayly - 6/18/2017 @ 11:52 a.m. CDT