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Gay Dads

Gay Dads: Transitions to Adoptive Fatherhood

Abbie E. Goldberg
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 251
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  • Book Info
    Gay Dads
    Book Description:

    When gay couples become parents, they face a host of questions and issues that their straight counterparts may never have to consider. How important is it for each partner to have a biological tie to their child? How will they become parents: will they pursue surrogacy, or will they adopt? Will both partners legally be able to adopt their child? Will they have to hide their relationship to speed up the adoption process? Will one partner be the primary breadwinner? And how will their lives change, now that the presence of a child has made their relationship visible to the rest of the world?InGay Dads: Transitions to Adoptive Fatherhood, Abbie E. Goldberg examines the ways in which gay fathers approach and negotiate parenthood when they adopt. Drawing on empirical data from her in-depth interviews with 70 gay men, Goldberg analyzes how gay dads interact with competing ideals of fatherhood and masculinity, alternately pioneering and accommodating heteronormative parenthood culture.The first study of gay men's transitions to fatherhood, this work will appeal to a wide range of readers, from those in the social sciences to social work to legal studies, as well as to gay-adoptive parent families themselves.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-0829-3
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Gay Parenthood in Context
    (pp. 1-24)

    Carter, a 37-year-old teacher, and Patrick, a 41-year-old professor, lived in a midwestern suburb. They had been together for approximately 10 years at the time they began to consider parenthood. Before meeting Patrick, Carter had been unsure of whether he would be able to become a parent. He felt that he might have “abandoned that dream” when he came out. In contrast, Patrick had never considerednotbecoming a parent: “As a gay person there are so many things you can’t do and you just have to work around it. It is just one of those things. I knew that...

  5. 1 Decisions, Decisions: Gay Men Turn toward Parenthood
    (pp. 25-61)

    When I first interviewed Rufus and Trey, they had been waiting for a child placement for just a few months. They were both excited to talk about the adoption process; this was not always the case for couples who had been waiting for many months or even years for a child placement. Both fairly young (Rufus was 37 and Trey was 32), they conveyed a boyish excitement about their impending parenthood. As Rufus exclaimed, “I have always loved kids. . . . I just feel like I have a lot to offer.” Both men voiced a long-standing interest in parenthood,...

  6. 2 Navigating Structural and Symbolic Inequalities on the Path to Parenthood: Adoption Agencies, the Legal System, and Beyond
    (pp. 62-94)

    Lars, a 36-year-old White man, and Joshua, a 40-year-old White man, had been together for 12 years when they began the process of adopting. They described a long period of “considering” parenthood before actually pursuing it, because it took several years for Joshua to match Lars’s level of commitment and enthusiasm. Various life events, such as family illness, had also stalled them from initiating the adoption process. When they finally decided to move forward with adoption (having not even considered surrogacy), they found it easy to settle on going through the child welfare system. As Joshua described the decision, “It...

  7. 3 Engaging Multiple Roles and Identities: Men’s Experiences (Re)negotiating Work and Family
    (pp. 95-130)

    Sam, a 36-year-old White financial analyst, and Jake, a 30-year-old White doctoral student, were living in a suburb on the West Coast when they adopted their daughter, Hannah, via private domestic open adoption. Sam earned an income of more than $200,000 a year, while Jake made about $20,000 as a teaching assistant at the university where he was working on his doctorate. In explaining their decision to have Jake stay at home part-time while continuing to work on his degree, both men agreed that it “just made sense” from a financial standpoint. But they both also agreed that Jake could...

  8. 4 Kinship Ties across the Transition to Parenthood: Gay Men’s Relationships with Family and Friends
    (pp. 131-166)

    Henry and Luis, both aged 45, had been together for just about two years when they began the process of adopting a child. Henry, who identified as half-Spanish, was self-employed as a physical therapist, and Luis, who identified as Cuban American, worked as a surgeon at a local hospital in the Northeast metro area where the couple lived. At the pre-adoption interview, they both described themselves as “fairly close” to Henry’s family, including his mother, father, and sisters. As Luis noted, “His family, his sisters, and nieces and nephews are all . . . as supportive as anyone can possibly...

  9. 5 Public Representations of Gay Parenthood: Men’s Experiences Stepping “Out” as Parents and Families in Their Communities
    (pp. 167-192)

    The 38-year-old Daniel and 39-year-old Vaughn, both White, were living in a rural area in the Northeast when they adopted Miri, an African American baby girl, via private domestic adoption. Out in public, both men noted that they felt somewhat more “out” as parents, in that Miri’s presence served to clearly identify them as a family—and, in turn, to bring attention to Daniel and Vaughn’s status as acouple. They were both pushing her stroller, feeding her bottles, and wiping her nose, and this made it obvious that they were both her parents, and, by extension, that they were...

    (pp. 193-202)

    Gay parenthood represents just one example of the new family forms that are emerging in today’s society. Single-parent families, adoptive families, multiracial families, and complex co-parenting arrangements (e.g., a lesbian couple and a gay male couple; a single woman and a gay male friend, who is also the sperm donor) are just a few examples of innovations in family life (Kleinfield, 2011). As we have seen, the stories of the men in this book reveal insights into the “doing of ” and the “living in” creative and new family forms, particularly families that deviate from the heterosexual two-parent family ideal,...

  11. APPENDIX A: The Larger Study
    (pp. 203-204)
  12. APPENDIX B: Procedure
    (pp. 205-206)
  13. APPENDIX C: Interview Questions
    (pp. 207-210)
  14. APPENDIX D: Participant Demographic Table
    (pp. 211-214)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 215-218)
    (pp. 219-232)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 233-234)
    (pp. 235-235)