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on July 2, 2003
David Strah's "Gay Dads" offers an insightful look into something that straight couples....and to some extend, Lesbian couples, often take for granted....the ability and option to bear and raise children. The term "Gay Dad", once seems to be an oxymoron, even within the Gay community itself; but the book spotlights a changing attitude among gay men toward fatherhood. It is something that IS possible, and should be embraced.
Strah profiled two dozen examples of gay men being father, many of which involves couples, with notable exceptions, like the gripping chapter "Safely Home". Strah (along with Susanna Margolis)detailed the problems these men faced in trying to be fathers. Each is a epic quest in itself, filled with Herculean obstacles.
The first obstacle is biologically and patently obvious; men can't get pregnant, and in real life, not all Wills have their Graces. This leads to many of the men in the book to adopt children, often outside of their own race. The biological barrier pales when compared to the second obstacle: being gay; which opens a Pandora's Box filled with cans of worms.
If "normal" straight couples are having a hard time adopting children, imagine what it is for a gay male couple. The book reveals that the process of adoption IS a bed of roses, complete with the thorns.
Even in the 20th century, attitudes toward men, particularly gay men, raising babies are enough to give adoption agencies and social workers pause, and not all women are willing to have their babies adopted by gay men, much less the babies' biological fathers.
The third obstacle, which would be interesting to see 15 years down the road, is how will the children react when they are old enough to realize their parents are not "normal"? This is a situation not helped when some of the kids are biracial and/or of a different ethnic background from their fathers. How will the world react to them and what bigotry and prejudices they will face along the way?
All the men Strah profiled related their own personal experiences in going through all these barriers. Strah saved the last chapter for himself and his partner. Upon reading them, a common theme ran through the book. If given enough courage, perseverance, persistence and conviction, anything is possible.
I recommend everyone, straight, gay, black, white, whatever, to read this book. It might be about Gay Dads but its themes of love, tolerance and understanding is universal and applies to everybody.
Those who are more close-minded will probably think this is a work of propaganda to promote the "gay agenda" by detailing only the good and ignoring the bad. Well, surprise!....Not all the profiles have hunky dory happy endings.
Overall it is an enlightening book, many of the people in it has taken steps in their lives which I can only dream about. The only gripe I have is that in trying to be as inclusive as possible of all the situations and scenarios, the chapters were rather short. Some stories are really full-blown biographies simply waiting to be explored into deeper details. Hey, who can't say the men who were profiled wouldn't go on to write their own books?
Ultimately, Gay Dads proves that unconditional love transcends race, gender, religion, and yes, even sexual orientation. Of course, the Sean Hannitys and Michael Savages of the world would disagree. But just see the black and white photos of the dads and their children. Look into the infinite joy and innocence in those eyes and faces. Isn't that what REALLY matters?
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on July 7, 2003
This book is an interesting collection of personal stories that explores the view of fatherhood through a gay man's perspective. David Strah, the author, looks at twenty five different situations, including his own, that offer a wide scope of options, revealing the relationship that gay men have with their children, their community and families, as well as the gay community. Through these men, we are shown the many ways that gay men can become fathers---domestic adoption, surrogacy, international adoption, foster parenting and co-parenting---all important means to these men, who wanted to share their life with children. The one thing that surprised me most, I think, is the common thread of the gay community basically separating themselves from these gay fathers. However, the most important aspect I derived from this book, is that a family is composed of loving parents, who want children and lavish them with affection, stability and a good home. It doesn't matter that its two fathers---just that they are loved and wanted. This is an interesting read with a positive attitude toward gay men's ability for parenthood and worth reading if you are gay or straight, single or married, parent or not. Give it a try.
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on July 29, 2003
Like the other reviewers of this book, I also feel it was a page turner and beautifully written. I bought the book based on the reviews I read from this site and am happy to say it was worth every penny! David Straw has a gift for story telling. He shares the tales of 24 families and tells us how they each became a family. The methods range from international adoptions to co-parenting with a lesbian couple. The photographs are brilliant. I had to hold back from choking on tears several times because the pictures were so touching. Straw covers his own family's story in the last chapter. His kids are insanely cute! I guarantee this book is a must-read, something for everyone, gay, straight, married, or single, whatever, you will love it!
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on June 30, 2003
Someone once said..."It takes a village to raise a family." ;) Well, judging from this book, all it takes is LOVE!
What an amazing and inspriational book. I enjoyed reading every story -- each with it's own, unique adventure on their journey to parenthood.
This book is a MUST READ for any gay man thinking about starting a family. Along with the wonderful stories, this book provides excellent resources on where to start; adoption (domestic and international); foster care; surrogacy; and gay parenting organizations.
This book is a gem!!! It will be an added treasure in your collection!
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on July 25, 2003
A most remarkable and enjoyable book. I couldn't put it down once I started. A must reading for any gay man and couples thinking about sharing their lives raising a child / children.
The book is well written and has a reference section where the reader can gain more information and assistance in their goals to adapt a child.
One main point that I came away with, after reading Gay Dads is that, if your heart tells you to share your life and love raising a child, don't give up. The rewards are incomprehensible.
Bravo there David Strah, BRAVO
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on May 29, 2003
At first the cover caught my eye. After skimming through it, I couldn't put it down.
The author himself is part of this nascent evolution. In a lively and thoughtful introduction, the author explains the focus in this book on men who are gay and then choose to have kids, rather than men who have had children and then come out to their families. It's seemingly quite specific but really it's for everyone. There are many challenging ideas and conclusions.
The individual chapters and beautiful family photographs are remarkably expressive and full of tender insights. The author draws from these men a whole range of responses to fatherhood that take us in their own words to the heart of their families and what it means to be a dad. It's a great book.
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on May 29, 2003
At first the cover caught my eye. After skimming through it, I couldn't put it down.
The author himself is part of this nascent evolution. In a lively and thoughtful introduction, the author explains the focus in this book on men who are gay and then choose to have kids, rather than men who have had children and then come out to their families. It's seemingly quite specific but really it's for everyone. There are many challenging ideas and conclusions.
The individual chapters and beautiful family photographs are remarkably expressive and full of tender insights. The author draws from these men a whole range of responses to fatherhood that take us in their own words to the heart of their families and what it means to be a dad. It's a great book.
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on March 31, 2013
This book is a great read for gay men considering adoption or fostering. It's a nonstop collection of everything that can possibly go wrong, though most with happy endings. It wasn't what I was expecting, but it's exactly what I needed.
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on January 25, 2013
This had a good selection of varied experiences with adoptions by gay dads. We are going through the process right now and it was helpful to see some of the other obstacles that couples have come into, as well as some of the unexpected rewards.
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on June 15, 2003
Gay Dads is a truly remarkable book. I highly recommend it to current parents and anyone considering parenthood - gay or straight. The stories are all so different and compelling and incredibly poignant. It is refreshing to read many short but in depth profiles of gay dads from all walks of life and to hear their yearnings, pain, hope and joy. And I liked that you have the opportunity to read and learn about the pros and cons of adoption, surrogacy and co-parenting. There is also a wonderful resource section at the end of the book and even beautiful black and white photographs of each family. Read it and be inspired!
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