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Gay Dads

Transitions to Adoptive Fatherhood

Abbie E. Goldberg

Publication Year: 2012

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? 

In Gay 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.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Writing this book was a journey. Before I even began the writing process, I engaged in five years of participant interviews. I did not do all of these interviews by myself—I had a team of fantastic graduate research assistants who assisted me. I am deeply grateful for the sensitivity, care, and discipline of my doctoral students ...

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Introduction: Gay Parenthood in Context

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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 ...

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Chapter 1. Decisions, Decisions: Gay Men Turn toward Parenthood

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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), ...

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Chapter 2. Navigating Structural and Symbolic Inequalities on the Path to Parenthood: Adoption Agencies, the Legal System, and Beyond

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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. ...

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Chapter 3. Engaging Multiple Roles and Identities: Men’s Experiences (Re)negotiating Work and Family

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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 ...

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Chapter 4. Kinship Ties across the Transition to Parenthood: Gay Men’s Relationships with Family and Friends

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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 ...

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Chapter 5. Public Representations of Gay Parenthood: Men’s Experiences Stepping “Out” as Parents and Families in Their Communities

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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 ...

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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) ...

Appendix A: The Larger Study

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pp. 203-204

Appendix B: Procedure

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pp. 205-206

Appendix C: Interview Questions

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pp. 207-210

Appendix D: Participant Demographic Table

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pp. 211-214


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pp. 215-218


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pp. 219-232


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pp. 233-234

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About the Author

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pp. 235

Abbie E. Goldberg is Associate Professor of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a senior research fellow at the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. She is the author of Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle, …

E-ISBN-13: 9780814708293
E-ISBN-10: 0814732232
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814732236
Print-ISBN-10: 0814732232

Page Count: 251
Publication Year: 2012