“I just want to be the best dad that I can possibly be. I want to be there every step of the way for my little Ana.”

Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility and isn’t for everyone. Knowing you’re embarking on the parenthood journey solo is even more daunting.

But despite the overwhelming challenges, single dad, Dan Gaut, wants nothing more than the chance to raise his little girl, Ana.

And he’s willing to do whatever it takes for the two of them to be together, including forsaking his life in Australia and flying halfway across the world in a frantic dash to stop his ex-girlfriend from putting her up for adoption.

A Whirlwind Romance

When Australian, Dan Gaut, met Texan, Liv, in early 2023, it was love at first sight. They both happened to be on holiday in San Francisco at the same time and in a classic case of “right time, right place” it seemed as though the stars had aligned and fate had brought them together.

Despite spending only a few days together, they both fell hard and fast.

Liv made the radical decision to move from Austin, Texas to Australia to be with Dan.

“She was saying that there’s nothing in Texas for me anymore…I’ve closed the door on it. All my heart and energy is in Australia,” Dan told A Current Affair.

And for a while, all was good. Really good. The two were inseparable. Liv even worked with Dan, a builder, on his job sites.

Then came the news…Liv was pregnant. “It was joyous and beautiful,” Dan said.

The couple spent weeks planning their life together. However, as time passed, things began to unravel. Liv became more and more homesick. Eventually, she flew back to Austin, explaining she needed to surround herself with her “community” and “support network.”

And then came the phone call.

The Phone Call That Changed Everything

Liv wasn’t coming back. Not only wasn’t she returning to Australia, but she and Dan were officially over.

“I was actually leaving the job site as she’s telling me the news that she got back with her ex-partner,” Dan said. “I couldn’t believe it, what is happening? Like, you’re pregnant with my daughter.”

As for that daughter? Liv told Dan she planned to give her up for adoption. She started sending him adoption options for people she knew in Texas, wanting to give her the absolute best life that she could.

Dan was devastated.

“I said, ‘No, stop, don’t promise her to anyone, this is against all my morals.'”

He immediately knew he had to stop her. But first, he had to get to the United States.

Strapped for cash and knowing that jumping through bureaucratic hoops isn’t cheap, he reached out to his community for help.

He set up a Chuffed campaign (the Australian equivalent of GoFundMe) with a target of $30,000 — enough to cover his flights and the necessary paperwork to get Ana home.

“I don’t know how I will do this, but I do know that I will do everything I can to bring my daughter home and shower her with love and acceptance. Every child should know they are loved and wanted,” he wrote on Chuffed.

His community stepped up in a big way, raising over $34,000 to date.

Single Dad Takes Life-Changing Flight

Less than 24 hours after hearing that Liv was in labor, Dan boarded a flight to meet his daughter. Fifteen hours later, Ana was in her daddy’s arms. And Dan plans on never letting her go.

“It was so magical. It was like whatever apprehension or possibly awkwardness I might’ve been thinking about at that moment just dissolved,” the new dad said of holding her for the first time. “The love for her just took over.”

“Really, from the first moment of meeting, it was like, ‘OK, this is it, this feels right, this is perfect … I’m so happy,'” he added.

Their journey together has just begun. And it’s not without challenges.

In many jurisdictions, the rights of unwed fathers in adoption cases can be precarious, often requiring legal battles to establish parental rights. Add to that the complexity of living in an entirely different country, and Dan has his work cut out for him.

Before he can bring her home to the land of Oz, he needs to file a ton of paperwork, including organizing migration papers, getting her a US passport, and obtaining an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) app – which allows non-citizens to travel to Australia for up to a year or the life of their passport.

Thankfully, he has Liv’s full support. She’s even offered to help him on his return trip to Australia because she knows he’s nervous about flying with a newborn.

Embracing Fatherhood With Open Arms

Ana is fortunate to have two loving parents — one who loves her enough to keep her and one who loves her enough to let her go, knowing that ultimately it’s what’s best for her.

And isn’t that what’s at the heart of parenthood? Doing the best we can for our kids? Loving them so much that we would do absolutely anything, including flying to the ends of the earth, just to ensure their well-being and happiness?

This story is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices and boundless love that define parenthood and the lengths a parent will go to for their child.