I often joke that some people collect stamps while I collect children (just kidding)! My dream of becoming a father was one that I relentlessly worked toward accomplishing soon after I completed graduate school. Being a gay man certainly limited the options, but I spent countless hours researching routes that included: co-parenting, surrogacy, international and domestic adoption. Foster care was a distant thought, and honestly I feared pursuing that avenue of opportunity, as the “system” is riddled with dysfunction and obstacles that often create countless barriers for the child and interested parent. Most people I spoke to at the time—foster parents, professionals, etc. shared undesirable experiences and my fear was exacerbated. However, after I learned the staggering statistics of children waiting for adoptive homes (right here in my own backyard), coupled with the confounding facts that the majority of children who grow up in foster care do not finish high school, are unable to secure employment, get sent to jail and/or become homeless (at age 18); I was moved to action.
I adopted the attitude that “IF IT IS STILL IN YOUR HEART AND CONTINUES TO FEEL RIGHT……THEN YOU SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER TAKING A CHANCE,” and that we did. My partner at the time and I made the commitment that we would take the punches and pursue our dream of creating a family, despite the many challenges we knew we were bound to face on this journey. The process was, at times, tumultuous and heart-wrenching, however, well worth the investment. This life-changing experience was met with a lot of tears and angst, but the determination, boundless laughter and love lead us to where we are today. Fast forward over a decade later and we have adopted, raised and continue to co-parent five incredible young men of character and integrity. These young men are nothing less than a gift. We have learned as much from our children as I hope they have and will to continue learn from us.
Although being a parent of five boys certainly presents its array of challenges, the love of family and the strength of the bond we share far outweighs the tribulations of the process that is now a distant memory.