As part of our Family Friday series, every week we spotlight one family, share the story of their love and send lots of love and support to them from our own huge family all over the world.
This month, we're celebrating National Adoption Month by partnering with the ever incredible Family Equality Council. All November, we'll be celebrating families who have adopted or in the process of doing so. Join us in celebrating these very special families and show them some love. Your families are beautiful. Thank you for continuing to share them with us.
This week, we're talking to a very special family. When Wayne reached out to us and shared his family, the first thing he said was, "We also want other potential families to understand that adoptions for same sex couples are much more accessible than some might think." We couldn't think of a better fit for our National Adoption Month special coverage! Keep reading to learn more about Wayne, Vince and their adorable son, Rex (aka the child with the best. name. ever.).
How did you and your partner meet?
Vince and I met at a cafe in Tampa, Florida.
How long have you guys been together? Are you married? Planning on getting married?
We met in April 2006. We're not married and we don't plan to get married, as we do not view marriage as strongly as most of the population. While we obviously support same sex marriage and equal rights for all humans, it is our opinion, based upon our experience, that marriage is totally unnecessary to successfully grow and maintain a family.
How has your extended family embraced your nuclear one?
Nearly a decade ago, Vince's religious family disowned him because of his "lifestyle choice." Fortunately, my mother and my stepfather are very supportive of my family. Unfortunately, they live approximately 1,000 away, so we are unable to visit frequently or use them as our "free" babysitter, like lots of other families.
Tell us about Rex and your adoption process.
Since we wanted to raise a child from birth, we registered for the adoption program of a local county's human services division. We attended several meetings and completed many training hours with several other potential parents (some gay/lesbian couples, some heterosexual couples, some singles) and we completed psychological evaluations, physicals, home inspections, background reports, and interviews with friends and family. This took about four months to complete, at which time we became certified foster-to-adopt parents. Then, we played the waiting game. We were told that it could take approximately six months before a proper match was found for our family. Six months and one week later, just as we had convinced ourselves that we were not going to succeed, we got the call: "A little boy was born yesterday, and he's waiting for you to bring him home." I can't even explain this breathtaking feeling.
What makes your proudest of your family?
Although most who know me will tell you that I complain often about my duties as a stay-at-home parent, I'm very proud and grateful to have had the opportunity to watch Rex grow from a frail, six-pound baby, into a barbaric, three-year-old boy. I'm also really proud that, despite public opinion, we're no different from any family with heterosexual parents or married parents; Rex is a normal boy.
Tell us your thoughts on the importance of adoption and how accessible it is for same sex families.
In the beginning of our relationship, we both agreed we wanted to have kids one day, but we knew that we did not want to attempt surrogacy because (forgive me for the cliche) there are already too many children in the world who need families. We thought the idea of adoption was preposterous because we were in a same-sex relationship and would likely be denied, if not for that reason alone, for the reason that we could not afford exorbitant adoption fees. In March 2008, we spent some time online looking for adoption agencies and stumbled upon two important words that changed our lives: "human services." Until further researching the ins and outs of human services, it had not occurred to us that we could adopt a newborn child at virtually no cost to the adoptive parents, provided we become foster-to-adopt parents. Then, we found a human services division that included same-sex couples on its list of approved families and we knew that our dream could become reality. Ten months later, we were bringing Rex home from the hospital. So, if you want to grow a family, but you are convinced that it's out of your means, think again because there are programs out there for ALL families. Just do your homework!
You can see a few beautiful photos of Wayne and Vince's beautiful family below. To see more families and learn how to share your own, scroll to the bottom.
Welcome home, Rex!
What a doll!
Who's cuter than me?
REMINDER: If you'd like your own family featured on a Family Friday, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that family is what we make it, so if your family is you and the pack of LGBT folks who you'd go to the mats for, send them over. We want to see them, too.
Michelle and her lovely bride
On their baby's first birthday! You can read more about he and him at his great blog <a href="http://blog.chron.com/heandhim/" target="_hplink">here</a> ()
The Derfler-Murphy Family
The Lake-Cannon Family
Marla & Allison's Family
With their 1 1/2 year old twins! Austin, TX, Summer 2012
The Smith Family
Congrats on their new baby girl!
The Taylor Family
The Ginsberg Family
The Holland-Girardot Family
The Weber-Munn Family
And their dogchild, Francesca
The Spires Family
"For thirty years: One gay Dad; one gay supportive Son."
The Lockwood Family
"My fiance, me and our "adopted" kid. We have been able to give her a stable family life which she hasn't had for the majority of her 15 years. I always dare anyone to tell me that her being raised by lesbians is worse than the life she used to have. We look forward to having more children in the future."
The Price-O'Neil Family
THe Harris Family
"This is our wedding on May 21 2010 our son was so excited to be the ring bearer"
My name is Amber. I am a mom, a graduate student, a fighter, an activist, a lover, a daughter, a friend and a lesbian ... I love my children (Will and Amelia) and they are everything to me!! I could not imagine a life without my children and would FIGHT TO THE DEATH should someone try to take them from me!!
"Here's my beautiful family"
"These are pics of Troy High School's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) from last year's homecoming parade. This is my family."
Here's my family on my husband's 50th birthday
Pure happiness: Our wedding. April 30, 2011 Washington, DC
Ned and Frank's Family
This was sent in by their friend Anthony: " I'm sending one of my BFF's family, with his permission. Ned and Frank have been together for 16 years in a stable, committed relationship. They own a home and Frank owns a hair salon. A few years ago, the company Ned worked for dropped their domestic partnership benefits, leaving Frank with no health insurance. Shortly thereafter, a tumor was discovered in Frank's heart. Although Frank's doing well, he never fully recovered and can no longer work, which had a drastic impact on their finances. Ned then landed a new job at Group Health Cooperative, an incredibly pro-LGBT company, which he did to restore Frank's health insurance. Like many families, both gay and straight, this crisis served to bring Ned and Frank even closer together, further deepening their bonds of love and commitment. Ned and Frank are pictured with their foster daughter Rebecca, who they are in the process of adopting. Rebecca is their third foster child and has thrived as a wonderful addition to their family. In her birth home, Rebecca was physically and emotionally abused and was treated like Cinderella. In the years Rebecca's been Ned and Frank's daughter, she's become very well adjusted, respectful and a straight-A student amongst other things. Rebecca has completed their family and continually makes all of us very proud. Ned, Frank and Rebecca's story becomes even more important here in Washington State as our community works to beat back an attempt to take away marriage equality recently granted by our governor and legislature. As I told Ned when I asked if I could send his picture, their family IS the story of why marriage equality is so important! It's been an honor to watch my closest friends expand their family and create more love in the world and I look forward to many more years enjoying their incredible family."
Collage of My Wife and I and our son (our dog) from our wedding!
Holly, Jackie, and Charleigh Chapel Hill, NC
My partner, Bong Hidalgo, of 11 1/2 years and our dog Boomer!
This is my family. Heidi and I have been together for 10 years, Married in Vancouver, BC 8 years ago. Adopted our son AJ 8 years ago.
"My wife and I try to be the best parents we can be to our four children ages 7-21. This photo was taken on our Wedding Day, April 14, 2012. We are grateful to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for allowing us to be legally married. We want this right for all of our community members in this country and around the world. Here's to more love! Larainne, Sheri (and family!)"
"Here's a pic of my/our very close gay extended family, together for Christmas 2011 in Orlando, FL."
"Me with my Family this past May at Disney World. "
Genevieve's Family (almost)
"Me and my wife practicing with my best friend's baby"
"This is our 2011 Holiday Picture. As you can see we are the proud moms of three totally wonderful kids. Katie, 20, is a rising junior at East Carolina studying nursing. Seth, 19, is a rising sophomore at GA Tech majoring in electrical engineering. The youngest, Joshua, is a rising junior in high school. We are just a normal family with above-average kids."
"This picture is of my partner, Trevor, myself, my son Kris, his girlfriend Carly and their unborn baby. We LOVE our family =)"
This was taken on our wedding day. We drove 13 hours to Connecticut from Michigan to get married. My partner, Melissa, is in the blue, and I am the peach/salmon shirt. With out two dogs, Boudicca and Sarah.
We are The Lowes: Frank & Jeremy with son Briggs (Frank is @GayAtHomeDad on Twitter)
We are VERY proud of our gay little family :o)
Here is a picture of me, my partner Vanessa and our son Jayden. Taken in Alma, Colorado.
"2 Moms 2 beautiful babies :)"
My wife (brown hair) Jasmine and I (Heather) with our two beautiful dogkids, Hercules and Dutchess.
Here is a photo of my wife and I totally mortifying my then 11 year old daughter at our wedding in October of 2010. We are a family that loves to laugh and be together and are thankful we live in a state (NH) that recognizes us as a family legally--something we wish for all families across the country.
This is our new gay family!
The Newman- Schilling Family
Never have I felt such love and adoration for one person. Never has anyone made my heart sing as much as she does. To say that feeling this way is wrong, is Wrong. Thank you for sharing our stories and our love. It took me 31 years to find her and I will never let her go :)
With special guest, Dusty!