Gay Dad Life

After 640 Days in Foster Care, a Boy Joins a Forever Family of 2

Ramon Casanova always wanted to be a dad. He was raised in a single parent household by his mother and knew that one day he'd become the father figure he yearned for. Ramon recently shared his inspiring story with us about how he became a dad to boy who had spent 640 days in foster care. Here's how Ramon and AJ became a forever family of two, in Ramon's own words.

I always knew that no matter what happened in my life, my main purpose was to be someone's dad. I remember my best friend telling me that being a parent is what I was meant to do and that I shouldn't let anything stop me. That's who I am, when I want something I don't let anything stop me. I will keep going until I achieve all of my dreams, one by one.

At the time, I worked for the child protection agency in my state. It turns out that was the biggest obstacle of my entire adoption journey since working there meant I wasn't able to become a foster parent. I was only allowed to adopt select home children, which made it difficult because I was employed by that same program for two years. Many of my colleagues, friends, and coworkers felt like it would be a conflict of interest to match me with a child, making it very difficult for me to get matched in the state where I live.

Knowing this, I tried to go on being employed by the child protection agency, hoping to be matched outside of my state. Sadly, I came to realize that many states were conservative, and because I was a single gay male, I was passed over many times. One day, I was selected by a grandma for her two grandchildren, a 4-year-old boy and a little 2-year-old girl. But my manager at the time denied my application. I felt defeated. I decided to take a break at that point because the experience left me feeling very depressed. I went to San Francisco with my best friend and tried to distract myself from what was happening at home.

When I came back, a friend told me about his niece who was thinking of choosing me to adopt her unborn baby through a private adoption. The situation seemed promising, and the family even threw me a gender reveal party. Paying lawyer and adoption agency fees as well as having my home filled with gifts, I felt really optimistic that this was my child.

I met the child in the hospital the day he was born, held him, fell in love, and took photos of him. Then on the next day the mother delivered the heartbreaking news: she had changed her mind. There I was, faced with another failed adoption. I tried so hard to keep my head on straight, but it took some time for myself to regain some strength.

After another trip, this time to visit family in Arizona to escape my reality, I tried again and I was matched with a child in New York, but again it didn't work out. So I came to the point where I knew something had to give. I had to figure something out because I knew this wasn't working. That's when I made the decision to leave my career after 10 years so that I could really achieve my goal and become a dad. Leaving my employment with the child protection agency of my state, granted me the opportunity to have foster children placed in my home which I was unable to do before as an adoption specialist. And so I began my journey as a single gay foster parent.

Seven days after I left my job, I was blessed with an amazing dream of mine, AJ, a 3-year-old beautiful boy. As soon as he walked through my door, I knew there was something special about him, and I think he knew that when he walked into my home, this was his forever home. I was his fifth placement due to his behavior. AJ could sometimes show aggression which was caused by his own experience of pain and trauma.

While things may have seemed easy, they weren't. We experienced a lot of ups and downs, went through therapy, and shared many teachable moments. Looking back, it was all definitely worth it. Every sleepless night, every hug or cry for commitment. I know that AJ was worth it since now he has his forever home.

A few weeks in, I decided to contact his biological mother, his grandmother and his biological half-sister to arrange visitation. I agreed to supervise these visits alone with AJ to make sure that he felt connected with his biological family. To this day his sister is still a part of us and we see her about once a month. His biological mom, when she can, calls us, and she chose me to be his parent when she signed over her parental rights. For this, I will forever be grateful because I know she made the hardest decision of her life even if it was the best decision for her son. I will never take that for granted.

As long as it's in an age appropriate manner (which it continues to be), I try to keep his relationship with his mother open, as much as I possibly can. Whenever we can I talk to him about her struggles in an age-appropriate manner, and he enjoys her phone calls and he loves that I send her tons of pictures and videos. It's difficult for his biological family to call him everyday so we make the best out of the situation. AJ's biological dad is unknown.

I've fostered three other children through our journey: a 4-year-old boy was reunited, a 2-year-old princess was replaced, and I continue to foster a baby girl who I've had since she was 4 months old. AJ loves them all. Often times he would be upset and sad when they would visit their biological families. We would talk about it and I would tell him that he's mine, and that was always my answer to him which always made him smile.

Fast forward to today, AJ (now 4 years old) is doing amazing in school! He's thriving, he's thoughtful, he's smart, he's kind, and he truly has a heart of gold and a smile that can light up anyone's day. When you think of where he was emotionally compared to the way he is today, shows just how amazing he is. I was his fifth placement. He knew I was different, and we both knew I would never give up on him. He was meant for me, and I was meant for him.

Although being a single parent is very difficult at times, I know everything that I've gone through in my adoption journey these last four years was worth it. AJ spent 640 in foster care, and on October 17, he became my son forever. I thank God for my family and friends who have supported me throughout my journey. He had it all planned out, and I'm forever grateful because now I truly understand why it never worked out the other times. I finally have achieved what I wanted and what I've longed for - to be a father. I am a lucky person because my kids are my everything. AJ is a resilient child and deserves everything I do for him and much much more. He is an inspiration to all.

Please take this from my story: if nothing else, whether you're gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, single, married, divorced or whatever your circumstances are, you can change someone's life. You can be that person for a child. If it is in your heart and soul that you can love unconditionally, then don't let anything stop you from achieving your dream. I can finally say I have my forever son, and he was worth every struggle, every sacrifice, and every obstacle I've experienced.

Love conquers all and all it takes is love. Please...follow your dreams and thank you for reading our story.

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Philippe "Swiped Right" on This Handsome Young Dad

At first, Philippe wasn't sure he could date a man who was a dad. But Steve, and his son Gabriel, have helped him realize a "fatherly side" of himself he didn't know he had.

"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.

Keep reading... Show less

Ain't No Party Like a Gay Dad Dance Party

Gay dads singing and dancing with their kids is EXACTLY what you need to get your weekend started right.

Who jams to Led Zeppelin with their kids?

Who rocks some sweet moves to Kelly Clarkson?

Who sings along with their kids in the car?

Who breaks it down with a baby strapped to them in a carrier?

We all do! But these guys happened to catch it all on tape for us to enjoy! Thanks dads. 😂

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

Keep reading... Show less

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Adopting an Older Child Through Foster Care Was the Best Path for These Dads

After learning more about older-child adoption through You Gotta Believe, Mark and Andrew decided it was the best way for them to form their family.

"Hey! I got adopted today! These are my dads, Mark and Andrew!"

Jeremy was 16 years old when he found out his new dads wanted to adopt him.

In late August 2017, husbands Mark and Andrew Mihopulos, 34 and 36 respectively, remember driving out to the east end of Long Island. They knew at the very same moment they were driving, social workers were letting Jeremy know they wanted to adopt him. "We expected Jeremy to be hesitant or feel mixed emotions," shared Mark. "We didn't know how he would feel about having two dads and about having white parents and family, as he is a black young man."

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse