Foster/Foster-Adopt

Your Foster Adopt Questions Answered by a Foster Adopt Dad

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about being a foster dad — and an experienced foster dad responded.

Dad Joseph Bostick (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a foster and adoptive dad with our Instagram community via a question and answer session - did you feel nervous at the beginning? How did you start the process? Did you always know that you wanted to foster older kids?

Read Joseph's responses below.


1. What was the hardest / best part of being a foster dad?

"The hardest part of being a foster dad is accepting what that title means. You are there temporarily to help and guide which means just about the time you feel you are making progress is when you inevitably have to let go for them to return home. The best part is that you get to show children an entirely different world which can give them hope for the future."

2. I'm planning on being a single foster parent, would the process take as long as yours?

"The process is different for everyone depending on the choices you make on how to adopt starting with whether you choose a public or private agency. Our process was slightly longer. From start to finish it took several years to be given the opportunity to adopt but we chose to go through CPS (public). Private agencies can be less time but significantly more money. So start now :)"

3. It was difficult to adopt your kids!

"Yes it was. It was difficult to find open-minded case workers to advocate for a same sex couple. It was difficult to get agencies to select us as the best parents. It was difficult to find judges who would support the adoption and it was difficult stay positive through all the set backs. But, the moment our sons became ours all those difficulties faded away and joy took it's place. I would go through it again to get these two."

4. Did you feel nervous at the beginning and what was the best experience with adopting a child?

"Nervous? We were frightened! But you learn quickly that most of your peers who are adopting and going through the classes with you are just as scared. From that vulnerability, you create a support group and network of remarkable people. The best experience is having someone call you their dad. And truthfully, the experiences get better everyday."

5. Hello beautiful family. My hubby and I are going to be fost/adopt parents soon. Just to say thank you.

"I highly recommend fostering to adopt. While it can be heartbreaking when a child returns to their biological parents, it is also a great way to learn about yourself and the kind of parent you want to be. Another great part is that you are in the driver's seat. Take the classes, become certified and then accept a child into your home when you are ready."

6. How do you get started with the process?

"The first step is deciding whether you want to go through a public or private agency. CPS exists in most states and is a relatively cost free way to adopt a child. Private agencies vary from state to state and are usually expensive. But make no mistake! The pool of children is the same. No matter what agency you choose you will have access to the same children. So why choose private then? Typically when you pay you are selected to adopt more quickly."

7. What are some of the challenges to expect if we decided to "foster to adopt"?

"The only challenges that I can guarantee you will experience is that you will be heartbroken, disappointed and confused. Heartbroken that a child you love will be returned to their biological parents, Disappointed that you weren't chosen to adopt a child you had your heart set on. Confused why it seems everyone around you is having an easier time starting a family. But all this will make you a better parent and, I promise, your child is on the way!"

8. How do you juggle working full time and also being a dad?

"It takes a village. We have a vast network of friends who do not hesitate to jump in to help my husband and I keep our family running. Without them I don't know how we would do this."

9. What is it like being a gay couple and raising an interracial family!?!

"For the most part it is the same experience as any other family. However, we do find that people are more inquisitive about our family in a positive way. Sure, people stare sometimes. And sometimes they even approach us to express themselves. But we they do, it is usually to provide a compliment, show solidarity, or simply thank us for being adoptive parents. The love people share far exceeds any negativity we have ever experienced."

10. I would like to adopt a kid but I am single.

"Foster and adoptive parents are in high demand. Single or otherwise, I guarantee your community needs adults willing to foster and/or adopt children. Your relationship status will have no bearing on your acceptance as an adoptive parent."

11. Did you know when you started that you wanted to foster/adopt older children vs an infant/toddler?

"Love this question! By first fostering children, we learned so much about what we are capable of handling. Everyone wants an infant (even us when we began) but we learned after our first infant that ages 4 & up was more our speed. Listen, we all think we know what kind of parent we are going to be but we only truly learn when we are put to the test. I recommend being a foster parent first :)"

12. How did you know that fostering was the right path for you?

"We didn't. We were guided into fostering by our case worker. She offered fostering as a way for us to show our commitment to parenthood to the state. The idea is to help foster children and eventually you will be rewarded with the chance to adopt. While it took longer than we anticipated, it worked our for us in the end."

13. What are the three big tips you'd give to someone starting the foster parent journey?

"(1) Be honest with your agency. There is no shame in having preferences when it comes to age/race/gender of the child you want to help. Only you know what you can handle.

(2) Figure out the kind of parent you want to be. You will never be prepared for every situation you will face as a parent but having a baseline will guide you.

(3) Get your support system in place now. Kids will come to you on a moment's notice. Have your squad ready to react to get you everything you will need so that the child feels comfortable."

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

A Gay Dad Speaks Out Against Trump's Attempts to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Adoptive Parents

Any business that accepts federal funding must NOT DISCRIMINATE says adoptive dad Erik Alexander.

Four years ago we received the phone call that changed our lives forever. We were told that in our own city of New Orleans, there was a newborn baby that needed a forever home. What we were told by the agency would likely take five or more years took mere weeks. We frantically started putting together her nursery and planning for her arrival. She was born 10 weeks early and needed to stay in the NICU to grow and gain her strength and weight before she was released. She was so tiny and delicate. We were almost afraid to hold her in the beginning because of how fragile she was.

Finally, the day arrived that we were able to bring her home and we were thrust into overdrive. We prepared by reading all the baby books and watching the videos, but all that goes out the window when you have a baby in your arms. Our little baby had trouble digesting her formula due to her prematurity. The look in her eyes due to the pain she felt broke our hearts. We felt helpless! All we could do was just try to make sure to do everything on our end to help alleviate any pain she may encounter while feeding her. It was terrible. We would hold her for hours trying to console our hurting baby girl. I remember thinking to myself while she was crying that I would do anything to make her feel better.

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Expert Advice

Your Foster Questions Answered by a Foster Expert and Foster-Adopt Dad

We asked our Instagram community to send us their questions about becoming a foster dad — and Amara's Foster Care Services Supervisor Trey Rabun responded.

Dad Trey Rabun (read his story here) recently shared his experience as a foster Expert and a foster dad with our Instagram community via a question and answer session.

Read Trey's responses below.

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News

New York Will Fight 'Repugnant' Trump Rule on Adoption, Says Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York promises legal action of the Trump administration moves ahead with plans to allow discrimination against LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents

Last week, the Trump administration announced plans to allow adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ parents — but he may face a legal fight from (former) hometown. In a tweet, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the proposed move "isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values,— it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home." If the proposal moves forward, he continued. "we'll take legal action to stop it.

Governor Cuomo's office followed up the tweet with a lengthier statement posted to their website:

Once again the Trump administration is attacking the hard-earned rights and protections of the LGBTQ community, this time proposing a new measure that would give foster care and adoption agencies license to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Trump's proposal isn't just discriminatory and repugnant to our values — it's also heartless and dumb as it would deny countless children a loving family and a safe place to call home. If he moves forward with this rule, we'll take legal action to stop it.

No matter what happens in Washington, New York State is and will continue to be a beacon of equality in this country. Our Human Rights Law and adoption regulations expressly prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ community, including when it comes to adoption. I encourage any LGBTQ New Yorker who feels they are a victim of this discrimination to contact the State Division of Human Rights for assistance.

Our message to the Trump administration is simple: there is no place for hate in New York or in our nation, and we will not allow this noxious proposal to stop LGBTQ New Yorkers from becoming parents or providing care to children in need.

News

World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

Gay Dad Life

Top 10 Reasons You Should Date a Gay Dad

Jay Turner lays out the top 10 reasons you should consider dating a single gay dad

We're gay dads. Many of us were married to women, and for various reasons we eventually found ourselves single and looking for companionship from another man. Life is a little more complicated for us because we have kids. But that shouldn't deter you from seeking a relationship with a gay dad. In fact, there are many reasons why we make better partners than men without children. We are generally more mature, responsible, and emotionally available. We are also better communicators.

Here are the top ten reasons why you should date a gay dad:

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Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Change the World

9 Stories That Celebrate the Experience of Gay Fathers Living with HIV

This World AIDS Day, we dug into our archives to find 9 stories that bring awareness to and celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV

December 1st is World AIDS Day — a day to unite in our collective fight to end the epidemic, remember those we've lost, and bring much needed attention and money to support those who continue to live with HIV and AIDS. For us at Gays With Kids, it's also a time to lift up and celebrate the experiences of fathers, so many of who never thought they'd see the day where they would be able to start families.

Towards that end, we've rounded up nine stories, family features and articles from our archives that celebrate the experience of gay fathers living with HIV — the struggles, triumphs and everything in between.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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