Foster/Foster-Adopt

These Gay Dads Were the First to Foster-Adopt in the British Island, Jersey

And these "Jersey Boys" are already filing paperwork for their second!

Near the coast of Normandy, France, lies a tiny island, British in every way ­­– Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. A so-called Crown dependency, Jersey drives on the left, uses the British pound, and speaks the Queen's English. And it is home to husbands Jon and Tristan Stasiak-Gray and their 2-year-old son Harvey. How this little family of three came to be you will find out in the story below. Welcome to the Jersey Boys!


Jon, 36, and Tristan, 29, met at a dance club in Jersey more than eight years ago. After five years together, they decided to get married, in Hawaii. (Jersey did not have marriage equality until this year.)

Their plans to start a family began even earlier. The initial application to adopt was filed in late 2014, after which the guys took an extensive training course in January and February of 2015. The rest of that year was spent moving from a one-bedroom flat to their current family home and working through the all of the assessments, interviews and health checks. They were officially approved to become adoptive parents in February 2016. When they both got new jobs (they work in finance), they asked the adoption agency in March to postpone placement for one year.

But things developed quite differently. As Jon describes it, "We were called in to see our social workers in June, two weeks into my job and before Tristan had started his, to discuss fostering. We were not interested in fostering at the time, but wanted to show willingness and be polite. At the meeting, our social worker asked us if we would consider fostering a baby that hadn't yet been born, with an intention to adopt them, in one month's time! We were shocked, surprised, excited and apprehensive. Jersey had never done the "fostering-to-adopt" process before so if successful, we would be the first."

There were several unknowns: Two other families were being considered; Jon and Tristan hadn't even been approved as foster parents yet! But after Jersey's social services fast-tracked their fostering application, they were lucky enough to be chosen as the preferred family.

During the adoption course the men had been warned to manage their expectations, and to accept the following three things in particular: 1. You will never get a relinquished baby; 2. You will never get a newborn; and 3. You will not be able to name your adopted child.

Their son Harvey was born on August 8, 2016. Only five hours later the boy would safely rest in his new fathers' arms. But for a few months there would still be ambiguity about the adoption. The dads were told not to allow their family (and themselves) to become too attached to the little boy, as the adoption might still be derailed.

But no such tragedy happened. They met Harvey's birth family who gave them their blessing. On April 21, 2017, eight and a half months after Harvey was born, the adoption was finalized. And all of their wildest expectations had been met!

The young family meet with other gay dad families on the island regularly, and, even though the Channel Islands are thought of as a little old-fashioned and set in its ways, none of the families have ever experienced any unpleasantness.

Jon and Tristan have already started the adoption process for a second baby. Unfortunately, they need to go through every step of the incredibly long process again, even though they have successfully completed one recently. If they aren't successful soon, they're thinking of surrogacy, as they'd really like Harvey's sibling to be close in age to him.

Their plans for the future are to grow their family –– maybe three kids? Especially Tristan, who has lived in Jersey –– only around 100,00 people, only 45 square miles! –– all his life, would like to spread his wings and move somewhere much bigger. They're contemplating a move across the globe, to Australia!

The world is getting more tolerant. Jon and Tristan are happier than they've ever been. As they told us, "Raising a child is really the best thing you can do in your life." From what we gather, these Jersey boys are the luckiest guys in the world.




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Israeli dads Guy Sadak Shoham and Chai Aviv Shoham were trying to enroll their two-year-old twins in daycare when they were told by a government official that one would need to identify as the "mother" in order to be cleared.

According to Out Magazine, the couple was attempting to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of preschool when a government bureaucrat called them to discuss their eligibility.

"I understand that you are both fathers and understand that you both run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more the mother," the government said, according to an interview on the Israel site Ynet (translated by Out Magazine). "I am just asking for a written statement in your hand which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work, which works less than the father. Like a normal couple."

The official, apparently, said she was beholden to rules set for in the Ministry of Economy.

"It is mostly sad and a little disturbing," one of the dads told Ynet. "These are concepts that we consider the past. We do not necessarily come up with allegations against this representative, she is ultimately subject to the guidelines and as she said, they are the state. It is also sad that the state's definition of a mother is someone who works less and is at home with the children, and that we must choose which of us meets that definition."

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, fortunately, issued an apology following the incident, and promised to update its protocols. "We will emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all," the ministry wrote in a statement, an apology that was called "insufficient" by Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force.

"The Ministry of Labor and Welfare must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do," he said.

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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.

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