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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Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

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Millie B. Photography

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No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

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Earlier this year, Canada unveiled a rainbow-stripped coin dollar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. With the coins now firmly in circulation, Gregory Walters, who lives in Vancouver, wrote a moving essay for the Globe and Mail, expressing joy for how far Canada has come on the issue of gay rights, but how the coin is also a symbolic representation of the "greatest regret" of his life—his decision not to adopt children.

Gregory writes that he had hoped to adopt a child ever since his early career working with persons with developmental disabilities. "Several children I worked with were wards of the State of Texas," he wrote. "Their parents having relinquished all rights either owing to egregious acts of abuse or a lack of desire to raise someone with so many needs. There were days when I felt, 'If I could just take you home and raise you.' I knew there was a need for adopting persons with special needs but my own internalized homophobia got in the way yet again. Despite what is probably my own gift in working with children, I never felt worthy enough to be a parent. I always felt that if I were a gay dad it would create more of a liability for the child."

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To critics of Canada's coin, some of who have said its a cheap political pander to the LGBTQ community, Gregory concludes with this thought:

"I don't care if the indulged majority who never had to question marriage or raising children or being secure in a job may feel the coin is frivolous. The coin isn't for them in the first place. It's an acknowledgment for those of us who repressed our true selves and felt oppressed. It is for gays who never lived to see rights and protections enshrined in law. It is for younger LGBTQ people to learn more about how far we've come and to gain a deeper sense of gay pride. For these reasons, the coin has value so much greater than any monetary designation. The coin represents both empowerment and normalization."

Read Gregory's full essay here.

Gay Dad Family Stories

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Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

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Politics

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Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

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Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Entertainment

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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