Byron and Anthony, who have been together for six years, met through mutual friends at a family gathering and bonded through their shared love of music, particularly rhythm and blues. At the time they were both going through difficult break-ups and naturally supported one another before committing later to a long-term relationship.
Byron already had three adopted children from his previous marriage: three-year-old twins Jasmine and Jacqueline and eight-month old Jake. Being aware of some of the problems regarding surrogacy Byron and his then husband had decided to adopt from “unfit” parents whose other children had been taken away by the state.
They visited the premature twins in hospital daily while the adoption process was started. However at this time Byron’s ex-husband became very ill with cancer, though he made a remarkable recovery, and they decided to adopt a third child. While this adoption process was underway, the partners agreed to get a divorce due to irreconcilable differences. The three children were to live primarily with Byron while his ex-partner would have them every other weekend.
Byron says that his partner Anthony has been a tremendous help to him all along and loves the kids as his own. Indeed the family relationships have been so positive that after five years together they decided to adopt another “little bundle of joy”, Mariah, who comes from similar circumstances as the other three.
As with most families, the children are real individuals. Jasmine, the elder of the twins and a keen athlete, is kind, shy, sensitive and very caring. Jacqueline is more outgoing, a great talker who loves to laugh. She loves gymnastics and cheer-leading. Both girls love performing and Mariah Carey. Jake Preston is a real extrovert and wants to be a Superhero! He wants to make a difference in the world. Lastly, Mariah who “owns the show” and demands the attention. Full of energy, she chases Daddy around the house screaming “Da Da Da!” in her walker. The four of them are beautiful, smart and very well loved.
Byron and Anthony wanted both the experience of raising kids and the fulfilment of being parents. They admit that the process is life changing yet so very rewarding. They want their children to grow up in the security of knowing that they are loved and appreciated. Both spend a lot of time with them together and on an individual basis. Road trips, board games, trips to the playground all help to them to bond together and create those so important lasting memories.
The family live in the Moreno Valley, California. Byron is an insurance verifier at Loma Linda University Medical Center while Anthony works as a stay-at-home dad and manages an organic line of personal care products. They are both very involved in humanitarian work; Byron with the LGBT movement and Anthony with the homeless population, specifically runaway and homeless youth. Their extended families accept and support them fully as Byron says: ”Everyone gets along with everyone and we all have a lot of fun and create a lot of great memories.”