#GWKThenAndNow: Christopher, Richard and Sophia

For Christopher and Richard, it was love at first sight. The two met in Chicago in 2003, and within two years they were thinking about family and started to set the wheels in motion. Both Christopher and Richard had always wanted kids, so it wasn’t a matter of “if," it was a matter of "how." They saw a need in foster-adopt, and it became clear that this was the way they were going to create their family. When they began the paperwork for foster-adopt in Illinois, Christopher was 33 and Richard was 31.

Chiacgo 2003: Christopher (l) and Richard

In 2006, they decided to move down south to Galveston, Texas, to be closer to Richard's family and to take advantage of a more agreeable housing market. Since they moved to a new state, they were required to restart the foster-adopt process from the beginning, and it was another two years before Christopher and Richard were to meet their daughter. In July 2008, Sophia arrived into their lives and came home, straight from the hospital, only 4 days old.

Galveston 2008: Sophia's very first Thanksgiving

April 2009: At their first Quinceañera

Memorial Day 2009: At the top of the Arch in St Louis

July 2009: Sophia’s celebrates her 1st birthday at Mimi and Popo's (Richard's parents') house in Galveston, Texas

As a family, they stand out. Their solution: they talk about it, openly and honestly. As two white dads raising a black daughter, they’ve talked with Sophia about her adoption since she was 2 years old. Christopher vividly remembers one occasion when Sophia was 2 and she was turning his arm over and over, trying to find the same color skin as her own. For Christopher and Richard, they keep an open and continuous dialogue with their daughter and embrace their family's diversity.

July 26, 2010: Sophia's adoption at the Colorado County Court

Sophia’s adoption was finalized on July 26, 2010, two years after Richard and Christopher had first brought Sophie home. They celebrated their 5th "Gotcha Day" day earlier this year.

Chrismas 2010: Celebrating the Galveston Tree Lighting ceremony at Hotel Galvez

Lake Martin, Alabama 2012: Family trip to visit  Aunt Katie and Uncle Kevin

Christopher is a stay-at-home dad, leads Sophia’s Girl Scouts troop and he is also on the PTO board. Richard works full time and is on the church's vestry (board); both Christopher and Richard share in the responsibilities of raising their wonderfully well-adjusted daughter. Christopher said "We are trying not to force anything, trying to live by example, [and] we've found that works best."

Salado, Texas 2012: First annual Stagecoach Inn Trip

Galveston, Texas 2012: Colonial steamship ride

Richard, Christopher and Sophia live in a diverse part of Texas, something for which they are thankful. They see many different types of families within their community; from Hispanic to bi-racial to young single parents.

July 5th, 2014: Christopher and Richard’s wedding in O'Fallon, Illinois

Easter 2013: Family photo at the Grace Episcopal Church, Galveston, Texas

Richard and Christopher enjoy traveling and seeing different parts of America. For this upcoming summer vacation, they're planning a trip through Selma, and then Montgomery to visit the Rosa Parks Museum, on their way to Martha's vineyard.

Christmas 2013: Family photo on Vanderbilt Beach, Naples, Florida

Christopher urges those considering fatherhood to get advice from other gay dads, but to not discount words of wisdom from the straight community; to look locally if you’re considering foster-adopt or adoption, and to always go with your gut; and, “Never sweat the haters!" Wise words to live by.

Spring break, 2015, at the Bryan Museum, Galveston, Texas

Thanks Christopher, Richard, and Sophia for sharing some of your family's story with us for this week's #GWKThenAndNow! If you'd like your family to be featured, please email Brian at brian@gayswithkids.com.

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