Joe, a professional artist and art teacher, met David, an administrator at New York University, at a gay bar in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 19 years ago. They were married on Valentine's Day in 2010 and have a beautiful 8-year-old daughter Faith whom they adopted at birth. Joe (Dad), David (Papa or Pops) and Faith live in Stamford, Connecticut and this is their #GWKThenAndNow.
In 1998, Joe met David and they fell in love. On their first date, Joe shared his dream of becoming a father, and David affirmed this desire. They toasted to becoming dads both knowing that this was the start of something special. David and Joe celebrated their love and commitment to one another with a civil union in May 2001.
In 2005, David and Joe began the process to adopt. They originally began their journey outside the United States but as Joe explains they ran into roadblocks and bigotry as no foreign country at the time would allow a same-sex couple to adopt. Joe and David refocused their path to fatherhood and contacted an adoption agency in New York City where they were living at the time. An opportunity arose to adopt in Louisiana; their New York agency found a local attorney and their daughter, Faith, was born in Louisiana on July 1, 2008.
Joe and David were married on Valentine's Day in 2010; Faith walked with them down the aisle.
February 14, 2010: David and Joe's wedding day
Faith's adoption was finalized 18 months after David and Joe brought her home: David was the original adopter from Louisiana, then Joe co-adopted her in Connecticut six weeks after David.
Joe shares his advice to gay men considering fatherhood: "Do it! Many gay men don't think they'll ever have a family. I never thought I would but I started dreaming that dream when I met David, my husband. Together we made a family. Adopting our daughter is undoubtedly the best thing we've ever done!"
Faith is an active, athletic girl participating in many sports including tae kwon do, swimming, basketball and skiing. An excellent student, she keeps astonishing her parents by her progress in reading and math.
When asked by Gays With Kids if he always wanted kids, Joe replied, "I thought it was never possible. I was never sure I would meet a man who also wanted kids. By the time it was possible I thought I was too old but that was a myth. Adopting my daughter has made me feel younger! The love and encouragement of David, my husband, made fatherhood possible!"
David and Joe are also active in their church where Joe runs an LGBTQ teen outreach group called the Rainbow Café Stamford, for queer and questioning youth, from ages 13 to 19. Helping LGBTQ youth is a passion of Joe’s. He describes the group as a place where LGBTQ youth and straight allies come together to enjoy friendship and share experiences about our common bond. Joe says, “Life for gay youth is not always easy, but Stamford’s Rainbow Café, now in its fourth year, has helped many in our community cope with this fact of life in a more meaningful and enlightened way." The meetings take place on most Wednesday nights throughout the year from 7 to 9 p.m.
Joe and David have some advice for aspiring adoptive parents. "Be patient. If you're adopting, be patient with the process and with the birth mother. Realize she is most likely in crisis or she would not be giving up her baby. Respect her and what she is going through. Get a good attorney and social worker who has been through this before with other gay couples. Make sure they know the laws of the state from where you’re adopting.”
Thanks Joe, David and Faith for sharing your family history with us!