#GWKThenAndNow: Robert and Chris with Their Three Sons

Dad Robert and Daddy Chris live in Springfield, Oregon, with their three adopted sons, Justin, 11, Ethan, 9, and Parker, 7.

Thanksgiving, 1990: This is the first picture of Robert (left) and Chris together. Although they weren’t a couple at this time, Chris’ mom invited Robert over for Thanksgiving.

Robert and Chris were high school sweethearts: They met in senior year during locker registration and have been together since 1991. Robert remembers falling instantly for the "very cool and punk rock" Chris, while it took Chris a little longer to develop feelings. Robert says about Chris, ”He has helped me cool myself up a bit over the years. ;-) "

1991: This photo was taken during their senior year of high school and the first year of Robert (left) and Chris's relationship

After graduation, Robert and Chris moved in with each other. They had a partnership ceremony in Reno, Nevada in 1995, where they were living at the time. Robert remembers being young and broke. Many years later, when the city of Portland, Oregon, began issuing same-sex marriage licenses for a short time in 2004, Robert and Chris drove up and were married at the courthouse. Unfortunately, their marriage was revoked three months later.

2000: Chris (left) and Robert on a trip to Hawaii after graduating college

When asked if they always wanted kids, Robert says, “We were visiting family and they asked us if we were going to have kids. I said no and gave my reasons why. On the eight-hour drive home the next day Chris informed me that we would be having children and that we had just been waiting until we both graduated from college and were stable. I love my husband very much and would never deny him anything. Within the month we had begun the adoption process. It was the best thing we have ever done and further proof that my husband should be the brains of our family.”

2009: Photo taken by their family's caseworker on her first visit after the adoption

They started the adoption process in 2009, and were matched with a group of three sibling boys the same year. At the time of the placement, the boys were 1, 3 and 5 years old. The kids were open for adoption, so their becoming a family was never in doubt. The adoption was finalized 16 months later; they changed two of their sons’ names shortly after they adopted them.

November 2010: Anniversary photo as a family

Robert and Chris found adopting three children at once to be difficult and challenging. Robert is a family therapist with a background in child psychology and Chris is a schoolteacher; they thought they'd be prepared for three kids at once. “We were wrong,” said Robert. However, with love and patience, the family has grown together. The two dads have fun with the children and the family spend a lot of time together. Robert and Chris encourage music and accept sports; they push reading and math, and they live in a supportive neighborhood.

August 21, 2013: Robert and Chris’s (third) wedding day in Washington. The boys were best men at their wedding

In 2013, Robert and Chris decided to get married (for the third time!) with their sons by their side as their best men. This year they will celebrate 25 years together and they’re considering a family vacation to commemorate this milestone.

Family-versary photo, November 2015

Their friends and most of their family were extremely supportive throughout the adoption process. Only Robert's parents expressed their displeasure with his and Chris's decision to start a family, threatening to disown their son if they adopted. This was eight years ago and Robert says, “I don't regret my choice. Regardless of the loss of my parents, it has been the best eight years of my life.”

Robert with his sons at the local skate park, 2015

Robert loves to skate. Each of their sons, for his sixth birthday, got a skateboard and lessons from Robert. Now that they are all old enough, skate days are a family favorite! An ideal weekend for the Noble family would be to start a sunny day with a big pancake breakfast,  then a good hike, jog or skate. The family would then head into the mountains to camp near a lake. Robert says, “We try to teach our kids to be active and healthy but also intelligent and kind.”

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