Every year, around 140,000 children in the U.S. are adopted into loving families. But adoption touches far more lives than most people realize. According to Adoption Network, 60 percent of Americans have had a personal experience with adoption, meaning that they themselves, a family member, or a close friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had placed a child for adoption.
This November, for National Adoption Month, Gays With Kids is spotlighting some of the wonderful families with gay dads that were formed through adoption.
Florida dads Ben and Aaron Ptashinsky-Skinner adopted their daughter Charlotte in 2017. According to Ben, the reason they chose adoption to form their family was because they “wanted to provide a life for a child who would not be given the opportunities we could give them without adoption."
When they matched with Charlotte’s birth mom, she was six months pregnant. She invited them to be part of the gender reveal party, which they said was “amazing.” However, the dads said they found much of the adoption process to be an emotional rollercoaster that they had very little control over. Read Ben and Aaron’s full story here.
Craig and Joel Diaz, of Columbus, Ohio, adopted their daughter Izzy in 2017. With the help of Choice Network, the couple were matched with Izzy’s birth mother while she was still pregnant. After they brought baby Izzy back to Ohio, the adoption process required a few home visits before everything was finalized with the courts.
Although home visits can be a source of stress for some new adoptive parents, these dads said their home visits were “ a fun experience” where they got to share their “new parent stories” with their case manager. Read their full story here.
Most adoptive parents opt to work with an adoption agency to guide them along their chosen path to parenthood. Ready to start a family of their own, newlyweds Danny Maffia and Justin DeMartin signed with an adoption agency in 2016. During the next 16 months, they experienced three failed adoptions, two of which were financial scams.
Thankfully, just three days after learning of their third failed adoption match, an expectant mom got in touch after seeing their video on YouTube. She was having twins and had a scheduled c-section in less than a week. The next few days were intense for the waiting dads, but on November 6, 2017, Justin and Danny were in the hospital holding their twin babies. Read their full story here.
As two white men, John Hart said he and his husband made sure they educated themselves when they adopted two children of color. “When we adopted each child, we sought out books, tv shows, movies and other media that include diverse characters – characters of color, two dads, strong female role models,” John said.
“It's important for our kids to see themselves represented and reflected back to them… We work on building a community of family, friends, neighbors, and resource people who nurture us and support us as a family. We enrolled our children in a school that is diverse… They don't simply learn about diversity, they experience it every day.” Read John’s blog here.
Dustin and Yaser were married in 2015, and a year later, they adopted their first child Lucy. “She had some drug exposure and her heart and lungs were still developing. The nurses were so kind and they taught us everything that we needed to know about how to take care of her,” Dustin said.
Soon after, they learned Lucy's biological mother was pregnant with a baby boy. In early 2019, baby Alex was born and was taken to the NICU right away with some respiratory distress. The next day, the dads were told that the baby also had multiple drugs in his system and was experiencing withdrawal symptoms. “Yaser and I would hold him while he cried and had tremors,” Dustin said. “It was heartbreaking to see him this way.” Read the full story here.
Adoption often starts with fostering. At first New Jersey husbands, Jonathan and Jonathan seriously considered surrogacy, but due to the costs, they felt discouraged about that path to parenthood. Instead, they became foster parents, and within a year, they had taken in four toddlers.
“It escalated very quickly,” Jonathan S. laughed. “Before we knew it, we needed a bigger car. It doesn’t always happen fast for everybody, but for us, the kids just kept coming until we had to say — that’s enough!” Once their daughter Megalina had joined their home, the dads officially adopted all four kids in January 2020. Now, their children are aged 3, 4, 5 and 6 years old. Read their full story here.
Of the over 400,000 children currently in foster care in the U.S., more than 114,000 cannot be returned to their families and are waiting to be adopted right now. Although less than two percent of American families have an adopted child, Adoption Network reports that more than one-third of American adults say they have considered adopting. If you’re a gay/bi/trans man or couple interested in learning more about adoption, check out GWK’s Adoption Guide.