"We always knew we wanted to adopt since there are so many children already in the world," explained Trey on why he and his fiancé Philip decided on their path of foster-adopt to become dads. "We settled on foster care as the route to adoption due to my career and our passion for helping the most vulnerable children."
Trey, a Family Outreach Specialist (and Gays With Kids Foster Expert), and Philip, a V.P. and Business Manager for a remodeling contractor, met nearly 10 years ago on Match.com. They talked for about a month before they had their first date in a Seattle bar. The couple are now engaged and their wedding date is set for September 14, 2018.
Trey (left) and Philip
Trey is a social worker and began his career as a foster care and adoption specialist at Amara, a not-for-profit foster and adoption organization, working directly with children and families. After nearly five years in that role, Trey was ready to transition to a new role, one that would provide more separation between direct service work and his own fostering experience as he and Philip prepared to become a foster parents themselves. About two years ago, Trey became the Family Outreach Specialist at Amara.
Since they became licensed foster parents, they've cared for two children. In July 2016, Philip and Trey became foster dads to a 15-month old boy. It was only a 10-day placement before the child moved to a relative placement. In January 2017, Philip and Trey became foster dads again to a baby boy.
"He was a 4-month old baby that we had with us for about three months," shared Trey. "I got a call on my way home from work that he was in the state office and needed a foster home."
Philip and Trey didn't receive much more information than that when they took the boy home, but they found out the next day that he was going to reunify with his parent.
Reunification is something foster parents have to consider when they decide to partake in the foster dad journey. It can be heartbreaking, but it can also be incredibly rewarding knowing that as a foster parent your role helped another family succeed.
"We began texting and interacting with his parents from the beginning of the placement," said Trey. "His parents were great and we feel honored to have helped them out while they worked to better themselves and their situation to be successful parents."
While Philip and Trey are not in a position to do another temporary placement right now due to it being a logistical challenge (taking time off work, enrolling temporarily in daycare, etc.) they are open to a longer-term placement even if it is known that reunification was a definite further down the road.
"Even though we have end goals of adoption, we enjoy the fostering process and support reunification despite the emotional impact on us."
Today they just have one foster child in their care, the same boy who they first had as a 10-day placement in July 2016. He returned to their care in January 2017, at 20-months old, and they recently celebrated his third birthday.
By being dads, the two men have learned plenty about themselves and each other. Gone are the days of spontaneous Happy Hour drinks, and trips away. Now everything requires a lot more planning. One of the biggest takeaways Trey has discovered is to really enjoy living in the moment.
"Children are stress-free and can be content doing a mundane task for several minutes; something I wished I could do! I've learned to have more patience, because well....kids lol."
One day the two dads hope to adopt and become a forever family.
"Part of our motivation in becoming foster parents was to eventually create a forever family."
In the meantime, Daddy Philip and Papa Trey are being the best foster dads they know how to be. Providing a loving and stable home for kids, whether they only stay temporarily, or if they are meant to stay forever, as part of Trey and Philip's forever family.