Daniel Soto-Lopez always knew he wanted to be a father. So when dating and his relationship life seemed to prevent him from pursuing his parenting journey, he decided to go it alone.
At first, Daniel’s family and friends weren’t completely on board with his idea to foster-to-adopt a child as a single man. But inspired by his parents having fostered kids for nearly 15 years, Daniel decided to start taking courses on the process of foster-to-adopt.
“It wasn’t until late 2020 when I found myself in the perfect place to actually start the process,” Daniel explained. “I didn’t share the news with everyone until I was matched in February of 2021.”
Daniel, a business owner in Providence, Rhode Island, said he did fear at one point during the adoption course work that he might not be able to do it all alone. To help figure it all out, Daniel set up a brunch with multiple single parents he knew, so he could pick their brains for inspiration and encouragement.
“That’s when I came to the realization that single parents are just as effective as a two-parent household,” he said. “It may be a little harder, but I had all the resources that I needed.”
Daniel eventually completed his adoption coursework in December 2020. He was told the process of being placed with a child could take anywhere from two to three years, so he prepared himself for a long wait. But he very quickly ended up meeting a young boy with whom he immediately connected.
“I was originally interested in adopting a younger child, in the age range of 3 to 8 years old,” he said. “Adoption Rhode Island had an event which I was invited to, and I met 10-year-old Miguel and thought he was so adorable and shy, just like me.”
So Daniel inquired about Miguel. The organization got back to him and said Miguel was probably going to be adopted by another gay couple, and that it may be a while before he would hear back from them again.
But less than three days later, Daniel got a call that the couple decided not to move forward with Miguel, due in part to his ADHD. Miguel's then-foster mother had also given her notice to move him, so they needed to place him in a different home.
“So a process that generally takes a few months of transition took about 6 days,” Daniel said. “‘Migs,’ as I like to call him, moved in on February 2nd. He came with a bunch of bags of clothes, shoes and toys. It was such an emotional day. Because as I watched him sit on his bed, you could see the relief that he felt knowing that this would be his last home.”
Miguel and Daniel celebrated their official adoption date on August 18th, 2021. The next day, Daniel had planned an amazing celebratory event for them both at Disney World.
When he first took Miguel in, Daniel noticed that for a child, Miguel was very used to doing things for himself. In fact, Daniel said Miguel almost had to be taught "how to just be a kid again."
Daniel is now helping Miguel transition to more than just a new home; he’s also been welcomed into a new family. The new dad said he has received an overwhelming amount of support, even from people who weren’t initially sure if it was a good idea for him to adopt.
“My son and I are such a great match,” Daniel smiled. “My family has become my biggest support system, as I knew they would. I get so many messages of support from my parents, aunts and uncles that they are so proud of me for taking on this role of becoming a dad, and providing love and support to my son. A child is in need of stability, love and encouragement.”
Later this year, Miguel will also move up to middle school. While Daniel said he’s hoping things are similar to his elementary school environment, he has already received a great amount of support from teachers and other parents.
For other single gay men who are thinking about fostering-to-adopt, Daniel said it’s definitely something that is possible, and there are many children who need a loving family.
“The foster care system is saturated with kids just looking for a chance and an opportunity, just looking to take that sigh of relief,” he said. “I think making the decision to adopt was by far the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life. The happiness I feel is incomparable.”