Two Gays Dads With Three Families

With one story a week, Huffington Post Queer Voices has been publishing a great number (we counted 50 in their archive) of touching portraits of LGBT-headed families, in its RaiseAChild Let Love Define Family® series. Eric Criswell’s article about Steve Ledoux and Mark Bechtold’s family (“These Two Dads Share The Story Of How They Created Their Beautiful Family”) stayed in our minds for such a long time after reading it, we decided to share with our readers what is was that so struck us.

Instant compatibility led Steve Ledoux and Mark Becktold to living together in their own home within seven months of meeting. Both now in their mid-50s and active in the community, they got involved in fighting against Prop 8. As Mark reported in article, “Once that was achieved, we realized that also meant we could have equal rights as a family.”

They decided to create their family through the foster-adopt system. They were in total agreement about this next step and went through the sometimes daunting classes, training, licensing and paperwork. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services contacted them to take on an emergency placement. Expecting an older child, they had a surprise challenge: 19-month-old toddler Jeremiah.

Steve admitted that it was much more work than they initially thought. Taking on a family presented a steep learning curve and affected every aspect of their lives. At first they wondered how they would be able to handle the situations that might arise. Somehow they always manage to muster the necessary energy. The rewards, fortunately, more than compensated for the challenges. They expressed a sentiment we’ve heard from many parents: “We learned that people can handle much more than they think they can.”

How the dads dealt with the rapid and sometimes painful developments around their family is, in our eyes, quite amazing.

Working closely with social workers over 18 months they managed to facilitate a reunion with the biological mother and still care for Jeremiah at least once a week while the mother was at work. In return, the mother asked the men to remain part of Jeremiah’s life.

During this difficult time they met two young brothers, Adrian and Matthew, born within 12 months of each other, whom they fostered for six months before the adoption became official. (At this stage Mark decided to become a stay-at-home dad. Realizing it’s a cliché, says, “It is the hardest job I have ever had.”)

A younger sibling of the brothers, Rudy, with special needs and a different situation, was placed with another couple who wanted one child. All the parties involved with the boys and the families agreed that it would be in the brothers’ best interest to spend as much time together. Where other parents would experience anger or inconsolable grief, Steve and Mark were able to adapt their views on the definition of a family. In Steve’s words,“We started out wanting to create one family, but we got three families!”

Photo credit: Sarah Mariel

From The Huffington Post: Have you thought about building a family of your own through fostering or adopting? RaiseAChild is the nationwide leader in the recruitment and support of LGBT and all prospective parents interested in building families through fostering and adoption to meet the needs of the 415,000 children in the foster care system of the United States. RaiseAChild recruits, educates and nurtures supportive relationships equally with all prospective foster and adoptive parents while partnering with agencies to improve the process of advancing foster children to safe, loving and permanent homes. Take the Next Step to Parenthood at www.RaiseAChild.US or call us at (323) 417-1440.

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