Adoption advocate & father challenges expectations

On Monday, June 2, 2014, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer bloggers, their family members, and allies from across the U.S. and around the world will celebrate the ninth annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day. The event, developed and run by the award-winning LGBTQ-parenting site Mombian, and sponsored by Family Equality Council, aims to raise awareness of LGBTQ families, their diverse natures, and how current prejudices and laws have a negative impact on their lives and children.

By Bryant Huddleston

“If you want a black boy, we’ve got parking lots full of ‘em!”

That was the shocking and sickening fact that came out of the mouth of a social worker when I began my journey to find Haven. Haven is my son; the little boy that I was so lucky to be matched with in 2010.  By the way, I always thought I would end up with a little white girl who I would dress up in really frilly clothes that didn’t really match (cause her gay daddy really is color blind and really has zero fashion sense—gasp!)  Little did I know I would become the father of a gorgeous (I mean, he’s a stunner and I can brag openly because he hasn’t got a bit of my white trash genes) and super athletic Hispanic kiddo.  Imagine, the poor kid is getting baseball advice from moi! If you ever met us, he really is the ying to my yang. We are a perfect match. We were meant to be, but I still think about that parking lot—a lot.

I always love hearing this one when people see us together, like at the supermarket,  this is how it normally goes down: “Where did you get him?” And then in a much lower kind of whispery voice…“Mexico?” Oh, honestly? I usually respond back in that kind of whispery voice…“Ummm…Noooo…Haven was born in what we call –Hollywood. I drove 30 minutes to a far, far away land called Gardena, California and picked him up for FREE!” It is so sad to me that over the last four years, since I formed my very own little family (as a single parent—yes I’m one of those crazy gays), just how many people are still so ignorant to our nation’s Foster Care system. The system has an overwhelming amount of beautiful and talented children who are desperate for families right now---like yesterday---like right this very instant. These children, listen up everybody, are free of charge.

Even though some states prohibit us from adopting, the option is on the table for many potential gay parents. In my home state of Arkansas, there are nearly  four thousand children in Foster Care. In New York, over 25,000 little ones and teenagers dreaming of a home of their own. The state of California has close to 60,000 children waiting for forever families. Listen, I know there are many ways to become a family. The Foster/Adoption route just happens to be the way I started mine. The question that baffles my mind:  Why aren’t more people adopting our own children rather than going overseas, spending a ridiculous amount of money, often spending their life savings to adopt a child, when there a millions available for adoption in the US?

I’m thankful when people see Haven and I together, that 99% percent of the time our conversations lead them to a better understanding of what an amazing opportunity adopting a child from foster care really is. Besides a little one that will love you unconditionally, here are some other little known facts that come with adopting California’s children:

Haven gets nearly 500 dollars every month until he turns 18. That’s the day I’m hoping he uses some of that cash to get his own place. Listen, he can move across the street, but he should at least give it a shot. Or at least spend weekends there. Is that so wrong? Haven also has medical and dental insurance until that eighteenth celebration.

I know many folks have those common fears that they may foster a child that could possibly return to their bio-family before adoption is permanent and I get it. All child cases are different. And some come with heartache. I lost two babies before I met my Haven. In my next blog, I’ll tell you about my baby hand off to a Grandma at a McDonalds (Oh yes, I needed a Happy Meal and a super sized sweet tea after that one). But isn’t loving a child, even for that short period of time, the best gift you could give them as you wait for your forever family? Because I guarantee you he or she is out there. They are there. They are ready to drive you insane with silly questions over and over and over again and refuse to listen to you until you want to guzzle bottomless Bloody Marys to your heart’s content.

I admit, I still can’t shake that “lot full of little black boys.” Part of me thinks I’m not done.  Today, Haven is your typical “only” child (who will one day find out he has six biological siblings – I can’t wait to have that conversation – not!) asking for a brother or sister more often now than ever before. Who knows? Maybe I’ll visit the lot—expand my heart and expand my family (and in doing so, expand my wine collection).  But my biggest hope is that someone who’s reading this blog will one day drive to one of those parking lots and come home with a grateful passenger.