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LGBT Parenting through foster care

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May was National Foster Care Month, and during this last month I enjoyed many of the recent stories of foster families at RaiseAChild.US. Read on for links to their tales and to other information resources for LGBTQ foster families.

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Ricardo and Jesse Ortiz-Barreto are parents to four young men they adopted from foster care when the latter were aged four to eight. The couple proudly introduce their sons: John Gabriel, now 26 (adopted at 8 years); Richard Jr., now 25 (adopted at 7); Iván Christian, now 21 (adopted at 7); and Jose de Jesus Jr., now 17 (adopted at 4). All four were adopted through foster care. Ricardo, 48, is the house manager for The Ricardo Montalbán Foundation and Theatre in Hollywood. His husband Jose de Jesus, “Jesse,” 54, is an activities instructor for L.A. Kids Program offered by the City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation.

Hugo Redwood and Denis O’Hare began their family by fostering an infant (and Hugo coined the wonderful term “scare-cited” to describe being both scared and excited when having a kid). The men introduce their son and I’m captivated. At three years of age, Declan has the face of an angel. His eyes twinkle and his teeth are perfect. You can tell that his hairstyle took his dads a lot of time to perfect. On May 18, 2014, Denis O’Hare and Hugo Redwood were presented with a “Let Love Define Family” award at the annual RaiseAChild.US HONORS gala.

Mignon Moore and Elaine Harley are raising Elaine’s child from a previous relationship and fostering two infant and toddler siblings. As a university professor and the author of Invisible Families: Gay Identities, Relationships and Motherhood Among Black Women, Mignon has studied the unique factors influencing family-building among African American SGL women. Mignon and Elaine have been together since 2002 and were legally married in New York in 2012. Their legal ceremony was followed by a wedding ceremony on the beaches of Los Cabos, Mexico.

And Michael Arden-Sonego, now a 22-year-old college student, offers his perspective as a former foster youth who found a permanent home with two men at age 12.

If you’re considering fostering a child, here are some additional resources that may help:
• AdoptUSKids has lots of general information about adoption and foster care, as well as a list of links to LGBTQ-specific resources. It also runs a hotline where you can talk with an LGBT adoption specialist, at 888-200-4005 or LGBTSupport@adoptuskids.org.
• HRC has a good overview of the process of becoming a foster parent.
• The National Foster Parent Association has lots of good general resources.
• The Foster Club is the national network of young people in foster care.

And don’t forget that research has shown foster children do equally well no matter the sexual orientation of their parents.

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