Huffpost Queer Voices“That’s all any of us really need in life.”

Every story has a beginning. It is sometimes difficult to know the exact moment that sets the story into action. In this “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for HuffPost Queer Voices, RaiseAChild’s contributing writer, Eric Criswell, captures and shares the story of a beautiful family built from patience and love.

Frisley Juarez and Marcos Gómez were both apprehensive about what they might encounter at the bowling alley on a chilly day in April 2016. They had arrived earlier than anyone else to this event that would introduce prospective parents to eligible kids in the foster care system.


Continue reading This Beautiful Family Was Purposefully Built From Patience And Love

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Avila Winburn Family Huffpost Queer Voices“I can understand why people do a double take on our family.”

November is National Adoption Month, and RaiseAChild is celebrating our LGBTQ community with weekly “Let Love Define Family®” series for Huff Post Queer Voices. To honor this National Adoption Day 2017, RaiseAChild founder and CEO, Rich Valenza, shares news about an exciting trend the organization is seeing.

There was a lot to learn when we started RaiseAChild. After all, our organization was founded six years ago based on the part-time employment of a small staff of four. None of us were schooled in social work. Instead, we considered our qualifications to do this work based on our three common credentials… we were all foster and/or adoptive parents, we wanted to help more children than we could possibly foster or adopt, and we were all LGBT.

Continue reading LGBTQ Parents Are Back At It Again

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R Family Vacations & Olivia Travel“We never really thought about having our own kids because we never thought it was possible.”

November is National Adoption Month, and RaiseAChild is celebrating our LGBTQ community with weekly “Let Love Define Family®” series for Huff Post Queer Voices. In this first of four series installments, contributing writer Eric Criswell introduces us to a couple who are weighing their family building options.

The decision to become a parent is never easy, or at least it shouldn’t be. Whether that choice is to have biological children, or creating a family through fostering or adoption, the effects it will have on your life and the child’s life is monumental. In recent years, the ability for LGBTQ individuals to get married and start a family has not only become a reality for so many, but has brought along with it societal pressures that previous generations have not had to wrestle.

Continue reading This Couple Grapples With The Possibilities Of Becoming Fathers

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 “As a documentary filmmaker, I feel ethically bound to try to truth tell.”

In this special RaiseAChild “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for HuffPost Queer Voices, contributing writer Danielle Lescure visited with the San Francisco bay area filmmakers to understand their initial vision, challenges, and personal motivations.

Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker Nicole Opper, 36, is skilled at capturing people’s stories on camera alongside her wife, Kristan Cassady, 39. Over the last two years, however, this Oakland, CA couple turned the tables by documenting their own personal journey toward creating a family through foster-adoption. The result? A delightful and thought-provoking web-based docu-series called “The F Word.”

Continue reading This Queer Couple Turns The Camera on Themselves in ‘The F Word’

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Nebraska is the setting for this RaiseAChild “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices in which contributing writer, Eric Criswell, describes the fast-paced lives of these foster dads.

The alarm clock starts beeping at 6 AM and marks the start of the day for William and Rob Mailander-Chamberlain. They will spend the next hour getting five kids ready, two of them still in diapers. For the next 30 minutes, they eat breakfast, then William and Rob split chauffer duties by taking three of the kids to school in one car, and the other two babies to daycare in another car. Then it is off to their jobs; William works in IT and Rob is a social worker and full-time student. After work, the kids are picked up, taken home for homework and dinner, then bath time around 7 PM and bedtime by 8 PM. This leaves the couple about an hour of ‘alone time’ before they go to sleep…and prepare to do it all again tomorrow.

Continue reading This Gay Couple Is A Shining Example Of Midwestern Family Values

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The circumstance behind Scott and Joel Tinsley-Hall’s first meeting was incredibly unusual. But as RaiseAChild’s contributing writer Danielle Lescure shares in this “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices, it was a risk worth taking.

Scott Hall, originally from Illinois, found himself in the Pacific Northwest in 2005 having been recruited there for work. Joel Tinsley, a Baltimore native, had just finished his tour of duty in Europe and taken a friend up on her offer to share a place and explore a new city.

“The funny story behind us meeting is Joel’s friend didn’t think his social life was moving fast enough so she secretly put an ad on,” said Scott. “Lo and behold, I was one of the first ones to respond. At that point she had a decision, ‘I got to tell Joel that I did this.’ Luckily, he wasn’t too upset and responded.”

Continue reading How A Friend’s Secret Online Ad Led To This Beautiful Family

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In honor of Father’s Day, RaiseAChild’s contributing writer Danielle Lescure shares a “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices of a daughter who has great pride in being raised by two dads.

Eric Steidinger and Jim Ward began looking into adoption, surprisingly, at the urging of Eric’s mother.

“Jim and I had been together about five years and in January of 1995, my mother called and said, ‘Of my 8 kids, I think you and Jim would be the best parents. I don’t know why you haven’t adopted yet,’” shared Eric. “It kind of woke us up. I was 35 and Jim was 38. If we were going to adopt, it was time to do it. We actually talked about adopting on our second date together. We’re both from large families and liked children a lot. We’d both taken on parenting roles in our families. So having a kid was something we both wanted to do and was very natural for us.”

Continue reading A Daughter’s Beautiful Father’s Day Tribute To Her Adoptive Dads

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To say they are a stunningly handsome couple is a gross understatement. Their good looks alone are probably reason enough for a large portion of their more than 169,000 channel subscribers to tune-in weekly for another chance to peer in to their lives. However, more recent episodes of Matt and Blue have begun to uncover a different appeal, offering viewers a chance to watch these men be dads. In this Huffington Post Queer Voices “Let Love Define Family®” series installment, RaiseAChild Founder and CEO, Rich Valenza, gets an all access pass to ask some very personal questions.

“Early on in our relationship, we both were so career focused living here in Los Angeles,” said actor Matt Dallas. “When we moved to Phoenix full time, we both realized we were missing a child in our family. We were finally ready to take that next step.”

Turns out, it was Blue Hamilton who started and turned up the volume on the kid conversation.

“I was obsessing over it,” Blue admitted. “We did a lot of research online. Private adoption, surrogacy and all those different avenues of having a kid for two guys like me and Matt.”

Continue reading Matt Dallas And Blue Hamilton Open Up About Creating Their Beautiful Family

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To mark National Foster Care Awareness Month in this RaiseAChild “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices, contributing writer Eric Criswell shares the story of one family’s path to parenthood.

Craig Sauer and Mike Lawrence, both in their mid-forties, have the life that many young gay and lesbians dream of. They have been together for nearly sixteen years, married with three kids, have a beautiful home with a pool, each run a small business from home in Long Beach, California, and they travel frequently to Hawaii. As a family, they often can be found bike riding, roller skating or taking in a museum on a Saturday afternoon, with their twin girls, Sofia and Victoria, and their son, Ryan. Continue reading The Amazing Journey These Gay Dads Took To Build Their Family

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Foster dads Stuart Rosen and Scott Lardizabal will show that love really does define family when they tie the knot just moments before a judge declares the adoption of their oldest son, “O”, is final.

“We’re just waiting for the court date” Stuart said, “We feel it’s the perfect time to truly become a family.”

“We used to go dancing and travel and now we’re sitting around the dining room table singing our ABCs,” Scott said, laughing. Added Stuart, “You know your life has changed when someone asks you if you’ve seen any good movies lately and your answer is ‘Moana’s pretty good.’”

Stuart, 55, and 53-year old Scott, welcomed “O”, 11, last year. “D”, who is three and a half, came into their life right after the one year anniversary of the older boy. Their hope is to officially adopt “D” early next year. Continue reading Reimagining Families

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