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

“It’s all in the timing,” as the saying goes. For Anna and Monique Barvir-Boone of Orange County, California timing was indeed everything in the creation of their family and could not have been more perfect, even when it seemed otherwise.

“I look back at how painful it was when we lost our first placement, but if we hadn’t met and parented her that little bit of time we wouldn’t have known her social worker,” Anna shared. “Her social worker wouldn’t have gotten to know us and realized the kind of parents we would be. And we wouldn’t have gotten Willow. So it turned out that our baby was out there, we just had to wait and be ready for her.” Continue reading Persistence Made Perfect For These Moms

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Fulfilling her heart’s desire to create a family was a personal odyssey for Natasha King, 46, of Saskatchewan, Canada. In this RaiseAChild “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices, contributing writer, Danielle Lescure shares Natasha’s very personal story of a 20-year trek that led to a 10-month-old girl finding a loving home in her arms.

“I found the daughter of my soul in foster care,” Natasha King admitted. “Adoption is a beautiful process that contains both joy and grief. My hope is that by openly celebrating our family’s intentional journey-into-being, my daughter will have the pride and foundation that can pull her through any challenge.” Continue reading This Lesbian Mom Shares An Amazing Story About Her Journey To Creating Her Family

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You won’t want to miss the Olivia and R Family 2nd annual LGBT Family & Friends vacation. This time Club Med’s Ixtapa Mexico Resort, rated the #1 family resort in Mexico by Trip Advisor, will be the destination! Everyone is invited: lesbian moms, gay dads, kids, grandparents, singles, couples, straight friends & family, and the entire LGBT community at this ALL-INCLUSIVE family resort. Kids are not required, but very welcome! All-inclusive means your accommodations, food, beverages (including alcohol), games, most activities, and special Olivia & R Family programming and entertainment are included in the price. You’re in for a special treat with the Kids’ Club, which provides all-day activities for children of all ages (we hear the kids have so much fun they can’t wait for the next day’s activities to begin). The wide-open beach is perfect for sunbathing while watching the kids boogie board, and you won’t go hungry with an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring Mexican specialties like handmade tacos and fresh tropical fruit. Best of all, the energy from the G.O.’s, Club Med’s enthusiastic staff, combined with the Olivia & R Family team creates a unique atmosphere and a very special vacation experience you won’t soon forget.

​Spend 8 days and 7 nights at the ALL-INCLUSIVE Club Med Ixtapa resort. Located on an untouched region of Mexico, sitting between the waves of the Pacific Ocean and the peaks of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the resort offers breathtaking ocean views and stunning sunsets. Enjoy cuisine from three delicious restaurants, relax at any of the three bars, swim in the ocean or in the centralized pool, plus pamper yourself at the spa. Club Med also offers a childcare program for children ages 4 months to 3 years (with an extra charge) and a customized program for children ages 4-17 will be available so they’ll always be entertained throughout the day with activities.

RaiseAChild families receive a $100 discount (per booking) with discount code RAC17. Additionally, a $100 donation will be made to RaiseAChild.

Book Now

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Foster Parent Self-Assessment Quiz

Whether you are an older adult or a younger adult, single, or married, a working or a stay-at-home-parent, a home owner or renter, adoption or foster care may be a good option for you. The questionnaire below will help you determine if foster or adopting is the best choice for you now. If you answer Yes to the statements below, you are ready to begin the process of becoming a foster/adoptive parent.

I am 21 years old or older
Foster/adoptive parents must be 21 years old or older; single or legally married and must have a valid driver’s license (you may be divorced or widowed).

Am I in good health?
Being a parent can be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for foster/adoptive children. All those living in your home must have a health statement completed by a physician showing that you are free of communicable diseases.

My home is safe
During the home study, a safety inspection of your home will be conducted. You must have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.

I am open to working with children who have moderate behaviors
Many children have experienced trauma and loss and can react by running away, stealing, lying, or with physical and verbal aggression.

I am open to working with biological families
Typically, foster-to-adopt children have visits with their biological siblings, biological parents, and relatives. Sometimes foster parents may need to supervise visits.

I have not had a case of child abuse or neglect
All potential foster/adoptive parents are required to submit to background checks prior to certification including other states where an applicant has resided.

I have adequate income
You do not have to be wealthy to become a foster/adoptive parent. However, you must have enough income to meet your own family’s needs and be able to demonstrate that you can financially support an additional child for up to 6 weeks without financial reimbursement. During the certification process you will be asked to provide proof of income and to review family expenses.

I am able to attend training
Foster/adoptive parents must complete training and all required paper work. Parents must commit to continuing training and workshops. Additional training is important to making the relationship a success.

No adult in my home has been convicted of a crime
If you or any adult living in your home has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, you cannot become a foster/adoptive parent. Each adult member in your household over age 18 will be fingerprinted.

I am ready to begin a home study now
You are ready to begin the home study if your life and home are stable. “Stable” means that you are not about to move and are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties or making any major life changes in the near future.

Who can I talk to about the next steps?
You can contact us at 323-417-1440 or email us to find out about becoming a foster parent.

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