In this week’s RaiseAChild “Let Love Define Family®” series installment for Huffington Post Queer Voices, contributing writer David Humiston spoke with Adam and Ryan Reisman, fathers to Justice and Justin, who couldn’t ignore all of the signs pointing them towards taking all the steps necessary and making the choice to become a family.
Together for 15 years, Adam Reisman and his husband Ryan went for broke at midlife. They traded in a lifestyle some said they could not or should not so that they could build a family. Adam and Ryan chose to adopt and, fortunately, fate smiled on them.
Adam and Ryan, both Jewish, found that they were in exactly the right place at the right time. A case manager and personal friend of theirs put an advertisement in the newspaper looking for a nice Jewish family to adopt two children born and initially raised Jewish. This request was largely at the behest of the biological grandmother who, Adam and Ryan later learned, was also a personal friend. At the time the brother and sister were in a foster home placement that stridently practiced another religion.
Unable to ignore all of the coincidences, Adam and Ryan began questioning their fate. Starting a family in their 40s seemed crazy, but there were unmistakable glimmers in both their eyes when they talked about raising children. They met with the children and knew instantly.
Being gay himself, the adoption agency recruiter was especially encouraging of the couple. It was not long at all before classes were taken and the process was fast-tracked to get this “meant to be” family together.
Friends had mixed responses. Many had always said they would make great parents, but some friends fell by the wayside and could not adjust. Still, Ryan and Adam have received enough support and experienced enough joy that they say it has all been more than worth it. Most responses have been overwhelmingly positive, especially from Adam’s mom. Adam says that he and other gay men “are likely conditioned from an early age to not consider themselves for parenthood. But raising children has nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity. Good parents come in all forms.”
Choosing to be a family is a powerful thing. Ryan says that one thing that helped them was to establish family rituals. Among those rituals, Friday night Shabbat dinners have replaced Shabbat services in importance now, and for the longest time Ryan, Adam and their kids, Justin (9) and Justice (10) would take a moment out of most days to sit in their hallway and read together from this poster:
If you live in the Las Vegas area or plan to be there on the evening of July 16th, please consider attending a very special RaiseAChild benefit event at the Martin Lawrence Galleries at The Forum Shops. Tickets and event details at www.RaiseAChild.US
RaiseAChild.US 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.US 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.