I never thought that being a father was something I would experience, but when I married Clay, I also took a vow to be a father to his two children, Nathan and Nataya. As the years passed, laws were fought, challenged, and finally defeated, a constitutional amendment made it so the nation recognized our marriage. This change and recognition had far reaching effects. This meant that I could adopt Nathan and Nataya without Clay having his rights terminated on his adult children. Yes, you heard me right, adult children. If I had adopted Nathan and Nataya prior to the Supreme Court overturning the law that banned same sex marriage, Clay’s rights would have been terminated. Asinine for sure. But the story doesn’t end there. A young adult had entered our lives a few years back, and her name is Lupe. Lupe had touched the heart and soul of our family, had become one of “ours,” just like Nathan and Nataya. When I was able to adopt Nathan and Nataya, the law now cleared the way to allow both Clay and myself to adopt Lupe as well.
I think that Brandon Burnett told the story of our family the best. What started out as a high school senior project for an aspiring film student with the Tulsa World article in his hands became a story that has the potential to change many lives. You see, some people are still looking for their “Forever Families” and have yet to find them, but our family found forever, when two men met, fell in love, got married, one adopted one child, while the other adopted three, add a son-in-law and a granddaughter, and they live happily ever after.
Even when one has found their forever family, stereotypes and bigotry rear their ugly heads, as was evident by NBC’s Al Trautwig being criticized for his ignorant and misspoken words on Simone Bile’s adoptive parents. Trautwig tweeted “they may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents,” but his tweet has since been removed following the bombardment of criticism he was faced with. Such irresponsible remarks have no room in today’s discussion involving adoptions and even adult adoptions.
Brandon told it so well, that he was awarded 2nd prize winner of the 2016 C-Span Student Cam, Gold Medal Awards from Scholastic Arts and Writing for Regional and National. He was recognized at Carnegie Hall on June 2nd. Home, was accepted into the 2016 LA Film Festival and Brandon was the only high school student that was selected to showcase his short documentary at the DeadCenter Film Festival.