Gay Man Reflects On Foster-To-Adopt Journey: “They Are Our Kids And They Were Purposely Chosen.”

by Gregory Yorgey-Girdy

I’m Gregory Yorgey-Girdy. I’m from Victoria, Texas.

I moved to Philadelphia to attend law school. Once I got here, I met my husband Paul. When I met Paul, one of the things that attracted me to him is the fact that he was very family-oriented. He comes with a huge family. One of the first things that we talked about was just raising a family, if we could raise a family. We moved in with each other probably six months after we met. And then we wanted to have kids.

One day, Paul came home with a flyer that said something about LGBTQ potential parents and if you’re interested in possibly adopting or foster-to-adopt kids, to attend. I attended – well, we attended, but one of the things that we liked about it is that we found a path to possibly create our family. We did meet someone there with an adoption agency and we did all the paperwork. One of the things that they gave us was something that they call Swan, where you look up to see what kid you want. That didn’t work out, so we waited.

We did find someone within that agency that understood who we were as gay men, and figured out that that’s the problem, probably why we weren’t getting kids. And so when she took over as the foster manager, we did get a call and that’s where Bella came in. When we do get that call, they said – described her and when she would come over. So we prepared the room, everything was done. Then the next day we got a call saying that it may be a problem.

So we got a call that it may be a problem since Bella was currently with another foster parent that had intended to adopt her. And Bella’s birth mom really liked this lady. They had a history together and she didn’t know us, Paul and I, and personally I think the fact that we were two dads, I think that gave her pause. So the person that we knew at the adoption agency decided to, like, maybe have a meeting between her and Paul and myself. And we met her and when we met her, as soon as she came into the room I knew there was a connection. She looked exactly like Paul’s sister and I think she had that same connection with us. And I remember at the end of that meeting, she gave us a picture of Bella that was the only picture she had and she gave it to us and she thanked us for stepping up.

And we continued on. The adoption, you know, became final and it was pretty much a good thing. But one of the things that bothers me is the fact that that lady that once was going to adopt Bella – she never had that opportunity. Bella’s a great kid, a really good kid, so that one of things I used to tell a friend of mine is that we –  through someone else’s pain, we gained. And that is something we talk about. It is what it is.

So, raising Bella was easy. She was a great kid. She took her naps. She loved broccoli. I mean, she was a  good kid, beautiful kid. So we decided we wanted another kid. We got another kid. His name was Xander. We got a call that he was being born – he was born and that – to come to the hospital and pick him up. And so I was excited. We didn’t even have a chance to make a room or anything like that. So on our way, we got a call from the hospital that said, “Don’t come – he’s going to die.” I mean, it was just like that.

I said, “Well, we’re still on our way.” He apparently, they thought, had fluid on his lung. He didn’t. That was a misdiagnosis.

So when we got there, the nurse came out – the doctor came out, rather, and said that he had all these problems, all these things. I thanked the doctor, I whispered to Xander, I said, “Xander, you have to fight.”  I asked her to give me his medical records. We grabbed him and we left. Xander comes home from the hospital as a newborn. And we bring him home. Bella’s going crazy because it’s a new baby in the house. Xander gets adjusted. Paul decides to stay home with Xander because I stayed home with Bella for a while and I have a really close relationship with Bella, so he wanted to stay home to be with Xander.

We got a call from the same contact we had at the adoption agency and saying, you know, “You guys, we have another kid that you may be interested in.” And that’s Trevor. In fact, Paul wasn’t even here. When the adoption agency calls, they give us a description and you have a little bit of time to decide. At that point, we had 15 minutes. So I try to call Paul. He didn’t answer the phone, so I said yes. Xander and Trevor, even though we got him at different times, they were adopted at the same time, they came to the same agency, so that was a nice little event that we had with them, those two.

But when I look at it, we started off as a couple who are totally different – interracial relationship with me being 15 years older than Paul – but we all have one thing – we both have one thing in common: the love of family. And we created our own family.

We did marry five years ago and we married just before we finally adopted Bella because we felt like we wanted to give them our name, which is a very unique name and it’s a long name. But we all have the same name and I think that’s important as a family unit.

I’m very proud of my family and we have – it’s a picture of Xander and I think I mentioned this earlier that he plays football – and I have a picture of him in his jersey and on the back it says Yorgey-Girdy. And I looked at that. When I saw that, it brought back all those memories of when Paul and I met. And I said – when he brought to me, “So do you do you want kids?” and I’m like, “Yeah, I want kids.” And I thought was really weird that a 20 year old boy – well he wasn’t a boy, but – would ask me on a first date, Do I want kids? And I saw the photo and I thought, wow, now we have 3 kids with our name on it. So I thought that was pretty cool. I think that kind of summarizes our family of who we are.

One of the things that we are moving towards, Paul and I, is not to focus on our kids being adopted. They are our kids, period, no matter how they were conceived or where they came from. If our kids ever come back and read maybe our blog or watch this, one of the things that I want them to know is that they were – they are our kids and they were purposely chosen. They’re loved, truly loved.

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