I am a single dad who has provided foster care to 26 youngsters over the past 10 years. Two of them, brothers Xavier and Nathaniel, have recently become my sons through adoption. The boys were relieved to finally know that they will remain with their loving father who has cared for them since they arrived as a preschooler and a baby.
When it was determined that Nathaniel and Xavier would be legally freed for adoption, I expressed my interest. By that time I had been caring for the boys for over a year and had come to treasure them as my own. But when I honestly answered our social worker’s question about my sexual orientation, I was excluded from consideration as an adoptive parent due to Florida’s ban on adoption by gays and lesbians.
Not easily dissuaded, I sought representation by the ACLU. After a lengthy process, a Miami-Dade Circuit Judge ruled Florida’s ban unconstitutional in 2008. In September of 2010, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the decision allowing me to adopt the two boys, who had already been in my care for six years.
Freed from worry that they would have to move, Xavier and Nathaniel have blossomed in my home. Now age 13, Xavier enjoys playing basketball, and is a forward on his middle school’s team. He is also taking classes to play the snare drum. Younger brother Nathaniel likes basketball, too, but really loves to dance. Neither boy shies from the spotlight, with both having played starring roles in the musical theater summer camp they have attended for the past three years. Nathaniel put his public speaking skills to use last year when he testified before the U.S. Senate for the introduction of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act.
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Thank you to Voice of Adoption for the story contribution. The Gill family story was originally published in Voice of Adoption’s 2013 Adoptive Family Portrait Project.