Saturday, January 21, 2012

The True Meaning of Family: The Stories of Two Zac(h)s

My mother had six children from four different men.  Of the six, I only knew two.  Of those two, one was given away when I was five years old because she couldn't afford to take care of all three of us.  I met the man who provided the seed which produced me one time, when I was 16, for five minutes.  My mother, throughout my adolescent and teen years, paraded several different men into our lives.  Eventually, she married one.  And, he was a career inmate.  This was a Christian family.  This was an extraordinarily dysfunctional family. From my mid-teen into early adulthood, I would latch onto one family or another and kinda insinuate myself into their functional family structure.  I was a child screaming at the top of his lungs for normalcy, for a real family structure, for functionality.

In the U.S., every state in the U.S. permits gay adoption in one form or another.  Yet, there's still a stigma attached to the process.  The rhetoric is road-weary, so I won't even bother repeating it.  Last year, Zach Wahls went in front of the Iowa lawmakers in defense gay adoption.  Zach was raised by two lesbians:  his mothers.  Powerfully delivered, the youtube video of it has gone viral, TWICE.  His message resonates.  Throw away the garbage and hate-filled hyperbole you hear from the anti-gay advocates in regards to gay adoptions.  "They" don't matter.  "They" are speaking purely from their own fears and ignorance.  Watch the video over and again.  Check around and listen to other young people who have been or are being raised by LGBT parents.  They'll give you the real deal about what it's like to have a real, loving family.  Ask Zac about how he feels about his two dads:

I read about Zac earlier this week.  His "letter" is heartwarming and heartwrenching all at once.  This letter, again found on Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, is much too powerful for me to try and paraphrase.  I'd rather you read it for yourself.

A Letter from a 15 Year-Old Boy to His Gay, Adoptive Dads

Patrick Wallace posted this over at HuffPost, and it needs to be shared far and wide. A little backstory: this is a kid who was taken from his frankly unfit, drug-abusing mother at age eight, thrown around the foster system, and then adopted several years later by a gay couple. As with many kids adopted that age, Zac had a lot of problems. Very often, it’s gay couples who are willing to take the kids that nobody else wants. Here is the letter that Zac, now 15, read to his family this past Christmas:

To my Family,

This is the first Christmas letter that I have ever written. I feel like since I am getting older, I should start writing a letter to the family or just talk about how I thought the family’s year has gone until Christmas.

Ever since I ended up in this family people have told me that I was lucky. I have always known that I am lucky, especially when I have two dads that love me so much as Dad and Dadio. My family is very special to me. Even when we fight and even when we argue, I know they will always love me. Yes I am a lucky boy to have ended up here after spending so many years in foster care and not knowing if I would ever have a family.

I didn’t grow with a dad. My birthmom had many boyfriends and she did a lot of drugs and partying. My sisters and me were taken from her on my eighth birthday. It was not fun to have police in my room on that day. It made me sad and this sadness I carried for many years and it got me in a lot of trouble. Then I landed in a great foster home after having lived in 12 different homes in three years. It was when I lived there that both my foster mom and social worker told me there was a family that wanted me. There was a catch: it was two dads!

Honestly, it didn’t matter to me. I told them, “well, I never had a dad, now I get to have two!”

The start was tough and rough, and I put them through hell and back. I did awful and nasty things to them both. I stole their credit card and spent thousands of dollars online. When we went on my first vacation out of the country, I stole stuff from a souvenir stand – they found out and made me go back to the shop to return the souvenirs and made me pay the lady who owned the shop for the stolen property which then I had to give to a local kid. I didn’t get it and thought they were being mean.

When I stole their American Express and maxed it buying stuff online I was only 12 years old. They were very upset, but Dad made sure I got the message of how serious this was. He took me to our local police station and reported me to the police captain for having stolen again. I was taken to an interrogation room and talked to by three police officers. All the time there I only wanted my Dad to come in and bring me home. I wanted to turn time back to before my stealing so I would not be there and I would not have hurt my parents so much. I learned my lesson and NEVER stole again!

But Dad and Dadio brought not just me into this family. They also added my brother Derrick. What I can say about Derrick is that he is really cool, he is funny, he is an awesome gay guy, he is a one of a kind guy, he is my bro. Next they added Nick. Nick can get on my nerves sometimes, but in the end he is pretty cool. He is a fast leaner when it comes to math and multiplying numbers. And with that said, I will go to the roots of the family.

Dad and Dadio. They are my parents and they are always here when I need them.

When it is dark they are the light,
When I feel frightened and chill’s,
They are the warmth I feel.
When I am hungry they cook my meals.

I did not put a lot of time into the poem, but in the poem you see my parents. The people that show me the light. The people that warm my heart when it gets dark. The people that cook my meals. If I could only ask for anything for Christmas I would only ask for my family.

By Zac
Today, I've got a wonderful family.  However, not one person in my family shares my bloodline.  They're loving and supportive.  They're accepting, and they take me just as I am, flaws and all.  We, Zac, Zach, and I, understand the true meaning of family.  And, I'm 100% certain that there are other in this world who also "get it".  As for "those guys", the ones who keep trying to disqualify us, let them keep watching their reruns of Ozzie and Harriet.  They don't understand the real world, anyway.


  1. God bless you and Zac, I was truly moved by his letter. I hope to one day adopt when I can afford better housing and I pray that I could find a boy like him to add to my family. Thank you so much.

  2. The information about Florida is out of date. The ban on adoption by gays in Florida ended on September 22, 2010.

  3. Excellent article, however, you got the wrong state with a 4 letter name. Zach Wahls gave his testimony to lawmakers in Iowa, not Utah.

    -Brian Ferrin
    Santa Cruz, CA, but grew up in Des Moines, IA.

  4. Brain was thinking Iowa; fingers were thinking otherwise. Thanks for catching that.

  5. Plenty of perfectly wonderful Gay family s ! Tons of kids needing homes.

    Hope that all the states over turn the law that ban's this.

    Out of curiosity...where Did Elton John adopt from and out of what country?

  6. Oh, I get it!! Beautifully written! It made me cry. What you write about is so relevant, important, and powerful! Thank you for your words. You know, we hear and see how words can hurt, but your words are inspiring and healing. Keep doing what you do because your words heal! Yes, words can heal! Thank You!

  7. Absolutely wonderful!!!! Family is family, does not matter the blood, or anything. Thank you for being my big brother <3