in a small rural town 30 miles outside Nashville, TN.
Defining moments of our lives are those rare opportunities, when a
door opens and you don’t have to think about what you’re going to
do. You just know and you do it. Parenting is very similar. The
difference is, you just never know and you do it.
We (Loren and Bryan) met almost 15 years ago. If there is a family,
who had all the odds stacked against them, it is ours. Funny, but
in the end, our family is, well, just typical. Other than having
two dads, we’re no different than any other family, living in a
small southern town.
Imagine two gay men: one HIV positive, a dreamer, who never
understood limits and boarders. The other, a pretty simple, good
hearted country boy, whose good intentions and sexual promiscuity
sometimes lead to bad decisions and poor judgment. Yea, that would
be us, Loren and Bryan. Not exactly poster candidates for Gay Dads
of the year! Well, not at that time.
In the beginning, we didn’t think our application for adoption
would ever be approved. We knew that somewhere down the line,
questions would be asked and critical decisions would be made
without our input. And more than likely, by someone whose vision of
HIV was stuck in 1984. So, we prepared ourselves. We made sure that
we understood the HIPPA laws. And when the time came (and it did)
we used our new found knowledge.
Three social workers knocked on our door one Saturday morning. We
welcomed them in. For a while, we made small talk. They looked
around the house, and ask for design tips (I think that was their
humor). Then finally, they sat down at the table, opened a notebook
and looked at me, very seriously. Saying “we have to ask you a
question”; Are you HIV positive? I sat quietly, looking back,
straight in the eye, and said, “Why do you ask this of me and not
of everyone else.” She said, “because I was told too.” And I
replied, “And the United States government, having issued HIPPA
laws, tells me that I do not have to answer that question.” Later
that week, I called the Tennessee DCS hotline to voice a complaint.
Finally, someone called me back, saying how sorry they were that I
was placed in such a delicate and uncomfortable situation. “I’ve
been where you are” the caller said. “That question was
inappropriate and did not need to be asked. Please accept our
apologies.” Nervous and shaken, I realized we had just passed a
Moving forward with the adoption application or next hurdle came
from unexpected resources: our friends and family. So many people
have come and gone in our lives. Those that just couldn’t agree
with what we were attempting to do. Some walked away. Some ran
away. Some quietly said good bye in a non-discreet manner. “Why
bring kids into this relationship?” “You better not do it.” “You’re
being selfish, think of the kids.” “I just don’t agree.” “I would
have never expected this from you.” We’ve heard it all.
So why did we want to bring kids into our relationship? What did
we have, that made us believe we were the best parents for two kids
that had never been given an opportunity to have love, to have a
real family, to have a real chance at life? Why should their lives
be trusted to us?
Why not us? HIV is no longer a death sentence. The meds are making
life possible again. Since being positive, we’ve gone back to
school and finished an undergraduate degree, built a beautiful
home, and started a great career. We are committed to our
relationship and at the time of the adoption, we were celebrating
12 years together.
We realize when we were younger, our lives were stereotypically
gay. But we’ve grown up and our culture has changed as well. The
irony is that today we still fit the stereotype. It’s just that the
two of us, and the stereotype, had to make some big changes
Today, a gay lifestyle doesn’t denote the limited stereotype that
it once did. A movement toward equality, recognition, and the
beginning steps toward acceptance has redefined the
Our family, like so many other gay families all over the world, is
helping to create changes in our culture and our world. We are
proud to say that we are a part of it. We represent the new family,
a family for equality, a family of pride. We share our beliefs
with a network of similar gay families, working towards a more
perfect world for our kids.
Today, I hear my kids say, “Dad” and I know that our decisions were
right. I have no doubt that my kids are adjusted, balanced, and
happy. They identify with each other, their dads, and our
community. They are adaptable, strong, resilient, and brave. Our
family was formed from love and bonded with equality. Realizing
this is a defining moment. You just know, and you do it.
If you share this belief, we would welcome you to join us, at
The Rogers-Wyatt Family