Diane Tomaz and her wife, Shelley, are grateful parents of two boys, Dominic, 9, and Christian, 7, who they adopted through the foster care system. Like so many others, they had a unique and challenging road to creating their family.
Dominic was just six weeks old when they got the call about him. “The social worker phoned and said, ‘we have a kid in the office.’ We were just back from our honeymoon. It was 2:30 p.m. and he had to be picked up at 5 p.m.! We said ‘yes’ without asking any real questions. We finalized his adoption just two days before his first birthday.”
Christian’s story was slightly more complicated. “He was 13 months old when he came to us,” says Diane. “It was an open adoption, unlike Dominic. So Chris’s bio dad has always been in our lives. We agreed on four visits a year and also Skype and phone calls. His dad is a really nice guy. We’re kind of informal and casual now.”
Diane is always struck by her boys’ stages of growth — and by how being foster children comes up from time to time. “Dominic had a school project this year that touched on heritage and it brought him to tears,” she says. “It got him thinking about how he couldn’t find out more about his birth parents. We know he’s part Native American, but we don’t know more.”
Christian has been recently working through some adoption issues of his own. “We have spent more time talking about race,” says Diane. “We’ve had discussions this year about how to wear his hair. He’s into basketball and is emulating grown men playing basketball. We don’t always have all the answers, so we have actively sought out men and women of color occasionally to give our kids some guidance.”
Both boys also benefit greatly from their peers. Says Diane, “They go to a really progressive school where they encourage the kids to talk about everything under the sun.” For example, Dominic sometimes attends a “rainbow kids” lunch and Christian occasionally goes to a “children of color” gathering. Continues Diane, “The groups get together once a month to talk about what they want to talk about. They don’t talk about a lot of really heavy stuff. But just being around each other feels good enough.”
Summer brings the end of the school year and the countdown to Family Equality’s signature event, Family Week, which they have attended the last four summers. Says Diane, “The kids just adore their week in Provincetown — they see old friends, swim every day, and hang out with families who look a lot like theirs.”
The moms donate to Family Equality Council each year because they feel strongly about supporting an organization that advocates every day for LGBTQ parents and their children. “There are so many appeals that come in the mail or in your inbox,” Diane continues. “It boils down to what you believe in. Family Equality Council looks at the bigger picture. They never settle, and they’re always asking, ‘What do our families need?’ They fight for us.”
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