May 22 marks “Family Day” for our Chief Development Officer, Matthew Ramsey, and his family. To celebrate this special day, Matthew reflects on the joys of the past nine years and the work we have ahead of us to ensure that everyone can experience the unconditional joy and belonging of family.
Our lives were changed forever
On May 22, 2014, our lives were changed forever. That was the day my husband and I welcomed two biological brothers, ages 3 and 4, into our home. Although they came to us through the foster care system in the Seattle area, and we didn’t legally adopt them for another 17 months, that was the day we became a family.
If you’re doing the math, you’re putting together the fact that our boys are no longer little. That’s right, we are now in the throes of teenagery (wheeeee!). Reflecting on today, I can’t help but wonder where the nine years have gone. This has truly been the most wonderful journey of my entire life.
Our boys are thoughtful, respectful, generous, loving, and so much more. They also like to eat too much junk food, play too many video games, and ask us for a phone every other day. (We’re waiting until at least 8th grade. Middle school is the worst). But in the end, I can always count on a good hug or an “I love you,” and who could really ask for anything more?
I’ve been at Family Equality for more than five years now, and while there are too many reasons to list why this work is so important to me, one reason rises above the rest. Well, two: my sons. Every time I hear about one of the 13 states that allow foster care and adoption agencies to discriminate against families like mine—using queer identities as a reason not to place a child in a safe and loving home—I’m hit with anger for what’s taking place and gratitude that my boys were born in the state of Washington where that type of discrimination isn’t legal.
Wow, isn’t that an injustice?
Did you know that LGBTQ+ people are seven times more likely to foster a child, and seven times more likely to adopt them? And yet, the youth in our child welfare system are too often denied safe and loving homes because of the archaic and backward thinking of people in positions of power. It’s heartbreaking, unnecessary, and not in the best interest of children in care.
Ending discrimination in the child welfare system
Family Equality’s signature legislation, the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act (JLECDF), is urgently needed to ensure that no qualified parent is turned away from fostering and adopting simply because of who they are or who they love. I can’t wait for the day this bill is passed into law and signed by the president. It will prevent discrimination and outlaw conversion therapy in the child welfare system. And, it will ensure that there are more available homes to the over 391,000 youth in care. In short, when passed, the JLECDF will ensure that youth like my boys will more easily find safe and loving forever homes.
Happy Family Day!
For those of you who are parents, can you remember your life pre-kids? Every once in a while I’ll get a reminder of what life was like more than nine years ago, but mostly I just can’t imagine a life without these two bright stars. I know that may sound corny, but I pride myself on building authentic relationships with people. I’m grateful for so many wonderful people in my life, but the joy my two sons bring me is what keeps me going, in my work, my life, and in all that I do.
I love you, Malaki and Makai. Happy Family Day!
Chief Development Officer, Family Equality
Matthew Ramsey and his husband expanded their family by adopting two boys through the foster system in Seattle. Despite rampant anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in the child welfare system across our nation, Matthew and his husband’s experience in Washington state was positive, which enabled them to become a forever family and build lasting bonds. Matthew has long been an advocate for LGBTQ+ equality and joined Family Equality as Chief Development Officer in February 2018. Prior to leading the Family Equality Development Team, Matthew served as Director of Development and Marketing for the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Women’s Chorus, and previously as Executive Director for the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus and as a board member for GALA Choruses. Matthew also currently serves on the board of directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Advancement Northwest chapter. Matthew has a BA from Capital University and an MBA from Ohio Dominican University.