“I want to talk to you about Black History Month,” said Tarik at the start of his video message to his daughter, Avery. “So often the accolades and accomplishments of Black people in the history of this country is overlooked, forgotten about, or ignored — and I think it’s important that we instead celebrate these things.”
Avery first came to live with her dads Tarik Flannagan and Jeff Bugajski, of New York, as a foster child when she was just three weeks old. A year and a half later, she was officially adopted, on September 13, 2017, and the three became a forever family.
“On adoption day we took the day off work and just hung out together at home,” Jeff said. The dads popped open a bottle of champagne, Avery had her apple juice, and the three went out to a lovely dinner.
“There was such a sense of joy, and relief, when the adoption was finalized,” said Tarik. “We knew the moment she was placed in our arms for the first time that we wanted her to stay in our home forever … There were so many moments of not knowing how things would play out, so sitting in that courtroom that day was a culmination of so many feelings and so much emotion.”
In Tarik’s video message, he said he had a similarly powerful response following the election of Kamala Harris as the nation’s first Black and first female Vice President this past November. “Watching you watch her be sworn in was such a happy moment for me,” Tarik said. “And I hope it was a happy moment for families all over the country.”
Watch Tarik’s entire touching message to Avery — one of many featured from Black dads in our community this month — in the above video.
Watch “Dear Braeden” video here.