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Food Scientist and T.V. Personality, Dr. Taylor Wallace, is Living His Favorite Role: Dad

You might know him from television; his colleagues know him as “doctor”; his son knows him as “dad.” Single dad Dr. Taylor Wallace (@drtaylorwallace) is a food scientist, professor, small business owner, and TV personality by day. While you may recognize him from his appearances on Dr. Oz, The Doctors, and the Food Network, and as a contributor to Forbes Health, Taylor recently became a single dad through adoption from foster care, and is proud to call DC home with his son, Landen.

“Adoption has always held a special place in my heart. To me, gay men have this opportunity to help give a child that’s had a really unfair rough start a chance at life.”  Landen (‘booger bear’) was adopted at age 6. Taylor continued, “the opportunity to be a dad… to love and mentor this adorable little boy who is super smart, energetic, outgoing, big-hearted, and fun… to see him grow and flourish… seeing him start to beat the odds… I wouldn’t have chosen any other path.”

Taylor who, admittedly, got tired of waiting around for Prince Charming, doesn’t let being single affect his outlook on fatherhood. He shared, “Being a single parent isn’t as difficult as it was often portrayed to me. Other parents tend to exaggerate the impact that parenthood can have on your day-to-day. It does force you to think and plan ahead of things.  I’ve learned to focus my time and use it more effectively than before. There are also some perks.  I always have the final say and that helps keep things consistent.” 

“My journey to fatherhood presented its fair share of challenges,” due to, what Taylor refers to as, “the very fragmented and disorganized adoption (through foster) system in the U.S.” As a goal-oriented and resilient dad-to-be, though, he persisted. “Older kid adoption requires a high level of determination. I officially started the process in January of 2022 and searched dozens of websites for about 5-hours every Tuesday night for over a year.”

When Taylor found Landen’s profile on the Northwest Adoption Exchange, he knew he’d found his son. Taylor submitted a well-researched powerpoint presentation to Oregon’s DHS about himself, Landen, and his desire to become his parent; and on June 13, 2023, the state of Oregon chose Taylor to be Landen’s dad.

Taylor flew to Oregon to meet his son for the first time on July 3.

“It was upon arriving at the small airport in Redmond, Oregon that Landen, without permission, eagerly leapt out of his foster mom’s parked car at the kiss-and-ride, rushed over to me on the sidewalk, jumped up and, hanging around my neck, joyfully exclaimed…

Cowabunga, dude!”

…all while laughing and smiling. In that instant, any nervousness or hesitation I may have had vanished completely, never to resurface. Landen has made every challenge along the way fun and worthwhile. It is easy to get frustrated with the process but in the end, booger bear makes it all worthwhile.”

Landen flew back from Oregon with Taylor on August 8, 2023.

“You would think there would at least be a pamphlet that says, ‘Congratulations, you’ve been selected to be Landen’s dad, here’s what happens next and here are some to-dos.’” said Taylor. “Even with my aggressive pursuit, we remain unclear on our finalization date in “early 2024.” 

Taylor says the experience has showcased to him how important it is to ask for help and how lucky he has been to be able to rely on his strong support network of friends. “Surround yourself with people who embrace and celebrate your journey to parenthood. Having a strong support system provides much needed emotional support and helps create a nurturing environment for your child.”  

He feels fortunate to have an “army of incredible individuals who have played a central role in my wonderful modern family. Camille has been an exceptional auntie, and Katie, John and Ryan, Maddock, Will and Lori, Jen, Stephen, Glasser, Jr and Brandon, Juven, Jacob, Dave, Thomas, and so many other friends always step in and have shown such immense support to us. My entire Stonewall Kickball team, Just The Tip (@justthetip.skdc), of which I am an original member, has embraced a significant role in Landen’s life. It is truly amazing for him to have so many ‘guncles’ so enthusiastic about creating fun and memorable experiences.”

Taylor says it has been touching to see how many people in the DC LGBTQ+ community have jumped into show their support. “When Landen wanted a Princess Peach themed birthday party, Kelly and her staff completely transformed Duplex Diner (@duplexdiner) into a hot pink castle. Indiana Bones (@theonlyindiana) played the most beautiful Princess Peach inside and out. I can barely get Landen to go any other place for dinner now that he knows Indiana will be waiting for him with a Shirley temple that has at least 10 cherries and whipped cream on top!”

“I’m also so fortunate to have Landen’s foster mom (Becky), who has become like a mother to me and a grandma to him. She has got to be one of the most kindhearted, fun-spirited, and genuine people I’ve ever met. It really helps to have an experienced parent and someone who knows and understands Landen’s background in my toolbox for those “OMG, what should I do?!” moments. She truly helps feel the void of my parents passing.”

Along with kickball, this dad-and-son duo enjoy hosting game nights, laser tag, trampoline parks, artistic activities, watching Marvel movies, and the occasional trip to Rehoboth Beach. “We also started a special tradition, called ‘family night,’ that we do one night every weekend. We stay up late, eat popcorn, watch movies, and cuddle on the couch. It’s a cherished moment for us to laugh and strengthen our bond — just the two of us – and sometimes the occasional guncle.”

“Unconditional love is the best part of being a dad. We have formed such a special bond, and our personalities couldn’t be a better match for a father-son duo… and yes, both of us realize we look alike LOL.“

“Seeing Landen thrive is the most fulfilling experience of my life. I see this little man that I’m going to share the world with, and every day is a new adventure!”

Enjoy the quest, and cowabunga, dudes