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GWK Academy Mentors Ryan and Josh Share Their Adoption Story

Two dads with their adopted daughters

Ryan and Josh have two daughters through adoption; the dads have been together for 19 years, committed for 14, and officially married for 11. With the experience of two different adoption journeys behind them, these dads have gained a wealth of insights and knowledge, which is why we’re super excited they’ve agreed to serve as GWK Academy Mentors. As such, they’re available to provide guidance and support to GWK Academy enrollees going through their own adoption journeys.

Now back to their story… “When same-sex marriage was legalized in New York State in 2011, we were married on the first day at the court, and again the following evening on Broadway after a performance of HAIR. It’s hard to believe that we have been together for almost 20 years.”

The couple met at a birthday party. “Josh had been in NYC for a few months and a co-worker forced him to go so he could meet people who lived in his neighborhood.” They had an instant connection; “I made excuses to talk to him until we started dating one another a few months later.”

Now residing in California, the dads share that they chose adoption because “…we felt strongly that bloodlines aren’t necessary to make a family. We knew that there was a child out there that was meant to be raised by us. Turns out there were two!”

Interested in becoming a dad through adoption?

Ryan and Josh worked with Vista Del Mar on both of their adoption journeys, and highly recommend them to other queer dads-to-be. “They were there with us every step of the way during both adoption processes and continue to be a valuable resource for our family.”

Two men who became gay dads through adoption sitting with their daughters

As a forever family of four, they enjoy anything outdoors! “The kids love riding their scooters, playing outside, coloring, playing with our dog, Kirby, reading stories and going to Disneyland.

The dads feel lucky to live in SoCal where everyone, from their agency to their attorney, have been very inclusive. “Our children were born in Nevada and we were fortunate that the hospital and social workers we worked with there were also extremely affirming.”

Nevertheless, they did experience some doubt along the way. “During the home study, we were told some stories from other adoptive parents who faced great challenges on their path to parenthood. We spoke to one another about how we would handle these situations and decided that whatever hurdles we would face, we could only do it by supporting one another.”

“Adoption is possible! It seems like a lot to undertake but there is a child out there who is meant for your family. Rely on your support system and other groups like Gays With Kids to help you along your path! Lean on your friends and supportive family members for help. It will happen.”

Follow the dads here: @officallyryandietz & @joshlevine79

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