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Michael Darnell is “single and ready to mingle with the right energy.” He’s also a dad through foster-adopt. He shares that “…being a gay man didn’t take away from wanting to be a dad. Adoption provided me with a great avenue to parenthood.”
Michael worked with You Gotta Believe, a foster-adopt agency he became aware of through Gays With Kids. He explained, “There was a couple GWK highlighted from New York. I read their story and thought about how amazing it was and how I wished it was me. As I read on, I saw that GWK tagged You Gotta Believe in the post; I clicked on their Instagram account and the rest was history.” (Editor’s note: You Gotta Believe is a GWK Academy family-building partner. They are a NY-based, national organization that specializes in finding permanent families for young adults, teens, and pre-teens in foster care.)
Michael worked with the agency to complete his home study in January 2020. Of course, we all know that COVID broke out in March of that year, so things got delayed for about seven months. “The MAPP classes were super fun! Every Wednesday, from 6-9 PM, our group gathered and eventually we all became friends. We started a Whatsapp Wednesday chat group and we still communicate to this day,” Michael told us. (Editor’s note: MAPP classes are parent preparation lessons that people take to become licensed pre-adoptive parents.)
You Gotta Believe worked collaboratively with Michael to find a child freed for adoption whom they believed would be a good match. You Gotta Believe elaborated on the process: “Parents are able to ask questions and seek more information throughout the matching process. You Gotta Believe utilizes our expertise to assist parents in making a final decision about whether a child is a good match, or whether they are equipped to meet the child’s needs.”
Not long after, it all fell into place. “My son moved into our house on Veteran’s Day November 2020, and his adoption was one year later in November 2021 — during World Adoption Month! It was one of our greatest moments “
In most cases, adoptions from foster care happens after the child has been placed with a family for at least 6 months. Once the paperwork is filed, then certified by the courts, the adoption process is completed with a celebratory court ceremony. The attorney costs and all fees are incurred by the state, and the paperwork is completed by the state’s attorney, and caseworkers.
In a fun stroke of luck, Michael and his son’s birthdays are just two days apart. “My son and I are both pisces, so we both enjoy the pool and the beach, anything water related.”
He shares that the most difficult part of fatherhood is no longer only thinking for himself. “In the past, all I had to do was care for me.”
“When my son first moved into our home. I was like ‘what am I going to do with an eight-year-old child?’ Everything leading up to it seemed fun and great. I just pushed through my fears and did what other parents do.”
Michael quickly got the hang of prioritizing his son and their family, and was soon “pouring and sowing life’s lessons into another human,” as he put it, excited with the realization that he’ll be watching his son grow and flourish in the years to come.
Michael shared that he would absolutely tell other men considering foster-adopt to take the plunge. “The lane was created for people like us so we didn’t have to miss out on parenthood because of our sexuality.”
We’re looking forward to Michael joining us on October 12th in SoHo, NYC, for our “Find Your Path to Fatherhood: A GWK Academy In-person Event” Register for your ticket here.
Follow Michael and his son’s story here: @micdarnell