Close this search box.
Close this search box.


Two Former Armed Forces Dads Create a Family Through Foster Care

Michael and Anthony met in an officer’s online group for same-sex military officers in 2015.  At the time, Michael was deployed in Djibouti, Africa with the Army, and Anthony was stationed in Colorado Springs with the Air Force. They began chatting and when Michael returned from Africa, they decided to meet in person. A mutual trip to Disney World.

“The spark that occurred online was only enhanced after meeting face to face,” said Michael.

Over the next two years, the couple maintained a long-distance relationship with Anthony in Colorado, and Michael transitioned to a pediatric dental residency in Dallas, TX.

Start your journey to fatherhood with GWK Academy

In 2017, Michael proposed to Anthony at the Air Force Academy Chapel and the two began planning their wedding for the following year. But Michael’s position in the Army required another placement. 

“As I was getting close to graduating residency, the Army told me I was going to be assigned to Korea and if I wanted Anthony to join me, we needed to be married by December 31st, 2017.” 

While their original date was for July 8, 2018, in California, they ended up rushing to the courthouse on December 26, 2017, and were married in front of limited family to make sure they could be together in Korea.

When Michael’s residency ended and his assignment changed from Korea to an isolated base in the California desert, Anthony left the Air Force to join him as their career fields were incompatible for stationing assignments. Anthony changed careers to working for the federal government as a civilian, and they spent the next two years at that base, traveled to numerous places, and grew together as a couple. In 2020, Michael transitioned from the Army and the two settled in El Paso, Texas.

That’s when their attention turned to fatherhood.

Michael got a job working at a private practice as a pediatric dentist, they bought their forever home, and began talking about starting a family. 

“It was the height of the pandemic and so most of the searching and discussing options with numerous agencies was completed virtually.”

They decided to move forward with fostering and later that same year, their two daughters moved into their home.

But things were not easy. 

“I had an idyllic perspective that accepting them into our home would immediately change their lives and attitudes, and the love and stability we could provide would be enough to overcome all their trauma,” said Michael. 

Their daughters were 8 and 3 at the time of the placement and had already been in 4 homes over the past 2 and a half years.

Anthony had a more realistic expectation of what life would look like, and over the next few months, the couple realized the extent of the trauma their daughters had endured (and they’re still learning today as their eldest opens up more). 

“It’s been a struggle but with Anthony by my side, we have made progress and are thriving as a family.”

The couple want other parents-to-be to know that childhood trauma is real and takes years, potentially decades to overcome. 

“Management is a tough road but a worthy one. Adopting older kids comes with unique challenges.”

But as this family learns to grow together, Anthony and Michael are aspiring to raise strong females “who realize their self-worth and are grounded in the love we provide.”

The family of four enjoy hiking together, baking, and exploring their city and surrounding areas. As they grow together, Anthony and Michael know there may be more hardships along the way, but the love and affection they have for their daughters is boundless.