The Modern Family
Roughly a year ago, my husband and I decided to start a family. Surprisingly, this was the easiest decision we had to make. Happily married, each professionally successful in our own careers, we quite simply realized we have an abundance of love and opportunity to offer a child. While there are a myriad of options available to prospective LGBTQ parents, with nearly 18,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system, we mutually decided adoption through the state system best aligned with our values.
Next, we determined the “foster-to-adopt” route was an ideal approach.We then researched various agencies and ultimately chose Arizona’s Children Association. In partnership with Equality Arizona, Arizona’s Children established Project Jigsaw – a collaboration specifically aimed to welcome prospective LGBTQ parents into the foster-to-adopt community in an effort to address the critical needs Arizona’s foster care system encounters. Together, Arizona’s Children Association and Equality Arizona firmly believe that through Project Jigsaw, the LGBTQ community can make a positive impact on the lives of Arizona’s foster children.
Today, my husband and I have been licensed by the state and have started the matching process. We hope to welcome a child into our home within the next few months.
That said, throughout our process, many questions and topics presented themselves on how to build a happy home for our uniquely modern family:
- When married, my husband and I decided to keep our surnames. Once adoption is finalized, should we maintain our family names, hyphenate or employ an epic game of “rock, paper, scissors” to choose a common last name?
- My husband is Jewish and I identify as Christian. How do we teach religion and instill cultural heritage?
- Half of our family lives abroad in London. How do we bridge the distance?
- How do we build a community of LGBTQ families so that our child doesn’t feel isolated?
I don’t have immediate answers to these questions and am quite certain others will arise. Like many of you, I am trying to find my way, forge this path. This is why both education and resources are critically important to the LGBTQ parenting community. To help me and other LGBTQ families, I invite you to join the Project Jigsaw community.
Brian Hatfield , Project Jigsaw Chair
To learn more about the Project Jigsaw campaign or how you can get involved in the effort to break down obstacles to connecting Arizona’s children with loving families, fill out this form.