Census: Adopted siblings find stability in gay couple's home
Number of gay couples raising children still few but growing type of family in Oklahoma, according to the latest census figures.
If it was up to Chad, he'd have a cool dad name like “Daddy C” or “Poppy.”
As it is, he'll settle for “Daddy.”
His partner, Eric, is simply “Dad.”
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For the past year, Eric and Chad have been raising three adopted siblings in their northwest Oklahoma City home. They did not want their last names used for this story.
“I think it's the same as everybody else,” Eric said of parenthood. “We're two people trying to raise three kids, dealing with the same things you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis: schedules, school things, getting the kids to bed, brushing their teeth, eating your dinner, doing homework. It's the same stuff that you would encounter with anybody.”
Chad, Eric and their three children, ages 5, 7 and 10, are among a small but growing minority of Oklahoma families. About 1,060 households of gay men were raising children in Oklahoma, according to U.S. Census figures released last week. That compared to more than 1,840 lesbian-couple households raising children in the state.
Chad, 38, and Eric, 35, first met more than six years ago. Eric, an Oklahoma native, is an IT engineer. Chad, who grew up in Tennessee, is a hairstylist.
“We were together for a while, and we wanted to make our relationship complete as a family,” Chad said. “We can't do it with marriage, so we wanted to be more of a combined family.”
Beginning the process
The couple first started talking about the possibility of adoption in 2008. They weren't sure where to start but began researching adoption online and began filling out forms. At the time, Chad and Eric were living in an older, urban neighborhood near downtown in the Oklahoma City school district.
“When we started thinking about having kids, we automatically decided to move to a community that had a better school district,” Chad said.
Chad wanted to stay in the city, but Eric wanted a little more rural feel.
They compromised and moved into a two-story house with a large backyard on a dead-end street in Oklahoma City. The house is near a park and is in a large metro school district.
With the move over, the next few years involved a flurry of forms, background checks and home studies by the state Department of Human Services.
“They don't allow any non-married couples — whether they're same-sex or heterosexual — to adopt kids together,” Eric said. “It has to be one (adult) or the other. The state doesn't allow us to do it together. But case workers understand that two parents, regardless of their orientation, can provide good, loving homes.”
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