Seven years ago, Tom Ewald and Joe Thom took their first step toward becoming parents by contacting Children’s Home. They were looking for a referral to an LGBTQ-inclusive adoption agency.
“They told me they frequently work with same-gender couples and would be happy to help us,” said Tom. “Immediately, we felt like adopting parents – not gay adopting parents. That was so important to us.”
Soon thereafter, Tom and Joe knew what it was like to be adopting parents. Just seven months after that first contact with Children’s Home, their social worker presented them with a possible match, a 10-year-old boy named Jonathon.
“We saw his picture, reviewed his school records and learned about his family history. That’s pretty much all we knew. We immediately felt a connection,” said Joe. “Still, it was mystifying to think someone not biologically related to you would be with you for the rest of your life!”
“But, when we met him, it wasn’t mystifying at all. He walked through the door, and we both knew, ‘That’s our kid.'”
Two months later, Jonathon moved in with Joe and Tom. The following summer, the family had two reasons to celebrate: Jonathon was officially adopted by his fathers, and, after being in a relationship for more than 30 years, Joe and Tom officially tied the knot. “We figured it was a great symbol of our family commitment for all three of us,” said Joe.
Joe and Tom maintain close connections with Children’s Home, volunteering to participate in and facilitate panel discussions and talk with prospective adoptive parents. They say one of the most valuable resources they take advantage of is post adoption support groups.
“It’s invaluable to have a community of other parents who are going through what you’re experiencing,” said Tom. “We all share a common language and understanding of the unique situations that can come up in a blended home.”
Joe agrees. “You don’t have to explain attachment issues, or birth families or school transitions to these parents. They just get it.”
Joe and Tom also contribute to Children’s Home through financial gifts to express their gratitude. They appreciate the commitment Children’s Home makes to a child-centered focus, and the resources it provides families long after an adoption is finalized.
“We couldn’t do this alone, and thanks to Children’s Home, we don’t have to.”