Austin and Brian met in May of 2015 right before the historic Supreme Court decision recognizing same-sex marriages. We dated, became serious, and four years later on February 20, 2019, we ran to the courthouse and got married. We kept this very quiet as we had our wedding ceremony, dinner, and dance scheduled for August of 2019. Only my mother and my husband’s best friend knew we were already married.
In Nebraska, regardless of your sexual orientation, you must be married for both individuals to adopt. Otherwise, only one of you can adopt, and once you married, your partner can petition the court to adopt. This is why we decided to go to the courthouse and get married in February, before our August date. We were halfway through the adoption process.
Our son had just turned five years old and our daughter was six years old when we welcomed them into our home. This was a private placement and we were not foster parents and they were not wards of the state at the time. After being shuffled around many different foster homes, since they were toddlers, our dream was about to come true: we would become their parents.
Our children arrived in May of 2018 and on August 3, 2020, our adoption was finalized in a courtroom in Nuckolls County,
Even though our children had been in our care since May of 2018, the adoption was in the courts for only 16 months. We waited about 10 months before petitioning the court.
You don’t see our family on City blocks in this area. We live in Superior, NE., a population of 1,900, and we are the biggest town in our County.
Visibility is very important to me. If we can educate communities about same-sex marriages and adoptions, and if we can encourage other LGBTQ+ members of society to come out and welcome who they are; then our visibility was a success. With all of the possibilities laying at our feet, we aim to be role models for the LGBTQ+ community.
Back in November of 2019, I created a Facebook Page called “Ambassadors of Kindness.” That following February 2020 I turned it into a nonprofit organization that focuses on foster children. We are nearing 14,000 followers on our Facebook page and we have many amazing initiatives. In 14 months our initiatives have reached over 2,000 children all across America. In two years we have collected over $7,600 in new toys for children in Hospitals (including Omaha’s Children Hospital), foster homes, and for children less fortunate than we are.
Last November 2020, we delivered almost 600 new toys to children in foster homes throughout two communities: Hastings and Lincoln, Ne. Every child in these two communities, that lived in foster homes, received a new gift for Christmas 2020. In the last two years combined our children have raised over 2,500 items for this toy drive.
We also have our Colors4Kids and our Books4Kids Clubs. These amazing clubs send out kits and age-appropriate children's books to children in foster care. Parents must enroll their children in these two amazing clubs and we ship these arts, crafts, coloring and activity kits, and children's books everywhere in America.
Our Colors4Kids Club also donates thousands of new crayons, colored pencils, coloring books, and play-doh to children's hospitals. In June of 2020, we shipped thousands of these supplies to St. Judes Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN.
We have come very far with same-sex understanding and who we are in America. We still have work to do though. We believe if we can get our family out there, educate others and teach our kids how to volunteer and care for others without any prearranged judgments, we did well as parents.
Jaxon and Ellie (our children)