Jun 20, 2015

two gay dads adopt a gay teenager

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Eric Charles-Gallo, center, with husband Louis Gallo, left, and newest addition, Darnell, right. They’re surrounded by their other six kids and a foster baby. (Photo: Eric Charles-Gallo)
Right from the start of their relationship, Eric Charles-Gallo and Louis Gallo of Kansas City, Missouri, knew they wanted to be dads.
“We only wanted one kiddo at first, and thought we’d be lucky to have one,” Eric tells Yahoo Parenting. He says it with a chuckle because now, nearly a decade later, the two men have adopted six kids between the ages of 4 and 12 — many with significant medical issues — and fostered about 30.

Two Dads Adopt Their Seventh Child, a Gay Teen

Eric Charles-Gallo, center, with husband Louis Gallo, left, and newest addition, Darnell, right. They’re surrounded by their other six kids and a foster baby. (Photo: Eric Charles-Gallo)

Right from the start of their relationship, Eric Charles-Gallo and Louis Gallo of Kansas City, Missouri, knew they wanted to be dads. “We only wanted one kiddo at first, and thought we’d be lucky to have one,” Eric tells Yahoo Parenting. He says it with a chuckle because now, nearly a decade later, the two men have adopted six kids between the ages of 4 and 12 — many with significant medical issues — and fostered about 30.
Two Dads Adopt Their Seventh Child, a Gay Teen

“It just felt like it was the right thing for us to do,” explains Eric, who quit his job as a visual merchandising manager 12 years ago to work at a local foster and adoption agency. “And it felt really important to give back in some way to kids who are already here instead of bringing another child into the world.”

They’re still not done giving back, either. The couple is now in the process of adopting yet another foster child, 16-year-old Darnell. And while the teen doesn’t have any of the health challenges faced by his soon-to-be siblings, he is struggling with an issue that his new dads are uniquely qualified to support him through: being gay.

“I think when Darnell first came to us, we both kind of had that moment where we were like, ‘Do we want all the issues that come with having a gay teen?’” Eric, 39, admits. “And being gay parents, people are already looking at us under a microscope. We wondered, if they see we have a gay son, would they say, ‘Oh, they turned him gay?’ Will people think it’s weird?”

Darnell had the same initial reservations. “I didn’t know how it would be to have two gay dads,” the high-school cheerleader tells Yahoo Parenting, admitting he was wary about their intentions. “I wondered, why would two dads want a gay teen?” But soon, he says, “I discovered they were just a really loving, caring family.”

It was a stark difference from the atmosphere Darnell was experiencing at home in small-town Missouri with his biological family — where a combination of homophobic rejection and an abusive relationship between his parents sent him running away one cold winter evening earlier this year.