At 1 week old, Camden met the two men who would change his life.
Camden, 2, was Ethan and Dwayne’s first foster-placement after opening up their home. They always had adoption in mind, but were unsure of how long they would have to wait. The two were shocked to learn that they were able to begin the process of adoption only 6 months after Camden entered their care.
“We didn’t think we’d get to keep him,” Ethan says about their early months. “Of course we wanted his mother to get better, but when that wasn’t an option, we decided to adopt him.
The two dads met very few obstacles during the adoption process. Ethan credits Lighthouse Youth Services for being very encouraging: “They were wonderful. We thought that being a same-sex couple we might run into some problems, but it never was an issue.”
Today, Camden is an active, outgoing toddler who can’t get enough of the world. He loves to play with his Elmo toys and has a fascination with Spiderman and Curious George. When they can, Ethan and Dwayne take Camden swimming because he loves to be outside, or they take trips to the zoo and the aquarium.
Ethan says, “He’s such a little social butterfly. He loves to be around people.”
Camden even has a specific breakfast choice: “He has to have a smoothie. Every morning. It’s his ‘breakfast of champions.’”
Camden was born addicted to drugs, which at first made Ethan and Dwayne a little nervous about his growth. They were afraid he wouldn’t meet the same developmental milestones as other boys his age. Fortunately, as the little guy began to grow under their roof, he caught up quick.
The moments when Camden shows improvement are Ethan’s favorite family memories.
“We just see how far he’s come and developed…it just makes us excited to watch. We’re so happy he’s going to be okay.”
With Camden getting ready to go to pre-school, Ethan and Dwayne might consider opening their home up to another foster child, although they only expected to adopt one. Ethan believes that if Camden’s biological mother were to have another child, though, they would reconsider.
“We’re open to the opportunity. If the circumstances are right, we will.”
Camden is their priority. Their hope, as fathers, is that he will grow up and learn from them how to be a good man. Since Ethan came from a very traditional, Asian household in California, he was used to having expectations placed on him.
“I came from a house where it was, ‘Oh, be a doctor, be a lawyer,’ you know? And I don’t want it to be like that. I want him to follow his passion, but know that he has to learn from his own mistakes. He doesn’t have to be president. He can be a trash man if he wants. But he better be a good one!”
On May 20th, the day of their finalization, Ethan and Dwayne wanted to make the occasion special. They had won a limo ride at a fundraiser, so they took it down to the courthouse with their immediate family. After Camden’s adoption was official, they took the whole crew out to Buca di Beppo for dinner.
“We were so excited. It was a very good day,” Ethan remembers.
Ethan and Dwayne also hosted a barbecue to celebrate the adoption with the rest of their family and friends. They were expecting over a hundred guests and hired a circus performer and live band for the kids. The party occurred over Father’s Day weekend, giving them time to celebrate the special occasion with their family and friends.
We wish these fathers well and hope they have continued success raising their little boy!