For many LGBT people, gaining the federally recognized right to marry was the biggest sign of progress and visibility to date. But for many gay families, life after marriage isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Especially when they make the decision to start a family. For one patriotic couple, the journey to building their family was one in which they faced heartbreak and discrimination before finally creating the life they’d always wanted.
Brian Skirvin and Brian Skirvin-Leclair met 21 years ago. Back then, they had no idea that their casual meeting was one of fate. Skirvin-Lechair, who’s known to his patients as Nurse Brian, was a young nursing student then who only had time for his studies. They dated on and off for a while but eventually lost touch with each other. Then one night after Nurse Brian’s graduation, they ran into each other again at a bar. From that moment forward, they’ve been together.
They married in 2005 in Massachusetts, and shortly after, they made the life-altering decision to start a family. Like so many LGBT couples, they first opted to work with the states’ foster care system. But that experience was disheartening. Their case worker told them that she didn’t approve of gay relationships and that they’d end up with a special needs son at best. Discouraged by their meeting, they considered other options.
The eager parents-to-be settled on Full Circle Adoption, a local agency with a strong history of successful LGBT adoption cases. But despite finding a supportive agency, they still faced the normal risks and pitfalls of adoption.
After receiving their first call and ultrasound picture of a potential match, the birth mother changed her mind. Still determined, Skirvin and Skirvin-Lechair stuck to their plan and waited for more news. They were soon matched with an expectant mother from Kentucky. At the time, Kentucky was not one of the 10 states that allowed gay adoption. The birth mother was prepared to have the baby in Massachusetts so there were no hiccups in the process. But the case worker found a fully prepared nursery upon visiting the mother’s home. It was yet another defeat.
While enjoying their favorite holiday weekend, Fourth of July, the couple received a call about a newborn whose mother had given up rights. She’d only seen the first line of their adoption profile in which they stated, ‘We can’t wait to celebrate our favorite holiday with our baby, the Fourth of July’. She immediately chose them without reading any further.
Little Zachary soon became part of their family. They then decided to try the state system again for their second child. This time, they were paired with an empathetic case worker. Soon after, a baby was left in a bassinet (under the Safe Haven law) at the same hospital where they’d first met their son. After an intense interview process, they received custody of Christina on Memorial Day.
For this patriotic couple, not only did they overcome the impossible to build their family, but they did so on two days that mean the most to them. Those holidays will now hold special meaning far beyond American pride. They will forever represent the most important days of their lives.