TNF: How did you start your family?
NETTE: We started our family within our family first. My sister decided to go to a University close to where we live. To help her stay close with her daughter our great niece moved in with us. Prior to that we finished taking our classes to foster/adopt kids. So with in a five-month period we went from having no kids to five.
TNF: Are you married?
NETTE: Yes, I’m married to Jasmine for almost three years in July! We started dating in 2008 and got married in 2012!
TNF: Did you always want to have kids?
NETTE: We both wanted kids we just weren’t sure of the process we would take to get there or how many we would have. In fact to this day there is still an argument between us of whether the dining room table will be filled or not.
TNF: Tell us about your experience with foster adoption.
NETTE: Upon deciding to start a family, Jasmine and I made a pact that she would become pregnant before she turned 30 or we would adopt! Well she did some research and found an adoption class through the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services that started 13 days after her 30th birthday! However, in Louisiana you must foster before being able to adopt. We decided to go through the seven classes and become certified to foster. We received our first foster child in April 2014, second in May 2014, third in July 2014, and then we received our two-day-old baby boy who was available for adoption in August!
Prior to receiving our foster children, our niece Marlee came to live with us while her mother attended college. So we went from a family of two to a family of seven in less than a year! Unfortunately and fortunately the three older foster kids we had have now returned to live with blood family and we are down to a four-member family (me, Jasmine, baby boy, and Marlee).
One more important (though unfortunate) aspect of fostering while being gay is that we were told both of our names would be on the birth certificate of any kids we adopted, but we later found out that is not true and only one of our names will be listed as a parent (very heartbreaking).
TNF: Where do you live?
NETTE: We live in northern Louisiana in an area that has grown to accept us and our family; however, we still have limited rights.
TNF: What is the greatest (and the toughest) thing about being a parent?
NETTE: The greatest thing about being a parent is always having someone to be your support on a tough day. We can come home from a day that has been horrible or a day that has been spectacular and they will make the day brighter than the sun. The toughest thing is interrupted sleep…
TNF: Does your family feel adversity?
NETTE: There is definitely adversity especially living in an area that limits your rights and where you are seen as being different. Sometimes we feel alone even though we have a support team. On occasions we feel like we are not gay enough to have gay friends and not straight enough to have straight friends – if that makes sense.
TNF: Do you have any advice for LGBTQ youth? What’s one life lesson you want to teach your children?
NETTE: Be you no matter what trials come your way. It helps you sleep better at night!