Rich Valenza told his story about being a single, gay father.
“I can do this on my own,” he said, deciding to start a family before he found a partner. “As a single parent. As a gay parent.”
Valenza, who wanted just one child originally, got a call from the case worker saying he found a match. However, it would be two children, a five-year-old brother and four-year-old sister.
Valenza went to meet the two children, who had been homeless and malnourished. They started to play, and a teary Valenza said, “I don’t know, they just stole my heart at that time.”
A year later he finalized his adoption and said goodbye to what he assumed would be the end of his dating life.
However, he met Jared Gee and once they were serious, Gee met the children and had “an instant connection.”
Originally, Gee wasn’t keen on the idea of going on the show to share their family’s story, Valenza told the Huffington Post. However, he finally agreed after Valenza explained the opportunity they have to represent the LGBT parents, family and children.
“For years, I watched A Home for the Holidays and hoped that after the next musical act or commercial break, a story of an LGBT-headed adoptive family would be featured,” Rich said. “In 15 years, that never happened. This Friday night, Jared, our kids and I hope that our story just might serve to motivate a new group of prospective parents to build families through fostering and adoption. Regardless of what might be said by those opposed to LGBT equality, we are deeply honored to have the opportunity to put the needs of the 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system first. These children need good parents and safe homes, and my family believes firmly that single adults and the LGBT community are equally viable answers to our nation’s foster care crisis.”