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Creating Families of Diversity

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And babies make four: Jason Warner (l) and deMarco DeCiccio (r) are the proud parents of Mason and Noah. Photo by www.silver-image-photo.com.

With Jason and deMarco.
by Mark De Lange

See also:
LGBT-friendly Adoption

Begin the process with a free online application at Lifelong Adoptions.

Local pop duo Jason & deMarco have achieved many accolades for their work over the years. They’re gay, spiritual, real-life partners, talented, and chances are you’ve read their story before. What you may not know is that they are dads with twins and are quickly becoming the national face of gay parenting!

What’s next on the horizon for the Jason & deMarco family? At the forefront is their new tour, “Celebrating Families of Diversity.” I recently had a conversation with these two about the tour, their work, and their commitment to the modern family and community.

Mark De Lange: Your Celebrating Families of Diversity tour is getting lots of attention in our community and beyond. What’s the main goal for the tour?

Jason Warner: When coming up with the concept for this tour, we really felt the timing was perfect. We’re coming out of an election. Prop. 8 is being looked at by the Supreme Court. President Obama just gave his blessing on gay marriage. I felt there are a lot of diverse families out there that need to be seen. Why not ask these families to come out and celebrate one another for a great evening of music?

deMarco DeCiccio: We hope that our tour will inspire people and remind them that with love, commitment, intention, belief, and action, anything is truly possible.

What can people expect when attending your concert? Do you guys plan on sharing your story about becoming dads?

deMarco: The concert is going to be a very intimate experience, taking people on a journey through our personal story of finding love, creating a life, and becoming parents through a mixture of storytelling, songs, and comedy. We’ll be singing most of the shows with an acoustic guitar player only, performing most of our original material with a few cover favorites. We will be dedicating a song to our boys, and my parents will bring them up on stage to meet the audience. We will also invite all parents with their kids up on stage at the end of the concert to be celebrated.

Jason: After a few of the shows, there is a VIP reception where we will offer a Q&A. We felt this may be a benefit to people bringing their parents who maybe aren’t reconciled with their child’s sexuality. Having my parents on the tour will be a powerful statement of reconciliation, showing a mother’s and father’s acceptance and support of their son, his partner, and our non-traditional family.

There are a lot of diverse couples who want to expand and grow their family by becoming parents. Can you share how you created your family? Maybe give some pointers?
Jason: We originally wanted to adopt. Through our research in comparing surrogacy versus adoption, we realized going the surrogacy route wasn’t much more expensive than using an adoption agency if you had a donor and a surrogate who were willing to do this for little to no cost—basically a friend or relative. If you use a surrogacy agency, you’re looking at anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000. Living as independent music artists, this wasn’t an option for us. However, the cost of harvesting and banking embryos with a known donor ended up costing around $20,000 (the donor didn’t ask for any money, as she is a close friend). Our surrogate had one hundred percent insurance coverage so we had no out-of-pocket expenses for her other than the clinic expenses to actually transfer the embryos, which ended up costing around $10,000. When it was all said and done, we probably spent close to $40,000. This is about the same as it would have cost us going through a private adoption agency. Half of this was our savings and the other half went on a credit card. We are still paying that card off gradually.

deMarco: It just so happens that we are both adoptive and biological parents. We harvested from our egg donor and split the eggs. We each ended up with an embryo and both were transferred and both implanted, so although the boys are considered fraternal twins, they are biological brothers through the egg donor, with one being mine and one being Jason’s. We each had to adopt the other’s biological child because in the state of Texas, where Mason and Noah were born, two males cannot be listed on a birth certificate. I believe that one day we will adopt more children, but I personally wanted to experience the process of having a biological child first.

Jason: At the time, we didn’t realize that fostering to adopt was an option. Fostering scared us because we couldn’t imagine falling in love with a child and then having to send it back to the situation it was taken out of. However, we have since learned through our work with our nonprofit that there are over six thousand children available for adoption in the foster system in Texas alone. The parental rights of these six thousand children have already been taken away from their biological parents. If you were to foster these children, you could immediately go into the adoption process. In addition, you actually get paid by the state and these children qualify for the same benefits foster children qualify for, including a free college education up to a PhD level and medical insurance. Even after adopting, parents still qualify for a monthly stipend when adopting a child out of the foster system. This is a great opportunity for same-sex couples and for anyone who doesn’t have the finances to do otherwise, and there’s a great need with so many kids in the system that need a loving home. If every gay or lesbian person or couple wanting to have a child fostered or adopted a child in the system, we’d probably have no foster children. If we have more children, this will probably be the route we take.

Thanks, guys, for all the information. I’ll see you both at the tour’s first stop in Houston.

For information on the tour or to purchase tickets, visit jasonanddemarco.com.

Known for his extensive DJ background including his work on major market radio, Disney Entertainment, XM Radio, and Billboard, Mark De Lange currently operates multiple nightclub venues throughout the city of Houston.

Be my baby: the obviously happy couple, Jason (l) and Steven, pose with their son, Kyle, whom they adopted in four months.

SIDEBAR

LGBT-friendly Adoption
Begin the process with a free online application at Lifelong Adoptions.

Thinking of expanding your family like Jason and deMarco, but not convinced that the surrogacy route is for you? LifeLong Adoptions may be just the path you’re looking for. Comprised of caring and compassionate individuals who have all been touched by adoption, the California-based group uses a nationwide network of professionals to reach birthmothers and potential adoptive parents all over the country, including Texas cities like Dallas and Houston. The agency seeks to make the adoption process simple, speedy, and most importantly, very LGBT friendly.

Although one-third of adoption agencies reject LGBT applicants based on sexual orientation or marital status, LifeLong is dedicated to helping all couples, gay or straight, achieve the family they’ve dreamed about for so long. Heterosexual couples will not necessarily be chosen over LGBT partners, either. “More and more birthparents are choosing to place their children with a same-sex couple, thus giving gay and lesbian adoptive parents an advantage, and making the process quicker,” the group’s website says.

The adoption process, which several successful LifeLong members call “smooth, fast, and efficient,” begins with a free online application. LifeLong only grants membership to four families each month, in order to make the process quicker for potential adoptive parents. The group provides a wealth of information to help guide accepted couples every step of the way, from creating unique online profiles to assisting in home studies that include interviews, background checks, and home visits, among other necessities.

Some recent LifeLong couples, both LGBT and straight, have been able to adopt within three to five months. “We believe,” says the group’s website, “that everyone should have a fair chance at adopting and will fill you in on the tools necessary to bring your baby home.”

For more information, visit lifelongadoptions.com or call 888/829-0891. Megan Smith

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