On Oprah today:
When Texas couple Mark and Andy decided to start a family after 13 years together, they knew it wouldn't be easy.
The couple decided to apply to be foster parents. "There were a lot of children out there needing families," Andy says. "We figured, why not us?"
After they submitted their application to an agency, they received shocking news. "The agency director called us and said no state case worker would ever place children in a gay or same sex couple home," Andy says.
Devastated but still determined, Mark and Andy found a second agency that accepted their application. "It was the first glimmer of hope that we were going to be able to start our family," Mark says.
Grateful for the opportunity, they opened their home to the children no one else wanted. The couple cared for children of all races and needs, including autistic children, sexually abused children and children who had been severely neglected. "Our first year at the [agency we were working with] we were named foster family of the year," Mark says.
Now, kids who were desperate for a home have a family to call their own. In their five years as foster parents, Mark and Andy have fostered 21 children and have adopted four—Marcus, Monique, Clyde and Faith. They're now in the process of adopting James and Layla.
After living in two other foster homes, the couple's oldest child, James, came to Mark and Andy when he was 11 years old. "My dads are totally perfect," he says. "They're everything I could ever want and then some."
With six kids at home, Mark and Andy's days are hectic, but they wouldn't have it any other way. "I know without a shadow of doubt that there are these six little souls in my house that are no longer lost," Mark says.
Mark and Andy say they are fortunate to live in a very supportive community. "Basically, we know all our neighbors and we're treated very well like any other family would be," Mark says.
It also helps that Mark's mom lives right across the street! "That's wonderful for us. She's our little emergency babysitter," Mark says. "She's their mom, too."