Lara and Emkay Bosque waited 13 years before starting their family for a bunch of reasons. Today, they have a very clear vision of their roles of foster and adoptive parents. Contributing writer Beth Hallstrom tells the story of these thoughtful and devoted moms and the beautiful family they created in this special RaiseAChild.US Huffington Post Gay Voices “Let Love Define Family®” series installment.
Describing Santa Cruz, California, residents Lara and Emkay Bosque as passionate advocates of foster care and adoption is a lot like saying DaVinci was handy with a paintbrush or Beethoven could write a catchy tune.
"We want people to know that fost-adopt is a great option for creating families. It’s the real stories like ours that move people and make them realize they can make a difference, too," said Lara, who is 45 and a real estate developer. Her wife, Emkay, 49, is a stay-at-home Mom caring for four children and a menagerie of dogs, cats, assorted reptiles and, currently, 30 baby chicks.
Together for 21 years, Lara and Emkay met in a San Francisco cafe and felt an immediate, visceral connection.
"It started out casual with coffee. After four hours, we went to dinner then to another cafe that stayed open later. We had to end the evening at 12:30 because Emkay was taking the train home and they stopped running then. We talked about such deep things — spirituality, religion, life — and had a huge chemistry together. By the end of the evening, I thought, I can do life with this person," Lara recalled.
They waited 13 years to start their family, Lara continued, "Partly because we were so young, partly because we were broke and because we didn’t have a clear picture of what a family of two women having children looked like. We knew we would be good parents, but we just didn’t see how we, as a family, would be supported by society."
So they took the baker’s dozen years to grow together as a couple, got married several times (to each other) and watched society evolve and become more accepting of families with same-sex parents.
"We have been married in our hearts for 21 years. We have been married for more rights many times. First, a San Francisco domestic partnership, then California domestic partnership, a San Francisco marriage license, California marriage license and, now, federal recognition. Every time we get more rights, we get married again," Lara explained.
Lara said both women knew they would one day be parents and, when the time to start their family was right, they knew fostering and adoption was the way for them.
"For us, to create a new life when so many children need homes seemed irresponsible. There are so many kids in the system and we knew some families who had fostered and adopted and we loved them. It was just the right fit for us and now, we love our kids so much, I can’t imagine loving a biological child more," she said.
Lara said they pictured their first children would be siblings, possibly two school age sisters. They were interested in a 10-year-old transgender child and another 10-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome.
"But that isn’t what the universe brought us. They were all babies. We got what was meant to be, not what we thought we wanted. We also spent eight years in the system until their adoptions were all final and that was never our intention," she said.
Their oldest child of four is AllyRose, who is nine and a half. Aidan is second at seven and a half. Amaya is four-years old and Axel is the youngest, at three. Axel was born prematurely, medically fragile with severe pulmonary issues. Today, Lara said happily, he is a healthy, big bruiser of a boy.
The chickens were budding entrepreneur Ally’s idea, Lara explained.
"Ally decided she wanted to go into the chicken business and sell eggs. She is autistic and we thought this would be a great project for her because she could count and sort the eggs and it would be good math-building skills.
"Well, Emkay turned my new couch into a chicken coop nursing a two-day old baby chick back to health. She’s got it on a heating pad and is spoon feeding it sips of water. You have to love someone to consider this just another normal day at our house," Lara said during her interview with RaiseAChild.
Now, they are in the system again, hoping to adopt a special needs girl around Ally’s age and put their vast experience finding the best services for their oldest child to use. They even moved from Oakland, California, to Santa Cruz to secure the support and therapy Ally needs.
"Finding those services has been a full time job and, at this point, we are 100 percent certain as parents that we have done right by Ally. We have room in our home and in our hearts for another child and if we can help a special needs girl have the best chance to be the best person she can be, we think we should do it, Lara explained.
"We just got our passports and I remember thinking we can all finally leave the country because the adoptions are all final. That is, unless we get a call for that perfect special needs girl and then we’ll be back on that ride again," she said with a chuckle.
Lara said she and Emkay consider themselves ambassadors for fostering and adoption, not just to the LGBT community, but to everyone who wants to build a family.
"I’m always talking about fost-adopt. I really feel the need to tell people about how many kids need loving homes. I also think people aren’t aware there are subsidies available and it doesn’t cost much. You don’t have to be rich to adopt. I think, as a culture, we don’t know enough about adoption," she noted.
"LGBT couples are already out of the norm, so to speak, so they are more liable to adopt biracial, special needs or handicapped children. I’m looking forward to the time when all families aren’t stigmatized and are thought of as just people who opened their hearts," Lara continued.
As committed as Lara and Emkay are to the children in foster care, they are equally supportive of their biological families, who they say are often unfairly demonized in the media.
"These children didn’t come from evil. I know their mothers love them deeply, but most of them are just not able to care for a child. Most of them have drug problems and this is such a powerful example of how drugs are tearing apart our communities. It’s important to show the biological parents compassion, to look for the good in them. That’s the piece that’s missing. Demonizing them just continues the cycle," she said.
Lara said she and Emkay keep in touch with some of their children’s biological parents, sending them photos and artwork and school updates. Their hope is to help the birth parents get clean and healthy and in a better place, because the children will surely someday ask about them, and to teach their kids about drugs, gangs and the choices we make in life. They are also supportive of their children establishing healthy relationships with their biological families.
"The journey I’m on now is creating a positive story for the birth parents, building families through adoption and showing that we are all capable of redemption. If their birth parents get their lives together, we are totally open to our kids establishing a connection to them.
"If the idea of seeing your child again is the motivation to get clean, then fantastic. That only helps society. It helps the children, it helps the birth parents become productive, healthy people, it breaks the cycle. What’s not to rejoice about that?" she added.
Have you ever thought of building a family through fostering, adopting, or weekend hosting? RaiseAChild.US is the nationwide leader in the recruitment and support of LGBT and all prospective parents interested in building families through fostering and adoption to meet the needs of the 415,000 children in the foster care system of the United States. RaiseAChild.US recruits, educates and nurtures supportive relationships equally with all prospective foster and adoptive parents while partnering with agencies to improve the process of advancing foster children to safe, loving and permanent homes. Take the next step to parenthood at www.RaiseAChild.US or call us at (323) 417-1440.
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