SAN ANTONIO – Clint and Wellington Rankin-Gibson fostered to adopt under two circumstances that could have come with barriers: one, in the middle of a pandemic, and two as a same sex couple.
The couple was married seven years ago and always dreamed of having kids.
A few years ago, they adopted adorable siblings Gabriel and Charlotte. Then in April, they adopted 12-year-old Dylan.
In a Zoom interview, the whole family sat cuddled together smiling and giggling as they all shared in telling their unique story.
When Dylan was asked how he felt when he found out he was being adopted, he said, “I didn’t believe it. I was in foster care for, since I was six.”
Completing their family during a pandemic was surprisingly painless.
“It took us a few weeks to get licensed and we had a child in our home maybe on the fourth week. It’s a go at your own pace. Some families work on it every weekend, we worked on it every day,” Clint said. “The judge called over Zoom chat and we adopted Dillon with zero hang-ups.”
They say their positive experience had a lot to do with their agency SJRC Texas (formerly St. Jude’s Ranch for Children).
“Initially we were all struggling trying to figure out how we were going to continue certifying or licensing families and as creative minds, everybody figured out how to maneuver around things,” said the family’s SJRC case worker Rica Banks.
Banks said the number of child removals has risen as domestic violence skyrockets amid the pandemic.
“There are more removals. Maybe initially, there weren’t a lot because kids weren’t being seen and there weren’t a lot of reports, but now that they’re back to virtual learning and teachers are seeing them, the reports have gone up, so yes there’s a need. There’s definitely a need,” Banks said.
Clint and Wellington chose SJRC specifically because of its good reputation and inclusivity for LGBTQ couples wanting to foster and adopt.
“There’s so many kids out there that need homes, and who is to say what is a perfect family? It may look one way to one person, but for a kid, they just want a loving home and a safe and secure place,” Banks said.
“Love is love. Doesn’t matter if you are gay, bi, whatever is your sexuality,” Wellington said.
The state of Texas by law does not hold bias about same sex adoptions, but individual agencies can.
“We were fortunate not to struggle in that realm, but we have people and friends, I know have. So I think it’s important to find the right agency and ask those questions in the beginning. We’re a same sex couple, we want to adopt, is that okay with you or not?,” Clint explained.
Clint and Wellington hope people won’t be intimidated.
“If you’re ready and open and willing, you can do it,” Clint said.
If you’re interested in learning more about fostering or adoption, Banks said to contact agencies like SJRC and ask questions.
She said if you’re not quite ready to open your home, try volunteering with organizations first.