Short Dad, Tall Dad:The Porter Family Story

Tony McClay Porter and Danny Porter started to consider having a child about 2 years ago. As a school child therapist and a clinical social worker for 10 years, Danny had worked with “many amazing children,” some of them in the foster care system. Knowing there were so many foster children in need of a loving home made the couple’s decision to adopt from foster care an easy one. 

Their adoption journey culminated in “the happiest day of our lives…when we found our son!” Tony and Danny felt an instant connection with young Leon the moment they saw his profile and photo. Leon was 11 years old when he moved into their home. The trio recently celebrated Leon’s 12th birthday, “our first birthday together as a family.” 

Leon had been in foster care for over 2 years. His new dads boast, “Leon is the most resilient, loving, happy child you could ever know.” Like many parents, Tony and Danny see some of their own traits and personality quirks reflected in their child. In fact, Leon is so like his dads that people who meet the family for the first time are surprised to learn that Leon was adopted. 

Having 2 dads is a new experience for Leon. He has taken to calling six-foot-tall Tony his “short dad,” and six-foot-five Danny his “tall dad.” To the delight of both dads, Leon is willing to try anything new. “One of our greatest joys has been our ability to experience so many ‘firsts’ with Leon: his first parade, first plane ride, and first time seeing the ocean.” This past summer, the dads introduced Leon to their love of the outdoors with camping and hiking trips. A self-proclaimed “indoor kid and gamer” when he came, Leon has already begun to expand his horizons. Leon enjoys swimming lessons, hopes to take karate, and participates in his school’s “Super Choir.” 

The most challenging aspect of adoptive parenting for these dads has been scheduling all of Leon’s different support appointments—speech therapy, occupational therapy, a skills worker, and a therapist. The couple’s decision for Tony to become an at-home dad has eased this burden. The Porters worked through Children’s Home Society and Family Services. They are pleased with the post-adoption services offered, such as Parent Support Groups that allow them to interact with families like theirs. 

Tony and Danny Porter ask members of Congress to enact a federal “joint/second parent adoption” law so that unmarried partners can both become legal parents. Tony explains, “Gay parents need the support from Congress to protect families in States where marriage is not an option.” Pointing out that Leon came to their home “over-medicated and with items on his evaluation that had not been addressed,” the pair also calls for higher accountability standards for counties acting as the legal guardians. They ask Congress to address the disproportionate number of foster children that are taking medications and/or are overmedicated.

As for Leon, he says that he is “very excited to finally have a forever family. I love having two dads!”

Support our National Foster Care Month campaign! Help knock down barriers to adoption by LGBTQ people and help every child find a family by spreading the word about our families.

Thank you to Voice of Adoption for the story contribution. The Porter family story was originally published in Voice of Adoption’s 2013 Adoptive Family Portrait Project.