States of Equality: Drew in Texas

Few things are as powerful as a personal story. As part of our States of Equality campaign, Family Equality Council is sharing stories from LGBTQ families who have faced discrimination across the U.S.

Drew Pierson is a Texas dad who first tried to adopt and foster over a decade ago, but was pushed away and discriminated against by several child-placing agencies for being a gay man. At the time, he strongly identified as Christian and wanted to go to Christian organizations. After his first attempts, he was dissuaded from trying to adopt or foster for years, until he tried again with a different organization in 2009.

Years later, he is now happily parenting a set of pre-teen siblings, Courtney and Cameron. Drew’s story is a prime example of how #LicensetoDiscriminate laws can harm qualified prospective parents and thousands of children who need forever homes.

In fact, Texas’ HB 3859 is one of the most insidious anti-LGBTQ bills passed by any state. Not only does it allow child placing agencies to turn away qualified prospective parents who fail to meet the agencies’ religious litmus test, but it also allows services to be withheld from LGBTQ youth in care, and sanctions such discredited practices as conversion therapy. Qualified potential parents are currently being denied placement — an experience families like Drew’s know all too well — while an estimated 20,000 Texas youth remain in care. These discriminatory practices by child-placing agencies deny LGBTQ, single, and non-Christian prospective parents from the opportunity to provide a loving home to many children in need.

For more information about HB 3859 and Texas laws, check out our Texas 3859 Fact Sheet.

States of Equality: Drew from Family Equality Council on Vimeo.

Read Transcript


New Speaker: Family means being together, loving unconditionally, supporting one another.

Courtney: Actually had somebody who cares about me, and that they’re there to support you.

Cameron: Loving your friends and family. Loving them so much. Them coming home and me running up to them and saying, “Daddy, I want to hug you close.”

New Speaker: I had always wanted to be a parent. From the beginning of 2000 I started looking into becoming a foster parent. I actually sort out a Christian agency because at the time I was a Christian, and I wanted to raise my children with a Christian background.

New Speaker: I found an agency in Dallas and signed up with them to take the classes and get certified. I was about halfway through when the lady instructor talked about homosexuality. It made me a little curious about how they were going to handle me.

New Speaker: I did go ahead and ask, “Is my being gay going to be an issue when it comes to having children placed with me?” They said that they would license me to be a foster parent, but they would never place a child with me. As many kids as there are out there, it’s heartbreaking that any kid would not have a place to go because they want to limit the pool of foster parents simply because of their sexual orientation. That makes absolutely no sense.

New Speaker: So I just gave up. I just figured it’s never going to happen, at least as long as I live in Texas.

New Speaker: Then a few years later, I started wanting a child again, and I looked into servicing. I actually had a donor and a surrogate lined up. The several places I called would not deal with gays wanting to have a surrogate carry their child.

New Speaker: I started looking into fostering again. Instead of going directly to an agency, I went through TAIR to get a list of the agencies. I asked them, “Are there any gay friendly agencies?” They told me which ones were gay friendly. I think there was 36, and nine were gay friendly. So I started calling them, asking a lot of blatant, blunt questions about how they feel about my sexuality, and I did find them.

New Speaker: I don’t think even a week passed after I got my license that I had my first set of siblings. The first set of siblings I only had for a month, and then I got two brothers, and they were with me for a year. Shortly after Dawson and Cole left, I called the agency back. I said, “This time I want to be open to fostering kids that are at risk, so there’s a higher chance that they’re wanted.”

New Speaker: Within the day after calling I got Courtney and Cameron. I knew as soon as I saw them that they were going to be my kids.

New Speaker: The parental rights were terminated in December, and May 7, 2012 was our Gotcha Day. It is a special day. We celebrate it like it is.

New Speaker: These kids are, they’re everything, and they are the center of my world. I just can’t imagine my life without them.

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