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Meet the Family
The Mangus Family:
A story of Adoption, Love and Faith
Victoria sits on the couch outside talking her wife, Kathy, while their youngest son climbs in her lap and grabs her face to study and kiss. He grins like any little boy who loves his mommy does, then buries his face in her chest and curls up in her lap. The wives look at each other, down at their son and gaze over at the older two boys playing in the yard. Clearly, this family is in love. The women were only together six months when they decided they wanted to begin their family.
“I mean, we met later in life,” said Victoria. “We were both in our forties and wanted kids. When you date at this age, you ask these kinds of questions right away.”
Kathy, 49, already four adopted children from a previous relationship. But when she met Victoria four year ago, she said she knew right away that she wanted to have children with her. “I wanted a little Victoria,” said Kathy. “We decided to get pregnant but at the last minute, she decided she wasn’t ready to have a baby herself.” Victoria said in her heart, she was leaning more towards adoption than pregnancy. “I knew that there were so many kids without parents in Charlotte, and I felt like it would be selfish of me to bring another life into the world when there were so many kids without families,” said Victoria.
The couple went to the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services and met with a caseworker. Even though they both had steady jobs, a large home and were in a committed relationship, the caseworker said she didn’t think they were ready to foster or adopt. “It was obvious that she didn’t want to help us because we were a same sex couple,” said Victoria. “It was hard to bear, but we weren’t giving up that easily.” The couple went through several agencies before they found Children’s Home Society, a nonprofit based in Charlotte that places children with foster and adoptive families. Victoria said they were welcomed with open arms. “They didn’t care that we were a same sex couple,” she said. “They wanted to know more about us and were actually excited to start the process with us.”
It took about a year to complete the process through Children’s Home Society. The couple had to fill out applications, complete a background check, have a home study completed and take classes to become licensed foster family.
Victoria said what happened next, was the work of God.
“I kept praying that God would bring us our children,” she said. “And He did.” The two women were in one of their final licensing classes when a Children’s Home Society caseworker, who was leading the class, walked in looking frustrated. Victoria said she approached her and asked if everything was OK. “She told me she was frustrated because she had three brothers who needed immediate emergency placement,” said Victoria. “She was upset because the mom was a flight risk and not many foster families would take three children. When I found out their ages, I was like, “We’ll take them!’”
Unfortunately, Victoria and Kathy weren’t licensed yet and weren’t eligible to foster the boys, who were 3-years-old, two-years-old and five-months-old. But the caseworker said she was put the women’s names on the boys folder and keep them in mind as soon as they got their license. Victoria said the caseworker put their names of a sticky note on top of the boy’s folder and then went on vacation. When the folder was taken to court, the women’s names were the ones read out as the legal guardians. “The judge knew we weren’t licensed but he granted us custody anyway,” said Kathy. “Our license was sped up and we got it very quickly after that. These boys were just meant to be with us.”
“That’s God,” said Victoria.
The women met the boys on a Tuesday and they were permanently placed with the couple that Thursday. They had one day to get everything the boys would need. “It was amazing to see how many people turned out to help us get ready,” said Kathy. “We only had one day to get ready, but we had to do it. We had to do it for our kids.” The couple said when the boys arrived, they settled in quickly and never asked to go back to their birth mother. “I was very surprised that they never asked to go home,” said Victoria. “Not once. And we spent that first week together just watching movies, laughing and getting to know each other.” Victoria and Kathy both said they couldn’t believe that a such a young age, the boys had endured trauma that is still affecting them to this day.
“You kind of hope that if you get them young enough, you’ll get a clean slate,” said Victoria. “But that wasn’t the case at all.” Five-month-old Victor was 27 pounds (roughly the size of a child twice his age) and had almost never been held. Two-year-old Jade had such severe attachment issues that he wouldn’t let his moms touch him for nearly a year. Three-year-old Morrison just couldn’t believe he had his own room, as he had lived homeless with his teenage mother for most of his life. “God blessed us with these boys are we are doing everything we can to make them healthy and happy,” said Victoria.
Three years later, the boys have everything they could ever need or want, including pee-wee football, mommy and me gymnastics, ninja classes and of course, a stable home with two loving parents. Kathy and Victoria formally adopted the boys this year. Best of all, the boys just became brothers to a newborn girl, who was born at prematurely at 27 weeks to a mother addicted to drugs. Victoria and Kathy have the baby girl in their home as foster parents and hope to adopt her very soon. “We still want one more,” said Kathy. “There are so many kids who need homes, and we want to be the ones who give it to them.”
If you have questions about Children’s Home Society of North Carolina or other local adoption resources, please contact Friend of the Family Editor, Jessy Millicevic, at [email protected] for additional information.
(c) 2014 VISIT GAY CHARLOTTE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.