When 33-year old Drew Mullins first met his future sons, he was working as a foster care social employee in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
8-year-old Jayden and 7-year-old Charlie were siblings in the foster system who were about to go up for adoption, and they’d made a real connection with Drew.
“I fell in love with them,” Drew said of his sons. “When they were able to go up for adoption to find a forever home, I applied and fought to become their adoptive father.”
At the time, Drew said many people within the boys' lives told him that they felt the kids needed a two-parent heterosexual family.
Some people also voiced concerns about a "gay white man" adopting two black boys. But none of these doubters stopped Drew from forming his own family and being a fantastic dad.
Even within his own family, Drew’s grandfather voiced his opposition to Drew being a dad. His grandfather said he had fears of what a "gay man might do to influence young boys.”
“It hurt,” Drew said of his grandfather’s words. “But I chose to listen to my heart and follow God's desires for my life.”
Drew said being a dad is hardest when he’s tired, burned out, or otherwise stressed. Especially as a single father, it is hard to pour from an empty pitcher.
The boys are very active; they enjoy playing outside, riding their bikes, playing with their animals, and most recently they have enjoyed playing the Nintendo Switch from Santa.
As a single parent, Drew has to constantly make a conscious choice to be his best, and to provide Jayden and Charlie with the respect, love and effective discipline that they deserve.
“Being a dad means giving 110%, always,” he said. “Being a dad means watching my sons grow, make mistakes, get hurt, learn, and grow more.”
As for a support system, Drew, Jayden and Charlie have Drew’s two best friends, parents, and other close family members nearby. “I would not survive without them, especially as a single dad,” Drew added. “They were all excited and supportive of my decision to foster and adopt. They all know my heart and passion for helping kids.”
Although parenting can be tough at times, Drew said being a dad is by far the most fulfilling and satisfying part of his life. To other single gay men considering fostering-to-adopt, Drew said to ignore those who doubt you.
“Follow your heart. Know your desires. Have support and build a village,” he said. “Don't ever underestimate your ability to help a child, provide a caring, loving, and stable home. You are enough! You are MORE than enough.”