Spotlight Series sponsored by Quinny, a European stroller brand available in the United States.
TNF: Tell me about your family?
JOEY: We got married last year in New York. Obviously it’s not legal in Texas, yet. I always say yet. A couple friends and my mom went up for the ceremony. We didn’t say anything about this to anyone except the friends and family that came with us. I didn’t want to go on and on (especially on social media) about how we got engaged. I just wanted to say “Hey, look, we’re married!” so the night of the dinner and ceremony I took a picture of the menu with our name on it that said “Guerra-Moore Wedding Party” and posted it to Facebook. That’s how everyone found out. After that we came back to Houston and had a big party here for all that weren’t with us in New York.
TNF: How did you meet your husband?
JOEY: My partner and I have been together since 1995. We met at a party; it’s kind of boring. We had mutual friends in high school that worked with him. It sounds made up, but I really wasn’t planning on going to the party. I was 20 at the time and had just really come out to a couple people and myself. I was really depressed about it. My friend forced me to go to the party; she said “If you hate it, we can leave.” That’s where I met Scott. We didn’t really talk or anything, but I noticed he was looking at me the whole night. I had never dated a guy, I had just come out. He talked with me for about 2 minutes right before he left, but after he called my friends and asked about me. We went out about a week later and we’ve been together ever since.
TNF: Do you have any kids?
JOEY: We have a 3-year-old son named Emerson. He’s actually blood related to Scott. Due to various circumstances his birth parents could not keep him. They called us and asked us if adoption was something we’d be willing to do, and if it was something we’d ever thought about. Our first reaction was yes of course. We talked about having kids as any couple does if they’ve been together for a long time, but it was never anything serious, but when it came up it was just something we both immediately said yes to. Emerson was born in St. Louis Missouri, which is where Scott is from. We adopted him there and we are actually both listed on the birth certificate. A lot of times you need to do a second parent adoption, but when we were going through the process they ended up putting both our names on the paperwork. I think the fact that Scott was related to him made it a lot easier.
TNF: Do you feel different than other families?
JOEY: I think it’s almost impossible to not feel a little bit different. You don’t see a lot of family’s that look like us, in Houston or otherwise. When we take him to the mall or a Sesame Street show we don’t see a lot of families like us. We don’t act any different than anybody else, we just are. We have a nephew who is a little bit older and he asked us “Why does Emerson have two dads? Where’s his mom?” and I didn’t know if it was my place to answer that, but I said, “Well, some people have two dads, some people have a mom and a dad; like you, some people have two moms, some people have a grandmother. People just have different families” and he was like “Okay” and that was that. He just wanted an answer and that was good enough for him. It’s just so silly people (especially adults) make a big deal of it when we are just like everyone else. We do notice judgment from people when we are out, but we just have to deal with it. I do not want Emerson to have to deal with that, he didn’t ask to be raised by two dads. All we can do is raise him the best and the truest way we can. I think the key for us is to surround ourselves with those who love us and support us unconditionally. All of my family is extremely supportive.
TNF: How has having a family changed your life?
JOEY: It’s changed my life incredibly in ways I can’t fully explain. I don’t even remember what we did before we had him. I don’t know what we did with all our time. It’s forced me to put someone else first. He has to come first, even in the minutest ways he has to come first. He doesn’t care if I’m having a bad day or if I woke up late, he’s up at 7 and ready to go. I have to put all of that aside and do the best I can. It is tough, it’s tough raising a kid. I don’t think anyone can truly prepare you to raise a kid, it’s exhausting. But at the end of the day it’s about retaining your identity while incorporating your kid into your life in a way that’s still fun and makes sense but is still safe and structured at the same time.
TNF: Do you have any advice for couples who want to have a kid?
JOEY: You are never going to be ready to have a child, you just aren’t. Of course you want a stable job and a safe place to live, all those basic needs, but in terms of being mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared you’re never going to feel fully ready. If you really, truly in your heart want to have a kid you just have to go for it and you will get ready, it will just happen. I was worried at the beginning, I was like “what if I don’t know how to hold him, or feed him?” You learn as you go, you learn what works for you and what works for your child. I would just say don’t ever expect to feel 100% ready, but do have those basic needs in place and make sure you do your research in terms of the laws and courts surrounding adoption. There are services who can help you. Trust yourself.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!