Ana Beatriz (6 years old), William (8), Carolina (10) and Suellen (12) were living at a shelter in Ribeirão Preto, in the Brazilian State of São Paulo, since 2003, when their mother lost their custody because she abused them due to the fact that she was addicted to drugs.
Couples who went to the shelter wanted to adopt only Ana Beatriz and William, but the Justice system determined that the four siblings should be kept together. So, they stayed at the shelter for four years waiting for adoption, which was possible only when João Amâncio, 37 years old, and Edson Paulo Torres, 42, said they wanted to adopt older kids. The kids went through psychological and social evaluation before the judge gave the definitive guard to the two men. João and Edson have been together for 17 years and they had already raised together two of Edson’s three biological children.
The sentence was issued last January 13. Now, the lawyer who represents the “couple” and the Childhood and Youth Attorney will be let known about the decision. The siblings would get new birth certificates last Feb. 2, in which Amâncio and Torres will be reported as parents.
For Suellen, the decision was a victory. “Now we will be glad about speaking our name”, she said. With the decision, the siblings will be able to adopt the men’s last name.
According to them, both of Edson’s biological kids who lived with the “couple” grew up: the girl got married and the boy wanted to live at the mother’s house. Amâncio says he wanted to adopt a child because he had a dream of being called “father”. This is why they decided to go to the shelter.
He says that, since their fist visit, the “couple” was “adopted” by Suelen. She sent a letter to the judge saying that she would only accept to be separated from her siblings if it was to live with them.
In 2006, judge Paulo César Gentile ended up giving tutelage of the four kids to Amâncio. Since then, the biological mother never looked for the kids.
Amâncio says that, in the beginning, it was hard. Torres got scared. They had to get a bigger house and a bigger car for the “couple” and the kids. He says he only thought that his parents, with much less money, had raised 15 kids, so he would be up to raising the 4 siblings. They only needed to stop eating at restaurants, stop going out at night, and everything worked out, since, one year later, they got the provisory guard of the kids.
He says they even hired a maid to look after the kids when they are working. Edson and Amâncio are both hairdressers and they have a beauty parlor in Ribeirão Preto.
Amâncio says he ended up gaining in quality of life because now he eats fresh food, made at home, beside his kids. They always dine together and try to spend all free time with the kids. Torres even think about adopting one more, but Amâncio thinks they still have to enjoy their life with the four siblings first, because they’re all small and need their attention.
He says that happiness would be complete when the new documents of the kids arrived. Amâncio says he doesn’t feel discriminated. He says people may talk at their back, but when people meet him on the street or at the supermarket, most people only make compliments and greet him, adding that the most difficult part in his life was “comming out of the closet”.
He says that part of this matter was solved when he wrote the book “Adoção de 4 Irmãos” (The Adoption of 4 Siblings), released last year in Brazil. He and Torres wrote the book to narrate how the construction of the family happened and the difficulties of the process.
They wrote the book on weekends and at night, after work. According to the two men, the purpose on writing the book is to encourage the adoption of older kids, since most people prefer adopting babies.
“The line (for adoption) is big, but only for small babies. Kids who are four years old or older overabound the shelters. We need to open our hearts”, João said last year, when they released the book.
According to Amâncio, there wasn’t prejudice from the judicial system, that treated the case as if it was an adoption by a heterossexual couple.
He says that the important thing is the affection and the care they have with the children, since two men gave them “a home as any other” and the only difference is that they have two male parents.
Another interesting point in the family, according to the newspaper “O Globo”, from Rio de Janeiro, is that Edson’s ex-wife is a close friend of both men and advise them on how to raise the boys.
Amâncio and the woman got very close because the two men raised two of her sons and they though she should be present and, therefore, they always kept a good relation. Now he doesn’t have any problem about getting advice from her about what to do with one of the four kids. She’s even going to be Carol’s godmother.
All the information was taken from a report published last January 15 on “O Globo” and from another website (I’ve lost the link to it).