I AM A HUDSON VALLEY PARENT- MARKO AND BRANDON TOMASSETTI



Fostering Love

Brandon Tomassetti (l) with husband Marko and adopted son, Kameron

“There are amazing kids in the foster care system who might not otherwise get the chance to have the childhood that they deserve,” says Brandon Tomassetti of Woodstock, shown here with his husband Marko (R) and their 18 month old adopted son Kameron. 


Marko and Brandon Tomassetti's childhoods couldn't have been more different. Marko ws the oldest of seven children, so there was always other kids around.  Brandon's upbringing didn't involve too many other children.  Both men knew, before they even met each other and stated dating, that someday they each wanted to be a dad.

After they fell in love and realized they wanted to be dads, they had a few hurdles to clear.  One was their work schedules. At the time, they were living in Los Angeles.  Brandon worked 12 hour days as a location scout and Marko flew to the east coast and back every week for job as a high end hairdresser.


"We wanted children," says Brandon, "but if we had them in L.A. we'd be do busy working that we'd never even get a chance to enjoy them.  Marko figured out that if we moved to New York, I could afford to stay home.  I didn't want to live in New York City. The Hudson Valley seemed perfect.  Marko could commute, and we could have a nice, spacious life."


Moving quickly


When they were researching their options as to how to become parents, they originally ruled out becoming foster parents. Then they kept running into people who had become foster parents themselves and who spoke highly of the experience. “We thought ‘Ok, this is too weird,’” recalls Brandon.  “So we went to a foster care agency to learn more and it just sang to us.” 


The couple moved to Woodstock and started taking the necessary classes to qualify as foster parents. What happened next was unprecedented: They began training in September, began fostering a baby with special needs named Kameron in March, and ended up adopting him in November.  


“It was like a hurricane,” says Brandon. “We ended up with a child before we even got a chance to settle in. Our situation was unique. They never adopt kids out that early.” 


“People looking at what we went through shouldn’t expect their experience to be similar,” cautions Marko. 


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A parent’s right 

The Tomassettis are now big proponents of the foster care system, especially in Ulster County. They feel the system is small enough that they could quickly develop personal relationships with all of the caseworkers. They also think that there’s less bureaucracy to deal with. “There are people who move out of New York City and into Ulster County just because of the foster care programs,” says Brandon. In addition to now being the legal guardians of 18 month old Kameron, they are currently fostering a three-month-old baby girl.  


They’ve also learned a lot throughout the process and know that it’s not for everyone.  The child can be returned to their biological parents at any time, which can be an emotionally harrowing process for foster parents. The Tomassettis stress that in the end foster care is really about parent’s rights and keeping families together. “A lot has to go wrong for a child to become available for adoption out of foster care,” says Marko. “The state doesn’t want to take anyone’s children away unless they really have to.”  


That's tough for foster parents who have spent months up all night with the children, caring for them, developing relationships with them, and loving them. “You can’t view it as ‘having a child,’” says Brandon. “Instead, you’re stepping into that child’s life. He comes with a lot of things. We’re in touch with his biological grandparents, because they’re his family too. It’s not like adoption, where you just walk away with a child and that’s basically it.” 


Now, with the adoption process complete, the Tomassettis are free to let their relationship with Kameron continue to deepen. 


“I was actually a bit terrified when he first came into our home because I didn’t have any experience with children,” admits Brandon. “But the first time he smiled at me when I put him to bed, I just melted. He’s very loving, very sweet, even with the new baby around. There’s no jealousy, there’s just a lot of love coming from him.” 


“And we like to take credit for that,” says Marko, as the whole family laughs together. 

 

 

 

 



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