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LGBTQ dads advocate for adoption after Indiana adoption agency helps grow their family

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Courageous Heart Adoptions is a non-discriminatory agency based out of Greenwood, Indiana that helps all couples to adopt, including LGBTQ+ couples looking to grow their family.

Billy and Jason Morton-Ortega adopted their 4 1/2-year-old daughter, Louisa, and their almost 10-month-old son, Beau, through the agency. The family lives in the Baltimore, Maryland area, but worked with Laronda Southworth, a coordinator based in Indiana, because of her LGBTQ+ friendly reputation.

“Courageous Hearts was amazing,” Billy Morton-Ortega said. “We felt so supported by them from beginning to end. We had worked with Laronda for our adoptions of our daughter and our son, so we had become friends with her and a trusted resource.”

The couple said it was crucial to find an agency that was welcoming toward all couples.

“There are just so many unknowns going into adoption, and they just have a wealth of experience. Laronda adopted her children as well, so she had first-hand knowledge,” Jason Morton-Ortega said. “You really don’t know much when you start the adoption process and it feels like all you have is questions, and Laronda was available day and night.”

“We knew that she was a great resource for gay dads as well because the couple that recommended us to courageous hearts and to Laronda were gay dads themselves, and we had a comfort level right away,” Billy Morton-Ortega said.

Both men said diversity in all forms is important to them, and they work to raise their children to know being different is good.

“I think kids need a loving family and families come in all different sorts of ways, from single mothers to grandparents raising kids,” Billy Morton-Ortega said. “There’s all different types of ways to raise a family. We don’t really think of ourselves as a gay couple, we just think of ourselves as dads.”

Courageous Hearts said it works to fight the idea that birth parents “give up their baby.” The Morton-Ortega’s called them courageous.

“We call them our angel mommas because they’ve given us the most amazing gift anyone can give a human being,” Jason Morton-Ortega said.

The couple said they are in contact with the birth mothers of both of their children so they never question where they came from.

The Morton-Ortega’s started a family-friendly Pride Fest in their town of Catonsville, Maryland to help create an accepting space to celebrate all families. They celebrated their 3rd Annual Festival in June.