'It's not about sexual identity:' Wake County couple transforms lives through foster care, adoption

The pictures on the mantle inside the Godette home tell you everything you need to know about the family.

"Mark, at the time, didn't think we could have children. It was before open gayness was a thing. He had doubts it would happen," said Rick Godette.

Mark are Rick are married and have been together for 28 years. Early on, the couple knew they wanted children to complete their union. Initially, several adoption agencies turned the couple away.

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"In a roundabout way said, 'we aren't interested in talking to you because of your lifestyle.' We've been put down many times and kind of brushed off," said Godette.

Within months, they had a match. The couple were paired with 6-year-old Devan, who had questions almost immediately about their sexuality.

"We've been open and honest with each and every one of our kids from the beginning. We would tell them, 'I'm your dad. This is your dad. You have two dads.' We thought it was important to always have a mother figure in each of our kids' lives," said Mark.

The kids call Rick "dad" and Mark "pop."

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In total, the Godettes have fostered more than 30 children in the Raleigh area. They've adopted three boys: Chase, 16, Trey, 26, and Devan who is now 27 years old.

"To be honest with you, I don't know where I'd be at 6 years old jumping from foster care to foster care. I couldn't even tell me where I might have been if I didn't land with these two guys who treated me as my actual parents and I see them as that," said Devan.
Adoption has given the Godettes and their children a gift they otherwise wouldn't have had: family.

More families are receiving that very gift. Data from the Census Bureau show same-sex couples are four times more likely than opposite-sex couples to adopt children. In fact, 43 percent of children of same-sex couples are adopted.

As the son of gay parents, Devan thanks them for opening his heart to others.

"That's why I accept all these different...lesbian, transgender male, transgender female. Basically, you do you. You have my full support to be honest," he said.

So, if the pictures on the mantle inside the Godette home were any indication as to how they value family, chances are you'd know right away.

"I think that's the biggest thing. Showing a child you have stability, love and compassion. It's not about gender or sexual identity. Every child deserves to be loved and cared for."
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