michaelBy Michael O’Reily-Birtcher

I’m Michael O’Reily-Birtcher and this is my story. When I was four-years-old I was sent into foster care because my mother was not only a drug addict, but also an alcoholic and found unable to support a child by the state of Oregon. I stayed in foster care until I was six-years-old. By the time I was eight-years-old I wasn’t sure what to think anymore, until I heard that Thomas O’Reilly and Harold Birtcher, my current parents, wanted to adopt me the first time they saw my picture. I wasn’t sure what to think about this because by this time I had heard kids talking about “gay people” and how they were not like everyone else.

The adoption process could not be done through Ohio, so they did the adoption through Oregon where it was legal for two males to be listed as my parents. This process took from March 2002 to May 2005, because I also had to get my name changed from Bubba Miles to Michael O’Reilly-Birtcher. Even after everything was finalized, we still had to drive from Columbus, Ohio to Dayton, Ohio every two weeks to see how everything was going and to ensure that Thomas and Harold were suitable parents. As my story of how I was legally adopted by two gay men got out, the media decided that it needed to be covered and sent a lot of different reporters to our house to interview my parents and I. I would often be pulled out of class at school to be asked by the principal how things were going, if there were any problems, however all of my friends supported me 100 percent.

Today at UAHS things are starting to cool down and there has been a lot of support from my teachers and staff at the high school. During middle school there were a few incidents with people saying that because my parents were gay I was gay, and that students were saying it’s not right, and God hates who we are. However, I soon found out why other kids started saying all those mean things, and that it wasn’t because they hated who my parents were, it was more that they didn’t know how else to react because it’s something different and something new, which they aren’t used to. That goes for everything new, you instinctively use caution around it until you know what it is. In this case people didn’t want to find out more about gay people because in their minds they have already deemed it as wrong. Overall I’m very happy with how my life has tuned out, and I’m honored to have two dads, because it feels like I get to start something new and unique.