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A Boy and His Dads

Chad and Shawn Header Image

On Friday, December 15, the family and friends of Chad Chilsen and Shawn McCloskey gathered at Children’s Court in Milwaukee. They were there to see the couple adopt Jackson, age 5, who had been their foster son for more than two years.

But there was another reason to celebrate that day. Unbeknownst to virtually everyone, except Judge Christopher Foley, Chad and Shawn had also made arrangements to get married prior to the adoption hearing.

The couple, who has been together for 6 years, surprised their loved ones by joining hands in front of the packed courtroom and asking Jackson to hold a ring box.

There was a collective gasp, followed by many joyous tears as friends and family realized they would also be witnessing a marriage that day.

Theirs was a very nontraditional wedding, but it was clear the pair have been soul mates for quite some time. They wore suits of green (Chad) and purple (Shawn) and they both read their vows off of notes on their smartphones.

They spoke of how grateful they were to have found each other and both thanked the other for their friendship, love, and companionship. And, they both said this day would make their family whole.

No Two Families Are Alike

“This has been a long time coming,” said Shawn. “We have an adopted 7-month old daughter, named Spencer, now too.” The little girl was also there to see the wedding and adoption and spent a great deal of time being passed from adoring grandparent to adoring grandparent.

The couple had been keeping a running tally of how many days Jackson had already been part of their family. “Nine hundred and fifty-nine days with us,” Shawn announced. “And a total of 1,001 days in foster care.”

“He had gone into care only about a month and a half before he came to us,” Chad added.

The couple say they have maintained a relationship with Jackson’s biological mother all along. “We will continue to have visits with her,” Chad said. “We had dinner with her recently and assured her she will always be Jackson’s only mom.”

“He’ll officially have two dads, but still only one mom,” added Shawn.


To learn about becoming a foster parent, whether you are single, married, or partnered, call us at 855 GROW-HOPE or email growhope@sainta.org.