A single gay father has been hailed as an “inspiration” after adopting an ill child from Cambodia and raising him up to become an Olympic champion.
Jerry Windle never thought he’d become a father after people told him that he couldn’t as a gay man, but this summer, he’s had the privilege of watching his adopted son compete in the Tokyo Olympics, per TODAY.
He discovered that it was possible to adopt a child after seeing an article in a local magazine. The article opened up an opportunity for Jerry to look into adopting from Cambodia, where there was no mention of the child requiring a mother.
Jerry told TODAY: “The story went on to talk about the close relationship between the father and his son, and something kind of clicked in my head … The article listed (the number of an adoption service) and so I called the number and I said ‘I just read an article, is it possible for a single person to adopt a child?’ and they said ‘Yes, it is.’”
A few months later, he found himself in a Cambodian orphanage about to take on the responsibility of a sick child, Jordan, who was suffering from malnutrition, scabies, and severe infections at the time.
The proud father said that it was love at first sight for him and explained that he had no idea then whether his adopted son would live or die.
However, he made a promise to the two-year-old that he would ensure he never suffered again and that he would make every sacrifice to give him the best possible life.
Jordan went on to place second in the Olympic trials and earned himself a place on Team USA’s diving team, but sadly, Jerry couldn’t be there to cheer on his son because of Covid restrictions.
However, Jerry’s story is now seeing him hailed as a hero too, and he’s being praised across social media.
One Twitter user wrote: “From one adoption parent to another, congratulations!! It must be an amazing feeling. You may not have changed the world, but you did change the world for one child.”
A second added: “This is such a beautiful story. Congrats not just for the Olympics and the proudness but for finding each other, finding the absolute love. They are a real example.”
Jerry explained that Jordan began his journey to the Olympics when he started diving at the age of seven.
He then got the opportunity to return to Cambodia at the age of 16 to take part in a diving exhibition created to inspire young people in the country.
“There was a sea of media … We didn’t expect it, we didn’t know how much the people of Cambodia knew Jordan, and they knew him because of the internet… He’s kind of a national hero in Cambodia,” Jerry added.