Outlook Ohio News: Meet The Moffos
Many years back, Mike Moffo and his now husband, Craig Chadwell were hanging with their kids, talking about marriage. This was long before same-sex marriage was recognized. The kids felt it unfair that their Daddies couldn’t be married but never felt like less than a ‘typical’ family. The kids decided at that time that they should combine names. Though it isn’t on any court records, the family refers to themselves as the Chaddymoffs.
SM: Tell us about you.
MM: I am a very lucky father of three amazing young people and have a wonderful husband. We have been together for 15 years and have been married for almost five. I have two children from a previous marriage and he has one, also from a previous marriage.
I have been with Outlook for a few years now. Coming from a background in IT, it was an odd switch to being an Outside Sales Representative for an LGBT magazine, but it has served me and our family quite well. I feel like I get to be part of a positive voice for our community. It is the most rewarding career I could ever hope for.
My husband, Craig, and I both ride motorcycles and have been completely floored by the acceptance we have found in the biker community. We were reluctant at first, assuming that there would be negativity, but we have found nothing but love. Our friends are our family, as well. It’s great to be part of such an incredible community.
SM: Tell us about the challenges and joys of being an intersectional family.
MM: When our kids were in school, we were scared that they would have problems with being picked on for having gay dads. Especially for our son, we feared the backlash.
Pleasantly, they didn’t have that much at all. If anything, they had “the cool dads”, and their friends spent quite a bit of time hanging at our house.
Only one time did a classmate say something to our son. He said: “You are going to grow up to be a faggot just like your Dad.” His reply?: “I am going to grow up to be like my Dad? Cool. My Dad is awesome.” And it was never brought up again.
We raised our kids to love unconditionally and to never discriminate against anyone, no matter what their differences. We are incredibly lucky that, at the ages of 22, 18, and 17, they still do just that.
SM: What tips, encouragement, or insight would you give to other LGBTQ couples wanting to adopt?
MM: I don’t have any experience with adoption as our kids are biologically ours, but I can say that having these three in my life completed it. I have watched them grow into an artist, a go-getter, and a performer. I have seen our relationships go from father to friend and have watched as the lessons we have taught them over time have molded who they are today. And they have taught me plenty, as well. It is the most fulfilling experience I could ever imagine.
SM: How would you rate/categorize the Columbus LGBTQ community on love and family priorities based on your own observations? Explain.
MM: Plainly said, even Drag Queens in this city know our kids. On our eldest daughter’s 18th birthday, we went to a Virginia West show. Virginia pulled us on stage and presented her with her birthday presents. It was about as original as a birthday could have been.
We have had so much love and support from everyone in this city. We both loathe cold weather and, now that our kids are grown, we could move someplace warm. But we don’t…we stay here because Columbus and the Columbus community is phenomenal.
SM: What are the most important family values you ensure in your home?
MM: Love each other. Love unconditionally. And never, ever break someone down. See everyone as equal – no matter Race, Sexuality, Gender Identity, or anything else. That’s about it. We have taught them to love and to work hard. And because of that, they are all incredible people.
My son, who is 18, and I had a talk not long ago. He was talking about a friend of his who uses the phrase “I don’t see color”, when referring to people of other races. It bothered my son as we have always instilled in him to absolutely see color. See it, embrace it, and love people for themselves and for the differences that they can offer. We are all created equal, but we are not all created the same.
SM: What’s next for the family?
MM: The next big step for the family is our youngest daughter’s graduation. She is pursuing colleges right now and auditioning for the Musical Theatre Program at quite a few different schools across the country.
Once she has finished school, who knows what we will do with our free time. Maybe we will take up a new hobby? Maybe we will move. Who knows? One thing I can assure you, though – we will be in Columbus because Columbus is where our lives are happiest.