‘American Girl’ Amaya Receives Family Equality Council Impact Award

The “fallout” from the boycott of American Girl just keeps getting sweeter. In November, right-wing fringe group One Million Moms called for a boycott against the American Girl company for featuring an 11-year-old girl with two fathers in their magazine. As Amaya and her dads are friends of our family, it frustrated and saddened me to see them attacked. However, the controversy gave the family an amazing platform to share their story and the amazing work they do through their charity, Comfort Cases. In an ironic twist, the flurry of media coverage resulted in a banner year for Comfort Cases, with a 65% increase in goods delivered to children in the foster care system, and a 300% increase in donations.

So how could it get any sweeter than that?

Dads Rob and Reece, Amaya, and her three brothers were recently honored at Family Equality Council’s 2016 Impact Awards! The family was flown cross country to LA, where they got to walk the red carpet, hob-knob with celebs, and be recognized for their advocacy, their generosity, and for being such an inspiration to us all.

For both Rob and Reece, the most memorable part of the evening were the two standing ovations the family received from the crowd of over 500 celebrities, corporate sponsors, and activist. They were the only ovations of the night!

Family Equality Council Impact Awards
(L) Amaya, Reece, Greyson, (R) Tristan, Makai, and Rob on the red carpet at the 2016 Impact Awards. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Rob also relayed that the kids were excited to meet the celebrities in attendance, particularly Calista Flockhart (who stars on Supergirl) and Caroline Rhea (who they recognized as the voice of the mom on Phineas and Ferb).

Family Equality Council Impact Awards
The family onstage during the awards ceremony. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images)

Surrounded by his family, Rob shared his own story of growing up in foster care, the adoption of his four children, and how it inspired him to start Comfort Cases. In his speech, he also issued a challenge,

“For me the biggest blessing is not in giving this speech to all of you, or to get people to talk about Comfort Cases.  It’s showing my kids and my husband that talented people, that successful people, that leaders — they do not have the right to sit on the sidelines and watch things go wrong. Leaders do not have the right to let over 400,000 kids in foster care walk into a home with a trash bag. Leaders have the privilege to do something about it and to effect change.

People in this room are privileged, let’s just be honest. Regardless of the struggles we all face, they’re nothing compared to kids not knowing where there next meal is coming from, not knowing where they’re going to live, and they don’t know who loves them or if anyone ever will. See, I can tell you first hand, kids do not care what the color  their parents are, or if they have 2 dads or 2 moms. They care that they are safe and loved.”

Family Equality Council Impact Awards
Rob & Reece share an emotional moment onstage. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

Rob continued, stressing that the most valuable part of this experience is being able to be the kind of person he wants his kids to be. He concluded his speech with a bit of dad wisdom we can all take to heart:

“I will end by saying the three things my husband and I tell our kids daily:

Use your listening ears, because everyone has a story.
Use your kind words, because hateful words have never changed anything.
But most important, lead by example.”

To learn more about Comfort Cases or to make a donation, visit ComfortCases.org.

All photos courtesy of Family Equality Council.

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