Ellen DeGeneres was nearly brought to tears this week when she met incredible gay couple Rob and Reese.
Rob and Reece Scheer of Darnestown, Maryland, first became parents a few years ago when they applied to adopt children from the foster system.
The married couple had initially only wanted one child, but their family quickly grew well beyond that.
They explained: “We got a phone call for a brother and sister. We only wanted one child, but we thought, you know what? Let’s do this! We didn’t want to separate them.
“Within three months we got another call, for a six month old and a two-year-old, and we went from two guys to a family of six. Crazy.”
The pair’s adoptive children came from some of the worst circumstances imaginable.
They explained: “When the kids arrived, we knew that they came with baggage, from homes that just lacked love in general.
“We had a child who was hoarding food in her bedroom because she was scared she wasn’t going to eat, a son who couldn’t talk or walk, another child that didn’t know what it was to hug.”
Rob said: “I don’t know if I was ready for that, but we just made it work. That’s what family’s about, you just make it work. They don’t care that we’re white and we’re gay, they care that we love them.
“People say all the time that our kids won the lottery… but we won the lottery.”
The pair have dedicated their lives to helping not only their own adoptive children, but the lives of children across the foster system.Rob, who came from an abusive family and went through the foster care system himself as a child, explained to Ellen DeGeneres that he was moved to set up a nonprofit to help provide basic amenities for foster kids.
He recalled: “When we adopted our children, I went to pick them up and they were carrying trash bags with all of their belongings in it.
“I remember walking into our home and saying to Reece, ‘This is unbelievable. We’re making them feel like trash by making them put all of their belongings in a trash bag.”
The pair set up nonprofit Comfort Cases, which provides foster kids with a small duffel bag or backpack filled with essentials.
Rob explained: “We put in a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a pair of pyjamas with a tag on it, a blanket in every case, so they know they are loved. The most important thing is we put a book in every case, so they understand it’s not the colour of our skin that separates us, it’s our education level. We want them to love to read.”
The cases are already distributed to foster kids in Virginia, Maryland and DC, but Reece explained the pair’s dream is “to take it nationwide, to go into every state”.
Ellen praised the couple as “dads of the year”, before surprising them with a donation to their nonprofit.
She presented the pair with a cheque for $10,000 – along with $40,000 in cases to give to the children.
Related: Ellen DeGeneres returns to stand-up for Netflix comedy special