Jerry Windle was a single gay man in his mid-thirties who desperately wanted to be a dad. It was the nineties and was a completely different time. Jerry wanted to adopt a child, but his chances were very low because he was single and gay.
But then he read a magazine article about another gay man who adopted a child from the orphanage, and that news gave Jerry some hope.
“I got a little bit sad and depressed about the fact that I could never have a child,” he told Good Morning America. “But I’d accepted that.”
“But after my mother’s passing, I moved from California to Florida. I was so alone and wanted a child. Said Jerry. So, one day I was sitting at a doctor’s office when I began reading a magazine and came across this post about another gay man who adopted a son.”
So, Jerry, in his hope of doing the same, called an adoptive agency and asked if he was eligible to adopt a kid.
“And they said, ‘Yes,'” he recalled. “I got a packet of information and an application about a week later, and I took probably three days and filled out every single document, got fingerprinted, filled out my background information, I did everything.”
Windle said after looking for several options, he learned about an 18-month-old boy from Cambodia who was in an orphanage and needed a home. So, he got in touch with the management who later sent him a picture of the baby named Pisey at that time.
“When I looked at his photo, I knew at that very moment that I was looking at my son,” said Windle. “It was done the second I opened the envelope and saw that photograph. I sent a photo of me and asked them to give it to him in a necklace and explain to him that I was his daddy and was going to be coming to get him.”
Five months later, in June 2000, Jerry brought the boy home and named him Jordan.
“When I held him in my arms that first moment, I made a promise to him that I would be the best dad I could possibly be. I wanted his youth to be filled with wonder and amazement,” he told GMA “That has been my mission from day one.”
The doting father said he raised Jordan in Florida, and when he turned seven, he signed him up for an aquatics summer camp where his son’s athletic talents were discovered.
“They let them jump off the diving board one day, and when I dropped him off again, the guy who was running the camp asked if he could talk to me,” said Jerry. “He said, ‘You need to get this child into diving. … He will be a national champion one day. He may even be an Olympian one day.'”
According to Good Morning America, “The man who told Windle his son could be an Olympic diver was Tim O’Brien, whose father, Dr. Ron O’Brien, was a longtime Olympic diving coach and coach of four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis.”
So, Windle put him in a diving school, and just a year later, Jordan won the junior national championship.
The family then shifted to Indianapolis and North Carolina so young Jordan could pursue diving.
The little boy is now 23 years old and competes for Team USA.
“Most of the people love the adrenaline rush of the sport, but diving is one of the sports you really have to love. You can’t do it just to do it, because you will burn out real quickly,” Jordan told The Daily Texan in 2017.
In his recent interview with Today, the athlete said his father has always been his biggest supporter and he’s very happy to make him proud.
“I can usually hear [my dad] out of everyone in the audience, which is awesome. I wish he was there, but that doesn’t really change what I’m going there to do: to have fun, show off a little bit and put on a show for everyone. That’s going to be my intention and I’m hopefully going to make him proud.”
The father-son duo also co-authored a book titled ‘An Orphan No More.’
“I tell everyone, when they ask me why I dive, I dive purely for my dad and how much he loves watching me,” said Jordan.
“Without him making all the sacrifices that he has, and his love and support the whole time we’ve been together, I really wouldn’t be where I am today. I have him to thank for everything, all my accomplishments. It’s been an amazing journey with him, and we’re still rolling.”
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