National Parents’ Day #AnimationFAM
Featured: Guild dad Mario D’Anna Jr., wife Laura, and daughters Rebecca (6) and Hazel (11).
Credits: Mario is a director at Bento Box Entertainment. His work can be seen on Bob’s Burgers, Central Park, and The Great North.
On Fostering & Adopting while Working in Animation:
Mario: I don’t have to tell anyone here how consuming our jobs can be on our time and attention let alone add something completely unrelated to the pile that’s a heavy job in itself. However, fostering to adopt was Laura’s and my best hope for a child so we were determined to make it work. The hardest part about fostering and working in the Industry is managing a consistent schedule on the animation side of things while dealing with the radically unpredictable and regulation heavy side of the foster care system. It’s a lot of plates to spin and sometimes a couple will fall but you just keep on spinning as best you can.
On Co-Parenting in the Face of COVID:
Mario: I could never have done any of it without Laura. She is the force that makes our family function. Around 5 years ago our efforts paid off with the arrival of our beloved Rebecca. After her we got our new home and I transitioned from Storyboard Artist into Director where my free time became more and more sparse. Laura and I wanted another child but we took a break from fostering when we adopted Rebecca and our [fostering] license expired so [over the course of a year] we had to take training classes, attend meetings and fill out all the paperwork again to get it back. When we just finished everything we needed to get us reinstated……then came COVID!
Since Late March of 2020 I’ve been directing in my modified walk-in closet and living on Zoom while being a Parent and all in the same location. But, with the bad there’s always some good around the corner. During this time we had the arrival of our soon to be second daughter Hazel! We’re currently in the process of adopting her but to Laura and myself she’s already part of the family. Although we’re currently stuck working from home it has given both Laura and myself the opportunity to know Hazel better and be there for both kids as much as possible. It’s been an interesting ride balancing career and fostering but Laura and I are more than up for it.
Photos: We have to keep Hazel’s identity hidden until she’s fully adopted. One of the many rules of the Fostering System.