Dear future parent,
You have successfully discovered what we feel is the best resource for starting your family. There are many roads available for making the dream of a family come true. However, some of those roads are unpaved (adoption through the state is hoop after hoop with unpredictable results), some have outlandish tolls (agencies charge exorbitant amounts of money) , and many have dead ends (they take your money, but all you do is wait, sometimes forever). Our experience with Lifelong was like taking the Autobahn. Smooth, fast, and efficient. We got what we wanted, and it couldn't have been easier.
Here's our story:
Even at the beginning of our relationship, my partner and I knew that we wanted children one day. Early on, it was something that was a casual conversation. Things such as adoption or surrogacy were discussed, and we both generally agreed that when the time came, adoption would be the road to take.
To us, surrogacy was a huge financial burden, and a seemingly selfish option when compared to the good we could do through adoption. As the years passed, our conversation grew more serious, and we gradually began searching for a way to make our dream of a family come true.
About a year ago, we decided that the time was right, and we began assessing our options in detail. To our displeasure, we discovered that infant adoption for same sex couples is not as easy as TV makes it seem. To start, the number of agencies willing to represent same sex couples is staggeringly low. Not to mention, those agency's primary clients are traditional couples, and they are more willing to market them to birth mothers over a same sex couple such as ourselves. On top of feeling like a "second class" choice in the eyes of these agencies, their price tags were enough to cause one's heart to skip a beat.
Prices for the agencies we found ranged from $40,000-$60,000! A price that we were, and still are unable to pay. It was very disheartening to learn that our greatest dream was something that our finances alone would not allow. Not to mention, the price tag for these agencies was nearly the same as for a surrogacy. We were torn. We figured if we were going to spend that type of money, we may as well create a child via a surrogate, but at the end of the day, we still couldn't stomach the expense. We began to doubt that a child would be in our future, and thought about creating a different life for ourselves. A life not involving children. Neither of us were in love with the idea, but we felt it was the only realistic choice given the circumstances. Just when things were at their bleakest, we were told about Lifelong.
One of our best friends put us in touch with a couple who had successfully adopted a baby girl from Lifelong. We had never heard of Lifelong, but from what our friend told us, it sounded promising. A quick google search led us to their website, which was filled with success stories of couples who had adopted in as little as 4-months. We could hardly believe we had somehow missed them in all of our searching. In looking at the website, our hopes of having a family were suddenly reignited, and we quickly set up a meeting with their adoptive parent coordinator.
Our meeting was very laid back over a lunch of burgers and fries. We were very nervous leading up to our interview, wondering what types of questions he would ask, or if he would like us. Instead, Mark treated us like old friends, putting us at ease, and discussed his own personal journey with adopting with Lifelong, and how the process would work. We went over the expected costs, the type of child we were interested in, and how long the adoption process could be expected to take. We were very impressed with Lifelong's track record, and the fact that they only allow 4-families to join per month, in order for the process to go faster for each family.
We immediately signed a contract with Lifelong after our meeting, and worked tirelessly in getting all of our paperwork and home study complete within a few weeks. Seeing our profile on Lifelong's website thrilled us, and we found ourselves dreaming and planning for our future child; something we figured would happen in the next 9-12 months. Little did we know, our baby would be coming far sooner.
The phone rang on September 14th, and the caller ID said Tisa Lamb, Lifelong's birth mom coordinator. A call from Tisa is always exciting for a prospective parent, and a call you will drop everything to answer. When we put the phone on speaker between us at the kitchen table, we both looked at each other with excitement. Was this the moment we were waiting for? After a very quick, "Hello, how are you?", and our "Fine how are you?" reply, Tisa let the excitement build with a question. She asked "What are you doing November 4th?". We both looked at each other flabbergasted. Was she telling us there was a birthmother interested in us due November 4th??!! Indeed, she was. And for the next 6-weeks, we anxiously prepared our home, and stalked up the nursery for our fast coming baby boy.
Kyle Benjamin was born October 28, 2012, exactly one week early. It was the most surreal, amazing moment in our lives. He is a thriving, rapidly growing baby boy, and we couldn't be happier to have him in our lives. We are a family. Something that less than a year ago was something we didn't think was in the cards for us. We owe Lifelong a lifetime of gratitude for making our dream come true, and we will not hesitate in recommending them to anyone. And quite possibly, maybe a few years from now, we will use them again to give Kyle a baby brother or sister.
Our story is unique, yet very similar to many other Lifelong families. Just looking at the website you see couple after couple who fulfilled their dream of having a family in a matter of months. Because of their smaller acceptance rate and vast resources throughout the nation, Lifelong is able to ensure that you aren't lost in a sea of prospective parents. They make you feel as if you're part of their family during the process, always willing to take your call and give you candid advice. They continually update their information in order to give accurate expected costs so that there aren't any surprises along the way. They also know the best attorneys in the country, and will put you in touch with them when that magical day comes and you're paired with a birth mom.
We wish you luck, and sincerely hope that this process will be as easy and rewarding for you as it was for us. And, stalk up on sleep while you can, because you never know, you're baby could come a lot sooner than you think!
Jason, Steven, and Baby Kyle