Antwan & Ryan

Antwanand

Ryan

our adoption story

Finding Our Fit

For years we intended to adopt. We spent the early days of our relationship focusing on our post-graduate schooling and then establishing ourselves in our careers. As a same-sex couple, we knew there would be challenges in becoming dads, but we knew we had to try. We first started with foster care local to us, only to find that foster care wasn’t the adoption avenue we were looking for. We continued our search and kept coming back to LifeLong. We loved their focus on supporting LGBTQ families through adoption, and it finally felt like the right time.

We came into LifeLong’s program feeling jaded by the foster care system, and while excited, we were hesitant about the reality of actually being chosen. We had slowly started to accept that maybe we were not meant to be dads. LifeLong gave us a renewed sense of hope, and their belief in us helped us believe in ourselves.

The Interview of a Lifetime

While only a couple months into our wait with LifeLong, we received a call that our profile had been chosen by a young expectant mother whose mom was supporting her through her adoption plan. It was unbelievable that our profile had been selected so quickly. Everything up until this point had happened so slowly, so we wanted to stay protected but optimistic.

LifeLong’s staff was honest with us that the expectant mother had chosen multiple families and would be speaking with all of us before making a final decision. She was due soon with a baby girl, so we knew she would be making her choice quickly. We spoke with her and her mom over Thanksgiving weekend, trying to sneak text messages so our families would not know what was happening. Since we knew there was a chance she wouldn’t select us, we didn’t want to get everyone’s hopes up.

After spending the holiday weekend exchanging messages and photos, we felt as though she had chosen us but didn’t have final confirmation. We called LifeLong first thing Monday morning to share with them how positive our communication had been and finally got the news that she had officially chosen us!

We only had five weeks before the expectant mother’s due date, so we spent those weeks on a crash course of all things baby and making travel arrangements. We continued to stay in contact with both the expectant mother and her mom, building our relationship and providing any support she needed.

 
 
“We had slowly started to accept that maybe we were not meant to be dads. LifeLong gave us a renewed sense of hope, and their belief in us helped us believe in ourselves.”
-Antwan & Ryan
Our ‘Amazing Race’ Moment

We woke up one morning expecting it to be a typical day, so imagine our shock when we received a call from our expectant mother’s mom letting us know her water had broken that morning and they were headed to the hospital. We frantically started switching our flights, moving our hotel stay around, and packing.

As our flight landed, we found out how far along the expectant mother was in the birthing process, and we knew in our hearts we were going to miss the delivery. We were both heartbroken and anxious. We had badly wanted to be there and support her; we had yet to meet her and thought maybe if she had us there, she would be less likely to choose to parent. We understand this thought isn’t actually logical, but at the time, it felt like a dealbreaker for us. Getting off the plane was our “amazing race” moment; we were the last “team” arriving, and we could not move fast enough.

Once we picked up our rental car, we headed straight to the hospital. We spoke with the expectant mother’s mom on our way, and she was so sweet yet so emotional. We weren’t sure how to read her emotions over the phone and had no idea what to expect once we arrived. At the hospital, we were welcomed with open arms by our expectant mother’s entire family—her mom, her dad, two of her sisters, and, of course, her. We first met our daughter, Morgan, surrounded by the love of her biological family and our new, bursting dad hearts. There were definitely awkward moments during our two-day hospital stay, but given the uniqueness of the situation, everyone was incredibly wonderful.

During her pregnancy, the expectant mother had voiced that she did not want to meet her daughter, but upon delivery, she had decided it was important for her to meet and hold Morgan. It was clear to everyone she was quickly falling in love with Morgan, which was amazing to watch but also anxiety inducing for us. We knew she could choose to parent until our scheduled court date, and until then, we had a difficult time relaxing.

We spent a total of ten days in Morgan’s birth state, and after court, Morgan’s birth family invited us out to dinner with them. It was a great chance for Morgan’s birth family to hold her again, take photos, and say goodbye one last time before we flew home. We will forever cherish the photos we are able to share with Morgan from that time together.

Navigating Open Adoption

Since returning home with Morgan, we have worked hard to maintain a positive relationship with her birth family. There have been moments of navigating boundaries and having honest dialogue about what we, as new parents, are able to accommodate. Morgan’s birthmother was young when she placed for adoption, and we’ve enjoyed watching her find her own way as a young woman.

Although our wait time with LifeLong was short, we were prepared for a long journey. It had taken us so long up until that point, and we did not want to get too excited that it would be quick. In addition to our friends and family, LifeLong’s team was very encouraging to us, and their confidence in our profile helped our confidence as well.

We’ve always imagined ourselves as dads but never pictured more than one child in our family. If we were to consider a sibling for Morgan, we would absolutely adopt again. Our positive experience and the number of people who love her has been magical for our family, and we cannot fathom our family growing any other way.

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