Building Our Family as a Gay Couple
We are both part of families that have been surrounded by kids, having nieces and nephews in particular is what made us realize fatherhood was something we wanted to strive towards. David connected with LifeLong and attended a seminar before we became a couple, researching the potential scenario of adoption as a single parent.
When we started dating, one thing we talked about early on in our relationship was fatherhood. We both saw ourselves being in a house raising kids. Our relationship grew, we eventually got married, and right after our wedding we started the adoption process.
We researched several adoption agencies and eventually chose LifeLong after learning more about their adoption process, meeting with the staff, and leaning in on David’s positive experience from the adoption seminar. Being a gay couple, we knew it would be harder for us to adopt and wanted to go on this journey with a company that had experience working with the LGBTQ community.
Both of our families are close-knit. We have members of our family that have been adopted, which has helped in our journey since they were able to provide support and encouragement.
Dealing with Reality
In one of LifeLong seminars, we met families that adopted really quick. From an outsider’s perspective it made us think we too could be in the same spot and run a smooth and fast adoption process. The reality of it is, our adoption story did not turn out to be a fast connection where we became instant parents.
When we started talking to our first expectant mother, we told our families we were going to have a baby and started planning our lives as dads. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.
The experience with our first expectant mother was tough. It felt almost as if we had gone through a miscarriage. We told our friends and families that the connection fell through, and it was at this time that we took a step back to face some of the harshest realities some face in adoption.
We pulled together as a couple and decided how we would handle the rest of our adoption journey. We leaned on each other heavily for emotional support. In our relationship, when one of us is emotional, the other is practical. We decided to keep more of the day-to-day conversations about the journey to ourselves as a couple. We made the choice to update the whole family after doing more vetting with potential connections, rather than giving them a play-by-play.
Throughout our process, we talked to a few other expectant mothers. None of them worked out, which became very emotionally exhausting. Doubts filled our heads about whether we were suited for adoption. We ended up processing our emotions and simply took it all as a learning experience.
David’s optimism definitely carried us through. We told ourselves, “Let’s not count our chickens before they hatch.” We started to compare ourselves less with other adoption stories and stayed focused on our journey to become parents. We did more research on what types of birthmoms we were willing to consider. During this process, we learned more about what worked for us, learned new things about each other, and grew stronger as a couple.
Keeping It All Open and Embracing Love
Eventually, we connected with Abby’s birthmother. We did not know a lot about her initially, we only knew she had other kids. She did not have prenatal care and struggled with substance abuse issues. We researched some of the hurdles we would have to face in this situation. We weighed the pros and cons and then took a leap of faith.
Up until this point, we experienced a tremendous amount of heartache. We decided in order for this process to work for us, we needed to keep living our lives. We still had many reservations moving forward, but knew it would happen if it was meant to be.
David was out of town visiting his parents when we got an email from our lawyer in the middle of the night. The email stated that our birthmother had checked herself into the hospital to give birth. Seeing that turned everything into a reality. We immediately dropped everything, booked flights, and flew out to meet our daughter, Abby.
Our lawyer had called the hospital ahead of time to let them know we would be adopting Abby. The hospital staff was amazing. They were so understanding and once we got to the hospital, a nurse walked us over to the nursery.
Not knowing what to expect, the nurse brought comfort to us saying Abby had been born a healthy baby girl. The nurse opened the door to the nursery and said, “Here’s your daughter.”
We met our baby girl within 24 hours of her birth and were the first people to have contact with her.
After getting some rest at the hotel, we went back to the hospital to find out they had a room waiting for us. We could not thank the hospital nurses, doctors, and staff enough. They embraced us as being new parents and gave us parenting tips to take care of our little girl. We still live by some of those tips today.
We spoke to our birthmother a few times at the hospital. We got to know her and hear about her other children a bit more. We have an open adoption for Abby, leaving the door open in case she wants to know more about her birthmother. Currently, we occasionally text our birthmother with updates and she is so appreciative of it.
Push Forward and Lean On Each Other
Overall, we feel the adoption process has strengthened us as a family. The hardships during the adoption process firmed up our resolve of expanding our family. The bumps that happened along the way were temporary. All those experiences we went through in our journey were worth it because we got our beautiful daughter out of it.
If you are a gay couple considering adoption, know every experience along this journey can be extremely emotional, so lean on your support system. It is okay to experience all the emotions that feel like you are riding a rollercoaster. Acknowledge what you are feeling and push forward. The further along you get in adoption, the more your perspective changes. Know every journey will be different from other families' journeys so be patient. Take it one step at a time and know the tough learning experiences are temporary. Always focus on your desire to become parents.