Early on in our relationship, we had discussed becoming dads. We knew our path to parenthood would be untraditional, and adoption always felt like the best fit. We started our research by looking for an adoption provider that was LGBTQ friendly and found LifeLong online. We instantly felt at ease and incredibly confident about our choice.
As we started to share the news of our plans to adopt, our friends and family were so excited for us. Our church community had offered to throw us a baby shower when the time was right, and it took everything in our family’s power not to start buying us baby items right away. We were so overwhelmed with the outpouring of love that it was even more evident that adoption was the best fit.
LifeLong did a great job of preparing us for the process. They provided us with education and tips, and we felt ready for different opportunities. What we were not prepared for was the wait, but we’re not sure there is anyone or anything that could have prepared us for that.
We were sixteen months into our contract and were starting to panic. We knew we had time left, but we’d had zero opportunities at that point. We still believed it would happen, but when? We went to bed one evening with the timeline weighing heavily on our hearts and with no idea that the next day our lives would change.
Remembering to Breathe
Kevin was the one who received the voicemail from LifeLong presenting us with an opportunity that was time sensitive. He immediately called LifeLong back and had very little time to think about what was happening. It was shared with him that our profile had been chosen and the expectant mother would be giving birth within the week. Kevin called Troy as soon as he hung up. Troy was at work and had never had Kevin call his work phone before, so he knew it must be big news. As Kevin explained the opportunity, Troy’s supervisor was in the background reminding him to breathe. Troy was given the permission to leave work and headed home to digest the news.
We packed that evening, preparing for the birth. The expectant mother was only hours from us, but we wanted to be ready to leave as soon as we received the call. We woke up the next morning and received a call from LifeLong. Our son had been born, and it was time to make the drive.
The Longest Wait Yet
The two hours to the hospital was the longest two hours we’d ever endured. We spent the time calling our parents, family, and close friends, letting them know we were about to become dads. Everyone was shocked. They’d waited with us and always assumed there would be even more waiting before the baby was born. Kevin’s mom wanted to meet us at the hospital, and Troy’s mom was counting down the minutes until she could get to us.
As soon as we arrived at the hospital, we were asked to wait again. The attorney was meeting with our son’s birthmother and the hospital social worker. It was an agonizing additional two hours. We had been told that our son’s birthmother had requested a closed adoption and we wanted to respect that, but it was so hard knowing she was just a couple floors away making such a monumental choice and we couldn’t thank her in person. We have since exchanged a handful of emails with her, but our contact is still minimal. Shortly after signing our own paperwork in the hospital lobby, a nurse came down and asked, “Are you ready to meet your son?” Were we ever!
It was a very quiet, long walk down the hallway. We knew our son was born seven weeks early and were prepared for what to expect in the NICU. When we walked into the room and first laid eyes on him, our first thought was how perfect and beautiful he was. The nurse shared with us how well he was doing, despite his small size, and asked if we wanted to hold and feed him. Kevin was the first to hold our son, Joey, and Troy was able to feed Joey his first bottle. Prior to ever starting the adoption process, we had discussed both boy and girl names, and Joey was never meant to be anything but our Joey.
We spent two weeks in the Ronald McDonald house, visiting Joey every day and helping him gain weight and strength. Our families were able to come spend time with us at the hospital and meet Joey as well. Everyone made sure we were well cared for, and those two weeks never would have been as easy as they were without our support system.
Since we adopted Joey from the same state we live in, we did not have to wait for our clearances to return home. The hospital discharged us after two weeks, and we headed straight home! We finally felt like we could breathe a little.
Joey’s adoption was finalized four months after his birth. It felt full circle to celebrate with our families after they were there to help us welcome him into the world. Nothing has ever felt as good as seeing our names on his birth certificate.
Waiting for Joey was both the shortest and longest one and a half years of our lives. We spent the time going on vacation and living our lives as normally as possible. Anticipating the call was easily the hardest part since we never knew when it was going to happen. We never gave up and didn’t lose hope and neither did our support system. We tried to take each step one at a time while not getting too overwhelmed with what the future might entail. Looking back on Joey’s adoption, it was hectic in the moment, but it didn’t give us time to overthink. We know this was the adoption journey meant for us.