What led you to adoption?
We always knew that we wanted to be dads. It was something we discussed when we were still dating. When time came to actually start the journey to fatherhood, we looked at all of our options and adoption was the clear winner for us. Although we thought about surrogacy, financially, it wasn’t a reality for us, and we knew there were a lot of kids out there who needed a good home. For our first adoption, we also knew we wanted to adopt a newborn.
Why did you choose to work with LifeLong Adoptions?
We took a good amount of time researching and going to adoption classes but finally decided to work with LifeLong for a few reasons. One of them being that they specialize in LGBT newborn adoptions. No other organization, that we found, had the same amount of success for LGBT couples. When we had the initial phone meeting with Mark, we knew we were working with the best match for us.
What were your feelings as you began your adoption journey?
Anyone who makes the decision to begin the adoption journey will tell you that it is a mix of excitement, apprehension, nervousness and fear of the unknown. You are so excited to tell your family and friends that you are starting the process, but you also understand the reality of the process. You read so many stories of people’s experiences with adoption (the good and the bad) and you try not to get your hopes up too soon because it might not be immediate gratification. In the beginning, you are flying high, but then the initial excitement wears off and the reality of waiting kicks in. It’s not fun, but it’s part of the process!
How did your friends and family react to your decision to adopt?
Our friends and family were just as excited as we were! We have all the love and support that we could possibly need. We know we are extremely lucky to have that support system. We definitely do not take that for granted.
What was it like meeting the birthmother for the first time?
Talk about nervous! We joke now about it, but it felt like we were on a blind date. We took both her and her boyfriend out for dinner and had a great time. It was, as expected, a little awkward in the beginning, but conversation was easy and we got to learn a little more about her and her background and what led them to their adoption plan.
Did you choose an open or closed adoption? How did you make that decision?
We knew from the very beginning that we wanted a semi-open adoption plan (if the birthmom would want that). Being an LGBT male couple, it will be obvious that our son is adopted. We decided it will be best for our son to understand the concept of adoption, and where he came from, as soon as he is able to comprehend those terms. We want the ability to offer updates via letters and pictures to the birthmom and a yearly visit if she would want that. In our situation, she also has another son that we want our son to be able to know. The HUGE, selfless decision she made allowing us to raise her baby is not lost on us. We could never keep her from knowing our son.
Describe receiving the call that your baby was being born and traveling to meet him.
Our story is very interesting. We got the call from LifeLong that we were matched with an expectant mother 2 weeks before she was supposed to give birth. Everything happened really fast and we got the call that our son was going to be born 10 days after knowing we were about to become fathers! To say that we were nervous / excited would be an understatement. We were also lucky in the fact that we did not have far to travel. We were matched with a mom who lived about 20 minutes away from us, so we got the call and drove to the hospital!
Describe the experience of finally meeting your baby.
Our birthmother is an incredible person. Not only did she allow the two of us to be in the birthing room, but she also allowed our moms to be with us. She told us from the beginning that she wanted to try and create the most “normal” situation for us to experience the birth of our son. We rushed to the hospital as soon as we got the call and we watched our son being born. She even allowed us to cut the umbilical cord and be the first to hold him! We will always be grateful for her allowing us to have that experience. When you meet your child for the first time, your world just stops. It’s like no other feeling in the world. All the experiences leading up to that point, disappear. You instantly feel a love that has no boundaries.
What is your relationship like with the birthmother?
From the moment we knew we were matched we haven’t had a week go by in which we don’t text or send a pic to her. We want her to be able to see him grow up and reach those milestones. In our minds, she is, and always will be, a part of our lives. She gave us the gift of fatherhood – that is amazing. If she would ever need time or distance, we would honor that too. We have no idea what it means to give up a child and respect whatever she would need to do to cope / process those feelings.
What were the biggest challenges of the adoption process?
The waiting and the unknown. Yes, the paperwork in the beginning is never-ending and tedious but pales in comparison to the waiting. You get this rush of excitement in the beginning when you announce you are starting the adoption process, but then you just wait. It’s hard to give up control, but you have to trust the process.
Adopting a baby can be a lengthy process — how did you get through the wait?
Keep yourself busy and don’t think about it too much. It’s going to be hard because everyone wants an update: “Did you hear anything? Any news?” It can get frustrating but just lean on each other or family for support. Like we said before, the second you get the call, all the hard parts about the process leading up to that point disappear!
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
We would definitely adopt again! We think going through the process a second time might be an easier journey for us since we will know what to expect. Once the first adoption is complete, you will feel like experts! You learn so much about the entire process; from the paperwork, the home study, the legalities, and the finalization. There are some difficulties and hard times throughout the process, but the result, holding your child for the first time, outweighs everything!
What advice would you share with other adoptive parents?
Do your research and follow your gut. Go to meetings and get information. Be yourselves! Reach out to people who have gone through the process and ask them about their experience. Everyone’s journey to parenthood is different, but people will be able to shed light on the “unknowns” you might have. We were the first in our group of friends to go through this process, and we would have LOVED to have a first-hand account on what to expect. Adoption is an amazing journey to experience and we hope to help people achieve their dreams of becoming parents!