When talking about what our journey to becoming parents would look like, we knew it would be surrogacy or adoption. Early on in our relationship, we both knew we wanted to start and grow a family together. We talked about all routes and pathways to achieving our goal of becoming dads, and adoption was always at the top of the list.
LifeLong was the only company we really looked into. Once we were back from our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to start our journey right away. We talked with our social worker, and she recommended LifeLong to us. We were all in and ready to become parents.
Here We Go
When we joined LifeLong, we were so excited. We knew this would take a while, but we were on our way to becoming parents. There were other emotions besides excitement due to not knowing when this would all work out. That adds a layer of anxiousness to the process. We are control freaks and Type A but quickly got over that as there is no place for that personality trait in adoption.
At first we would pause life events, but then we realized we needed to stop doing that and live life. This would happen when it happened. We needed to gain patience, especially navigating adoption. There was a lot we learned but also a lot we needed to educate our family and friends on as well. There was not a presence of adoption among our family and friends, but everyone was so supportive and happy for us, which meant a lot.
We waited a year before talking with an expectant mother. We knew this was a possibility and learned a lot about ourselves during that year. We were at Mark’s family reunion and got a call that an expectant mother chose us. She told us she was having twins, which was so exciting! We stepped away, and Mark was sobbing on the bench because there were so many emotions. It was a moment neither one of us will ever forget.
The expectant mother told us she chose us because we talked about twins in our profile, and that stood out to her. We remember LifeLong staff telling us it could be one little thing that makes an expectant mother choose us, and they were right.
Ultimately, after talking with her and getting to know her, she chose to parent. We loved getting to know her, but she made the best decision for herself and her twins. We were happy for her and realized we were meant to meet her and be supportive of her. We talked every day and realized she needed support as that was not something she had from the people in her life. We were crushed when things did not work out but ready to move forward while wishing her the best.
A few weeks later, we were chosen by an expectant mother who was due in five months. She came right out of the gate with tough questions. She wanted to know how we would handle raising a child outside of our race. She asked how we would co-parent if we would ever split up. We were impressed with the questions she wanted to know, and we were happy to answer them.
We did not talk as much as our first opportunity, so we were not as emotionally invested. We did not worry about the lack of communication and aligned our expectations to what she needed. She called us one day and was ready to move forward with an attorney. We were ready too and knew this would be a new experience.
A week after connection, we found the birthfather was not on board with adoption. The expectant mother continued to talk with us because she thought maybe he would not follow through with contesting the adoption. Ultimately it did not work out and we were heartbroken, but we wished the expectant mother well because she was making the best decision she could.
Third Time’s a Charm
We were now at the end of our contract and in need of an extension. We wanted to continue, and there was never a question about that. Lifelong graciously provided us with an extension to allow us to continue our journey. When we received our third opportunity, we were ready and prepared. She was due in a month or two, and we only talked with her for two days before she decided to connect with us. She was young and did not want to tell people about the adoption. She wanted to keep things to herself and did not get prenatal care for this reason as well. We understood this as two gay men. We had kept our sexuality a secret for our emotional safety, so we respected her decision.
She did end up going to her first appointment about a month before she was due. She let us know she was having a boy! We were so excited and happy she shared this news with us.
She was on her way to another appointment, and we got a call that the expectant mother was being admitted from the clinic because the doctor wanted to induce her. We did not have bags packed or anything! We paused everything and got to the hospital the same day! Preston was not nervous, but Mark was very nervous. We walked in, and it was a feeling we had never felt before. We didn’t walk in thinking this child belonged to us. We were making sure she knew she was always in control and everyone had her best interest at heart. The baby was important, of course, but so was the birthmother and her health.
We sat with her all day and felt lucky to be there. She would introduce us as if everyone should have known who we were, which was always so funny. It felt comfortable, and it was just the three of us. We were there for anything she needed. She had a plan that she wanted us in the room and wanted to hold the baby first. Once she was ready, she said she would hand the baby over to allow us to hold him. We respected her wishes.
Ultimately the doctors decided to do a C-section. We were blessed to be in the operating room with her. They pulled him out and put him on her chest. They told her that it helps him get acquainted with the world. The doctors took him to get cleaned up then brought him back to her. She held him for a little while and looked up at Preston and asked if he wanted to hold him. That moment was very special.
They were still working on the birthmother, but she was doing amazing with everything. They took amazing pictures of the birthmother holding him and us holding him, which was nice because we were able to be in the moment. The doctor asked who wanted to feed the baby his first bottle. We looked at her and followed her lead. She wanted to do it. We know a lot of people might have been freaked out but, we felt like a team of three. We were not afraid of anything. She fed him half the bottle then allowed us to finish the bottle with him.
All three of us were in the room together, and the doctor told Trice he was so loved. It helped the birthmom feel like she was making the right decision. She needed to hear that, and she needed to know everyone saw how loved the baby was because of what she was doing for him.
Family of Three
We got discharged and got to bond with our son, Trice, in our Airbnb. The birthmother was having a hard time and told the attorney she did not know when she would stop crying herself to sleep. We FaceTimed with her so she could see him and be a part of his life. She would tell us things like, he will have bushy eyebrows because I do, and he will be a picky eater because I am. We loved hearing these things and learning about her while allowing her to feel she was still a hugely important person in his life.
We are so humbled that someone we met a few days earlier would trust us enough to take care of this miracle. We loved her and loved Trice so much. Giving up control and having patience were things that did not come naturally to us, but we learned so much and grew so much. We endured some heartbreak, but we would do it all over again if it meant we ended where we did. Baby Trice is our world, and we are forever thankful for his birthmother for allowing us to be parents.
Make sure you look at all the blessings because there are so many while navigating adoption. Every opportunity that may not work out the way you want will be a guiding post to the end result of what your dreams are. Every opportunity was guiding us to Trice. We learned something new with each opportunity.