Growing Our Family
Early on in our relationship, we knew starting a family was our ultimate goal. We followed the ‘traditional’ steps first of starting our careers and found the perfect spot to raise our family, but we still felt like something was missing. We knew it was having children together. We decided to start the adoption process, knowing it might be a while before anything happened.
We truthfully had no idea where to start, so we started with Google. It was important to us that we partner with a company that was comfortable and familiar working with LGBTQ couples in adoption. We found LifeLong and knew it was a great fit for us.
We started our profile and home study at the same time. We loved putting together our profile and really showcasing who we are; it started to feel so real. The home study, on the other hand, wasn’t nearly as fun. It was tedious and slightly invasive. We loved our home study agency and understood the reasoning behind all the steps, but it didn’t make it any less intense. Our deep desire to adopt was what really pushed us through.
Once we had checked all the easy boxes, it was time to wait—and wait we did. We went almost a full year before our first and only opportunity with an expectant mother. During that wait, it was really tough to not get in our own heads: Was our profile good enough? Had we said the wrong things? But each time we got down on ourselves, our adoptive parent coordinator would remind us that the right mother was out there for us; it just wasn’t our time yet.
When we finally got the call that our profile was chosen, we were elated! The expectant mother and expectant father were choosing adoption together, and they were pregnant with twins! She was very early in her pregnancy, which had us a little nervous. There was so much time for things to change, but we still chose to jump right in.
The opportunity was a little unique in that the expectant mother wanted to bless two families with adoption and place one twin with each family. At the start, we were just so excited at the opportunity to become dads that we didn’t think about what the separation would look or feel like in the future.
We started our relationship with the expectant parents by just texting at a very get-to-know-you level. We learned she loved animals and loved that we had dogs. Education was very important to her, and she was drawn to Ryan’s career as an educator. She was very logical and had put a lot of thought into her adoption plans, even this early in her pregnancy.
A Heavy Decision to Make
After speaking with the expectant parents for a couple of weeks, we started to get attorneys involved. The couple was struggling with stable housing, and both we and the other family wanted to make sure they were comfortable. When we first reached out to attorney services, they weren’t willing to work with us due to the separate placement of the babies. That’s when we first started thinking this might not be in the best interests of the babies. Brian’s sister had also recently had twins, and after visiting with her and explaining the unique situation, and hearing how she felt as a twin mom, it had us second guessing if having the babies placed in two separate homes was the best decision.
When we were able to find an attorney to work with us and the other adoptive family, we were connected via email and found out they were starting to feel uneasy about the situation as well. We all had started to realize just how heavy this was going to be long term. We ultimately chose to walk away from the opportunity after long, deep discussions. We were heartbroken to be making the decision, but we felt it was in the best interests of the babies that they stay together.
Not long after we chose to walk away from the opportunity, LifeLong reached back out to us and informed us that the other family had ultimately walked away as well. The expectant mother was now left without a family, and she had asked if we were interested in adopting both babies. We knew we were absolutely open to twins and said yes right away.
From that point forward, it was just us and the expectant parents working together. Thankfully our previous decision to walk away hadn’t severed our relationship, and we were able to pick up where we left off. The expectant parents were severely struggling, and we stepped in and helped quite a bit. It felt overwhelming, but we were happy to do so.
The expectant mother was adamant that we be part of her pregnancy, as long as we wanted to, and we were thrilled to be so looped in. We got updates after each doctor’s appointment; she shared ultrasound photos with us; and when she got to her second trimester, we were able to visit with her once a month leading up to the birth. We spent the majority of the expectant mother’s pregnancy connected with her, and while it was a long wait, each milestone we hit in her pregnancy we knew was one day closer to meeting our potential babies.
Two Babies, Double the Love
The expectant mother ended up being induced when she was 38 weeks pregnant, as is typical with twins, and we were able to be there for all of it. We were able to take her to the hospital and hold her hand through her entire labor and delivery. Once her water broke, everything moved very quickly. Brennan was born first, and ten minutes later, his brother, Bennett, joined us!
The birth plan had always been that all of us would be together the entire time in the hospital. The moment Bennett had to go to the NICU for breathing assistance, our group was split, and it was really tough on all of us, including their birthmother. Brennan ultimately needed time in the NICU as well, and as soon as he was moved, we pushed for all of us to be able to be there with him. The hospital allowed us rooms next to each other so we could all spend time with the boys.
Brennan and Bennett’s birthmother wanted to discharge from the hospital before they did, so Brian drove her and the birthfather home beforehand. We ended up only needing four days at the hospital, and since we were in our home state, we headed home right away. It felt so good to be home with both our sons and settling into the dad life.
We had originally agreed to an open adoption with the boys’ birthmother; however, after discussing what an open adoption entails, we found out their birthmother was looking for more control than what is typical. She had placed for adoption in the past and hadn’t been happy with how it went, so she was looking for something different this time. After working through the terms of an open adoption and what was comfortable for everyone, she ultimately chose to close the adoption. While it was tough for us to hear, we reassured her we were always here for her in the future if she wanted contact with us.
While we have a closed adoption with their birthmother, we have agreed to an open adoption with their birthfather. The placement was really difficult for him, and for a moment, we thought he might try to parent the boys. He ultimately signed, and it brought us so much peace and comfort. We have met with their birthfather in person already and spent the day at the zoo together. It was so special to watch him spend time with Brennan and Bennett, and we know it meant a lot to him as well.
Trusting Our Instincts
Our adoption journey took some turns we weren’t expecting, but we know without those twists and turns, we wouldn’t be the parents we are today. We never imagined we would have to walk away from an expectant mother, but we are so grateful we trusted our instincts because we believe that is ultimately what led us back to Brennan and Bennett’s birthmother and our journey to fatherhood.