Gay Dad Life

A Dad Finds Hope After a Failed Adoption

This past October, my husband Douglas and I began talking seriously about having another child. Raising our adopted daughter, Alli Mae, has helped us understand that family is what truly matters to us. So we started getting our federal and state background checks in order to adopt. Then, we renewed our home study.


Then, we waited. And waited. And waited. And then we waited so more.

Finally, we got a call—it looked like we might be matched with a birthmother in Mississippi. Our hearts jumped out of our chest. We quickly typed out a portfolio about our life and sent it over. Soon after, however, we were informed that the birthmother had chosen a family member to adopt her baby.

Back to waiting.

In the meantime, we were told to make a hardback portfolio album about our lives. We included some information on where we live, our daughter, and our church. We were pretty excited about this, and it helped pass the time. We worked really hard on it and the finished product came out wonderfully.

BSA Photography

Two weeks later, we received another call. Our portfolio was being shown to another birthmother. Once again, we allowed ourselves to be excited. We felt really positive about this opportunity; from the feedback we were getting, it seemed like everything was moving in a positive direction.

Eventually, however, the birthmother chose another family. We were declined because we already had a daughter—I have to admit, this reasoning felt like a punch in the gut. This whole time, I figured putting our little family on the cover of our portfolio would be a strong visual that would show just how happy we were.

But some birthmothers want their baby to go to a family that is desperately seeking to find a child. They want to know that their child will not be loved more than a sibling. As hard as it is for us to understand, its important to respect each birthmother's unique decision-making processes. I was heartbroken. But I understood.

You might think we’d be better prepared for ups and downs of adoption, having already gone through the process with our daughter. But in comparison, Alli Mae practically fell from Heaven into our lap. With her, the three-to-five year average wait time we were told to expect turned into a matter of three and a half weeks.

BSA Photography

It was clear this time around we weren’t going to be so lucky. So we continued to wait.

Three months later, in mid January, I found myself in a horrible mood. It was January 20th, and I was home alone; just me, the television, and the inauguration of Donald Trump. The morning was already going south. But then the phone rang, giving me a welcome excuse to mute the T.V.

Here, out of nowhere, was the call we had been praying for—this was it, I was sure. I started shaking as the woman from our agency went over the details. So inauguration day—a day so sour and dreary for so many—turned into a beautiful day for our family. Out of the blue, like a shooting star in a thunderstorm, we matched with our birthmother.

We excitedly began to prepare to bring home our new baby. First, came a major shift for our daughter, Alli Mae. We decided to move her out of the nursery and into her very own room. We worried about moving her into a new, unfamiliar space, so to help, we decided to transform her room into a tropical jungle. We decorated with palm trees, monkeys, butterflies and other fun pictures on the walls. We picked out a vibrant paint color, called “Tiger Lilly Orange,” to match her personality.

Next came a big change for me. For the last 10 years now, I have run a restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Being the general manager, the job kept me busy. I knew things would have to change once we brought the new baby home. So, with the help of my dear friend and owner of the restaurant, I began to make plans to transition out of work and into life as a full time stay-at-home papa. It would be a big change, but the feeling was empowering.

When my time came to leave—about two weeks before our baby was set to come home with us—it was emotional. I felt like I was jumping off a cliff, not knowing how deep the water was below me.

The day we got the sonogram picture of the baby was when our adoption process really began to feel real. To see this tiny treasure inside of a tummy was so surreal. We were so excited, and in contact with the birthmother weekly it seemed.

But then, just as suddenly as she had come into our lives, she just as suddenly disappeared.

I was in shock. We had invested so much into preparing for this adoption—my job, the money, moving our daughter into a new and unfamiliar room—it just seemed so unfair. I felt sick. I was a soggy mess for days.

I was just so sure it would happen this time. As we prepared to bring home our new baby girl, I sorted through three huge bags of Alli Mae’s old clothes in the middle of the nursery floor. Those clothes are still there, in piles. I just can't bring myself to open that door.

Each day that goes by, I get a little stronger. Douglas is my rock and Alli Mae is my angel. Her laughter and curiosity warms my heart. We are so blessed to have her in our lives that to let sadness and depression overshadow her light would just be wrong. Yes, this hurts. Badly. But we knew in the beginning that anything can happen—adoption is not for the faint of heart.

People love to hear the beautiful side to adoption—but the truth is there is a dark side to the process as well that also needs to be heard. Having gone through a successful process once already, I can guarantee you that it is truly a wonderful thing to experience.

And now having experienced a failed adoption as well? All I can say is it’s important to learn from it, walk away a smarter person, and apply it to your next experience. Life is about learning, growing, and seeing the beauty even in the darkness. Find the silver linings and go from there. Don't let this failed attempt dictate your future. I know it will not dictate ours.

I take solace in knowing that everything happens for a reason, and that this adoption journey was not in our plan. Our plan is still being written. I don't know the story's plot, but I do know how it will end:

Alli Mae will have a little brother or sister one day.

 

I would love for you to follow our family’s journey on InstagramNolapapa.com and like us on Facebook.

Show Comments ()
Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How the Shut Down Opened Me Up to Being a Better Dad

David Blacker's dad used to tell him to 'stop and smell the roses' — the shut down has led him to finally take the advice

"Stop and smell the roses." It was the thing my dad always said to me when I was growing up. But like many know-it-all kids, I didn't listen. I was determined to keep my eye on the prize. Whether it was getting good grades in school, getting my work published, scoring the next big promotion, buying a house or starting a family. For me, there was no such thing as resting on my laurels. It has always been about what's next and mapping out the exact course of action to get me there.

Then Covid.

Ten weeks ago, I — along with the rest of the world — was ordered to shelter-in-place... to stop thinking about what's next, and instead, focus on the here and the now. In many ways, the shut down made me shut off everything I thought I knew about being content and living a productive life. And so, for the first time in my 41 years, I have literally been forced to stop and smell the roses. The question is, would I like the way they smell?

Keep reading... Show less
Transracial Families Series

How This Transracial Family Creates a 'Safe Space' to Talk About Their Differences

Kevin and David know they can never understand what it's like growing up as a young black girl — but they strive to create a 'safe space' for their daughters to talk about the experience

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of ongoing posts exploring issues related to transracial families headed by gay, bi and trans men. Interested in being featured as part of the series? Email us at dads@gayswithkids.com

Is adopting a child whose race and culture is different from your own something that us queer dads need to talk about? Share our experiences? Learn from others? We've been hearing from our community, and the answer has been a resounding, "yes."

With over one-fifth (21.4%) of same-sex couples raising adopted children in the United States today (compared to 3% of different-sex couples), it's highly likely, at the very least, that those families are transcultural. According to April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc., all adoptive families are transcultural. "All, in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same."

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Movie Night: My Favorite Family Tradition

As his sons have gotten older, the movies have morphed away from cartoons and towards things blowing up — but movie night remains his favorite family tradition.

Editor's Note: This is the next in a series of excerpts from Joseph Sadusky's new book, Magic Lessons: Celebratory and Cautionary Tales about Life as a (Single, Gay, Transracially Adoptive) Dad. The book contains many stories about his life as a dad, as well as lessons learned, and we're excited to share several excerpts from the the book over the course of the next few months. Read previous installments here!

Of all of our traditions and rituals, probably the most consistent and longest-lasting one was movie night. Sure, we read the heck out of Harry Potter. But our capacity for watching Harry Potter? We're talking Quidditch World Cup here, folks.

In its early version, movie night looked like this: During the week, I would order a movie and a cartoon from Netflix—back when "Netflix" meant "mail." On Saturday night—and I mean, faithfully, every Saturday night—we would order a pepperoni pizza (which Mark faithfully took the meat off of—I'll get to food later) for delivery and then sit and watch our cartoon and movies while eating. The kids had a say in the movie, but I got to pick the cartoon. They watched enough of their own cartoons on the regular, and besides, this gave me a great opportunity to introduce them to the wonders of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Josie and the Pussycats.


Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Happy Mother's Day From Gays With Kids!

To all of the women who have supported the journey of gay, bi and trans men towards fatherhood — thank you, and happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day can be complicated holiday for many gay, bi and trans dads and their kids. Choosing how, when — or even if — to celebrate the day is a uniquely personal decision. But no matter how we've become dads, women have helped us achieve our dreams of fatherhood. And for that reason, we've loved celebrating all of the women who have supported our journeys to fatherhood, in ways big and small, over the years. Check out some of our favorite photos, essays, articles and more below!


Keep reading... Show less
Become a Gay Dad

Webinar Series: Becoming a Dad During a Pandemic

Gays With Kids launches a webinar series with surrogacy, adoption and foster care experts — to explore family planning options for gay, bi and trans men in the age of the coronavirus.

Gay, bi or trans and considering building or growing your family? Gays With Kids is offering FREE webinars led by industry experts in surrogacy, adoption and foster care to give you up-to-date insight on how the coronavirus affects family building. There will be lots of time for audience Q&A, so come prepared for this webinar with your specific questions on starting or continuing your surrogacy journey.

Register via the links below!

SURROGACY

Thinking About Becoming A Dad? Explore Your Options in our Surrogacy Webinar Series.

Come discuss: surrogates, egg Donation, IVF, and embryo creation with leading surrogacy and fertility experts.

Please register for just one of the following 3 surrogacy webinars

Monday, May 4, 2020
4:00-5:00pm PT / 7:00-8:00pm ET

  • Dr. Guy Ringler, California Fertility Partners
  • Victoria Ferrara, Worldwide Surrogacy
Register here (pre-registration required)
------------------------------------------------
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
4:00-5:00pm PT / 7:00-8:00pm ET
  • Dr. Jerald S. Goldstein, Fertility Specialists of Texas
  • Sam Hyde, Circle Surrogacy
Register here (pre-registration required)
------------------------------------------------
Friday, May 8, 2020
12:00-1:00pm PT / 3:00-4:00pm ET
  • Dr. Mark Leondires, Reproductive Medical Associates of CT
  • Kristin Hanson, Simple Surrogacy

Register here (pre-registration required)

ADOPTION & FOSTER CARE

Thinking About Becoming A Dad? Explore Your Options in our Adoption Webinar Series.

Come discuss: matching, placements, home studies and finalizations with leading experts in adoption and foster care.

Please register for just one of the following 2 adoption / foster webinars
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
3:00-4:00pm PT / 6:00-7:00pm ET

  • Monica Baker, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children
  • Rita Soronen, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • Molly Rampe Thomas, Choice Network
Register here (pre-registration required)

------------------------------------------------
Friday, May 15, 2020
10:00-11:00am PT / 1:00-2:00pm ET

  • Monica Baker, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children
  • Rita Soronen, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
  • Molly Rampe Thomas, Choice Network
Register here (pre-registration required)

Gay Dad Life

Top Memes From Parents Sheltered in Place with Kids

Perhaps the ONLY good thing to come out of the coronavirus crisis... hilarious parenting memes.

Very, very few good things have come about since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, but one of the tiny silver linings — and one of the only ways most of us parents sheltering at home with our kids are staying sane — is this: parenting memes.

We've rounded up our favorites below. (If you know who originated some of these, please let us know so we can give credit!)

Enjoy!


Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Watch This Heartwarming Birth Video From Dads Johnny and Sebastian

Johnny and Sebastian welcomed their second child, born via surrogacy, earlier this year — check out this beautiful video celebrating the birth

We met Johnny and his husband Sebastian almost two years ago when they welcomed their son Vaughn. What started as a one night stand between the two New Yorkers, led to an incredible relationship, a loving marriage, and ultimately a family.

And in late December last year, they became dads for the second time.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse