Gay Dad Life

Family Spotlight: Kyle & Steve

At A Glance

Names: Kyle and Steve

Professions: Stay-at-home dad (Kyle), Human Resources Executive (Steve)

Relationship status: Together since 1997; legally married in Massachusetts in 2009, but marriage not recognized in home state of Texas

Children: Kellan (18 months)

Location: Colleyville, TX (suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth)

Always wanted children: Yes, and discussed early on in their relationship

Process to becoming parents: Open adoption

Advice or insight for other parents: (in regard to the open adoption process) “Don’t get caught up in the wait. Live your life, because it can take a while.” (Kyle) “Be realistic about your expectations. It’s a marathon not a sprint.” (Steve)

Favorite playtime activity: Playing in the pool or neighborhood park, swim classes, music, seeing family and friends, and traveling.

Children call them: For now, “Da” or “Dada,” and eventually “Daddy” and “Dad”

For Kyle and Steve, two committed partners who always wanted children, the journey to parenthood was long and at times discouraging. Their decade-long desire to become fathers eventually culminated in a blessing that would change their lives forever and inspire them to seek additional children.

The two met in 1997 through mutual friends and immediately fell for each other. As their relationship deepened, so did their connections with each other’s families. The couple frequently spent time with Kyle’s nieces and nephews. Their experiences with these children fueled their mutual interest in starting their own family and built their confidence in their ability to parent.

They began researching their options for starting a family and decided that open adoption was the route they preferred to take. “We wanted our child to know his or her story,” they explained about their commitment to maintaining contact with their child’s birth parent(s).

All they needed was an adoption agency that would be interested in working with them. They proceeded to phone several agencies, asking if they worked with gay couples.

“There was silence on the other end of the phone line,” says Kyle.

It was the late 90s, and the climate for same-sex couples as adoptive parents, especially men, was just beginning to change. Frustrated, they stepped back from the search for about ten years, only sporadically making phone calls to adoption agencies.

In summer of 2010, they came across the Independent Adoption Center. The agency is known for its strides in adoption equality for gay and lesbian couples. That September, they attended a two-day intensive workshop on open adoption. For the first time, a successful open adoption placement seemed attainable, and the pair were very excited at the prospect. As hopeful as they were, they were also realistic, having been educated by the training about the complicated scenarios that might lie ahead.

Empowered by their newfound knowledge, Kyle and Steve began the home study process, and by February of 2011, went live with a profile for birth mothers to peruse.

“You never know what might strike a chord with a birth parent,” says Kyle about the daunting process of summarizing their life stories, interests, and beliefs into a single page.

Something did catch the eye of one expecting mother, who contacted them in March of 2011, just one month after their profile was posted.

“Oh my gosh, we got a contact!” They remember the excitement of that night – how they both jumped out of bed. It had been such a long time since they began thinking about adoption back in the late 1990s.

The pair was thrilled to correspond with this birth mother, and over the next five months they wrote back and forth frequently and intimately as the pregnancy progressed. As the projected July birth date crept closer, a cautious excitement grew. The mother seemed unwavering in her decision to terminate her rights, but nothing was guaranteed.

Just days before the birth, Kyle and Steve loaded their car full of the baby supplies they had carefully selected and drove to the hospital in Missouri where they would meet their child for the first time.

They arrived to an unwelcome surprise. In the final hours, the birth father contested the adoption. Neither the birth mother nor the couple had prepared for that scenario.

Heartbroken and disappointed, Kyle and Steve drove back to Texas, a vacant car seat where their child was supposed to be.

They took a brief vacation to help process what had occurred. Shortly thereafter, they re-entered the pool of potential parents.

“The waiting game is absolutely the hardest part of the process,” Steve says about the days and months that passed while they were waiting for a birth mother to call.

Finally, in May of 2012, they were contacted by a birth mother and father who appeared to be a match. They hit it off immediately. Kyle and Steve then learned that the birth father would be teaching abroad in the coming months, so they scheduled a trip to Kanas to meet them both before he shipped off.

Both parties were nervous at first, but after breaking the ice over board games and dinner, their compatibility became evident. Following this visit they matched exclusively.

The birth mother provided Kyle and Steve with pregnancy updates: ultrasounds, pictures, and correspondence. They met her again in Dallas shortly before her due date.

Kyle and Steve were present for the birth of their son, Kellan. They spent several days staying in the birthing suite. “It was a really special time,” says Steve. The intimate bond between them and the birth mother grew around Kellan, as they each took turns caring for him during his first few days of life.

Now, a year and half later, the couple remains in close contact with Kellan’s birth mother and some of her family members. They text regularly and even celebrated Kellan’s first birthday together. “It’s been nice having that extended family,” they explain.

The experience was so positive that the couple hopes to repeat it again soon. “We didn’t have a number [of children we wanted] in mind,” they explain. Both Kyle and Steve had positive sibling relationships growing up and want the same for their son.

Though Kellan is still learning to speak and can’t weigh in on whether he would prefer to have a sister or a brother, there is no doubt that when three become four their love will only grow exponentially.

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