A Forever Family Forged in a Leap in Faith
In April this year, O'Brian and Daryl received a call about twin 3-month-old boys who were up for adoption in Pennsylvania. The dads-to-be were hesitant; they had already experienced one birth mother's change of heart. They weren't sure they could endure that kind of heartache again. However, they took a leap of faith and went to collect the boys. Now, they say it was the best decision of their life. O'Brian, Daryl, and their twins became a forever family on October 25. Here's their story.
Tell us about your path to fatherhood. Daryl and I definitely considered surrogacy as well as fostering to adopt. After an extensive amount of research we settled on private adoption because this route aligned the most with our goals. We did not have a strong desire to have biological ties to our children so that pretty much excluded surrogacy. Working in local government I was able to get some first-hand advice on fostering to adopt. Although it was appealing, we really wanted an infant and didn't want to endure the sometimes lengthy process to completing an adoption through the state.
Tell us about any obstacles you faced on your path to fatherhood. We began our adoption journey with a local agency that is licensed specifically in the D.C/Maryland/Virginia area. They were very supportive in helping us through the trainings and getting home study approved. Unfortunately, there weren't a lot of cases coming through so after about six months of no movement we started to open our adoption search to national agencies. We settled on an agency in Pennsylvania and immediately began to receive cases from all over the US. In July of 2016 we were matched with a birth mother from Georgia who was expected to deliver a baby girl around September! The joy we experienced was other worldly. But the day the birth mom delivered she had a change of heart and decided to parent. The pain of that loss is a feeling we won't soon forget, compounded by the fact that we booked flights and hauled all of our babies luggage down to Georgia only to return empty handed. We took a week away from the world to mourn and regroup and decided to jump back in the game. There were a number of cases that came after, but Daryl and I were extremely cautious as we wanted to make sure it was the best fit possible in hopes of avoiding another failed adoption. Then in April of 2017, we received a call about 3-month-old twin boys. After much prayer we decided to step out on faith and within two days we were on our way to Pennsylvania to meet our beautiful sons!
How has your life changed since you became a father? It took Daryl and I about two weeks to fully get in a groove. We were so used to "happy hours," brunches and partying at a moment's notice. Our life now revolves around their schedule. It sounds cliché, but babies thrive in a structured environment. I was fortunate to have three months of leave when we brought the twins home and I literally felt like a bottle making, diaper changing machine. Daryl would come home from work and handle the night shift which balanced things out. It is the most exhausted I think we'd ever been, but the most rewarding experience thus far.
What have you learned from your twins since you became a dad? I think we've learned patience for sure. Learning to take care of a baby is a task in itself, but juggling twins is super hero status. Daryl and I quickly learned to depend on our strengths to ensure our sons are healthy and happy. I go into work later so I get the kids up and ready for daycare and Daryl loves their smiling faces when he picks them up in the evenings. We've learned a love that we never knew before. There are literally two little humans that depend on us for everything and we want to make sure they can reach their full potential.
Was there ever a moment that you or Daryl experienced any serious doubts about your path to fatherhood or fatherhood itself. Definitely when we experienced the failed adoption. Daryl and I had many discussions about continuing the process. Ultimately, we decided to press forward and we were double blessed for our trouble. :)
Is your family treated differently than others on account of your sexual orientation or gender identity? My husband and I are very fortunate to live in a liberal state and in a very diverse community. Our village is extremely large and we definitely don't have a shortage of sitters when we need a date night here and there. Our church is affirming and absolutely adores our sons! They are literally little rock stars whose schedule is quickly out pacing that of their dads.
Where do you see your family 5-10 years in the future? Our goal is to provide the best life possible for our sons. We want them to be leaders and work hard for the things they want in life. That begins with us nurturing their creativity and sharpening their gifts. We want our sons to be bilingual, master an instrument and excel as the sport of their choice. The journey begins now.
What words of advice do you have for other gay men considering pursuing your same path or parenthood? If you want a quicker placement, I would say go with a national agency, but do your research. It's a long journey, but stay the course. Don't be quick to jump at the first opportunity presented to you. Be sure to check all the facts and then re-check them. And know that your child/children are out there, just be patient.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experiences creating or raising your family? Only that we are so thankful to the woman who made the ultimate sacrifice. We hope to have a wonderful relationship with her as our sons grow. Adoption really is amazing.