Brent and I met one sunny Sunday afternoon at a mutual friend’s pool. We hit it off immediately; next thing I knew we were going on our first date a few days later. That first date was perfect; we had dinner, chatted about all sorts of stuff and just overall enjoyed each other’s company.
The part of that date that made me smile the most was when we discussed a topic not typically discussed on first dates: did either of us want to start a family? Brent wanted one child, I wanted 10; nonetheless, I was just happy to know he wanted one. I was sure I would be able to talk him into more. Fast forward seven years and our dream is going to be a reality in about three months. We are very excited (and a bit nervous).
We considered all of the options. Should we ask my sister to assist with the baby, should we have a surrogate, should we foster, should we adopt?
Some of the options were easier to work through than others. We quickly squashed the sister-option because we just thought it would be weird at family gatherings and the like. We also quickly knew that we didn’t want to foster because of a very real and painful possibility: after we'd pour our hearts and souls into a child, the birth family might still decide to take the child back.
But one option resonated with us: adoption.
Adoption is a part of both of our lives. Brent’s brother became part of the family through a closed adoption; both my parents were adopted: one adoption was closed, one by a family member. Our closed-adoption family members were left with lingering questions of why, who? We knew that we wanted to be able to answer the questions about why our child had been placed for adoption, who his or her birth parents were, and what other relevant information they might want to know.
We decided that open adoption was the answer for us. Open adoption typically involves some sort of contact with at least the birth mother. It allows you to know not only the medical history but also the family history, the reason for placement, and keeps open the possibility of some kind of relationship with the rest of birth family.
When we decided how we wanted to build our family, the next step was to find an agency for our adoption. Where do we begin? How do we find the right agency? Will the agency accept us, a same-sex couple? Being the savvy people we are we went straight to that little thing called Google.
Searching among various agencies (religious-affiliated, international-focused, closed-adoption, semi-open, etc.) we stumbled upon the Independent Adoption Center (IAC). After going to the info session, we knew it was the right fit for us. One of our main criteria was being accepted and treated like any other client, and learning the IAC deals with a good number of same-sex couples really sealed the deal.
After we signed the contract with the IAC, the paper work and approval process began. And wow, did it begin. We never thought about how much paperwork you have to complete and how many hoops you have to jump through to be approved for adoption. The thing that kept us motivated was the endgoal: a child. We went through our FBI background checks, Georgia background checks, obtained letters of recommendation, went through medical testing, drug testing, child molestation background checks, home visits, etc.
Through the process we joked that if everyone who had children had to go through this process there would be a lot fewer children in the world. Four months later, after all of the paperwork had been submitted and the hoops jumped through, we finally got that call that we were approved. Shortly thereafter, we were “live” in the waiting pool, waiting for an expectant mother to call us.
Thanks for reading this blog post. Soon to come, our story of waiting and of various contacts with expectant mothers.