Gays With Kids is excited to introduce #GayDadStory, a new series in which dads share the story of how their family was created in their own words. Our first #GayDadStory was submitted by New Orleans dad Erik, who first met his husband Douglas more than 10 years ago.
This time last year Douglas and I really started our dialogue about adopting a baby. First we started the serious discussions about whether we were ready, and when we realized we were...just how the heck we were going to make it happen.
It is so hard to wrap my head around what this past year has been like.
I'll first of all say this: I believe that EVERY SINGLE PERSON you know in life you have met for a purpose. There is a reason for everything; you just may not know it now. In time, however, the reasons reveal themselves.
We reached out to everyone we knew who had adopted, which was not a lot of people. And most of them did not get back to us. So we were left full of unanswered questions about a path we wanted to go down, but with absolutely no idea how to begin.
So I suppose we started like any other couple would who wanted to adopt: GOOGLE.
Douglas (holding Alli Mae) and Erik
We found two agencies located on the East Coast that seemed like good matches for us. For either one, we would have to fly to their office and begin orientation. We were told that the wait time for gay couples usually ranges between three to five years. But we were ready and eager to get started. We made the call and requested our starter packet. And we waited...The very next day we received an email from one of the original parents we had reached out to many months ago. He knew of an adoption attorney that was in need of a family, particularly a gay family that was ready to adopt. So he gave us the attorney 's contact and we immediately reached out to her.
It was the first week of November and I remember exactly where we were, what we were doing and how we felt. When the attorney said that she had a birth mother in our city...our hearts jumped. But when she said that the birth mother was particularly looking for a same sex couple...our hearts nearly jumped out of our chests.
We looked at each other in our kitchen with our eyes as big as saucers, and with cautious optimism we asked the lawyer what we needed to do. Following her instructions, we frantically composed a bio with a few pictures to send the birth mom. Once sent, all we could do was wait.
That night we left a restaurant located in the same neighborhood of the hospital where the baby we were hoping to adopt would soon be born. As soon as we passed it a huge shooting star shot across the sky. In New Orleans you really don't see shooting stars. We were amazed and just hoped that it could be a devinely planned sign.
We found out the next day that the birth mother wanted to meet us in person. As much as we wanted to shout from the rooftops and tell everyone, we knew we needed to keep it a secret for now. We had heard so many heart breaking stories about how some adoptions fall through, and we didnt want to jinx anything. As hard as it was to keep quiet, that is what we did.
We met with the birth parents multiple times, and each time got to know them and their families a little bit better.
We soon found out that the birth mom picked us. We were matched! As soon as that became clear, we scrambled to get the nursery in order! It was quickly transformed into a peaceful wonderland. It was exactly how I envisioned it.
We had heard that the road to adoption has high points and low points, and our story was no exception.
The baby was born prematurely at 32 weeks, so she needed to stay in the NICU until she was healthy enough to be discharged. During this extended time at the hospital, our daughter's birth mother began to get attached to her baby. We were even told that she had changed her mind, and our experience was being labeled as a "failed adoption."
All I could do was cry. It felt like there was a death in the family. We did everything we needed to do. We even had a brand new nursery. I just prayed that I could get my heart in a place to accept it and be happy for the mother. To just allow myself to know how difficult it must have been for her. To put myself in her place. As hard as it was, I did.
And then, the phone rang.
It was the birth mother. Once again, she changed her mind and she was now telling me that the papers would be signed on Friday. Of everything that we went through... this was the hardest to wrap my mind around. I was just in two days of mourning and then all of a sudden I was to be completely overjoyed? How could I be? I was more scared than anything, because I was terrified it could fall through again. However, Friday came... and we adopted our baby. Our beautiful Roberta Allison Mae Alexander... "Alli Mae."
So while we were told at first that we would wait between 3-5 years, we only waited three and a half weeks!
No one we have talked to--the agency, social worker, attorney--no one has heard of an adoption that happened so fast. But this is what happened to us. As hard as some of the days were to get through... we made it. And we wouldn't have changed anything that happened. It made us stronger in the end.
If you and your partner are searching in hopes to find a baby just know that your baby will come when the time is right. You will know in your heart.
In the meantime, talk to each other. Lean on each other. And if you need to, cry with each other.
Sometimes, adoptions do fail. And when they do, have faith that you will pick up the pieces and march forward. Stay strong. Think positive. What will be, will be.
Editor's Note: To share your #GayDadStory on Gays With Kids, email your story of 500-1,000 words along with three family photos to Dads@GaysWithKids.com
Visit Erik's own blog site here.