Nestled in the sand on a beach in Maui, newlyweds Mike and Charlie Erwin began to discuss the future, and more importantly, when they were going to grow their family. It was 2016, and the couple were on their honeymoon. They met in 2012 at a New Year's Eve party when Charlie fixed Mike's bow tie. "We were total strangers," said Charlie, "but he was lopsided; it was adorable." But back to the beach. It was on the sandy shore that they decided to be married for two years before beginning their road to fatherhood.
It'll be two years to the day on October 8, and they're already on their way to becoming dads through adoption.
Mike and Charlie have the full support of their families and friends as they embark on their next adventure of parenthood, but that wasn't always true for Charlie. Raised by his grandparents, Charlie describes his grandfather as "not a nice man." When Charlie turned 18, his grandfather gave him $50 and told him to get out. "I moved in with friends to finish the school year and came out shortly after," said Charlie. His family did not take it well. Instead they turned up at his friend's house with their pastor to help him "pray the gay away." Charlie said he was hysterical and asked them to leave.
"My experience from this actually helped me to open my heart and house to other friends who may have had the same experience and kicked out of their homes," said Charlie. "I have always been a caretaker and cannot wait to become a father." Since then, Charlie's family has had a change of heart and are completely supportive of who he is, his choices and his marriage to Mike. (And this is made very clear by the video they created for their GoFundMe page.)
Mike's story couldn't be more different to Charlie's. He came home from Coastal Carolina University for a long weekend ready to tell his folks. His plan was to have dinner followed by copious amounts of wine. And upon his announcement, his parents response was, "yeah, we know; we've always known and we will always love you." (Mike's aunt, Stephanie, is also gay and has a partner, Paula.) Mike's entire family is excited to take this next step with them and be grandparents / aunts / uncles / great aunts … you get the picture.
They've taken the first steps and chosen Choice Network in Columbus, Ohio, were the husbands live. They've turned in their application and the $5000 fee that goes with it; the wheels have been set into motion. Their agency works with recent birth parents and newborns, but the couple are open to going up to a year in age. "We are also very open to siblings that are younger in age, and even twins," said Mike. "Twins would be super exciting for us."
The dads-to-be are beyond thrilled to grow their family but one of the hardest parts (as it is for so many in our community) is the financial aspect. Adoption is costly and Charlie and Mike are expecting the overall expense to be around $30k. On top of that, they're anxious about being selected by a birth parent. "There is no guaranteed timeline for when we [will be] picked," said Charlie.
Although there are a lot of uncertainties and the dads wait anxiously, Mike and Charlie have been blown away by the support and love by both sides of the family.
"Loving and nurturing…"
"Most kind, encouraging, and loyal people I've ever met…"
"Fun, creative, and funny, and smart, and I know they're going to be great parents…" are just some of the comments from their loved ones. It feels as though with this many people rooting for the men, and with Mike's aunt Stephanie adding that the couple are "determined to have a family," we feel it's only a matter of time till we'll be sharing their news in our latest Congrats post. Please keep us posted on your journey, Mike and Charlie!