Garon Wade grew up knowing he wanted to be a dad. What’s more, he knew he wanted to be an adoptive dad.
“Even before I recognized that I was gay, I always knew that I wanted to be a parent,” he said. “And I always wanted to adopt. I’m adopted, my sister is adopted, my father is adopted. So when it came to my family, adopting a child wasn’t a result of me being gay. That was a result me being adopted, too, and thinking what an amazing experience it is to give somebody a parent.”
Wade and husband Jamie Suriano live in Washington, D.C., with their 3-year-old son, Matteo Suriano-Wade.
Both men believed Matteo would be their only child, but after two years of raising one son they realized they wanted to grow their family.
“We originally thought when we adopted Matteo that we were only going to have one kid,” Suriano said. “Right around his second birthday, we started talking about having another and thought it would be good for him to have a brother or sister. You see how much fun they are and how much happiness you get out of having a kid.”
Wade and Suriano went back to the same agency they used for Matteo. They followed all the right steps — updated their home study, worked with their social worker and attorney. Finally, the call came through. They would be bringing home a little girl.
Matteo was so close to meeting his baby sister — until that second call came. The birth mother had decided to keep the baby.
“Once you get that call, once someone says you have a child, your heart just goes there,” Wade said. “When you get that second call, it’s such a disappointment. I can remember with Matteo saying, ‘OK, we’ll take this baby, we’ll take care of him the best we can.’ And a part of you wants to remain unattached because there’s the possibility that something could happen.
“That doesn’t work, though, with a child. It’s hard to go halfway.”
The couple lost this chance at a daughter, but both men have learned how to accept the risks of adoption.
“You have to go into adoption completely open and willing to ride the process through the ups and downs,” Suriano said. “It can be frustrating, it can disappointing, but it can also happen really quickly and flawlessly. You just don’t know. You have to enter it understanding it’s uncertain and there’s a great possibility that things will not go the way you want them to.”
“There are so many kids that need a home,” Wade said. “So if it doesn’t work out at first, keep trying. Accept at some point, somehow, it will happen.”
Soriano advised gay families considering adoption to pay close attention to each state’s laws, especially waiting periods. He and Wade adopted from Maryland because of a great relationship with an agency — even though the waiting period in that state is 30 days.
“If you’re uncomfortable with a longer waiting period, there are states with no waiting period,” Suriano said. “As soon as the birth parents sign, it’s a done deal — there’s no call the next day. Depending on where you go, you can increase your amount of certainty. If we didn’t have such a good relationship with our agency, we may have explored other options in other states.
In the meantime, the two men carry on — waiting for the next phone call. Wade works as an air traffic controller, and Suriano works with a defense contractor. Suriano also writes science fiction novels. His debut novel, “Inbiotic,” was featured on The Huffington Post” has a release date set for January 2016.
But hope builds each day that Matteo will finally have a sibling.
“He knows he’s going to be a big brother,” Wade said. “In the last two months, he’ll even talk about it. When we found out about the baby girl, we purposely did not tell him, and considering what happened, we both feel good that we didn’t. How can you explain that to a 3-year-old?
“He definitely knows what’s going on. We have baby stuff everywhere. We just need the baby.”