When the Agency Calls
As it turns out, it was just like they said it would be. You wait, and wait, and wait. And then a cell phone ring inverts your stomach and changes the world forever. I left you with a bit of a cliff-hanger last time, friends. I’m sorry about that. A recap, for folks just jumping on board?
I’ve been writing for Gays With Kids for a year now. I’ve been chronicling our adoption journey, with its various ups and downs. From the promises of that very first article to be as open and informational as possible, through articles focusing on the ins and outs of the home study process, to pieces sharing hopes, loss, fears, and sadness, it’s been one hell of a year for us. And as readers, for you too.
We had our very first meeting with A Loving Choice Adoption Associates in-person on October 13. I was worried that my husband and I would never get our little gift in the pumpkin patch. And now, a year later, allow me to share this photo with you.
We are getting our pumpkin.
So when you last checked in, I told you that we had gone to a seminar at the agency focusing on the care of newborn babies. Super educational, really engaging, and also a little terrifying. Little did we know that one of the co-facilitators of the seminar already knew that a birth mother had requested to place her child with us. She couldn’t say a word. And as much as I’d like to take some dramatic artistic license, it was quite literally the next day that our phone rang. I was on the bus commuting home from New York, and I couldn’t hear what the agency was saying. Something about a possible placement. I told them to call Dom, then I spent the next 45 minutes with every muscle in my body clenched as I waited to get home to hear everything.
Dom laid out the information for me. Let me tell you, if you want to marry someone who is detail-oriented and takes better notes than anyone in the world, find yourself a teacher. He had every detail of our birth mother’s situation. We got an overview of her medical history, some specific details about the factors in play, and were asked if we were interested in moving forward and receiving more information.
Now when you agree to this, you get sent more information than you can possibly know what to do with. And in the past, I have given you full disclosure as readers. In this case, of course we’re not going to share any of the medical or identifying information here. But here’s what I can tell you.
We were sent PDFs of her social and medical history, as well as information on all pre-natal care. We took that information, which to us was like reading hieroglyphics, and sent it to an independent obstetrician here in New York. For a fee, she reviewed every page of every document. And she came back to us with her medical opinion that there wasn’t any reason for us to be concerned about the health of this baby. She encouraged us to accept placement.
We signed our financial agreement and wrote a pair of checks. One was for the agency placement fee installment, and the other was for our birth mother support fund. One of the options with the agency is to pay a flat rate into the birth mom support fund, and if any costs should exceed that number, the agency covers it. Knowing that A Loving Choice provides unlimited counseling for birth mothers, both before and after adoption, meant everything to us. So those checks were very easy to write.
And that was it. We were matched. We knew there was a healthy baby girl growing inside of the belly of a woman who chose us. Out of all the waiting families on the agency’s website, she wanted us, and was entrusting us with the responsibility of parenting. That one fact stood out for us so much. We are going to honor that trust for as long as we possibly can, and raise a daughter that any mom or dad would be proud of.
There were some outstanding issues that needed to be reconciled before we could comfortably announce that we were going to be Dads. They have been mostly resolved, sufficiently enough for us to be able to enjoy the excitement and planning that goes into becoming first-time parents.
We’ve had contact with the birth mom and she wants us to be at the hospital when she delivers. In fact, she wants us to be the very first people to hold her baby. Our baby. A woman going into labor gets to fill out and complete a birth plan, which will be the subject of a subsequent article, because there are a lot of layers to it. But it gives a woman the opportunity to choose what the experience will be like for her. In our situation, the birth mother is being unbelievably generous to us with what she’d like.
However, regardless of the sweeping victories that we’ve enjoyed as GLBT people this year, some institutions are a little slower to get there. Our daughter will be delivered in a Catholic hospital. And with that comes the knowledge that Dom and I might be limited in what we are allowed to do, even given the requests of the birth mom. We have to wait to see what the hospital will allow before getting ourselves excited about both of us holding our baby in the nursery. So there are still ever-present tensions that accompany the normal stresses of impending parenthood.
Our daughter will be delivered via caesarean section in the third or fourth week of October, a week or two before her expected delivery date. It’s a tough process for a woman, major surgery. We are nervous as all hell. We hope to be there for as much of it as we can be.
But in the weeks that lead us into a chilly October’s end, there are more stories to tell. You know the baby showers are going to give me more material than I’ll know what to do with. My family and Dom’s family in one room for extended periods of time? Comedy gold. I’ll give you a sneak peek into our nursery, and I’ll talk with you about our thoughts and feelings in the days leading up to our daughter being born.
And yes, Gays With Kids cameras will be there when we bring our daughter home for the very first time. You will get a fly-on-the-wall view of what it’s like for two men to become fathers, right in front of your eyes.
You’ve stuck with me this long, you’ve earned it. Trust me, the best is yet to come.