Our adoption journey pretty much began the day that we met. It was the summer of 2009, and a mutual friend of ours invited both of us to play tennis after work. Scott and I both showed up at the busy park and just stood around waiting. Then, we both received texts saying that our friend was cancelling because he fell ill. “Okay,” I thought to myself. “I am already here, so let me find this other guy.” I found him alright; to the tune of a 6-0, 6-0 embarrassing loss to this jerk I had never seen before. The match lasted for what seemed like an eternity; however, it was probably more like twenty excruciating minutes. We ended up standing outside of my car for about two hours after. There was a mutual attraction from the get go. We just talked and talked and talked. We talked about each of us wanting to have a child and wanting to be fathers. We just didn’t know it yet that it would end up being with each other.
Fast forward to 2015. We had been living together for six years and we were engaged to be married. During that time, we had countless conversations about starting a family together. We didn’t know how we would go about it. We just knew that we wanted to be legally married beforehand. Same-sex marriage had been legal in Rhode Island since 2013; but, Scott and I didn’t think it was right to get married until it was legal nationwide. That glorious day came on June 26, 2015. Once we heard the ruling that morning, we giddily headed straight to city hall to get our marriage license.
We really wanted to have one of those pretentious, over the top, fairytale weddings. You know, the kind you would see on a Bravo TV show. That didn’t happen. We didn’t know if we wanted to hire a surrogate, foster or adopt; so we opted to be responsible adults and save our money. Instead, we had a rather large barbeque at our home on August 8th and surprised our family and friends by getting married in our backyard. It ended up being perfect!
Ultimately, we chose the route of adoption for various reasons. We liked the idea of fostering; but, we both would have been devastated if we had a child in our custody that was suddenly taken away from us to be reunited with his or her family. We really liked the idea of a surrogate until we saw the price tag. Seriously; I enjoy tattoos, wine and vacations too much to pay that kind of money for anything.
We began researching various agencies within Rhode Island and throughout the country. Scott found one in Chicago that ended up being the perfect fit for us. It was Angel Adoption (https://www.angeladoptioninc.com/), and we chose them because they only facilitate newborn adoptions. Some of our friends thought we were crazy. We kept getting asked the same question, “Why would you want a newborn?” Why? Because we felt that we had every right to start a family the same way that heterosexual couples do. We wanted the same experiences, or, at least as close to them as we could get. We wanted to be there to witness our child being born. We wanted to endure sleepless nights with around the clock feedings and diaper changes. We wanted the start of our family to be as normal and organic as it could be, without actually giving birth ourselves, of course. We felt that we deserved that magic as much as anyone else.
We sped through our home study with our social worker from Adoption Options (http://adoptionoptions.org/). Once we were approved, we signed a two year contract with Angel in November of 2015. By Thanksgiving, we had our adoption profile live on their website and were eagerly awaiting a call telling us that a birthmother had selected us.
We received that call pretty quickly; on January 11, 2016 to be exact. We had been under contract for less than two months and were officially connected with a birthmother in Missouri. She was pregnant with a girl and she was due in March! Since she was due so soon, we had to act fast and hired a lawyer and a social worker in Missouri. We thought we were the greatest things since squeezable ketchup. We were so excited to be expecting a daughter. We were so excited that we did everything that the agency and social worker told us not to do. We told anyone and everyone who would listen. Strangers at the grocery store, local bar, mall, you name it; they all knew about our adoption whether they wanted to or not. We turned one of our spare bedrooms into a full fledged pink walled nursery with all of the unnecessary pink, fluffy accoutrements. We even dusted all of the woodwork with pink glitter. No, we really didn’t do that, but we certainly thought about it! We began buying all sorts of baby girl clothing. We posted about it all over Facebook, and we even accepted the friend request from our birthmother. We were actually planning our own baby shower. In our minds, we were already fabulous fathers to Taylor Jennifer.
The connection we had with our birthmother was not the most solid. It was more like that one drawer in your kitchen that always has a loose knob no matter how often you tighten it. She was young and obviously had some issues. In the beginning, everything was wonderful. We were drinking life out of champagne flutes. We would email her and she would respond right away. We obviously had a bunch of questions for her about medical and family history, the birthfather, and just attempting to get to know her in general. Everything was perfect! After the first couple of weeks, her communication efforts began to dwindle. She would sometimes go three days or more without responding to our emails. She did things like tell us she was going to get a sonogram and would send us pictures and then never follow through. It became apparent that she was not very reliable. We started to second guess ourselves. Were we coming on too strong? Were we overwhelming her with questions? Were we just too much for her? Regardless, we continued to view our connection through rose colored glasses and bombard her with daily emails asking frivolous questions about the weather in Missouri (like we couldn’t just ask Google), what she ate for breakfast, what her favorite color was, etc. At this point, I think we were in denial even though deep down, we probably knew that we were trying way too hard. We gave her the benefit of the doubt even though her communication with us was sporadic, to say the least. Then, out of nowhere, two weeks before the due date; our bubble was completely burst, resulting in the first of two failed adoptions. But, I will get into that next time!