Monday, August 17, 2015

What to Expect When You're Two Dads Expecting

I always tell my clients, “No matter how short it is, any wait feels too long when you want to start a family.” I know because I’ve been there. For the record, my husband and I were “in the books” for seven months awaiting our first adoption in 2011. For our second, in 2014, we waited six months.

As a same-sex couple, we encountered two remarkably different questions as we told people we were waiting to adopt the first time. “Will you wait longer because you’re gay?” And, conversely, “Will it be quicker because she’ll always be Mommy?” They were each hurtful: The former was an unnecessary warning that some people don’t like gay people; the latter was a slur against the potential birthmother of our child, assuming the most selfless act – placing your child in a loving, stable, home – could have the tinge of vanity and selfishness. In the end, our children's birthmothers chose us not because we were gay, but because they each "had a feeling." They responded to us because we presented our authentic selves--two people in love who were ready to do everything possible to keep a child happy and healthy.

During our wait for our first son to arrive, we attended a monthly pre-adoptive support group. We were the only gay couple in a revolving cast of pairs and singles coming in and out as they were matched. Their stories were invaluable and gave us great perspective on our good fortune. Because we were LGBT, we approached this journey at the very start. We did not face miscarriage and infertility, nor the exhaustion of medical treatments and insurance negotiations. One might think there was a sense of competition—some sort of baby musical chairs—but we wanted them to find their family just as much as we wanted to have ours.

The group leader told us what I tell my clients now: “Buy the car seat. If you’re doing this, it’s going to happen.” If you get an emergency placement, you can’t say, “Let me do a little research and head to Target.” And indeed, when we were matched the first time, it did come as a shock. I was in a meeting at the big law firm where I worked at the time. My husband had called twice, then finally sent me an email with just the subject “WE GOT PICKED!!!!!!!!”. I read the email, showed it to my friend sitting next to me at the table, and ran out to call my husband.

In the joy that followed, I can’t say the worry and uncertainty of that seven months evaporated, but that time now meant something. It was the time required for our son to come to us, and it was worth it.

Written By Brian Esser
Adoptive Dad!!!
Group Member
Adoption Attorney

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