Adoption: A Story of Learning
December 20, 2013 by Guest contributor
Post submitted by Ross Smith and Aaron Knight
Our adoption story has been a story of learning, not just about the process but also about ourselves.
In the next few months we will take the final steps toward bringing our beautiful twin boys home with us for good. But our entire adoption journey has been bookended by two twists of pure luck—with a whole lot of frustration, anxiety, discovery, and joy in the middle.
The first surprise came nearly ten years ago, when we met on Match.com. Chatting led to emailing led to phone calls, and suddenly we were talking every day. When we finally met in person for the first time after two and a half months, something clicked, and we’ve been together ever since.
Even in those early long-distance months of our relationship, we had talked about the possibility of having children. It was something we both very much wanted, but which seemed so far out of reach for us at the time, as a same-sex couple. It wasn’t until Ross turned 49 that we sat down and said “Look—we don’t want to be 70 and taking care of a baby.” We needed to get started.
Right away we knew that adoption was the right route for us. In examining our options, we felt so pressured to look internationally —“Go to China! Go to Brazil!”—when we knew there had to be great kids in need of a loving family here in the United States. We were both adopted ourselves, each with wonderful childhoods, and so we also felt the need to give back in some respect. So we started to investigate our options in southern California.
Our first lesson was a big one: there was a whole universe of resources and support for adoptive parents. At our first prospective parent meeting we met a woman representing a county agency and fell in love. She and her agency, Village Family Services(an HRC-recognized Leader in supporting and serving LGBT families), became our ally throughout the adoption process. VFS also introduced us to a potluck club for gay dads. We had an immediate bond with a contact in the system, an agency to guide us, and friends in the local LGBT community to lend support. We were golden!
Of course, nothing’s ever that easy. It turns out not all the cogs in the system always communicate with each other. Sometimes you can’t find the information you really want. And so we would start getting impatient—considering children we never would have looked at before, who didn’t meet our needs or wants, just because we felt anxious.
In those frustrating moments—and they were all just that: moments—having a strong and complete relationship to fall back on was so important. When one of us was flying into a rage over a missed call or a disappointing match, the other could reel him back in. Before we started the adoption process, we didn’t think it was possible to be any closer to each other, but now we are. Once we shoved our egos out the door, our relationship grew stronger and more secure through adoption.
After just a few months of searching, we got our other huge surprise: the phone call. The agency had found twin 3-year-old boys, exactly what we had wanted. And it gave us pause to reflect on how easy the whole thing was, really, even as a same-sex couple: we felt 100% supported and encouraged throughout the process. Our families were some of our most enthusiastic supporters, and the people close to us—our chosen families—have been our bedrock. These kids will have so many loving aunts and uncles to grow up with.
In the end, our adoption story was a story of learning, but also of love, hard work, and patience—words that will sound familiar to anyone in a committed relationship. These boys changed our lives in a thousand ways before we even met them, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.
Since 2007, HRC’s All Children –All Families project has helped to build the bridge between the children awaiting forever families, the child welfare agencies serving these children, and the LGBT adults who are eager to open their hearts and homes to them. To access more resources--like frequently asked questions about the adoption process, tips for finding LGBT-friendly agencies, and relevant adoption laws--visit www.hrc.org/issues/adoption
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