Friday, June 09, 2006

What we've done so far...



I've been struggling on how to start this blog... should I start with our love at first site story that includes me getting lost on the way to our first date? Or would it be better to just jump forward to about a year ago when after years of discussion John and I decided to take the first true steps toward adopting a child? Well, since the title to this blog is "William & John's adoption story" for the sake of posterity I'm going to skip the most of the sappy love story and jump forward to when the thought of adoption became less of a thought... and more of a hope and dream of starting a family. Let's just say that our first date was on a Saturday night for a dinner at a nice restaurant (www.onemidtownkitchen.com). By the end of dinner John had invited me to go to New York city for the weekend and I accepted. A month later, I moved in with him and here we are two months away from our five year anniversary. It's an amazing feeling when you know you've found the person your going to spend the rest of your life with.

John and I have always wanted to have kids. Both of us agree that even before we met each other we knew that one way, or another, we'd have children in our lives. The discussion about having children was, literally, one of the first discussions John and I had. So, it came to be that in July of last year John and I decided to start seriously exploring our options for having a child. Clearly, being two men, a strictly natural birth wasn't going to be an option. For what ended up being a few minutes, we discussed the idea of surrogate but quickly agreed that there were just too many issues involved with having a woman, whether a friend or not, give birth to our child. After that, I immediately suggested adoption. Thinking about it I realized that throughout my life I had been surrounded by people who had been adopted. Some of my best friends growing up were people who were adopted, and on top of that we know several people and even a few family members, who have adopted children both domestically and internationally. So...we agreed that I would do some research and determine if adoption was the best choice for us.

I'm lucky to work for a great company that really provides well for the people who work there. Among the many benefits that are offered they have a complete "Life Care" website that provides lots of unbiased, information about basically every life issue you could possibly think of. I went to the website and found that there was an online, interactive, adoption class that provided "everything you need to know when considering adoption." So, I took the class assuming it would be about 10 minutes of my time and give me a least a mediocre understanding of adoption. What it gave me was a complete understanding of the issues involved, and the evolution of, the multiple kinds of adoption that exists today. The key phrase being "multiple kinds of adoption." Perhaps it was my ignorance, but I had no idea that there was anything beyond domestic adoption, and international adoption. I had never heard of closed adoption and open adoption, or the various things we had to take into consideration because we are a same sex couple. The class ended up being an hour and a half, and by the time I was done I was absolutely sure that a) adoption was the avenue we'd use to grow our family, and b) that domestic Open Adoption was perfect for us. I'll spare you class summary, but in case you've never heard of open adoption it can be summed up as an adoption process in which the birth parents and the adoptive parents choose each other, and agree on varying levels of continued contact throughout the childs life.

After the class, I went to John and told him about what I'd learned. He agreed that open adoption seemed to fit us wonderfully, and we decided to go about selecting an agency. Again, I'll try and spare you the brutal details but by the time we finally found the right agency two months had passed, and I'd called and checked into at least 30 different agencies in the US. We ended up going with the Independent Adoption Center (www.adoptionhelp.org). I was immediately impressed with the IAC - everyone I spoke to was (in contrast to so many other agencies I'd contacted) very polite, amazingly real and caring, honest, non-judgmental, and very knowledgeable. I later learned that the IAC is one of the oldest agency's that work soley with open adoption, and many of the IACs founders are essentially the founders of open adoption in the United States. Michelle - the IAC counselor I had been primarily corresponding with suggested that we come in for a weekend orientation class at the end of September to get to know the agency. Well, we did, and by the time the orientation was over John and I had decided to sign with the IAC.

After review and signing all the IAC paperwork our lives started to change. We had to attend another orientation, only this time the class was longer (two days) and much more "intensive." We had to make decisions about what kind of birthparents we were willing to work with, have interviews with Cheryl, are assigned counselor, and discuss all the details about how to create a Dear Birthmother Letter and corresponding website (www.kinnanepetersen.com). They explained that although they couldn't tell us exactly how long it would be before we got a baby, that it was now a matter of when... not if we got a baby. We learned that all the tasks ahead of us would lead to a day that we get "in the book" (meaning we're approved, and potential birthparents will start getting our information). We also got pages and pages of checklists. There were check lists for everything. Checklists for things we needed documented in our medical exams (the ones that prove we're healthy enough to raise a child), checklists for all the paper work we need to complete, checklists for all the things we should include in our letter, checklists for our website, checklists for our homestudy, checklists for.... well you get the idea - checklists for anything. We realized that we had at least a good two to three months ahead of us before we'd be in the book.

We finally did get in the book. It took almost six months. We agonized over everything... I mean, the things we were doing were to get us a child.... everything had to be done perfectly the first time. It would have only been 4 months, but we decided that a baby really deserved a bigger place to live... so we moved out of our one bedroom home and moved into a fairly large three bedroom home in a great, small community that's within walking distance of two of Atlanta's better schools. It also gives us something to focus on while we wait for a birthmother to contact us. John has a particular nack for decorating - or for that matter making anything look it's best - so this new home will provide us with plenty of things to do while we're waiting. The long period of time between the orientation and getting into the book also gave us time to read what seems like hundreds of what I call "baby raising books." Our favorite book so far is What To Expect - The First Year. It's a really thorough book and basically talks about everything you need to know in the first year. With every book I read, I want even more to be a father. I can't wait to become the worlds best stay at home dad... although from what I've read, if I really want that award I might just have to create it myself. LOL.

So, here we are: Amazing caring couple, check. Amazing agency, check. Amazing home, check. Now all we can do is wait for a courageous caring birthmother to choose us. That's a good place to start. There's definitely more to tell, so in the coming days I'll try and go into some more of the stories that got us to this point.

Thanks for reading.
~W

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi John and William, it was great to read your story, very well written, I'm rooting for you ! Hope it won't be long til you get your wish! Love, Aunt Janie

DanProject76 said...

Hello! What a nice blog. Hope you keep updating it...

and thanks for visiting and commenting on mine. How did you find mine? I am curious!

Anonymous said...

I think it is awsome you guys are adopting a child and I cant wait to read more about it.Good Luck in the nearest future. I know you guys will be great parents.

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that the future holds great things for you both. I hope you find your adopted baby soon, and are able to show the world that love is not confined by stereotypes, blood, labels, and fear. That love is patient and takes time to grow...good luck John and William!!!

Very inspired,

Steve

*~JESSIE~* said...

I'm so glad you entered the adoption blog carnival! I can't wait to follow your adoption journey. All the best to you!

Kerri said...

I linked to your blog through the blog carnival. I'm really excited to follow your journey and learn more along the way about domestic adoption.

Kerri and Ruby

The Breedlove family said...

William and John,
I will look forward to following your journey. We are in the process of an international adoption...I know what you mean about all the check list...WOW! But, we are now officially waiting for a referral. I will look forward to seeing that you have been matched with a birth mother and that your little one will soon be on the way.

Best wishes,
Amy
www.ourjourneytoethiopia.blogspot.com