Open Adoption: The Journey Begins
By: Jason Holling
Hello from Omaha, Nebraska! We are Jason and Justin and started on a journey in January 2013 to grow our family through open adoption. We hope to share our story to give other same-sex parents that are considering adoption a glimpse into the process as well as share our story that is still unfolding with others.
Justin works as a teller supervisor at a local bank and I work at a large food company as an IT Manager. Both of us were raised in small towns in the Midwest. Justin was raised in Cumberland, Iowa, which is not far from where we live now in Omaha. I was raised in Geneseo, Illinois. We knew of each other through friends and then met each other on an online dating site. I remember him calling one Saturday night to go to dinner his friends, but I turned him down since I did not want to have his close friends interrogate me at dinner for our first date! About 45 minutes later, I rethought my decision and called Justin back to meet after dinner for a drink. Thank goodness I made the call back since we just celebrated our ninth year together as a couple. We went out on a more romantic date later that week at an Omaha restaurant named M’s Pub. Every year we go back to the restaurant of our first date for our anniversary!
When it comes to building our family, we have always wanted to adopt, but heard so many stories of why it was not possible in Nebraska where we lived. After talking to other couples, our eyes were opened to surrogacy and adoption as options. We considered surrogacy during most of 2012 and talked to clinics, insurance agencies, and egg banks. We laughed at how bizarre it was for us to have a database pulled up that looked like Facebook but for women that have donated eggs. In the end, we struggled with the cost of surrogacy and thought we were stalled on our journey to become dads. One night Justin picked up the packet from Independent Adoption Center (IAC) we received at the beginning of our journey and we both looked at each other and knew this was the best path for us.
In the fall of 2012, we started writing the letter for our Dear Birthmother letter, but kept it quiet from family and friends until we got farther along in the journey. I remember my mom talking about adoption over Christmas and wondered if she knew what we were planning! In January 2013, and after a holiday with our nieces and nephews, we kicked the process in high gear. Our New Years resolution was “do something everyday to move the adoption process forward”. We started by signing up with IAC and contacting a local agency to help us with the home study. During January and February, it was not hard to find something to do everyday to keep the process moving. Every night we would come home to fill out another form (there were piles of forms), take a trip to the state patrol to get our fingerprints taken for a background check, or get a physical from the doctor. Every aspect of our life was checked and double-checked to make sure we were safe and capable dads.
In the midst of the paperwork, we attended at the end of February the Weekend Intensive Course at IAC. I remember us tossing everything in the back of the car and hitting the road early with Justin to beat an ice and snowstorm sweeping through Nebraska. We were determined on making the weekend at IAC and officially signing all the paperwork to continue the process. We stayed ahead of the storm and had a great weekend learning more about IAC, meeting our counselor, and going in-depth into the adoption process.
Flash-forward to May and we “went live” with our adoption profile. This means birth mothers can see our profile and contact us to learn more. It took about 5 months from the time we officially started to the time we went live with our agency. There were definitely some highs and lows along the path so far. We are sure there are more challenges to come, but Justin and I are ready as a team to take them on headfirst like everything else since the beginning of the journey. We are ready to become incredible parents. We hope you enjoy learning about us, our journey, and our views on same-sex adoption and marriage.
Read more about Jason and Justin’s journey to become parents on JasonandJustin.com.