Jon and I both come from large families. Jon is the oldest of four boys. I was the youngest of four kids but my mother adopted four kids with her second husband. I have always supported my mother and her decision to adopt four beautiful children. My mom helped raise her brothers and sisters when she was young; she raised four wonderful kids with very limited resources, wink wink, she had a family day care while I was in high school and finally she was a foster parent for years who specialized in fostering children who required an emergency shelter home.
Growing up I was surrounded by children. It was no big surprise to Jon that I wanted to be a dad. We had been together for about two years when I started looking into the prospect of parenthood. Our options seemed endless while doing the research. At times it felt like it was not possible. Jon worked a hundred hours a week. We moved into a crappy little duplex in West Hollywood. We were traveling quite a bit. We went to Costa Rica and Argentina for vacations, we traveled to the east coast for all the holidays to be with Jon’s family. Was this the lifestyle in which to bring up a child? Could we really be good parents? I had no idea what we had in store for our future. I did know Jon was going to be a great dad. I knew fatherhood would change our lives in unimaginable ways. We both have siblings who have kids. We thought we knew what we were getting into.
On the first Sunday after our trip to Costa Rica I set up an appointment with an international adoption agency. I was so excited to find out if Jon and I could become parents through their program. It was a very informal meeting at a hotel by LAX and we were so excited we showed up thirty minutes early. We are never early to anything. We were the first couple to arrive and we were the only gay couple at the meeting. The person who presented the program to us was the director of the Russian program and she repeatedly pointed out in her presentation that we could never adopt from her program as a “same sex couple but there was a program we did qualify for and that was the Guatemala program.” Every time she said “same sex couple” every other couple would look over at us. It was really weird and tense. Basically the meeting ran around all of our questions; the other couples did not have many questions. The program in Russia was really cut and dry and time tested but we had a special situation.
At the end of the meeting a woman came in with her 8-month-old adopted daughter. The other couples were cooing and cawing over this baby, but Jon and I were totally turned off by the program. Basically you have to make a payment to the Guatemalan government that subsidizes the social services in their country. So you pay the government for the child. It felt like we would be buying the child from the government. We were not into that!
The next week we went to another information meeting. Followed by another and another. For a few months all we did was adoption information sessions. We had endless options. Open adoption, closed adoption, private, public, and of course we could buy a baby through international adoption. The one thing we knew was that we had to get a home study. We were sure we would figure out what was right for us after that process.
We were so burnt out from all the information sessions we finally contracted with IAC, Independent Adoption Center, to do our adoption home study. We sent in a check and signed some forms online. They sent us a book of papers. It was going to take some time but we dove in head first. There was only one problem. We did not know if adoption was going to be right for us.