So you want to have a baby. Congratulations! But wait, neither of you has a uterus. OK, no big deal. You can adopt! Adopting is a brilliant choice since there are countless babies born each year who need a good home. How do you adopt a baby, you ask? Take a look at six things I recently learned about the open adoption process by watching my gay best buddies (Eric and Trey) experience it, and how daunting it can be.
1. Single, Married, Divorced: Does it matter? With many adoption agencies, you can apply to adopt with any relationship status. Eric and Trey were married before they applied to adopt, but because Florida didn't recognize their union at the time, they had to spend thousands of dollars on legal documents to make sure their union would be legally recognized. I don't understand the ruckus behind legalizing gay marriage. I mean, if the U.S. government is so worried about the sanctity of heterosexual marriages, maybe we shouldn't be able to purchase an electronic divorce packet from Staples for the bargain price of $49.95.
2. Which Agency and Why? After interviewing 10+ adoption agencies, they fell in love with IAC (Independent Adoption Center) and knew that they wanted to have an open adoption. Basically, everybody comes to the table with a desire to participate in an adoption where all the parties know each other, and the adoption is celebrated as opposed to secretive. (Personally, I would like a maternity test; my kids look exactly like my husband, and nothing like me!)
3. Cost $$: To start the process, they had to fork over a substantial amount of cash, and the costs only continue as you go. If I had to come up with this kind of dough when I got knocked up, I would have had to pay with Monopoly money. (Who am I kidding; I always end up with Baltic Ave....) And while they were finally able to claim the adoption credit on their taxes this year, they were recently notified by the IRS that they will be holding their return for further review. Smells like an audit to me! IAC does have a sliding scale for the cost of adoption based on your annual income.
4. Adoption Process Begins: Eric and Trey signed on the dotted line. They received a binder as thick as the tree that birthed the paper. This binder required that they provide some "intimate" information. They were poked, prodded, fingerprinted, and given a financial colonoscopy. At least when I got pregnant, I got dinner, a movie and several 2-for-1 cocktails. They were even asked to sign an affidavit of upstanding moral values. I have to be honest here, if all parents were required to sign this document before having babies, and think this thoroughly about the decision, there might not be any babies to adopt. Touché, adoption agency, touché.
5. Nesting: Eric and Trey met with a social worker to discuss how they would raise their child. They were asked a gamut of hypothetical questions that would confuse Freud himself. I can't imagine having a social worker interview me before I had my first baby. I can see it now, "How will you discipline your child?" "Duh, I'll use my flip flop." I don't think they would have certified me for a Chihuahua. In all seriousness, these kinds of questions are really intense when you've never parented before.
6. Waiting and Waiting and Waiting: By March of 2016, they had been waiting to be matched with a prospective birth mother for 21 months, not including the year they spent during the application process. Sometimes, the wait can feel never ending. It's kind of like how we are all waiting to hear that Donald Trump's run for the White House is just a really overdue April Fool's joke. Seriously, when is this going to end?
I think the waiting is the hardest part for them. I think that they worry about why someone hasn't picked them. Is it because they aren't wealthy enough? Is it because they aren't attractive enough? Is it because they're gay? If you ask me, having two dads sounds pretty awesome. Especially two super classy, fashion-forward, scrap-booking exercise fiends who are dying to become parents.
No matter how you become a parent, it is a long and often tiresome journey. Anyone who would subject themselves to the rigorous demands of the adoption process really wants to be a parent. So with all the drama surrounding the current religious freedom restoration bills circling legislative offices around the country, does it really matter if they are gay or straight? I mean really, DOES IT MATTER? I know one thing undoubtedly, and that is they will never take their child for granted because the adoption process is a true labor of love.
*If you know of a birth mother who is looking into adoption, please share this with her. These guys will make the best dads ever!