I always wanted to adopt. Ever since I was a teenager, I knew that adoption would be something that I would do. I am adopted. I always thought that adopted children were special, because they were chosen to be with a Forever Family.
My partner Tyrone and I started our journey back in 2006. We had originally been interested in international adoption. We had no idea where to start. After doing a little research, we decided to contact a local international adoption social worker. She enlightened us on the ins and outs of the international adoption game. As we talked to her our hopes of going that route faded away. By 2006, most countries had stopped allowing single men to adopt. Near the end of our meeting, she suggested we try foster care to create our family. We didn’t think we wanted to go that way but after weighing all the options it seemed like the best fit.
The workers were very accepting of our diverse family. In Lexington, KY, the Cabinet didn’t care that we were gay. They needed families. We both had to take classes as separate households even thought we were in the same house. We became an approved foster home in spring 2007. Our first placement came in June 2007. Only one of us could be the actual foster parent, because you could not separate siblings into separate foster homes in the same home. We were so excited to parent a sibling group. It was a 2-year-old boy and 6-month-old girl. We fell in love with them. The social worker was great too. She was very informative and told us everything we needed to know. Of course we had to keep the thought in our minds that they would have to go back to their family. The goal of the Cabinet for families is reunification with family. We kept them for 5 ½ months and a family member received custody. They left around Christmas time. It was very difficult to deal with. We decided to close our home for the holidays and think about our plans to start a family.
After some long conversations we decided to reopen in February. The month was about to end with no calls for placements. Then, on February 28th 2008, we got a call that changed our lives forever. A two-week-old baby was in the NICU about to be released. She was born 2 months premature and had tested positive for several drugs at birth, but was very healthy. Our recruitment worker suggested the placement and stated that this was what we were looking for. We brought “G” home the next day. As it turned out, her social worker was the same social worker for our prior placement. She did a great job keeping us up to date with all information, court dates, etc. Her mother has only had one visit. After 3 months, a family member out of state requested placement. We were told that it would be a long process, due to out of state criminal checks. By November, the checks had been completed and the family member out of state was approved. Her family came to pick her up November 30, 2008. It was another disappointment. This was the hardest thing we have ever been through. It was as if she had died. We tried to stay positive because we knew it was the best thing for her. Our workers were very sympathetic to our situation. We closed our home again to contemplate if this was the thing for us.
We opened our home back up after 4 ½ months. We received another life changing phone call. “G” was back in town and needed placement. We said yes immediately, without knowing the details about her situation. When we went to pick her up she was asleep. We sat in front of her and completed her paperwork. As she woke up, she looked at us puzzled. She closed her eyes and opened them again. Then she cried and stretched her arms out looking as if she remembered us. We both cried. That night her worker called. I asked, “What is the plan?” She said, “This is permanent, she is yours.” Our hearts stopped. The heartbreak was over. The road to adoption took over a year. It was a very slow process. We were moved to the adoption team. The adoption worker turned out to be our first foster children’s social worker. She completed her process and the adoption was complete in September 2010. Since I was the actual foster parent, I am the one that adopted her. Tyrone could not do a second parent adoption. In 2008, a Kentucky Court no longer allowed unmarried couples to use that type of adoption. Our family was complete or so we thought.
We kept our home open but didn’t take a placement until August 2011. The placement didn’t work out and we were just about to close our home when we received a call for an emergency placement of a one-year-old boy in January 2012. “D” came to us with only the clothes on his back. The worker was someone we had never worked with. Once again we didn’t have any problems. As horror stories were told to us from some of our friends in our foster adoption support group, we realized we were very lucky to have workers that not only cared about the children, but also cared about us as a family. Again, the only problems were that only one could be the foster parent. After a year of no visits from mother and a father in an out of jail, we were moved to the adoption team. The adoption worker had her plate full. She was now the only adoption worker for the county. Even though she has a lot of cases, she was very quick. I adopted “D” in October 2013. Tyrone is still unable to second parent adopt our children. He is listed as a caregiver on all school and medical documentation so he can take the kids to the doctor, and conduct business at school. It can be very frustrating at times, but we deal with it. We love where we live and don’t plan on moving.
Our journey to become a family is almost complete. As the same-sex marriage cases are waiting a decision from the 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, we are hopeful that we can both be listed as parents legally for our children’s sake.
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