Guest Author: Cesar Stewart-Morales
My family and I live in a brick-front, Cape Cod style house on a dead-end road in Framingham, Massachusetts. After almost 20 years together, my husband, Jeff, and I feel blessed to have a beautiful family complete with a Kindergartener and a toddler running around the house. My husband and I always planned to have children and we spoke about it openly ever since we first met as teenagers. We married on our 15th anniversary and quickly got to work on building our family.
As a gay male couple, we had to consider carefully the pros and cons to having a child through surrogacy, private adoption or adoption through foster care. Ultimately, we decided that adoption through foster care was the right option for us. Although we scoured the web, surprisingly, we were not able to find detailed information regarding other LGBTQ couples that had experienced adoption from MA foster care. We wondered how realistic it might be for the state to select our family given another option… a straight couple perhaps. Despite our doubts, we submitted our application to become pre-adoptive parents.
The MA Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) contacted us pretty quickly and we met with a social worker shortly thereafter. We signed up for the requisite training class at a local non-profit adoption agency, Children’s Friend in Worcester, MA. We learned a lot at Children’s Friend and enjoyed working with them so much that we requested to transfer our case to them. They helped us complete the training and got our home study done. We became a licensed home in December of 2013.
The time after becoming licensed proved to be quite the rollercoaster ride. We were considered as a placement option for a few different children until Valentine’s Day, when we received a call that was just a little bit different than the others. DCF thought that our home would be perfect for a 2-year old boy that needed an immediate placement. After a very short phone call, Jeff and I made the decision. We met and picked up our boy the following business day; ours would be his 5th home… and his forever home. The adoption finally went through about 13 months later.
With our adoption journey behind us, and feeling very comfortable about being parents to our, then, 3 year old boy, Jeff and I decided to start looking into our next step, baby number 2. This time, we decided to look more seriously into surrogacy. We found an agency we thought we’d like to work with and decided we’d give them a call after our summer vacation which was right around the corner. Soon after, however, plans changed. Our son’s biological brother had just been born and DCF asked us if we would be willing to bring him home. Jeff and I, feeling prepared for a second child, immediately agreed. We met the baby that night. Like his big brother before him, the baby spent the first couple of weeks of his life being taken care of by the amazing medical team at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) in Worcester, MA. We took him home from the hospital 16 days after he was born.
Today, the baby has just turned two years old and we expect that his adoption will be finalized in early 2018. Our kindergartener is bursting with charisma and personality. He makes friends wherever he goes and his presence always brightens up the room. He is crazy about his little brother. The baby, now a healthy, rambunctious toddler is always smiling. He loves to dance and his speech is growing quickly. He loves his big brother and watches his every move always trying to keep up.
Adoption from foster care has its challenges but we have had an amazing experience overall. The most important things needed in order to become pre-adoptive parents are a stable environment, a support system and the ability and desire to provide lots of patient love to a child. You never have to take on anything that you don’t feel comfortable with. The idea that the children in foster care may have “issues” or “baggage” that adoptive parents will have to deal with is a concern we have heard several times. It is not easy to lose a parent and all children in foster care have experienced that loss in one way or another. While there are many parents waiting to adopt privately, this is not the case in adoption through foster care. Our children needed a family. They needed us as much as we needed them and we have found so much love and a beautiful harmony in our coming together as a single, complete family unit.