Friday, March 18, 2011

Adoption

When I was a kid, I thought that I would be married with kids by the time I was 30.

I've since stopped trying to predict things for myself.

But I know that I've always wanted to be a dad.  Still, I find it hard to quantify exactly why I want to be a dad, so I'm going to try here:  to me, it's about being able to share our lives and love with a child, being depended upon, being able to nurture in a child the same values and beliefs that are important to me, and contributing to who he or she becomes as a person.  But it's also small things, like a happy smile or laugh, making snow angels in the backyard, a first ballet class or soccer game - just seeing the world through a child's eyes.  And maybe even being a grandparent, one day, some day.

Wanting to be a dad is something that my partner and I have had in common since we met, and, after many years of deciding how we were going to do it, last year we put the ball in motion to start the process.  And this week, we have officially become prospective adoptive parents.

I'll admit that it's been a long process.  A long process.  Clearly, this isn't something that we've thought about lightly.  To paraphrase Dan Savage, we didn't get drunk one night, wake up the next morning and decide to be parents.  Like anyone - gay or straight - who wants to become an adoptive parent, there's a mountain of paperwork to be completed, meetings and classes to attend, and much, much, much information seeking.  And while we probably could have moved faster through the whole process, we deliberately took our time to make sure that we were always putting our best foot forward.  And, until now, we haven't really told a lot of people about it because (a) we've wanted to wait until we were actually officially on the list; and (b) we knew that no matter how well-intentioned, we would have had to face questions of where we were in the process, and having to admit not having made as much progress as we would have liked.

So that big personal project I alluded to a few postings back?  The one that was keeping me up into the wee hours of the morning?  We were putting together the narrative and photos for a printed profile book by which a birthparent would be choosing us as an adoptive family.  How do you put into words who you really are, or the parent you'll be?  How do you capture who you are as a couple?  How you do show in pictures the type of family you want to be?  All I can say is I'm happy that I'm a pseudo-writer by occupation, and that I inherited my father's snap-happy finger, because we had a good number of photos from which to choose.

How do I feel about becoming a dad?  Nervous.  Terrified.  Excited!  Who isn't?  I think I'm more nervous about the process of waiting to find out if we're chosen by a birthmother or birthparents than I am about actually being a dad.  I come from good stock, so I'm pretty confident that I'll be pretty good at it.  I know it will be a tremendous life adjustment - for the rest of our lives - but we can't wait to have a child to raise.  Yes, even through those sometimes-challenging teen years we hear so much about...

Now the really hard part begins - the wait.  Or rather, the stuff we're going to do while we wait.  We need to spread the word, and be active.  We've heard that a good percentage of matches between birthparents and adoptive parents are made through personal connections.

So, sometime in the very near future, gentle readers (especially those of you on this side of the Atlantic, and south of the 42nd parallel), I hope to enlist your help in spreading the word about our plans to adopt.  We're fully licensed to adopt a newborn child, and - through our agency - we can work with a birthmother in any state that allows same-gender adoption (which rules out Arkansas, Mississippi and Utah - but not that I really wanted to visit those states anyway).  We're still trying to figure out how we're going to get the word out - at the very least, a Facebook page - so please check back here for updates.

In a sense, it's a bit of a relief to have "outed" myself as a prospective adoptive parent.  While many of our friends know, for a fair number, this is the first time you may be hearing of our plans.  And there's so much that I've been wanting to say about this experience, but that I haven't felt ready to share until now.  So expect more adoption-related posts in the future.  Many, many more.

Because we really, really want to be dads.

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