Gay Adoption: Ready Set Wait

By Trey Darnell

Matt and Trey on a fall walk through the woods with Matt's sister Dulaney.

Matt and Trey on a fall walk through the woods with Matt’s sister Dulaney.

Hurry up and wait.  I am not sure there is a better phrase to describe the adoption process.  There is no known equation to determine how long the wait might last.  The time spent waiting has the potential to lead some down a path of self-reflection and endless questioning.  I often see posts made by other waiting families that have even started questioning whether they will become parents at all.  An adoption agency, a facilitator, and an attorney put in a lot of effort in representing their waiting families equally and positively.  A waiting family can and should help promote their wish to adopt.  The goal is standing out to that one expecting mom.

There are countless articles, blogs and recommendations for what a person could and might want to do while waiting to meet an expecting family.  Designing picture books and profile brochures.  Printing business cards with all of your contact information.  Email, Facebook and Twitter, oh my!  A simple Google search will produce thousands of pages of families and people who are trying to navigate their way through adoption.  When we wrote our first draft of our profile letter it was twice as long as our agency recommended.  I must say it is very difficult to condense everything you want to say in fewer than 1,000 words.

Approved Family for Open Adoption

The front cover of Matt and Trey’s adoption marketing material.

As a same-sex couple, Matthew and I have a unique opportunity to share our story of growing our family through adoption.  Instead of marketing ourselves as a couple hoping to adopt, we have a platform to promote gay couples parenting in general.  There has been no greater moment than now for us to open up about our lives.  Today, the Supreme Court will begin hearing testimony and discussions about marriage equality.  Now is the time for Matthew and me to share and speak.  When we started the adoption process, it was our wish to grow our family with a child and three months into our wait it has become much more than we could have imagined.

This past week we received an invitation to share our adoption story with H.E.R.O.E.S., a LGBTQ support group for students at East Tennessee State University.  This wonderful group meets weekly and works to promote equality through advocacy, education, and support.  Going into the evening, we both expected to give a few statistics and answer several questions.  Thirty minutes turned into an hour that quickly reached an hour and a half.  We both left the meeting feeling proud and encouraged.  Any apprehension we might have felt about opening up and sharing the ups and downs we have experienced quickly vanished for both of us.  We never thought of ourselves as activists but we hope by sharing our story that it will educate and make it easier for those who come after us.  Adoption will be part of us for a lifetime.

Our local newspaper asked permission to visit our home to interview us about adopting.  There were several concerns but we were very optimistic about how our community would relate to the story.  The interview turned from one scheduled morning into two separate days with a photographer.  We gained a friend and ally in the journalist -whether the story printed or not.

Matt and Trey's featured by the Johnson City Press about their journey to adoption.

Matt and Trey share their journey to adoption with the Johnson City Press

Waiting for Baby – Local Couple Look to Adopt ran in a recent Sunday edition and by mid-afternoon we had received an email from a same-sex couple in our area.  Excitement was the only way to describe how we felt about them reaching out to us.  This adorable, sweet couple shared their rollercoaster journey to adoption and showed excitement in ours.  Our biggest concerns when starting the adoption process were the home study and the finalization process.  They were successful in two adoption finalization hearings for a same-sex couple in East Tennessee and were eager to share their contacts and experiences to make it easier for us.  Matthew and I are thankful to the Johnson City Press for sharing our story because it allowed this couple to find us.  Reaction from the article has been nothing but positive.

Not trying to sound cliché, but the truth is, the wait will be as long as it will be.  We have no idea the length until we look back and reminisce.  This is just one small step in our journey to parenthood.  For now, we will share our story and happily promote the positives of gay parenting.  We are very thankful for the support from our community and feel blessed by those that are now a part of this adventure with us.  Adoption touches so many lives in so many ways and being able to hear the joys and the heartache provides more encouragement and optimism for us both.  Excitement is filling us as we continue to speak.  The truth is we will not have much time when the kiddo finally arrives.

-Trey

Find out more about Matt and Trey’s adoption journey at mattandtreyadopt.com

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