By Trey Darnell
Hello! We are Matthew and Trey from Johnson City, Tennessee, and we are adopting. We are a same-sex couple hoping to grow our family through open adoption. The hope of sharing our story is to give you a glimpse into our life, the adoption process for a same-sex couple, and the positive message of becoming gay parents.
Here is a very quick introduction. Matt is employed as a Registered Nurse and I am flying high as a Commercial Airline Captain. Matthew was born in Glendora, California and I am a native of Kingsport, Tennessee. Our story, as a couple, began in 2007 through the power of MySpace. (I am almost certain that got a few giggles.) Our connection sparked over a picture of Matthew in front of an In-N-Out Burger restaurant. We share our home with two cats named Barbara and Beezer. To be completely honest, they allow us to live with them. Matthew and I are best friends and we laugh a lot. We enjoy being competitive with each other, and we are very excited to become fathers. Do you want to know a guilty pleasure of ours? Nerf gun wars in the house.
Our journey to becoming parents started in August 2012 while on a road trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to- apologies to Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, and West Elm- visit Ikea. Matthew wanted to browse through the modern-looking furniture, and I wanted the Swedish meatballs. We already had the usual criteria before starting a family, like solid careers, a large enough home, a big yard, and financial stability. So there we were in a Holiday Inn in Charlotte, North Carolina when we looked at each other and said, “Let’s adopt!”
What does anyone do when they want to find out how to do something? Google it. Excitement, giddiness and optimism were all reactions that we had. We did our due diligence researching the process of adopting, possible agencies, and the differences in open and closed adoptions. We decided on adoption over a surrogacy to prevent the choice of who would be the biological father. Matthew and I are indecisive when trying to decide where to have dinner; we could only imagine the process of deciding who would be the sperm donor. (It is a little embarrassing typing “sperm”.) Emails and information requests allowed the excitement to build. At this point, it was way past midnight and we needed sleep before our return home the next morning.
While still feeling the euphoria of all the positive information we obtained from our online research, we didn’t float back to Earth; we came crashing down. Matthew and I received the following email from a prominent domestic adoption agency,
Thanks for asking about our Domestic Program at Bethany Christian Services.
Our agency has not proven to be the best fit for same sex couples, as the birthparents looking to make an adoption plan for their child through Bethany are overwhelmingly looking for more traditional, married couples to place with. That tends to be the reason they come to our agency as opposed to working with other secular or public agencies. I certainly do not wish to mislead you or “just take your money” when the chances of receiving a placement would be unlikely. As you live in the Tri Cities, I would recommend that you contact Harmony Adoptions, Youth Villages or the Dept. of Children’s Services office in your area. These agencies, I believe, could serve you well.
A traditional married couple? Really? We would never fit into that category. Our state does not recognize marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships of same-sex couples. Questions of doubt started to form. What family would choose us? How will we ever be parents? What are people going to think and say? The email was not meant as hurtful but it was successful in being destructive. Now what do we do?
As I sit here with two cats staring at me, I can tell you we are proud of not being a traditional couple, and we feel ecstatic about our journey to becoming dads. How does one go from a pessimistic view to a very optimistic attitude? Exactly what anyone would do: go on vacation. So we took a weekend trip to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a free monthly informational session offered by the Independent Adoption Center (IAC). We were both surprised to learn that it was also the same weekend of Atlanta Gay Pride. I personally had never been to a gay pride event. Did you know Dykes on Bikes always start a gay pride parade?
I can honestly say that weekend with the IAC and the Pride events changed everything for us. Today we are proud to declare we are a same-sex Christian couple from East Tennessee, and we are on the way to becoming fantastic parents. The journey will consist of adoption and then eventually marriage. Can anyone say shotgun wedding? They say traditional. We say boring!
Read more about Matt and Trey’s quest to become parents on MattandTreyAdopt.Com