By: Jason Holling
Adoption was the path we chose to grow our family. We knew it would be filled with many ups and downs and roadblocks along the way. The hardest part was hearing people tell us “no” as we proceeded on our journey, and choosing to stay strong and seek out the positive people to surround ourselves with. Not to mention, living in Nebraska does not lend itself to gay friendly laws when it comes to marriage and LGBT parenting. For years, we did not even think it was possible for us to become fathers based on the state law regarding second parent adoption. But as we turned to the Internet and found couples that were adopting, we gained hope and pushed forward with our own plans to adopt. Our agency also opened our eyes farther to the possibility of growing our family through open adoption.
Early on in our journey, Justin and I decided we were ready to be fathers and we needed to be the change we wanted to see. We needed to push through all the people that told us “no” and “you can’t do this” to make it possible. We wanted to tell our child years from now that we stood up for what was right and made changes to the world to start our family. Justin and I formed a letter-writing event to Nebraska senators to promote a bill proposed to allow second parent adoption in Nebraska. We even ended up on the news the night of the event talking about why the bill was important to allow Justin and I both to adopt and be able to make health care decisions on behalf of our child. It was the first time we took a big stand in our journey. The bill is still in committee in Nebraska, so we know we will have more opportunities to fight for it in the upcoming year.
Several other times in our adoption journey we were told “no” by agencies in Nebraska that did not support LGBT couples. I remember the first call to start the home study when we decided to proceed with adoption. When I told her that Justin and I wanted to have a home study started, I was greeted with silence on the other end of the phone and then was told we should consider somewhere else to complete the home study. That was a polite way of telling us she did not support our relationship and the first door was shut. Justin and I don’t take “no” very well. We contacted another agency in town and they were incredible in working with us to complete the home study. It’s all about not giving up and pushing forward when one door closes to find the door that will open up for us.
So while our adoption journey has had many ups and downs already for us, at the end I think we are a stronger couple for it. We work together and handle each twist and turn of the journey together as a couple. And the more I think about “are we ready to be dads”, the more confident I am we are going to be strong, capable, and loving dads for our child as a result of breaking down the barriers.
Read more about Jason and Justin’s journey to become parents on JasonandJustin.com.