Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a story written by Davidson Lloyd, an adoptive parent and one of the first gay couples to adopt through the Independent Adoption Center.
Many times in the journey of our relationship we talked about bringing a child into our family. We had excuses: we’re not ready. (Is anyone ever ready for children?) We don’t have enough money. Money never stopped our own parents from having five children, respectively. We wondered if our moment would ever arrive or would we keep putting it off until it was a dream of something we wanted to do but never pursued with full passion?
In October of 1997 my then partner, now husband, Tom Keegan’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. Her illness was sudden, unexpected and shocking to the family. She was “The Mother.” She raised five children of her own and partially raised five from her second marriage. By Thanksgiving the cancer had spread rapidly throughout her body and we lost her on December 1st. Tom was at her side when she died. That night he called me from the hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
His voice was quiet but edged with emotion, ”I feel this is the time to bring a child into our lives,” he said. Silently, on the other end of the telephone, I began to cry. There was no denying the mutual feeling transmitting through the telephone wires. That night, from separate American coasts, we placed an order for a baby far out into the universe.
We launched into research: visiting agencies, exploring surrogacy (far too expensive), investigating foster-to-adopt possibilities, adoption through a lawyer, the County, foreign adoptions, or a facilitator. We went to adoption workshops, seminars, classes and plowed through volumes of adoption books, magazines, and articles.
In 1998 we were in the vanguard of a wave of male couples becoming parents. The gayby boom was beginning to flower. Gay men were breaking through society’s prejudice that gay men, single and in relationships could not be parents; could not care for, nurture, support, love, or understand the complexities and realities of childrearing. Parenting is not gender specific. Good parenting comes from within. Just because you can make a baby doesn’t mean you can parent one.
After months of searching we chose an adoption agency, the Independent Adoption Center (IAC). We were attracted to the IAC because their mission was “open adoption,” where there might be some kind of contact with the birthparent(s) after the baby was born.
The IAC, at this time, had had only two same-sex adoption clients, a female couple and a male couple. They recommended we contact them. One couple said: “Your lives will change forever.” The second couple said: “It’s the most challenging job you’ll ever have and the most rewarding.”
I think we were hoping for something more; something that was particular to “gay parenting.” We would have to find answers through our own baby experience. It was an unknown adventure our hearts were about to embark upon.
You can read the rest of the story in an upcoming edition of “True Stories of Open Adoption.” To get the first edition visit Amazon.com