The New Dads on the Block

5 May

Matt and I have always wanted to be parents. Long before we met each other–in fact, even as teenagers–we always knew we wanted to have children someday.

Matt and I met in November 2008 and fell in love that winter. Exactly three years to the day after we met, we got married in Central Park, surrounded by friends and family. Now, six months after the nuptials, we’re both ready to set out on the journey of becoming parents.

Yes, of course, becoming parents is slightly more complicated as two guys. We can’t just make a baby in the privacy of our home and, nine months later, have a newborn in our Baby Bjorn as we stroll the farmer’s market for fresh produce. But, thankfully, there are many options open to us (and all couples, regardless of sexual orientation) in becoming parents.

Matt and I started the journey of becoming parents today with an informational meeting at Family Focus Adoption Services, an adoption agency in New York City (where we live), which has been around for more than two decades, and is well-known as an agency that works very happily with same-sex couples. In fact, at the informational meeting we attended, there were three young same-sex male couples in attendance, along with two straight couples.

So, here’s what we learned at today’s meeting: Adopting a child will cost about $25,000-$30,000. There’s a good chance it will be a multi-year process. The first big step is setting up a home study with a social worker, which is a months-long process of vetting us as a potential adoptive couple (a non-refundable process that will cost just over $1,500).

After all the initial screening and bureaucracy is complete, the process of essentially advertising ourselves in any way possible to potential birth mothers begins. There are a slew of websites expecting moms can visit if they want to place their children for adoption, and these days moms can essentially browse the sites and pick a couple they want to have their child. The agency then serves as the impartial middle man, helping bring the whole process together, from the initial contact to the day there’s an infant swaddled in Little Giraffe blankets in your arms. (There really are too many great baby product and clothing sites out there to browse for my own good.)

There are many other ways and places to advertise the fact that you’re a couple that would like to adopt children, of course. They suggest reaching out to hospitals, women’s clinics, churches, etc. Word of mouth, as we learned today, can also be hugely helpful. We heard a story today about a grandmother who was getting her hair done at a salon, talking about her son and his husband, who had just announced they wanted to adopt. The woman washing hair a couple chairs over overheard the conversation. That woman was pregnant and wondering what to do, and that day at work she’d found the couple she’d eventually give her baby to. Kind of amazing, right? You never know how and when and where it’ll happen.

Matt and I want to visit a few more agencies before we settle on one, but we enjoyed meeting with Family Focus today, and definitely consider them a contender. But, there’s still quite a bit more footwork and reading to do before we make a final decision. We certainly hope to make that choice early this summer so we can get things rolling in what may very well be a marathon process.

Aside from all the reading and research, discussing and pondering, Matt and I are very excited and happy to have started our journey in becoming dads together.

And, who knows? Someday soon we might just be the new dads on your block.

–Josh

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