Our Adoption Journey: AJ and Daniel

We started the process to expand our family in 2006. We looked into several options but they were either too expensive or too difficult because we are a gay couple that lived in North Carolina at the time.

We felt rather hopeless at this point and then learned about another gay couple in Charlotte who had success adopting an infant through the foster care program in North Carolina. When we called the agency, they were happy to have a loving family interested in creating a home. In 2009 we had two foster children sharing our home.  Then in the fall of that year we learned about a four-year-old boy named Jackson.

Our original desire when we started the process was to get an infant that we could raise together from the very beginning, so we had to consider this carefully for both of us and for Jackson. We decided to have a meeting with him to see what we thought about him and more importantly, what he thought of us! It was love at first sight. We were pretty nervous about this first meeting and didn’t know what to expect. But Jackson was, and still is, precious with his blonde hair and blue eyes and his high little voice.  Within a month he moved in and the following August after his 5th birthday his adoption was finalized.

Two weeks after we finalized Jackson’s adoption, our second son Peyton was born. We received an email from a former co-worker who wanted to meet us. After meeting Peyton’s birthmother, she picked us to raise Peyton. It was a wonderful experience as she kept us involved in everything. We have maintained close relationships with Peyton’s birthmother and Jackson’s grandparents who have been very supportive of our adoption journeys the entire way.

In 2009 after Iowa ended the exclusion of gay and lesbian couples from marriage, we flew to Iowa to get married. Later in 2010, we learned that our marriage in Iowa would allow a second parent adoption so that we both would be legally recognized as parents, even with the inclusion of both names on the boys’ birth certificates.  In North Carolina, as a same-sex couple, only one of us could be considered the legal parent of our children.

When we learned that we both could be legally recognized in Iowa because of our marriage, we immediately decided to move back.  We wanted our children to have parents who were married so that they could have the security and protection of our legal marriage.  We moved in October of 2010 and the second parent adoption was finalized in March 2011.

Equal access to the rights and responsibilities of parenthood was imperative to us both. Being denied a legal tie to my son in North Carolina was unacceptable. That is why marriage equality matters to us and why we ultimately came to Iowa!

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