Every adoption story is special and unique. For many parents in the LGBTQ+ community, adopting a child can feel especially meaningful. Adoption was not always possible for LGTBQIA+ couples, and some still face challenges today.
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court made it legal for same-sex couples to marry and grow their families through adoption. Before that historic legislation, many states had their own sets of rules, and far too many did not allow same-sex couples to adopt a child in the same way that heterosexual couples have been doing for hundreds of years. Since the Supreme Court ruling, some states have passed their own legislation, allowing private adoption agencies to discriminate against potential adoptive parents based on sexual orientation or identity.
Adoptions With Love fully supports our LGBTQ+ adoptive parents. We work with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, non-binary parents just as diligently as we do with our heterosexual, cisgender families. For many parents, unfortunately, finding a supportive LGBTQ+ adoption agency does not come as easy.
For John and Jay, the journey to becoming parents was one that was met with respect, support, and loving guidance. The pair focused on their relationship and careers for 18 years before taking the plunge into parenthood. Though they waited nearly two decades before starting a family, the two have certainly learned a lot over the past few years.
Here is John and Jay’s adoption story.
On Finding an Adoption Agency
Before starting their adoption journey, John and Jay did their research. They met with five local adoption agencies. Not only did this help them decide which agency would be best for them, it helped them learn about the adoption process itself.
“Everyone we met was nice and very helpful, and we faced no discrimination along the way. I believe each of the agencies had same-sex couples waiting in their Adoptive Parents group.”
Ultimately, the couple chose to work with Adoptions With Love. They say they liked the team, had friends who adopted through them, and liked that Adoptions With Love’s placement rate was higher than any other agency.
“Everyone at [Adoptions With Love] was terrific. Amy guided us through the paperwork and Home Study interviews, and Nancy lead our post adoption group. It was a good amount of work, but not difficult, and I think we had read enough before we began the process to know what to expect.”
John and Jay were surprised by the value of being paired with a group of first-time parents, both before and after the arrival of their son.
“We became good friends with these families, and although we don’t get together as often as we would like, it has been an important experience for both the kids and the parents.”
The Big Arrival(s)
Just a few months after completing the Home Study process, John and Jay learned that an expectant mother named Maggie* had chosen them … and that she was in labor!
Communication with Maggie went through Amy, and the new parents did not meet Maggie in person until 18 months later, when they learned she had given birth to another baby boy.
“…We were delighted to meet our second child.”
After the birth of their second son, John and Jay met Maggie in person for the first time and spent some time with her.
“Since then we have written letters to her and she sent some of her artwork to us and the boys. While we would love to have more interaction with her, we decided from the beginning that we would follow her lead on how involved she wanted to be.”
John and Jay’s sons are now 11 and 10 years old. While having “two under two” was not easy at first, the parents say they are now enjoying the benefits.
“Being only 18 months apart, neither remembers life without their sibling. Yes, they bicker and argue, but our boys are very close to each other. Their personalities and skills are very different, but they share many interests and are very outgoing.”
John and Jay say they think the biggest challenge will be when the kids face comments about having two dads.
“They’ve told us that some kids think it’s weird, and the boys have heard some derogatory words, but so far they are very matter-of-fact about it. In most ways, the challenges John and I face in raising kids are no different than any other parents.”
John and Jay say their sons are growing up knowing there are many different types of families. There have been situations where they say their family has needed to adjust, but they include the boys in those discussions and decisions.
“In preschool, our older son decided to take our framed photo of Maggie to the Mother’s Day Breakfast. Our younger son chose to sit at a table with his friend’s mom. When their friends ask why they don’t have a mom, they explain that they do have a mom and she lives in New York and that they have two dads.”
Adoption Advice for Other Prospective Parents
John and Jay recall some advice a good friend once gave them: “Answer the questions they ask, because those are the answers they are prepared to hear.”
They also have this advice for new adoptive parents or those waiting to adopt.
“Be yourselves and don’t worry about who might not choose you. The birthmother/father will pick you for who you are and because they relate to you in some way. The right person will choose you.”
“One other thing: read “The Kid” by Dan Savage. It’s both a fun and educational book about his and his husband’s journey through adoption.”
If you would like to learn more about adoption for same-sex and transgender families, contact Adoptions With Love. Call us any time of day, any day of the week at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or reach out to us online.
You can also read more of John and Jay’s story in our new eBook, “A Guide to LGBTQ+ Adoption” below.
*Birth mother name was changed for anonymity.