November is National Adoption Month and while not as noteworthy as the recently celebrated National Donut Day, I do believe it deserves a mention if for no other reason than because for the majority of the 400,000 kids currently in foster care in the United States there is no home, but for the 10 billion donuts baked every year in this country there is a home (and I know this to be true because I personally ate 5 billion of them last year).
I had wanted to be a Dad for as long as I could remember, almost as long as I’d been eating donuts. Having a family was the future I imagined for myself. When I was younger that family photo included a very understanding wife who would happily give me the six kids I wanted. As I got older and realized that I was gay, that photo changed. I still imagined the six kids, but my very understanding wife was now a hot guy named Juan. In the end I got my guy and, while he lacked the ethnic flair of Juan, we built a perfectly imperfect life together. We talked about starting a family very early in our relationship. I can remember the two of us in that impossibly tiny twin bed in my apartment in Freeport discussing it. It was something we both wanted. We discussed it at length, revisiting the idea often over the years. It seemed to always be there – hanging over us just slightly out of reach because, really, who would give two guys a kid? It just didn’t seem to be in the cards for us.
I remember asking Todd if we were ever going to have a family and he said, “No, it just wasn’t going to happen.” It was devastating to hear and I was angry with him for saying it, but I realized he said it for the same reason we had done nothing more than imagine the idea: FEAR. We had talked and dreamed and schemed but we had never taken any real action. In fifteen years, we had done nothing more than float the idea as if that alone would make the dream a reality.
So one day we did something. Because it’s that easy. Because adoption is easy. Yes, there are hundreds of pages of paperwork to fill out, and yes, your privacy will be invaded, and yes, the process will seem never-ending, and there will be days of rejection that crush your soul where you feel absolutely inadequate and lose all hope. But as someone who once directed the single worst production on record of the William Wycherley play The Country Wife, I like having my soul crushed. And besides, I didn’t mind the paperwork. I think filling out all of those forms brought Todd and I closer together. As for the countless home interviews and personal questions, well, they were just a chance for me to talk about my favorite subject: me.
The only downside was the waiting. It was the waiting that almost did us in. But here’s the truth: the waiting is only bad when you’re actually waiting. Yes, days seem like months and weeks feel like years, but from start to finish it really didn’t take that long. We walked into the adoption agency on August 7, 2012, and by November 1, 2012, we were officially certified as viable adoptive parents. On April 19, 2013, we read Chris’s profile. Five weeks later on May 29, 2013, the state of Oregon approved us as his foster parents and finally on July 8, 2013, we met our son for the first time. We finalized the adoption on May 21, 2014. Now when I think back on that time I just look at it as the world’s longest pregnancy.
And it was worth every minute, every stretch mark, every piece of paper, every personal question. The waiting. The rejection. The feeling that you just don’t measure up. Yes, this process will break you heart every day until one day you walk up the stairs past the room that used to be your bedroom before you turned it into a kid’s room and in that moment it will all make sense because there he is, your kid. The kid you adopted. The kid who it feels has always been there.