This guest post is by Casey Cavalier, a hopeful adoptive father. It is part of A Dad’s Devotion, a month-long series of original stories related to adoption, fatherhood and Father’s Day.
I came out during The Reagan Years. I was twenty-years-old and parenthood was not at the forefront of my mind. This was not because I was young.
It was because most gay men in those days did not see fatherhood or marriage as a possibility. Our community was fighting the AIDS epidemic and not becoming a statistic took precedence. Starting a family seemed a frivolous dream that came and went. But it was a dream I never let die.
Flash forward to 2012 and I am in the sixteenth year of a strong relationship. I live in a subdivision in the outer suburbs of Dallas. Fatherhood now seems more like a need, not a wish. My biological-fatherhood-clock is ticking loudly. “You’ll make a great dad,” claim friends and family. I am ready. I am waiting.
Making open adoption work
To realize the dream of parenthood my partner and I are determined to make open adoption work for us. For two years we have put ourselves out there, electronically and emotionally, as we try to match with a pregnant woman seeking parents to raise her unborn child. It’s complicated in its simplicity. The success of this process lies, initially, in the hands of the birthmother who must select us from all the others.
We enlist an adoption agency to guide us. We craft a brochure and website to prove our worthiness; a toll-free number emblazoned on each. Over time, our optimism waxes and wanes, but never disappears. It’s a numbers game, right? Somebody is bound to pick us. Aren’t they?
Every now and then the phone rings, or an e-mail is received. Most calls do not pan out. Most e-mails are fraudulent. There are, says our agency, people who prey on hopeful adoptive parents and try to bilk them out of money in a variety of ways.
We huddle in a small conference room in Atlanta with other prospective parents for a couple of days. We are trained to spot fraud and taught what to do when real calls come through. We see photos of families who have completed the adoption process, many of them standing next to judges who have sealed the deal.
And then they enter. Into the conference room comes two gay men and their adopted infant daughter, asleep in a car seat. They look like unicorns to me. I’ve never seen this before.
In the months and years that follow we continue to prepare ourselves and our home for a baby. A guest room is converted to a nursery. Names are selected.
Thinking about adopting options
Our family insists we consider foster parenting. Friends suggest international adoption. Others wonder why we don’t want to use a surrogate. We explain that we’ve spent ten years thinking about adoption and its alternatives and we are certain that open adoption is what’s best for us.
There are business cards in the console of our car that list our website address next to a photo of a pudgy-faced baby. We pin them to coffeehouse bulletin boards to make it seem like we are doing something other than just waiting. Perhaps a birthmother will wander by after ordering her latte? In reality, this is a waiting game. We are certain that the right birthmother will one day select us to parent her child.
In the mean time I am surrounded by children everywhere I go. My yearning to be somebody’s dad or father or papa has reached a peak. In public, no baby or toddler goes unnoticed. Raising a child seems like the most difficult and potentially the most rewarding job on earth.
Crying babies no longer bother me. When I see examples of what I deem bad parenting I am convinced I can do better. “You just wait,” say parents of children we know. I’m waiting, I remind them. I’m waiting.
Casey Cavalier is a writer who lives in Denton County, Texas with his partner and two dogs. You can learn more about him at his new blog, Arrivals, Departures and Baggage Claim, or at his adoption website, where inquiries by prospective birthmothers are most welcome.
Do you have an adoption story?
Share it with us as part of A Dad’s Devotion, a month-long series of original stories by adoptive parents, birthparents and hopeful adoptive parents and adoptees. How has adoption changed your definition of fatherhood or family? What impact has adoption had on your life and what do you want people to know about it? Submit your story here or learn more by checking out our Guidelines For Guest Posts at America Adopts!