Expanding the Family

The the process begins again, expanding our family. Our process is
so I thought it would be nice to get another (though
similar) perspective on the process here on the Family Equality
Council blog.

Mark Twain says history doesn’t necessarily repeat itself, but it
does rhyme. 6 years ago we did this process
, and after a series of emotional summits and deep
crevices, we added
our sweet and delightful (and headstrong, and independent, and
smart, and gregarious) Emma to the family

We’ve been attempting to start our second adoption for a while now,
but for various reasons it just didn’t take. It will take this time
:), we’ve made the steps.

Already we are getting a sense of deja vu, though there are

Time, process, experience, life have created a few differences.

The last adoption was a private adoption through an agency, this is
a ‘fost-adopt’ process through the county. There are some huge
differences, and striking similarities between the two and over the
next few months I’ll highlight them.

As a gay couple six years ago it seemed finding an adoption agency
that would work with us was a bit more of a search. They weren’t
difficult to find, but they weren’t ‘a dime a dozen’ (is anything
anymore?) either. It feels this time that finding an agency for a
domestic adoption isn’t quite as much a search. Of course then we
were living in Germany, so we had to narrow our subset of agencies
that would work with gay men further by those that would be able to
do homestudies and work with Americans living overseas. We found
the one (and maybe at the time the only one) that did, in
Pennsylvania. That subset might be larger now, three?

Since we live in the US now, we could have enlarged our search
space. Yet this time we decided to go with a fost-adopt process
with the county instead of a private adoption. In this process,
instead of working with an private agency to find mothers who have
decided to put their children up for adoption, we are working with
the county to find children who had to be taken from their home for
various reasons (there are a lot of pros and cons and praises and
criticisms we’d have of both systems… but those will have to wait
for another post). The child is a foster child in your home for
several months and then adopted, that’s the basics.

There are some huge differences right out the starting gate between
the private adoption and the county fost-adopt.

Cost is the big one. The private adoption ended up costing us up
towards 40,000 dollars (there was a failed one, there are no
refunds). The fost-adopt costs… nothing. In fact there is a small
stipend while the child is a foster child in your home and a
smaller stipend after adoption and health insurance is provided
till they are 18. The stipend isn’t near enough to cover the cost
of raising a child, but it is a bit of help. I hate the fact that
money and adoption are so, so very, intertwined as you’ve seen
(don’t get me started on lower costs for some children than others)
. Sadly, it’s a fact of life. And in the facts of our life,
financial considerations matter a lot right now.

There are other considerations of course, more important ones.
There are many children in the foster care program that desperately
need a home and we would love to have an older (2-5 year range, but
we are open to older) child (most children in the fost-adopt
program are older than two, most private domestic adoptions are
children younger than two). So their and our needs and wants match.
We have many friends who have adopted through the county in the
fost-adopt program, Emma has many friends adopted this way. We know
these adoptions work to make amazingly wonderful families (with
some work).

There are some similarities. Fears. And though there are minor
twists to the fears, they basically add up to the same.

Can we afford adding a child to our family? Living in San Francisco
isn’t cheap, housing, schooling, feeding. We feel stretched as it
is. We were stretched then, we are really
stretched now.

Will be disrupt our wonderfully blissful life?
Then? It was blissful then, 6 years ago. We found
our soulmates, I had a perfect job, we were living in a fairytale
town (Heidelberg) in Germany and were traveling everywhere, we had
a close community of friends, life was blissful. We were about to
disrupt that, would it all fall apart? Now? We
live a blissful life now, we still have our soulmates, we have a
wonderful daughter and a close friend (who started out as an au
pair :), I have my own company, we live in a beautiful house in an
amazingly stunning city, we have so many good and close friends and
family. Will it disrupt that? Will it all fall apart?

Could we even come close to loving this child as much as Emma? I
never thought, we never thought, it possible to love another
individual so completely, so instantaneously and without any
condition as it was this child in our home. I guess those are
similar fears then and now. I worried then about ‘bonding’ and
worry now. Before I had no experience of that deep bonding you have
with your child, and now that I do, I worry if it’s possible

Will our children love each other? There is so much more to this.
Emma is thriving, will this make it worse or better? I have to say,
she has wanted a new sibling so badly for so long, this will be
either a disappointment or the fulfillment of her dreams (or both

Oh the fears go on. But even in what I wrote above the answer to
those worries seem to be there. We’ve successfully navigated the
worries and have built a wonderful life, we will do it again. We’ve
planned and wanted a second child since the beginning, and now the
journey begins.

We’ve completed our orientation, our intake interview and our
training (20 hours over three weeks). We are working through
Family Builders here
in San Francisco and our training was done with A Better Way, both are great

Now the paperwork. Now, there’s a similarity. Mounds of paperwork
involving every intimate detail of your life from your financial
assets and debts to your relationships with your parents when you
were a kid. Paperwork delving into every aspect of your life from
your birth to your future plans. Nothing changed there. Had to do
it 6 years ago, have to do it now.

The paperwork will be done soon, we are then on to the homestudy (4
months or so) and the matching (immediate to months and

And it begins…