An adoption story- lucky to live in Massachusetts

The following post is written by Bill Lorenz,  Family Equality
Council Director of Finance and Administration, and is presented as
part of our month-long focus on adoption and the Every
Child Deserves a Family Act.

After years of wanting, months of planning and even more months of
waiting, the dream of creating a family is now becoming a reality
for my partner and me.  As I look back on our journey, the path to
parenthood looks very different now than it did when we took our
first steps.  Starting out, we immediately found ourselves at a
crossroads and had to make some very important decisions on what
direction to take.  We agreed that adopting through foster care
was the best fit for us.  Aside from the fact that surrogacy was
cost-prohibitive; being biologically connected to our child
wasn’t a priority for either of us.  Private adoption was a
close runner up, but ultimately, we recognized and appreciated that
there are so many children in the foster care system that need a
forever home.  So, that was it, we turned our sites on the foster
care system and started on our way. 

The first milestone to cross was finding an agency to work with us.
 I’ll admit that I was leery about how a gay couple (even in
Massachusetts) would be received by the system.  Would they hold
us in the same regard as our straight counterparts?  Both my
partner and I always dreamed of having a son.  Would they shut us
out from adopting a boy just because we are men?  Would we wait
longer than others because we are not as a desirable match as a
heterosexual couple might be?  From the very beginning the
agencies we contacted embraced us and assured us that we would be
matched with children based on our ability to care for the child
and provide a loving home and not by our identity.  The mandatory
training course that we took was taught by a lesbian mom who had
also adopted through foster care years before.  In our class was
another gay couple.  The panelist of adoptive parents who came
into class to share their adoption stories also included a gay
couple.  The resource materials we were given included information
for LGBT families.   It was so impressive how inclusive the
Massachusetts system is of the LGBT community.   When we finished
the pre-work and began ramping up the matching process, our
positive experiences continued and we soon accepted that our
identity as a gay couple would not influence access or decisions on
the part of those charged with finding permanent and loving homes
for awaiting children.

At the beginning, we imagined adopting a child, a very young child,
no older than three.  And no way could we handle more than one! 
But at the end of the road, our destination found us at the feet of
a sibling group of school-aged brothers, one of whom has involved
special care needs.  The Massachusetts Adoption Resource
works to facilitate matches for children who are
typically harder to find adoptive homes for because they are in
sibling groups, are older, and/or have special needs.  They post
profiles and pictures on line and even hold adoption events where
prospective parents can interact with social workers and awaiting
children.  We were immediately drawn to the profile of two little
brothers, feeling some kind of strange connection when we read
about them and watched a video of them playing and talking about
themselves.  When we finally met them, we instantly formed an
inexplicable bond with them.  In the spark of a moment my partner
and I knew that we were destined to be the fathers of these boys. 
Sure, they were older than we had imagined and certainly the number
of kids has now doubled from what we originally planned on.  But
when it’s right, it’s right.  And it feels so right.

We learned that the boys had been living in separate foster homes
for years and there was serious consideration being given to
adopting them out separately, since it is so difficult to find
adoptive parents who want more than one child at a time.   It was
not looking good that these boys would ever find a home
together.   We all found each other just in time.

I wonder about those states where the LGBT community is restricted
from adopting through foster care; how many sibling groups are
permanently ripped apart simply because there is no one to adopt
them?  What if my boys had lived in one of those states?  Chances
are, they would either age out of the foster care system or be
adopted out to separate families.  Luckily, we’ll never know. 
As we move forward to finalizing our adoption, my boys now finally
have their forever home and will grow up together as it should
be.  They will never know the pain of separation again.  My
partner and I will finally realize our dream of becoming parents.
  I can’t help but feeling lucky- lucky to live in a state that
recognizes that my ability to parent a child is not defined by my
gender or sexual identity.  But many LGBT people, single or
coupled, are not so lucky.  They are still barred from adopting
through foster care.  But, who’s more unlucky?  Is it the LGBT
couple who want to adopt but can’t or those thousands of single
and sibling groups of children in the system who are needlessly
waiting to find their forever home.     For our boys, it
matters not that they now have two dads, but that they have a
loving and permanent place to call home…together.