Our adoption story. The good. The bad. And the COVID. 

November is National Adoption Month, a time to recognize and raise awareness of adoption issues and the need for adoptive families. To honor this month, LGBTQ+ parents share their stories.

My husband Lance and I have been together 13 years and have two children. Our 17-year-old is biologically my son. Our 2-year-old is biologically my nephew. In the beginning of my relationship with my now husband Lance, we talked a great deal about someday maybe having more children. We knew that it would take a great deal of time, money, and effort before we could achieve that goal. Until then, we knew that we were going to make the best memories that we could with our oldest son, Larken.

Jesse Knoth-Harrington and family
Jesse Knoth-Harrington (far left) with husband, Lance (middle), and their sons, baby Hudson and big brother Larken, on adoption day

Eleven years into our relationship, we received a call from my brother that would forever change our lives. My brother called to share the news that his girlfriend is pregnant and that they weren’t sure if they could keep the baby. I will not go into detail as to why, as that is family business. 

Without hesitation my husband reached out to my brother, stating that we would be more than open to adopting. Our hope was to keep the baby in the family if at all possible. We did not want to see another child lost in the system. We knew that we would give him or her the best life that we could. 

After some time my brother and his girlfriend decided that adoption would be the best option for them. My husband and I went into action. We hired legal counsel, found an agency that would accept an LGBTQ+ couple, took adoption classes, and submitted background checks, doctors notes, exams, financial records, references, questionnaires, and so much more.

COVID complicated the process. Some offices and agencies were shut down. Visitors to doctors appointments were limited. There were very strict guidelines along with regular COVID testing, temperature checks, and a list of questions. It was a lot, but we knew it was necessary. 

Hudson’s birthday

An induction appointment was scheduled for the safety of the mom and baby. We had a game plan. We had our own room at the hospital and I was able to join the mom during delivery. She was a trooper. I was even able to cut the umbilical cord. 

In the wee hours of October 3, 2020, we welcomed Hudson into our lives. Then we spent the next 24 hours together as a unit. We allowed the mom to spend some time with Hudson which allowed Lance and I to step away and deal with the legalities of the situation. Then we got to that moment where his mother was handed the paperwork and a pen. We stepped out for a little bit to give her some time. 

For us it was nerve-wracking because we knew that she could back out at any moment. But we prayed hard and had a lot of hope. Thankfully, everything went as planned. 

After a few more days in the hospital than we anticipated, we were finally able to go home and start our new life as a family of four. However, we isolated ourselves from everyone for quite some time. We did not feel comfortable potentially exposing Hudson to germs, colds, or possibly COVID. 

Zooming into adoption

Once we were home, our lawyer informed us that we were going to have to finalize the adoption over Zoom due to the pandemic. But we were not going to let that dampen our excitement! We were elated that we were going to be able to finalize things by Christmas. So, on December 18, of 2020, we put on our ugly sweaters, dressed Hudson up as the most adorable little reindeer, and logged into Zoom. 

Our lives and journey had forever been changed thanks to adoption. For Lance, he was able to experience raising a baby. For me, it was like dusting off some old training wheels. For Larken it was a whole new experience of being a big brother. 

Creating memories

Since Hudson joined our family, we’ve spent a great deal of time documenting his life. I journal to him all the time. I talk to him about the things that he says and does. I tell him about the experiences that we come across. I tell him about all the people he gets to meet. I tell him what is going on in the world. I write about the prices of things, the economy, politics, religion, and all the other topics that he will question as he gets older. Even as his visits from his biological parents have pretty much dissipated, we make sure that he knows how much he is loved and wanted. 

Hudson recently turned two. That boy is a miracle for us. He has forever changed our lives, and we would do it all over again!

Jesse Knoth-Harrington

Jesse Knoth-Harrington

Business owner, husband, and parent living in Indiana