As this new year begins, I’d like to give some positivity, as well as some hope and encouragement to all the families who are thinking of adopting or have started the process and may feel like they’re sitting in limbo. It’s worth it, and worth the wait.
When I first started the adoption process I went in thinking, “there are plenty of children that need homes, this shouldn’t take long at all”. Oh was I wrong. Little did I know there would be classes and seminars, meetings, conferences, and all the sleepless nights. Going in I really wanted to adopt an infant aged birth – 2 years. Apparently, the most sought out ages. I kept telling myself, it’s worth the wait.
I found solace in documenting my process, live on FB. The amount of support and encouragement was overwhelming. I had no idea what to expect, I was going through this process as a single man, no previous children, and gay. I was worried it wouldn’t be well accepted, I was worried the adoption agency wouldn’t even give me the time, and worst of all, I was worried that no families would take me seriously. But, I was born to be a father, I could feel it down to my toes.
I jumped in feet first. I convinced myself I was doing this and I was excited. I had my family’s support, all my friends were thrilled, and my job was incredibly accommodating. I started my classes, I went to the seminars and conferences, but the portfolios I was seeing were not matches. Months and months went by and any bit of confidence I had was dwindling. I told myself, it’s worth the wait.
I started to give up, how could there not be one match? I must have looked at at least a thousand profiles. My family and Facebook following kept me going, my son was out there somewhere. They reminded me, it’s worth the wait.
More and more profiles went by with a lot of potentials, but no matches.
I decided to take things in my own hands and started looking through local adoption websites. Still in the mindset that I was getting my baby boy, eventually. Still waiting for that one profile that connected, I knew it was worth the wait.
I had seen a lot of profiles for babies and young toddlers. I had refreshed the page so many times I could recite those profiles by heart. So, I decided to increase the age. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…
I scrolled and scrolled, through weeks of reading and watching videos – still being “matched” by my worker. I was defeated. I was convinced I would never find him. That I’ve done something wrong and was being punished. I was not going to be a father any time soon.
While clicking next through the ages, I reached my max age, 7. I doubted I would even actually read these profiles as this age group was so far from my original plan.
But wait, click back, angels sang…I took one look at this childs picture. January 30th at 2pm – I saw my sons K’s first picture. I cried instantly, I felt this overwhelming emotion of love already, not even realizing I hadn’t even read this child’s profile. This was worth the wait.
I read the profile, watched the little video they had and emailed the link on the profile, all in one. I called my worker and told her the great news. I had found my son. She was hesitant and asked a million questions while contacting the agency he was associated with. We were on the right track. The wait continues – but, it’s worth it.
That excitement soon became doubt. My persistence no longer won. I was told only a dual parent family would be considered for this child as he has some “special needs” – and they feel he would be better suited with 2 parents. My worker moved on to the next profile.
I cried for days and days explaining to my worker that there is no point in even continuing the process, my son is K, I’m not ready to give up on him. We contacted the agency again, got the same response. I’m still not a dual parent family, but my qualifications speak volumes. I am worth the time and worth the consideration.
They budged, finally. The dedication and wait felt sooo worth it.
I had the opportunity of meeting with K’s worker and the foster family he had lived with for 5 years. They said they could see the love in my eyes when looking at pictures of him. They read my profile and asked all the questions. Much to my amazement, they had no objections, they’d be happy to continue the process. I was over the moon. I didn’t know what to think – I was full of emotion.
My worker and his set up a date to meet. What a feeling! I was going to meet my son and he had no clue! Now this wait I know will be worth it.
Fast forward 3 months – our first meeting.
As my best friend and I drove to met him, my emotions were in full force. I was laughing, I was crying, I was anxious and excited. It was only supposed to be a “blind meeting” – this meant no contact, just seeing what he was like with his foster family. As we walked down the long corridor, there he was behind a glass door. My knees went weak and I hid behind a wall. “There he is….that’s him!” I bawled my eyes out. The wait was over – but I couldn’t do it. Richelle had to take my hand and lead me through the double doors. “This is what you’ve been waiting for, this is it baby boy – let’s do this.” As we walked in, I didn’t want to stare, so we walked right by him and sat as far as possible. I cried again. We moved closer and closer – his worker came to us and asked – “excuse me, would you mind sitting here with K for a few minutes while his foster mom speaks with the Doctor?” I fumbled over my words, not expecting this at all. “Yes, of course” with confusion written all over my face. I sat next to him, took a deep breath and said “hello”. He glanced up at me, smiled and said nothing. I engaged him asking if I could colour a picture with him and he nodded and passed me a marker. Our first bonding moment. It was the best moment of my life. We spent the next 20 mins together before his foster mom came and said it was time to leave. My heart sank. I knew he wasn’t coming home with me that moment but a piece of me just wanted to grab him, hug him, and say “I hope you’ll except me as your new daddy” Instead I said “thanks for colouring with me, see you again.” I winked, smiled and waved. In that moment, my heart was full – he smiled back and said “k” – that was it. I nonchalantly reassured myself that he was the one and he accepted.
Although that meeting was amazing, now the real test had begun. Would he feel the same love for me? Our next meeting was booked for 1 month later.
In this time, I was sent piles and piles of booklets – all about my potential son. What to expect and how to deal. Part of me knew I should read everything, but a bigger part of me didnt want to. I didnt want to go in with any preconceived notions. I didn’t want to meet him and think to myself – ok well the book tells me this, and the book says I should do that. If this was going to work, I wanted it to be raw and I wanted to learn about him from him. So that’s what I did. I read about his bio family and their history; that’s it.
Fast forward to our first official meeting. He knew who I was right away, “we played games at my Doctor’s office”. His worker explained to him that since that meeting, “Dustin couldn’t stop thinking about you, and wants to see if you’d make a good match for a forever family” – he beamed with joy and I teared up.
We sat side by side, we coloured, we laughed and we hugged. We joked and poked fun at one another. Three hours passed and it only felt like 10 mins. We were off to an amazing start. I just didnt know how hard it would be to say goodbye. But I knew it was worth it.
I’m not going to try and lie – each visit and each goodbye got harder and harder.
The drive to see him was a long one – 2 and 1/2 hours each way – but I was willing to do it twice a week if not more. Even just to spend 30mins with him. Each visit we grew closer and closer. I told our worker that I wanted him to move in before school started, which only gave us 2 months. I had a whole life to rearrange in 2 months and I couldn’t be happier. Visits got more frequent and sleepovers began. He started to meet his family with each visit.
It was now August, my mom and her partner planned a family vacation to Malta for 2 weeks. This would be the longest K and I would be apart since our first meeting – so I knew our last sleepover would be emotional for me, but I was not prepared for how hard it would affect him. He spent the weekend in his new room and on Sunday night when it was time to take him back – we were driving back and he fell asleep. Monica (his new Auntie) came for the ride – because she knew how hard it would be for me to do the drive alone. We pulled into the driveway, I took a deep breath, and began to cry trying my hardest not to wake him. I got out of the car and opened the back door. He stayed asleep. I carried him to his bedroom and began to tuck him into bed. His eyes opened. He grabbed me tightly and began to weep, “I don’t want to stay DAD”. My heart broke. I had to keep my emotions in check and reassure him it was only 3 more weeks and then we would be together forever and ever. He walked me to the door and watched as we pulled out of the driveway, both of us blubbering uncontrollably. I pulled away to where he couldn’t see us and I pulled over. Sobbing. He had called me Dad! No one ever prepares you for that type of ANYTHING. A part of me was ripped from my heart. The longest three weeks of my life were about to begin.
We spoke as much as possible over and counted the days down together August 21 was move in day – we will get there and finally be a family.
The days went by and our countdown got to 1 more day. August 20th, my last day of being a single man. August 21st, the day OUR new life began.
Look at us now. Two years together. Two extremely happy years and a lifetime to look forward to.
IT IS WORTH THE WAIT
Thanks for reading our story ♡
(Photo Cred: Bethany Charters, DITR Productions)
January 29, 2019
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