Arejay Encinas and his husband Mauricio Camargo wanted to become foster-adopt dads so they could help a child find a loving home. The gay dads live in Tucson, Arizona, and were married February 2015.
A little less than two years after their wedding, they received a call about a newborn who needed to be fostered. They said yes immediately. In October 2017, the little boy’s adoption was finalized. This is the story of two dads and their moving letters to their son Dylan on the day they became a forever family.
Arejay and his husband began researching and making inquiries about foster-adopt after their wedding in 2015. They began the process of becoming licensed with one agency but it wasn’t meant to be. After the training days were arranged, trips and work were rescheduled so Arejay and Mauricio could attend, their attendance was cancelled. Seemingly out of the blue, the agency contacted them and said they were no longer able to attend the training cycle and they did not recommend signing up for another.
“They basically said ‘good luck,'” shared Arejay, and then never offered them another chance to become licensed. Although nothing was confirmed, Arejay and Mauricio have their suspicions about the agency not being willing to work with them due to their sexuality.
Luckily, the couple soon found another agency, La Paloma, who made them feel welcome. They felt so confident with La Paloma that they recommended the agency to another same-sex couple who wanted to begin the foster-adopt process.
“They were incredible and even had a gay flag hanging in their office … they treated everyone equally.”
The licensing process took 6-7 months, and in January 2017, Dylan was born. He arrived at his dads’ house just days later and Arejay and Mauricio knew that he was their son. It took over 10 months but on October 20, 2017, Dylan’s adoption was finalized. The family celebrated the special day, surrounded by their closest friends and family, and then took Dylan on a vacation to San Diego to see the sea lions at La Jolla Cove
To help remember the day, Arejay and Mauricio each wrote heartwarming and moving letters to their son; letters that we’re sure Dylan will treasure one day.
From Arejay: “Dearest Dylan,
I have wished for you on every star, and prayed for you every night. I feel like I was searching the world for you, but kept coming up empty handed. Honestly, we were discouraged at times and even questioned if we were meant to be parents. But now looking back at it all, we were waiting for YOU this entire time. Waiting for you to light up our lives and waiting for you to complete us in a way we had only dreamt of. I remember holding you for the first time, and falling deeply in love with you and every day that grows with the incredible bond we share. I know our eyes or skin don’t match, but our hearts do. It is difficult at times to hear people say how lucky you are to have us, and how we saved you…when in actuality, you saved us. You gave your daddy and me a new sort of connection as parents and the opportunity to translate all this love we have for one another to something much bigger. I believe where there is great love, there are great miracles, and that is you, our miracle. When it is all finished, you will discover it was never random. Today we officially welcome you to our home, but since day one, you have been the piece that linked us together as a family. We cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives loving you, protecting you, and dong whatever we need to make you happy.
Happy Adoption Day my love, thank you for accepting us as your parents for now, and always. We love you to the moon and back.”
From Mauricio: “Hi stinky,
You don’t even know it but yesterday was a very important day for our little family. On January 6th, 2017 your Daddy and I received a phone call that would forever change our lives. We were told that what we had so longed prayed for and dreamt of had arrived on earth. On that day, we saw you for the first time and immediately our hearts did not belong to us anymore. As we walked into that hospital room and held you in our arms, we were living a miracle at one point we didn’t think would happen. The joy and love you bring to us can’t be described! You are that missing piece that completes us in every way. We often hear how could someone have ever given you up, but what they don’t know is that we wished for you even before you were born. You were in our thoughts even though our hearts had not met and now that you are here it feels like it was always meant to be. Every morning I wake up ready to say good morning as you smile and grab my face. I thought I was the happiest man the day I married your daddy, I found a partner that loves me unconditionally and who I want to grow old with. But now I watch him be your daddy and see his love grow even more with every passing day and true happiness is something I know can grasp. Yesterday, October 19th, 2017, we legally became a family though since day one you were part of us! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be your Daddies! Love you cookie!”