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“Why you gotta be so serious? Oh right, because we’re having a child!”

Photo of garden maze

The foster and adoption certification classes zoomed along and what at first seemed like a daunting (and quite possibly boring) ten-week undertaking, was soon flying by faster than we could turn the pages in our books.

In fact, just as we finally began to somewhat settle in and feel like we were actually able to understand the complex process and massive amounts of information being hurled at us, we were hit over the head with an onslaught of public opinion from family and friends, all of who it seemed had something (and often too much) to say. And while we realized that having a child would mean a change in lifestyle (say hello to 6pm dinner reservations), that disconnect in conversation suddenly turned into us discovering that the most comfortable place to be was simply at home. And so we slipped away.

As a first-timer to the world of foster-adopt, I found myself constantly saying that “you have to be totally naïve to go through with this” and yet, I don’t believe it has to be this way.

So what helped? What made it as “okay” as it could possibly be? First and foremost, it was our agency. To this day, we count our blessings at the decision we made to take this journey with the, even though the truth is, we really had no idea who “they” were. We went with our gut and selected an agency that we thought would work best for us and thankfully we were right.

I also hadn’t realized until someone to us told me afterwards that it was our ability to set boundaries and stick to them — starting with the three-year plan. Throughout this process, your boundaries will be tested, adjusted, compromised, extended, over-extended and made to feel limitless but you always need to know where they are and where you stand.

We said “three years” and we meant “three years,” and with everything that followed, we were equally as defiant. People, social workers, friends and family all pressed us to change our minds, re-route our course, move our age-range and re-think our vision but we stayed on point. And while everyone might have thought we were crazy or disagreed with our reasons, thoughts, beliefs, hopes, desires and fears, this was our path – no one else’s – and by standing up for our convictions and discussing openly and honestly what we were doing and why were doing it, only helped solidify our plan and make our boundaries that much stronger. I’d like to think this part of the process made “us” stronger too.

And so there we were, nearing the end of the ten weeks of classes, not only feeling that we understood the process better but that we knew ourselves better too. We had made some new friends in class, learned a lot about these former strangers and felt prepared for the next step in the process: the home study.

If only we had known…

To help find your path to fatherhood through gay foster care, surrogacy, or adoption, check out the GWK Academy.

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