Billy and Jason recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy into their home and growing family. Beau is their second child and though they had also adopted their 4-year-old daughter Louisa, the dads still had many of the same questions to consider that they did before their first adoption: Can we responsibly afford another adoption? Can we take the needed parental leave? Are we emotionally ready for the match process and the potential heartache that comes along with it? In many ways, Billy and Jason were prepared at least with what to expect about the adoption process but it still took a bit of time for them to decide whether or not they were ready to jump back into the emotional rollercoaster of adoption.
For their second adoption, Billy and Jason worked again with Courageous Hearts Adoptions Specialist, Laronda Southworth. They say that a piece of advice Laronda gave them the first time around stuck with them – “every adoption has its own life and there is no normal.” This, along with their own experiences of their first adoption, helped prepare them for the path ahead and they count themselves fortunate to have had Laronda by their side with her years of experience and helpful wisdom.
When asked what they learned from their first adoption that was particularly helpful the second time around and could be helpful to other hopeful parents, they had a few bits of advice. First, during their adoption of Louisa, they found the whole process a bit disorienting but found it helpful to try to put themselves in the shoes of the expecting and birth mothers, to understand the situations they may be facing, allowing themselves to build empathy and compassion for the mothers which would help them build a bond once matched. Second, they said to “be authentic in the way that you present yourself, both in your birth mom book and once you match and start communicating.” Despite all of the nerves and emotions when you start communicating with an expecting or birth mother, this authenticity and sincerity will always shine through and be noticed. Finally, they advise hopeful parents to build a community of other adoptive parents: “it can feel very lonely when you’re the only ones going through it and don’t have anyone who can relate to such a unique experience. We’ve built a community of gay, adoptive dads in our area so that our kids can grow up seeing families that look like theirs.” If you live in a more remote area, they suggest seeking out social networks online to ask questions, swap stories, and encourage each other.
In the four years since adopting Louisa, Billy and Jason can say that all of the logistical and emotional work that goes into the adoption process is more than worth it to become a parent: “Louisa and Beau have become the center of our lives, and have filled our lives with joy and purpose we didn’t know was possible.” Though they know that becoming a parent is a challenging experience, it is by far the most rewarding and they encourage waiting parents not to lose hope.
One of the opportunities that adoptive families are presented by adopting with Courageous Hearts Adoptions is the encouragement of open adoptions. This allows families to remain connected to the birth mothers and families, though it is ultimately the decision of the expecting or birth mom and can change over time. Billy and Jason count themselves as fortunate to have established a bond and consistent communication with both birth moms of their kids. They’ve traveled to visit Louisa’s birth mom and plan to schedule visits with Beau’s too. “We are grateful every day for the courage and incredible strength of our angel moms!”
Further, the dads love the bond that is growing between their children. Louisa will tell anyone who will listen about “her baby.” Though Louisa’s understanding is limited, she does know that she grew in her birth mom’s belly and that her birth mom has a special place in their family. They know that both Louisa and Beau will have questions and emotions about their adoptions as they grow older, but the dads are comforted knowing that the siblings will have each other to lean on because of that shared experience.