For all the adoption talk I do on here, I don’t think I’ve ever shared the story Liam’s adoption. So here it is, my 500TH blog post and the story of how we became parents.
Sometime around 2001, after having been together 8 years, Hilary and I started to talk more seriously about having children. Obviously since we are a same-sex couple, this was going to take a bit more planning then just deciding to stop taking a little pink pill every day. We were both young (30 and 31), reasonably healthy and had no reason to think either of us had any fertility issues. We figured our best option was to use donor sperm and have one of us get pregnant. So we found a doctor, did all the prelim work and picked out a donor. We also decided that Hilary would be the one to carry our first child and that I would later carry our second child. Through a variety of circumstances we only ended up trying one month. We planned to try again in the spring of 2002 when we got back from a trip to the Dominican Republic.
We went on our trip and had a fabulous time. Baby making was pretty far from our consciousness as we drank rum laced drinks while lounging on the beach. We got back to cold and dreary Nova Scotia and headed back to work on Monday morning, April 29th. Both Hilary and I worked at the same office and had not kept our baby plans a complete secret. We weren’t shouting it from the rooftops, but when couples work together, there seems to be very little that they can keep private. Especially when you keep going to doctor’s appointments together. People were starting to wonder if one of us had some serious medical problem that were weren’t telling anyone about!
That afternoon a co-worker, “S”, approached Hilary with an odd question – “Have you and Andy ever considered adopting a baby?” As it turned out “S’s” sister was pregnant and had recently moved to Halifax with the intention of making an adoption plan for her baby. “S” and Hilary chatted some more and Hilary promised that she and I would talk about it that night. We had briefly considered adoption as a means to form our family, but the wait times to adopt a newborn domestically was around 5-6 years back then (it can be as high as 10 now). I don’t think either of us even considered international adoption, which probably would not have worked out anyway as very few countries will allow same-sex couples to adopt. And we didn’t feel that we wanted to adopt an older child from foster care.
That night we talked it over. We decided to meet with “K”, and see where things went from there. So that Saturday we met up with “K” and “S” at a local restaurant for lunch. We found out that “K” was already 6 months pregnant and due in July! She did not want to go through an agency and have to pick parents for her child from a book of “Dear Birthmother” letters. She wanted the chance to meet the people, get to know them and ask any questions that she may have. We spent a few hours that afternoon getting to know each other. And then Hilary and I went home. “S” let us know that she would call when and if “K” made a decision. We were cautiously excited about the idea of becoming parents. We didn’t know how long we should expect to wait to hear, so when the phone rang later that afternoon, we never dreamed it would be “S”. But it was! “K” wanted to move forward with us and make an adoption plan together.
The next two and a half months were a whirlwind of paperwork and a homestudy. Most people who are planning to adopt here in Nova Scotia take about 1 year to get all their paper work completed and a homestudy done. We had about 10 weeks.
We were very lucky in that “K” asked us to be present at the birth. We got the call at 11:00 on a Thursday night. It was time. We spent the night in the hospital keeping “K” company and holding her hand while she got an epidural. However, as the night turned to day and there was still not much progress, the plan quickly turned to a c-section. “K” was TERRIFIED of needles, so the idea of major surgery – while awake- was overwhelming. She could have one person in the OR with her, and we all knew that she needed her sister there for support. We wished her well and watched her being wheeled away. Hilary and I then spent a lot of time pacing hallways and calling our parents. We kept trying to find someone who could tell us what was going on, but no one seemed to know. Finally a nurse carrying a pile of blankets came to get us. Only it wasn’t a pile of blankets that she was carrying, it was a baby! Baby Liam! (side note – that is Liam’s favorite part of the story, when we thought it was just a pile of blankets) She took us up to a room and handed us the baby. We got to unswaddle him from the pounds of blankets and we just stared and stared.
As per Nova Scotia law, all newborns who are being placed for adoption have to go into foster care for a 17 day waiting period. Since Liam was born on a Thursday, the adoption agency told the hospital that they wouldn’t have a foster spot for him till Monday so that Hilary and I could spend the weekend with him at the hospital. They were full up, but found us an empty reading room and brought us a cot and rolled in a bassinette for Liam. “K” had chosen to not see him after he was born and was in a private room on the same floor. We would leave Liam in the nursery and go down to visit with her and help her out any way we could. We had some good talks and some tearful moments, especially when she was discharged. “K” had arranged with the agency that they would give us permission to visit Liam while he was in foster care so that we could get to know him during those 17 days.
Those 17 days seemed like an eternity. After spending a pretty sleepless weekend at the hospital, both Hilary and I had to return to work on Monday. The only foster family the agency could find for him was over an hour outside the city. We would work all day till 5:00, grab some fast food, eat in the car and drive out to spend an hour or so with him, just to drive home and do it all over again the next day. It was an emotional roller coaster as well. Here was this beautiful little boy that we were falling in love with by the second, who wasn’t ours, and we wouldn’t know for more then 2 weeks if we would ever get to bring him home. We knew that “K” still had to make the hardest decision of her life on day 17 when she made the final choice to sign the termination papers.
She did decide to sign the papers that day, and on July 29th, 3 months to the day since “S” first approached Hilary, we too signed papers and become Liam’s parents-forever.