May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Today, we shout out our praise for the many LBGTQ+ individuals and families who are also members of adoptive families. YES – LGBTQ+ parents can adopt! Attracting different kinds of families, who bring unique strengths and experiences to their parenting journey, helps us to build a strong adoption community, capable of meeting the diverse needs of the children in our care systems.
We want you to meet one of these families, so we asked Silmar and Daniel to tell us a little bit more about their experience of adopting and parenting as a same-sex couple.
Voir ce post en français. Traduit par Silmar et Daniel .
What influenced your decision to come to parenthood through adoption?
You have to be really honest with yourself in understanding how much your life will change once you have children.
We spoke of kids on our first date. Although surreal to some, it was a relief to meet someone with similar family values. When the time was right, we did a lot of research about how we could accomplish that. Being a same sex couple (and one of us being an adoptee himself), adoption just felt natural.
What lead you to choose adoption through the public system?
We tried everything. After extensive research, using a surrogate was too expensive and brought up a lot of uncertainties. We sought out information on international adoption and discovered, at that time, that same-sex couples were not allowed. Therefore, we decided to go with domestic adoption. We also tried to adopt privately but it was public adoption that worked out for us.
What is special/unique about adoption?
Because one of us is an adoptee himself, that alone makes it a very special situation for us. My partner had only positive outcomes in life due to the love provided from his family to the point that he forgets that he is adopted. Our kids will be provided with a survival kit by an adoptee himself, which helps. The uniqueness of adoption starts on the true desire to have a child. Although some people might consider it corny, a child who’s adopted is indeed “chosen”. We truly believe that blood is not all that matters in a family, but the affinity and spiritual connections amongst the individuals who truly want that connection. And yes, we also believe there is some sort of spirituality in play.
Do you think being a same-sex couple affected how you experienced the adoption process?
Because we are a same-sex couple, being non-traditional is just an understatement: watching our children grow valuing diversity, and us becoming advocates for adoption ourselves, is really rewarding.
Yes and no. We ended up realizing that although we were not a first choice to some faith-based agencies, we were fairly accepted by them when we showed interest. We were simply not a match for other reasons. On another hand,
we had to learn not to be hard on ourselves. In the beginning we would rule ourselves out even before speaking to workers, simply because we are a same-sex couple.
One thing we learned about adoption is: let the agencies rule you out. You might miss an opportunity of a lifetime. It hurts hearing “no’s” but the reason behind it might be much deeper than just being a same-sex couple. Most workers know what they are doing when they match a family to a child. Being a same-sex couple is not an immediate reason not to be considered as a match for a child. On the contrary, there are a lot of biological families out there wanting their kids to be adopted by same-sex couples (our second adoption fell in that category).
What have you found most challenging/rewarding about parenting through adoption?
The biggest challenge for adoptive parents is to stop fantasizing the process and realize the hard work of what is yet to come. No relationship, regardless of sexual orientation, is an omnipotent vessel to sail the seas of adoption without rough waves and undertows. There will be a bit of sinking and it will feel sometimes that only one person in that vessel is scooping water out. Only as a couple you will successfully throw overboard what is making you sink and concentrate on what will work. The family will eventually weather the storm.
On that note, we had a lot of uncertainties regarding our own relationship during the first 6 months of our first adoption. When the hardships passed, we immediately went for our second adoption. It was the best decision we ever made.
As for rewards, what can we say that hasn’t been already written in great stories about parenting? It is family making at its best, with its perfections and imperfections. Because we are a same-sex couple, being non-traditional is just an understatement: watching our children grow valuing diversity, and us becoming advocates for adoption ourselves, is really rewarding.
Do you think being a same-sex couple has affected your parenting experience?
Extremely. Besides the reality that parenting is different for everyone, we researched a lot about the subject because we wanted to understand why every time we spoke to people regardless of sexual orientation, our experience and concerns differed. It constantly made us wonder if we were doing something wrong due to being a same-sex male couple. We were alleviated, however, by results of research suggesting that same-sex parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children as well as seeing other same-sex couples going through the same doubts as us.
What is one thing you want people to know about adoption?
You have to be really honest with yourself in understanding how much your life will change once you have children. Obvious point aside, although adoption is a wonderful happening, it is not for everyone.
There are a lot of emotional moments involved, especially if you go to an Adoption Resource Exchange Conferences (AREs) which you will at some point; when you show interest in a child and the agency says you are not the right fit or the opposite, the agency believes you are a fit but you have to decline the possible match, for whatever reason. Some couples get stronger during and after adoption, some do not.
We recommend everyone to participate on the Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education (P.R.I.D.E.) first thing in the process. It is mandatory but, by doing it first, it will give you more insight to find out if you are ready for the process or not. And, again, be honest of how much you can handle specially when stating what type of child you would like.
Adoption is different for everyone; however, every step of the process is worth it once you commit to it. And above all: network, network and network.
What is one thing you want people to know about parenting as a same-sex couple?
In our particular case, we found out that making friends with male gay couples exclusively, who have also adopted and were going through the same concerns, enriched our discussions, providing us with excellent feedback and examples. Furthermore, our children are turning out to become friends as they see each other from time to time.
It is recommended not to second guess or doubt yourself. The voyage of parenting is unique but everyone has a “parent switch” that unbeknownst to you is automatically on when you have a child.
Never give up. Read, advocate and be a voice for adoption.
Be honest and open with your child and above all, with family. You will face many questions from strangers, and most are not pleasant. The moment you adopt you become an educator for the masses. Provide emotional support and tips from what you have learnt to those that are still going to adopt.
Most importantly, your children will always out you to anyone. It is important to be comfortable with yourselves and your sexual orientation.
Interested in Adoption?
Join us to learn more about adoption and the options availble to you within Ontario:
- How to Adopt Webinar | Wednesday May 26th, 7-9PM | Learn More
- How to Adopt Mississuaga | Monday May 30th, 7-9PM | Learn More
More About Daniel & Silmar
Silmar and Daniel met over twelve years ago while out with their groups of friends. They became instant friends but were unable to connect better because each one was in a different path in life. They reconnected couple of years later while out with the same groups of friends and have never been apart since. Six years into their relationship they adopted their first son and a year and a half later, they adopted their daughter. Both Daniel and Silmar’s life commitment relates to taking parenting very seriously. To them, parenting is the perception your child will have through your eyes. The more love and understanding and structure you give, the steadier and positive a child’s perception of the world will be with hopes that they will be able to lead a good life of respect, integrity and family values.
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