I became an uncle in January of 2005 and did not realize how strong my parental instincts were until I met my nephew, Hunter Benjamin. As a single man, I decided at that time that I would adopt a child – on my own. My adoption journey started in April of 2005.
I contacted Family Adoption Consultants in Michigan to be my home study agency and was paired with my first social worker, Cher. I met with Cher and was then re-assigned to Laura because of my location. Laura and I hit it off well and my home study was finished in four months.
In June 07, I was able to travel to Seattle and meet with Megan at WACAP. This was rare for Megan to meet out-of-state prospective parents, but I am glad we were able to meet and get to know each other better. A baby had just become available and I was one of the final three families. Another family was chosen for that match and my hopes were dashed for the sixth time. I was getting frustrated but thanks to my social worker team – I was not getting down.
In early August of 2007, I was preparing to open a residence hall on a college campus in Michigan when a new baby boy became available. It seemed like any ordinary baby. I responded to Megan that I would be interested in being considered. The baby was located in Maryland and would be through Adoptions Together in Silver Springs. August 13th I was told that I was being considered as one of three final families for placement. I did not think much of it, as this had been the case six other times. August 15th Megan called me and said that I was one of two families left and one of us would be selected by the end of the week. I went into shock and excitement, as this might be the one. I tried not to get too excited or tell too many people, but at the same time I needed to get a little more prepared. It was hard to work but on Aug. 16th - and at one of the busiest points in my day – Megan called. I fondly remember crying immediately after I knew it was her. My heart sunk and I knew this would either be one of the best days in my life or another close call. We talked for a brief minute and then she told me what I had waited almost 2.5 years to hear – You are now a Father! I was given 24 hours to look over the medical information and accept the placement. I had really already made up my mind before hanging up the phone. Now I still had a residence hall to open and student staff to train before leaving. The week flew by and I left for Indiana to pick up my mom. We flew to Baltimore MD and stayed in Washington DC. It has been over 25 years since my mother had visited DC so this was an extremely special trip for many reasons.
August 29th finally arrived and once at the AT office – there was paperwork to sign. I was so nervous as I kept wondering if I would pass the test when Connor Lincoln was put into my arms. As we were finishing up with the paperwork, I could hear a baby crying in the hallway. We were alerted that Connor had arrived and would be in momentarily. It felt like hours, but as the door opens – we saw Mi Mi Sherrie (Connor’s foster mother) and this tiny baby. Sherrie put him into my hands and his head fit into one had and his body into the other. It was finally solidified for me – I was a father and my baby boy was in his Papa’s arms.
We left AT and headed back to the hotel to rest. After a nap, we decided to sight see and take him to the Lincoln monument. Connor is named after this President and the choice of the name was very purposeful. Lincoln had always been my favorite President, but now he took on another dimension. Being at the monument was a feeling that words cannot describe and we look forward to many more visits to see President Lincoln. We also visited other sites like: the WW II memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and most importantly – stopped by the White House.
We flew home and Connor did so well until we landed in Indiana. He screamed like no other, but because he was so cute people on the plane were very nice. Connor was a wonderful baby from the beginning. He would sleep for long periods of time and by two months was sleeping through the night. He was good with food once old enough and his temperament was also very good. There were some potential medical concerns, but Connor quickly dispelled those concerns and has turned out to be a healthy little boy.
In the midst of Connor’s birth, I had met Wade. We had talked for almost two months and decided to meet for the first time. Our first date was supposed to be the day I left for Indiana. Wade knew from the beginning that I was adopting a baby and it was so nice to have him there in spirit and through the phone during my time in DC. Wade met Connor Lincoln and I on September 7, 2007. What an intimidating first date as the door opened and he met both of us. We dated for almost eight months and decided that we wanted to make a family, so he transitioned from Mr. Wade to Daddy. Connor loves his daddy very much.
Wade and I began talking in the summer of 2008 about adopting a second baby. Our plan was to begin the paperwork process in the summer of 2009 and hopefully have a baby girl by the summer of 2010. On February 11, 2009, Laura from AT called, but had to leave a message. Wade and I speculated that either Connor’s birthmother might be sick or there was a sibling coming. I returned Laura’s message and it was a sibling. Taylor Kennedy had been born on February 10th. Connor and Taylor are 18 months and 8 days apart. There was never a question that we wanted this baby girl. She was healthy with some medical concerns, but that did not matter to us. What a gift to get a baby girl that was a biological sibling. We did not even need a day to decide and we started the paperwork process to get approved. Everything had to be done again as Wade was not part of Connor’s process and Connor was so old that everything was outdated.
We were in constant contact with Taylor’s foster mother, Pam. It was a new experience for me as Sherrie and I only spoke twice before I met Connor. We were talking to Pam at least once every other day and getting email updates. We finally made the trip to MD with Connor Lincoln and Mam Maw in late March. March 23, 2009, is the day we met Taylor.
We are so happy & thankful for our two babies. Connor Lincoln dearly loves his baby sister and they look so much alike. In total, we have worked with three agencies and six different social workers. We would not have it any other way. Wade and I are both guardians for Taylor Kennedy and will petition together to adopt Taylor in Maryland. Wade will petition to adopt Connor Lincoln at the same time later this year. We are hopeful to have the same Judge that finalized Connor’s original adoption. It will be wonderful once Judge Vicki grants both adoptions and we are a complete family.