By Henry Amador
Today is one of those days.
The kind of day that makes you look back at your life, your decisions, your choices, your actual role in the creation of you destiny.
September 8th 2011 was the day we got a very long awaited phone call. It was our Fostering Agency, Kids in Distress, letting us know that we were officially, finally licensed Foster Parents.
That chapter in our life had actually begun November of 2010, nearly one year earlier. They say it takes about as long to become a Foster Parent as it does to actually have a child.
I’ll go into all those details a different day but suffice it to say, becoming a Foster Parent is not the quickest or easiest process, certainly not for those who aren’t 100% committed to children and to family.
On September 9th 2011, the day after our congratulatory call, we got another call from our agency asking us that magical question, “Are you ready to be Fathers?”
There was a baby available who needed a home. All they were able to tell us at the time was that he was almost 4 months old, African-American, and had been sadly, abused. We said yes, we’d take him.
We had to pick him up that evening at a designated location. He was beautiful, with his black and blues and all. He was the most perfect little stranger.
We came home with this tiny boy,a plastic bag with a few of his belongings, and a glimpse of our new family, prior to this only imagined, now suddenly…real.
Our little Z (I can not use his full name here) was so fragile and quiet. We came to find out that the day we picked him up was his actual release date from the neo-natal intensive care unit, where he had been for about two weeks.He was admitted due to a skull fracture (not his first) inflicted by his Father.
I find it so beautiful and touching to realize that although Z suffered horribly due to the actions of this man, he found his way into a home with two new Daddies that completely and wholeheartedly wrapped him in love, safety and security.Perhaps the months he spent here with us cancelled out some of the sadness his little heart must have felt.
Life has a funny way of reminding us who’s in charge, because all the while we were working towards becoming Foster Parents there was another life circling the heavens above. While we were helping Z grow, that new life was also growing… inside of a person we didn’t even know existed.
While we were dealing with the reality that Z might one day leave us to go live with his Grandmother,
the universe was a arranging a coffee date for us to meet with a woman who couldn’t keep her baby.
While we were learning to let Z spend more and more time with his birth family, we were spending more and more time picking out our own baby’s name and learning to let the idea of being legal Fathers sink in.
And while our tears of sadness began to dry after the heart-wrenching goodbyes of our precious Z, the tears flowed once more, only this time of joy, as we held our son Ben for the first time.
For my Husband and I becoming Foster Dads has been a unbelievably moving and organic experience.The “goal” of Fostering is always reunification,but many placements can and do become permanent.
I can say without a doubt that had we not embarked on that chapter of our lives, the heavens would have never made way for the arrival of our son. Even now as we raise our Ben, we still open our home and our hearts to babies that need us.
As I write this we have recently been joined by Baby A. He is just 3 weeks old and has been with us since his third day on Earth. There’s a good fighting chance that he might not have to leave us,
and that Ben, God willing, may have met his brother-to-be.
Is it a gut wrenching chance to take? You bet. But one so darn worth taking!
I urge all LGBT individuals that read this piece and feel the call to Parenthood to contact your local Fostering agency today.
You will not only change the life of a child, but maybe the world as well!
Henry Amador is the author of the DADsquared blog, where he writes about his experiences as a Gay Dad. Along with his husband, Joel, he also runs the DADsquared Facebook page, where they are devoted to building a community of loving fathers: gay, straight, black, white, and everything in between.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing celebration of National Foster Care Month here at IC. If you have questions about becoming a foster parent, check out our previous post by legal expert Evita Nancy Torre, Esq.