Brett and Kevin met and began their relationship through an online dating app. “We hit it off immediately. It was a case of love at first sight,” said Brett. They met in person for the first time on October 30th and two years later, on the exact same date, got engaged and started planning their future together.
For them, a big part of that future included having a family.
“The decision to adopt came really easily. I think the thing that was more difficult was knowing that we could try, but it might not happen and [we had] to be okay with that,” explained Kevin.
So as they planned their wedding, which was set to take place a year later on their special October date, Brett and Kevin also made the decision to start the adoption process. The first step was signing up with an adoption agency.
“We figured this could take a few years so we thought let’s start the process because it was important to us,” explained Brett.
To their surprise, an expectant mother in California picked their profile a few months later. Their first meeting with her was over a conference call. They talked for more than an hour sharing about their lives and hopes for the future. After that call, she chose Brett and Kevin to be her child’s adoptive parents.
With this exciting news, Brett and Kevin moved up the date of their wedding and began preparing to be not only newlyweds, but come October parents.
An important part of their preparation was completing a home study for their upcoming adoption with Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois. “Tara [our LCFS caseworker] was incredibly supportive and extremely well informed,” shared Kevin. “She was always there to answer our questions.”
LCFS helped Brett and Kevin navigate the complexities of the adoption process and prepared them to be parents. As part of the home study, they completed a number of trainings and online courses on topics such as Grief and Loss in Adoption, Transracial Adoption and Talking with Your Child about Adoption.
LCFS also helped Brett and Kevin understand the birth mother’s perspective. “Without Tara’s guidance, I don’t know if we would have built the relationship that we did with our birth mother,” said Kevin.
Brett and Kevin stayed in close contact with the birth mother and her family throughout the pregnancy. On several occasions, they participated in doctor visits through a video app, including the first ultrasound. Through technology they were able to stay in contact and be a part of the process, but didn’t actually meet the birth mother face-to-face until the day their daughter was born.
The day of the birth, Brett and Kevin flew to California and were allowed to be in the hospital room for the delivery. Brett shared that, “It was an overwhelmingly beautiful experience for us, to be the first ones to hold our daughter.” The couple named her Leah.
Unfortunately, all adoptions have their own unique set of challenges. After bringing Leah home, there were a number of legal complexities related to her birth father. These created delays and additional court dates.
“We had some big downs throughout the process and things that we thought might jeopardize our potential adoption, but Tara guided us through what the next steps were and kept us focused on what we needed to do,” said Brett.
Eventually, just a few weeks before Leah’s first birthday, the adoption was finalized and Brett and Kevin became her forever parents. “I don’t know how well this process would have come together without Tara by our side before and after the adoption,” stated Kevin.
Brett shared, “I was kind of a career guy and I never saw myself in this place. Kevin changed my world, and then Leah changed my world.” Leah’s world changed that day as well. She became part of her forever family that will love and care for her always. Today, Leah is a healthy, happy toddler who keeps her fathers very busy and brings them tremendous joy.