Having Austin was a very purposeful process. A child that we planned together, created together and have raised together since he was in Robins belly. Robin & I had planned to have a child together. We tried the In-Vitro method which led to failure more than once. We tried the route of purchasing baby making DNA (sperm) via an online website. Yes, you really can do that. That didn’t work either. So then we chose a friend to be our baby daddy, and that worked the first time. But when I found out that I had no rights, my mom heart melted.
This was first tested when Austin was flown to Phoenix Children’s Hospital after a very complicated emergency C-Section. Austin had not been getting adequate oxygen during the delivery. He was crashing fast. They literally rushed Robin to the ER and didn’t even give her a spinal block. They just put her to sleep. They needed him out now and 2 minutes later he entered the world. When he was born, he was helicoptered immediately to PCH for a “brain freezing” therapy. It’s called a cold cap, look it up it’s actually pretty cool. When we were finally able to be released and get to Phoenix to see him, I was told I would not be allowed in without the natural parent. I was basically told I was a visitor for my own son. A guest. I had nothing. I begged and pleaded and cried. This was not okay. This was also the first moment I realized I would have a problem. I called my mom, who is a labor and delivery nurse who had my back. She made an immediate phone call, asked the charge nurse to prove that I was not allowed in, which she couldn’t. I was finally given a band 24 hours later to allow me to visit or stay with him without Robin being present.
When Austin was 2 years old he fell in our room running to our bed. He cracked his head open on our bed and needed stitches. Problem was, Robin had a wedding in 2 hours. We rushed him to the pediatric ER and he was admitted short term. Unfortunately, we were short on time and Robin had to leave before they finished treating him. Before she left, she had to make sure the staff knew I could make any treatment decisions. She had to give permission to the nurses and doctors for me to decide what was best for our son as she went off to a wedding.
Whenever Robin was out of town we had to get a notarized document with permission for me to take him to the ER if anything were to happen. The exact dates she would be gone had to be included and it would only last for 30 days. We also had to make sure our pediatric doctor knew I could make decisions for Austin. Robin had to request permission for me to access his school registration and records. If anything happened to Robin I had no legal rights to my own son. I knew I had to do something.
I struggled with the thought of having to adopt my own child. Why did I have to do this? He was mine, but not in the eyes of the state. We decided to make a call and get all the info. Here is what the adoption entailed. Pay to get my fingerprints done. Check with CPS to make sure I had no reports against me. Pay money to file a motion for adoption. Pay someone I didn’t know to come into my house. Observe how I interacted with my son, see what kind of mother I was, ask me my parenting style. They basically had to invade my house, someone I didn’t even know, to say I was a fit parent to the kid we had planned for, created, and had raised since birth. I waited. Kept canceling court dates. The struggle was real. I couldn’t bear the thought that this was the process I had to go through for the state to say he was my son. It just didn’t feel right. It felt as though I was being discriminated against. Then I had the realization that I had to just suck it up. The end result would be that there would never be a question of if I could visit my son in the hospital should I need to. I would never be denied asking for his academic reports. I would not have to take the chance of a blood relative taking him from me if anything happened to my wife. In the scope of life, these rights meant more to me than the principle that I should just naturally have those rights. I had to do it. I ended up finding someone I knew and trusted to come evaluate our home & family and the process officially started 8 months after the original plan to adopt.
June 1st, 2016, my son legally became my son. Robin & I are both on his birth certificate. The state granted me what I already knew, I was his mom. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. Do I think it’s fair that I had to do this? No way. But I am at peace knowing that he is mine in every single way. My mommy heart is happy. We get to keep living like we have the last 5+ years.
Now to go get that new birth certificate!
As an adoptive father I have experienced the highs and lows of the journey and I know that you guys are feeling an extreme high, congratulations to you and your family!!