Chase is an adoptive father in both a stepparent adoption and a domestic infant adoption. He also happens to be my husband. We have a five-year-old daughter and a four-month-old son.
When you found out your fertility issues would set you on a course towards adoption, how did you feel?
Chase: I was excited about the possibilities and interested in the process. I can’t speak for all men, but it wasn’t as emotional for me. I was sad for a moment that my children wouldn’t share my DNA, but because I had experienced stepparent adoption, I knew that being a father was much more than a blood connection. Of course there was mourning of our fertility, but once we talked about adoption, I was ready and excited to move forward.
What was your take on open adoption when you first heard the term?
Chase: I have to be honest, I was terrified. I didn’t like the idea of it at all; I felt like it would take away from my relationship with my child. I thought it would be awkward and uncomfortable and I wasn’t thrilled about the idea.
What changed that view?
Chase: Going to panels! Hearing birth mothers and adopted children speak changed everything for me. I was able to see how amazing it was, and my perspective completely changed. When we finally met our first expectant mother, we quickly developed a relationship, and from there, I’ve never thought twice about open adoption.
What was the wait like for you?
Chase: Much different than it was for my wife. I was able to take my emotions out of the picture because I knew nothing was set in stone until that baby was born and placed with us. There are so many variables and potential for things to fall through, so I was guarded.
What was it like to meet your son for the first time?
Chase: I was anxious to get in the room and to see him. It was a really special time. It’s a difficult thing to express because the emotions are all over the place. It was hard to see her going through something so painful both physically and especially emotionally. As a guy it’s hard to know what to say and how to act around someone going through something so emotional, although I imagine it’s hard to understand for anyone beyond the birth mother who just placed her child.
How was your stepparent adoption with your daughter different from your son’s adoption?
Chase: It felt different, solely because we had more control of the situation. My wife was already a mother and had been raising a baby and I was able to just step in—it was a smooth transition. With my son, it was much more of a process; it was really emotional and so stressful.
My daughter’s adoption taught me a lot about being a father and that bonding has nothing to do with biology. I don’t think of them as anything other than my children, so it’s the same in that aspect.
Do you have any advice for other adoptive fathers starting the process?
Chase: I would say attend panels or classes. That really did a lot for me and helped me familiarize myself with the culture, proper terms, and the amazing community.
Treat it as you would if your own wife was giving birth. Let yourself get excited and enjoy the ride.