Brandon’s Story: Love Just Is

:: Brandon and Jose with their son ::

HOUSTON, Texas –

Raising a child together and creating a family is what many married couples’ long for. But for some, it’s not easily attainable and the opportunity isn’t always within reach. Especially when you’re a gay couple living in America, who’s a target for prejudice and criticism from anybody who doesn’t know you – and even those who do. Brandon and Jose, however, weren’t going to let that stop them from becoming the great parents they knew they could be.

Almost twenty years ago, Brandon met Jose through a mutual friend and almost instantly the two men hit it off. Eight months later the pair made their long-distance relationship local to be closer to each other and start their new life together.

It wasn’t until 1999 that the two briefly began discussing having a family and thinking about if maybe adoption would be the right option for them. Both were so busy with their professional lives (not to mention adoption was shockingly costly), however, that they put the idea in the back of their minds. Then, in 2008, a month before Brandon’s 40th birthday, Brandon was talking to his good friend Karla about missed opportunities and how much he regretted not having a child.

“Karla’s reply was, “we can fix that,” he recalls. “Within a month Karla had arranged a meeting with a private adoption agency. At that point we jumped in with both feet. The entire experience was a wild ride!”

“The timing was also right because we had lived very full lives.,” he continues. “We were economically settled and established in our careers. Most importantly, we wanted to share the life we had made together with a child.”

And so began the 14-month long agonizing adoption process through Family to Family Adoptions, Inc, a small private domestic adoption agency located in Texas. Brandon explained the agency specialized in same sex couples adoption and “performs home studies, completes background checks, houses birth families, facilitates matching, expedites payments, coordinates social services for birth families, initiates relinquishments/terminations, and manages conservatorship of children during the post placement process. ” Both Brandon and his partner felt comfortable knowing the staff members of Family to Family had the best interest of the adoptive parents, birth mothers and children in mind.

But the entire experience did have its setback moments and disappointments: Brandon and Jose had their profile shown 9 times to prospective birth mothers. They were chosen 3 out of the 9 times. During their first match, the biological mother eventually changed her mind and chose to keep the child. The second match ended when the mother suddenly disappeared after two weeks.

Having a few non-supportive family members and friends didn’t help either. Brandon says some people simply could not understand his and Jose’s decision to adopt nor the concept of transracial/transcultural adoption (Brandon has Irish/European roots; Jose comes from Mexican/Spanish origins). But he says cutting ties with those individuals only made them stronger and brought them closer together as a couple.

Despite some challenges they experienced during this personal journey, all their frustrations disappeared when they were successfully matched in November 2009. And in December 2009 their son Karlan Brase (named after Brandon’s supportive friend Karla) was born. Brandon and Jose were able to bring their new baby boy home on New Year’s Eve – what they admit was the best day of their lives.

Thanks to their open adoption, Brandon and Jose maintain contact with their son’s birth mother and even her extended family.

Today, Brase is a happy, beaming toddler with loving parents who have been determined to provide him a good and stable life. Just as Brase’s life has completely changed, so have the lives of Brandon and his partner Jose.

“Having Brase has changed the way we view the world around us. It seems essential that we maintain uncomplicated relationships with friends and family. The adoption experience has also strengthened the relationship we have with God and our Catholic faith.”

Although some people would be quick to point fingers, Brandon and Jose have united in their love for each other, and in their love for their son. Like all families, regardless of your sexual identity or background or race, they want their child to lead a life of happiness and to feel love from all sides.

“I want people to understand that the love I have for my family is no different than the love they have for their family. Love has no boundaries if you allow yourself to love!,” he says.

It is through this love that his son will grow up knowing he can always count on his parents, to guide him and be there for him every step of the way. Because it’s not where you come from that matters, but the values you have instilled that will truly change your life.

:: Brase ::

Resourceful Links:

Family to Family Adoption –
http://fam2fam.org/

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About sharinglifestories

Anybody who knows me knows that I love talking to people and sharing life stories. I think we all have so much we can learn from each other. We may have lived unique experiences, struggled through different obstacles - but we all experience the same emotions. I'm a strong believer that you should never judge a book by its cover, for you never know the person that lies behind the mask nor the experiences that have made them who they are today. And when you find out, more often than not, you cannot help but gasp. A lot of times you are surprised to discover that you, too, can relate to their journey and see a part of yourself in them - whether it's through their fears or aspirations. This was, in part, my inspiration for starting Sharing Life Stories, One Person At A Time. In the end, we are all on this voyage together. Cemented in time - writing is like a delicate gem that can provide a better understanding of others, get people talking and unite many for generations to come. And that, to me, is the beauty of it all.
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