The following interview recently appeared in the Family Builders quarterly newsletter. The piece talks about my journey through the adoption process.  In the original article, my son’s name was changed to ‘Joey’ in an effort to protect his privacy.

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Journey of Love
CONCURRENT PLANNING AND THE JOY OF PARENTHOOD
A single dad’s journey of love

Darren Main is a single, gay man who lives in San Francisco. He is both an author and a yoga teacher, though these days, he spends most of the time with his beautiful little boy, ‘Joey’. And beautiful he is, with a wide, bright smile and incredibly shining eyes.

“I have wanted to be a dad for as long as I can remember, and I have wanted to adopt for almost as long. I really liked the idea of helping out a child. I’m of the belief that you don’t have to look very far beyond your own backyard to find someone in need.

For 35 years, Family Builders has been committed to finding loving, stable, permanent families for children and youth. Family Builders believes that every child deserves a permanent family.

When Darren agreed to bring ‘Joey’ into his life, he knew that he had also agreed to “concurrent planning.” Concurrent planning is when a child is actively involved in reunifying with their birth family. At the same time, social workers need a concurrent plan in case reunification does not happen. While social workers pursue the primary goal of family reunification, the alternate plan will often include adoption as the major alternative to family reunification. If the child is not able to be reunited with his/her birth family, then they will be able to remain with their concurrent planning family who will be able to adopt them. Concurrent planning is intended to reduce the total period of time a child will remain in foster care before being permanently placed with a family

Darren had many emotions around concurrent planning — “The uncertainty is maddening. There’s just no way around that. On the one hand, you want to protect your own heart. On the other hand, there is a child who desperately needs unconditional love.

“For me, I realized, within minutes of holding him for the first time, that I would give my life for him and I would suffer any amount of pain for him—just like any parent. While the thought of his not being with me forever is hard to even think about, I know that he needs love and lots of it so I made a very conscious choice not to hold anything back. To give him everything I had.., to give all, knowing that it might not be forever

“In reality, there are no guarantees in life, but I really believe the old adage that if you want to enjoy the fruit of the tree, you need to be willing to go out on a limb.”

Since ‘Joey’ came along, Darren has definitely made some changes in his life. “Being a dad doesn’t give me much time to do all the free-spirited things I used to do, but in hindsight, I was ready for something more grounded anyway. His presence in my life has really taught me to see the world with new eyes. Something as simple as a bike ride through the park or a Muni train passing by is now magical and exciting. I used to overlook so much, but thanks to him, I get excited over the smallest things now.”

Darren knows that the decision to adopt generally is a very big one, and the decision to take on a child that has been abused or neglected can bring with it even more uncertainty. However, Darren says, “I’m so glad I chose this path and I think for anyone who feels called to offer a child unconditional love and support, the foster-adoption path is amazing. I have already sent several friends to Family Builders orientations.”

While parenting is bringing Darren great joy, he truly feels lucky that he chose Family Builders. The support I have received from everyone there has been so much more than anything I expected. With all of my family on the East Coast, it is so nice to have such a strong support system here. I know they are officially called social work ers, but I call them angels!”

For anyone who is ready to give unconditional love and support, the foster-adoption path is a great way to do it.