This entry was posted on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 at 12:17 am and is filed under Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
For the last few weeks, the Raising Alek column has been focusing the different ways in which we as gay people become parents. I have a friend with a pretty incredible story. He is a living testimony to keeping the dream of becoming a parent alive, even when it seems more of a nightmare.
My friend is Steven Alix. He and his partner Jorge live in Denver with his daughter Lexi. I had the pleasure of talking to him, asking him to share some of his story with our community:
ST: When was it that you first discovered that you wanted to have children?
SA: I always knew I would be a dad but was never sure how it would all unfold until I decided at about age 35 to get serious about it. At the time I was a single man and planned on staying that way.
ST: So once you were clear on your desire to begin a family, what was your plan?
SA: I started my journey by attempting to adopt from Ukraine and after 2 years, about $30,000 and a ridiculous amount of paperwork when I was finally approved and was waiting for my call to tell me to come over and get a child. Of course it was at that moment that there was a new leader in charge and they stalled because they “knew” the new president was going to axe the foreign adoption idea. Well at least the single male adoptions. It is only my personal belief but I believe they assumed that a single dad meant a gay dad and that meant a predator dad. I was, of course, a gay man but not the later and that really burned m!! My adoption was canceled without even a courtesy letter to advise me of this. It was devastating to say the least but I decided that I had better keep on trying or else I would lose all my momentum and quit.
ST: So what was your second option to keep this momentum?
SA: At this point I found an attorney in San Diego that was really good with gay men and I gave him $19,000 in advance. After about 4 months of not hearing anything I started to bug the office regularly. After about three new employees and several more months I started to get really frustrated with their system and made an appointment to see the attorney again personally (that was frowned upon but they agreed anyway). When I arrived at the office I was greeted by yet another new employee and he told me that something came up and the attorney would not be available after all. I was so infuriated that I went off on this poor guy who had just started and told him the whole story. About a week later this kid calls me and tells me that he went to work hard for me and found a birth mom that really wanted me to have her baby. The birth mom was only four months pregnant and this is very early for a connection but my attorney assured me that the extra time would be great for the two of us to bond. I was informed that I would need to support her for this time and the attorney advised that it was best that I move her to San Diego so that she would be close and we could “watch her”. I did as I was told and paid for her and her two kids to move to San Diego and put them in an apartment and gave her a stipend every week to get groceries etc.
About two weeks before the baby was due things started to unravel. She had warned me that with both of her other kids she was very sensitive in the final weeks and that she really liked her privacy at that time and would appreciate my support in this. I gave her space but was alarmed to realize she meant zero contact in that time. I was about to adopt her baby and I couldn’t be a part of it at all. So I waited. Then I got a call from a very nasty lady saying that she was going to be the house mom and was going to help Jessica birth the baby at home since Jessica had decided that too many problems happened in the hospital. It was at this point I knew that this baby was never going to be mine so when the lady demanded I give Jessica a car, a higher stipend and pay for this ladies duties in advance that I said “I need to talk to Jessica”. Jessica called me and said that this was the only way and that I should agree that having the baby at home was the best decision. I asked if we could all meet and she refused but demanded that I sent the payment immediately. I said I would be happy to pay the fees as soon as the adoption was final but this additional $5,000 was too much considering her uncertainty. She declined to answer any of my questions and simply said “you owe me this”. She had the baby and I was informed about it from a lawyer that she had contacted and the faxed letter said that she had changed her mind and hoped that my attorney and I would respect her wish and leave her alone. Even though I knew it was coming I balled my head off and immediately knew that was the last attempt I would make at having a baby and I was never going to be a dad.
As a side note, Jessica ended up living in my apartment and getting money from me for another 45 days after the birth because she knew the system and worked it. It is very clear now based on so many things that happened during that time that she was scamming us the entire time.
ST: I remember when this happened, and was so impressed at how strong you were. How did you deal with the second closing in such a dramatic and disappointing way?
SA: I packed up and drove back to Denver with a friend of mine. I had asked him to ride along so that we could have some fun and kind of “leave it all behind and start a new chapter”. We were about half way in Utah when my step sister called. Melissa was pregnant for a second time and wanted me to have the baby. I about threw myself out of the truck thinking I don’t know if I can do this again. I talked to Melissa about a week later and she just said that she was not ready for a second baby. I said I would love to adopt the baby and we moved on from there.
ST: And now you’re a dad!
SA: Yes! Lexi was born on April 8, 2009. I got to watch my beautiful daughter be born and got to cut her cord. It was the most beautiful thing I could have ever imagined and has been ever since.
ST: That’s an amazing story Steven. I’m especially glad that the nightmare ended with a dream coming true. Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous.