Words by Clifton and Chad | @gutermangoughfamily |
Hello! Welcome to our story. It’s a doozy but full of joy, ultimately! We are an Atlanta couple who met in New York City in early 2008, got married in 2013, and began a private, domestic adoption journey in January of 2019.
Through friends’ recommendations, we connected and signed on with The Family Building project of NC, an adoption consulting agency that has since merged with All About Love Adoption in PA. From the start, we aimed to enter into an open adoption with an expectant mother who wanted us to be double-dads to her child.
On Mother’s Day of 2020, we matched with a young woman from Louisiana and developed a very close relationship with her over the next three months. We even went out to meet her family in July. In August, she delivered a beautiful baby girl, whom we (with her blessing) named Cameron Loren and parented for five glorious days in a hotel. However, right before the mother’s appointment to relinquish parental rights, she decided to parent. We had to give Cameron back, which was a devastating shock. We pushed through the grief – not easy – and did our best to remain hopeful and faithful in the process of family building, holding onto the belief that our forever child would somehow find his or her way to us in due time. Plus, those five days being dads in August of 2020 reconfirmed our desire to grow our family. We loved every second and found we were a wonderful team. We couldn’t wait to do it again. And, our nursery was ready, not to mention our hearts!
Though there were a few cases that bubbled up as possibilities for us over time, it wasn’t until June 2 of this year (2021) that we got the text from our agent wishing to speak with us immediately. We jumped on a group call and learned that a mother had delivered a healthy baby boy outside of Philadelphia that morning and had chosen our profile in her hospital bed after Googling and calling our adoption agency looking for guidance. As she was gravitating toward us, she was made aware of our past disruption and loss and assured our agent, who traveled to the hospital to be by her side, that she was fully committed to adoption, to us, and to a healthy, happy life for her new son. We quickly began the prep at home – packing, dog boarding, sorting out work tasks and meetings, alerting only immediate family – and drove to PA two days after hearing the match news. In the middle of that journey, we “met” our soon-to-be-son’s mother by phone and had an amazing conversation. She let us know what she’d named the baby boy – first and middle name – and asked if we’d honor her with one of those names permanently. We quickly agreed and chose the name Mitchell for a middle name. We shared our preferred first name – Griffin – and she loved it! So, very quickly, everyone knew that the baby would be Griffin Mitchell Guterman-Gough. Joy abounded.
Why we requested GA law for our second adoption
Griffin’s mother graciously agreed to our request to use GA law for the adoption and not PA law. PA law allowed a 30 day reversal window for a mother to change her mind and choose to parent after surrendering parental rights. GA has a 4 day window. She expressed that she’d never want to put us through that much of a wait after we’d already seen one mother change her mind. We were relieved, beyond touched, and grateful. Already, Griffin’s mother was proving to be very special, very thoughtful, and very considerate.
We made it to PA on a Saturday and had a truly amazing dinner with Griffin’s mother just minutes after she’d spent a couple of hours Zooming with lawyers from both sides and surrendering parental rights. As we entered the restaurant, she saw us, leapt from the table, and gave us a huge, tight hug. We were all misty-eyed. Over that meal, we learned so much about her own family and shared more about ours beyond what she’d learned from our profile book. The dinner was emotional, profound, and beautiful in every way.
Because of our past adoption trauma, we requested that Griffin, upon discharge from the hospital, be taken into cradle care until his mother’s window of revocation was up. Thus, our agent – also a social worker – took him into her PA home and cared for him from Friday to Wednesday. She sent photos and updates throughout. We could not wait to meet him in person!
On Wed. June 9, exactly one week after he was born, we took physical possession of gorgeous little Griffin and began our amazing new chapter of life – fatherhood. We spent several days in a PA hotel while interstate paperwork cleared between GA and PA. It was bliss getting to know his growing personality and ever-changing body as we fed, burped, changed, rocked, comforted, and entertained him. He was (and is) more than we could’ve ever dreamt of, and that first week with him was so surreal and incredibly special. We’ll treasure it always. We took tons of photos and video.
After stopping in VA for Griffin to meet his Chad-Dad’s parents, his grandparents Su-Su and G Daddy, we made our way home to GA, introduced Griffin to his fur siblings, Baxter and Boris, our Miniature Schnauzers, and began our life with him in Atlanta. We were greeted upon arrival by more cards and gifts and messages of love than we could count, and since then, his Clifton-Daddy’s family from south-GA has met him, his grandmother Kaye-Kaye has stayed with him for a week, and his Su-Su from VA has visited and helped out as well.
Our Open Adoption Agreement
We have happily entered into an open adoption agreement with Griffin’s mother and plan to send her monthly photo updates and see her for visits twice a year so long as she wishes and until Griff is 18 and can decide for himself what that relationship will be. She’s an amazing woman, and we can’t wait to watch Griffin get to know her and understand the love it took for her selfless choice as the years roll onward. He was so loved before he was even conceived, and we’ll absolutely be transparent with him over the years as we tell him how special his story and his journey to us was and is and will forever be.
The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and even internet strangers who have followed our adoption journey has been moving beyond words. And helpful. And sustaining. And beautiful. We feel like the luckiest family on earth to have been chosen to raise and love him and to have so many, many people in our/his corner.
Clifton, Chad, and Griffin