Javier and Amon Seabaugh’s road to parenthood was rocky at first, but has had a happy ending
Javier and Amon Seabaugh met on a cruise to The Bahamas in May 2014. The two men met each other in an elevator within the first 15 minutes of starting the cruise and spent the next four days together. Seven years later, they are still together and have recently welcomed their newborn son, Sebastian, to the family, thanks to LifeLong Adoptions. This week, they are sharing their story with Dallas Voice readers.
— Tammye Nash
Dallas Voice: Give us some background on your family. How long had you, Javier and Amon, been together when you decided to adopt? And what made you decide to have children? Javier and Amon Seabaugh: We met on a cruise to the Bahamas in May 2013. Javier came from Venezuela for vacation, and Amon took the exact same cruise, the exact same weekend. We met within 15 minutes of starting the cruise. I guess you can say we were destined to be together. Javier had always wanted to go in a cruise, and he had saved the money for a long time, and his birthday seemed like the perfect occasion to take the trip. Amon had had a very bad week at work and planned the same cruise with his best friend. We can still remember when we saw each other for the first time in the elevator.
It was Amon who had the courage to talk to Javier for the first time, and after that initial conversation, we spent the entire four-day cruise together. We had dinners together, went to live shows together and even snorkeled together in the Bahamas.
After the cruise was over, it was time for Javier to go back to Venezuela, but we were not ready to say goodbye. So Amon asked Javier to stay in the USA. We knew we would figure out a way to stay together. So Javier stayed. He called his family and his job in Venezuela and let them know he wasn’t coming back. Don’t ask why; something told us we were meant to be together.
We got married Oct. 4, 2013, and our goal had always been to grow our family. We had so much love to give that a little one would make us a thousand times happier. We knew adoption was an expensive process, but not so expensive that it would be impossible for us. But we also wanted to have time to travel and enjoy each other before bringing a baby into the world.
We both had always wanted to be parents. We always dreamed of raising a person to be a great human and teaching them love and devotion to our loved ones. So in November 2018, we started working on adopting, which ended up giving us the biggest love of our lives, Sebastian Amon Seabaugh.
Why did you choose adoption over, say, surrogacy for becoming parents? That was something we discussed several times. There were definitely pros and cons for each option, so it really came down to what we really felt more connected with. Adoption felt right for us because there are so many children in the world that need a loving home. So why not offer our home to them?
One thing we both agree on is that family is not just the people that are blood-related. Love is the true link or connection. Amon and I are a family, and what makes us a family is our love for each other. So a child through adoption would be our family in exactly the same way. It would be our child because we would love them unconditionally.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to surrogacy vs. adoption, and we try to tell that to everyone who asks us. Never make a decision based on cost or money; decide what you think is right for you and your family. For us, adoption was, is and always will be the right choice.
Once you made the decision to adopt, how did you go about preparing for that process? And how did you choose your adoption agency? What set LifeLong Adoptions above other agencies? Our journey started in November 2018, and, to be honest with you, we did not do enough research when deciding on an adoption agency. We honestly just went with the one that had the highest rating. To our disappointment, we ended up losing a year and more than $14,000.
After a year of being supposedly marketed by this adoption agency [to birth mothers], in October 2019 we learned that they were not actually doing all they could to match us to a birth mom. And looking at the other couples that seemed to appear on and dissapear from the website, it became very obvious to us that they were predominantly marketing their heterosexual couples and, on the slight chance that they got a birth mom requesting an LGBT couple, then they would present our profile if we matched.
When we confronted them about it, their response was less than desirable. They did not admit to the obvious and failed to even commit to us on a path to follow for the future. All we wanted was for them to market us the same as they were marketing their heterosexual couples, but they never admitted they were not doing that already. They even said, “This is the way adoption works, so I am not sure how we can make you guys happy. You just have not been chosen.”
Don’t get us wrong; we know the waiting period is long and nerve-racking, but we just wanted to know that we were being treated fairly.
After their horrible response, we decided that if we really wanted to grow our family, we needed an agency that really believed in us. That’s when we did proper research, and to be honest with you, while researching LGBTQ adoption everywhere in the internet, we were almost always referred back to LifeLong Adoptions. And from day one, our experience with LifeLong was nothing but amazing. Mark Doyle, the director, spoke with us and made us feel so comfortable, like part of the family and like they actually believed in us.
We remember him saying, at one point, “I don’t understand how you guys have not been picked by a birth mom yet.” So we signed with Lifelong Adoptions in November 2019, and from that point on, our story was completely different.
One of the things we asked of the previous agency was to educate us more about the process and to keep us informed. But they said that was not the way adoption was done and not the way they worked. But LifeLong Adoptions did this from day one for us. We had monthly calls about the process and were educated about each step. They explained everything from how they marketed us all the way to how to form a relationship with the birth mom the first time we spoke with her.
LifeLong Adoptions completely exceeded our expectations and only two months after we started working with them, in January this year matched us with not just one birth mom but two.
To say that we are thankful with them is an understatement. We don’t have words to express how much we appreciate them. Tanks to them, we made our biggest dream come true.
Describe the adoption process. What are the steps did you have to go through, and how long did it take? The very first step was to have a home study completed and approved. This was where a social worker visited our home and got to know us, and we were extremely lucky to have such a wonderful social worker. She not only took the time to get to know us but also educated us about so many things about adoption that we didn’t know.
The one thing we had the biggest misconception about was the love that a birth mom had for a child. We thought they felt rejection, but we actually learned and experienced first hand that the love of a birth mom is a selfless love, a love so big that they want that baby to have the life they cannot provide to them. It is something that is impossible to explain with words but is so beautiful to experience.
Back to the home study process: We were actually a bit anxious about this first step and did not know what to expect. We are the very first in our families to adopt, and, to our surprise, it was a wonderful initiation. You shouldn’t see the approval process as something so negative; they just want to make sure that you have a relationship stable enough to go through the adoption process and welcome a baby home. Honestly is a hard process — beautiful but hard — and you want to make sure your relationship with your significant other is very strong enough to get through it.
The home etudy process takes a couple months, so it’s good to have your adoption agency chosen and already be working with them on your profile while your home study is underway. We knew how important the profile was for us, because is the first thing that a birth mom would get to see about us. But we had no idea what it meant for the birth parents.
After talking to our birth mom and dad, they said that what they loved about our profile was that we actually did a video, so they weren’t only looking at pictures. They loved that we we focused on ourselves, so they could get to know us and know that we were real and not trying to fake it.
You could clearly tell in some parts of the video that we were nervous, but they actually loved that they were able to see the real us.
Once your home study is approved by a social worker, then your profile gets published — and the hard waiting game begins. Believe me, it is hard. You start to question yourself, and you wonder why you have not been chosen already. But let me tell you, that after a year of waiting — if we count the time we were with the previous agency — and money we lost, we know that it meant to happen, because we were matched with a perfect baby and an amazing birth family.
We not only gained a son, we gained an entire family.
Once you are chosen by a birth mom you get to make that initial call and get to know each other and get as comfortable as the birth mom allows. We clicked immediately with our birth mom, and that first conversation that lasted over an hour. We talked about everything.
That same week, we were chosen by a second birth mom, and we talked to her, too. But we knew our first one was the one for us, and we were 100 percent committed to her.
This phase can take as long as birth mom wants. She can take all the time she needs to get to know you, until she is 100 percent sure that you are the adoptive family she want. Then you move on to the legal process — hiring lawyers to do all the paperwork and counseling and get you and birth mom ready for the day the baby is born. For us this step was very quick, because our birth mom moved into connection with us on Feb. 14, and our son was born on April 17. So we had very little time to get all the paperwork ready.
The last step is the hardest one, even harder than waiting to be chosen. Most states allow the birth mom to change her mind up to 48 hours after birth, and those are the longest 48 hours of your life. We were lucky enough to be so connected with our birth mom and dad. They told us that they were 100 percent committed to adoption, but that it was going to be really hard for them, because they loved [the baby] so much.
We knew that they loved him, and seeing that love materialize was something beautiful. We actually spent several of those 48 hours together with them at the hospital, talking about different things, laughing and caring for the baby. But, of course, it was in the back of their minds, and — I assure you — it was on the back of our minds, too, that the 48 hours were ticking away.
Once the 48 hours had passed, the lawyer arrived, and we all signed the necessary paperwork to make this official. That mix of emotions is indescribable. On one side, we were full of joy because we were finally having a baby. But on the other side, seeing how hard it was on the birth family made us feel heartbroken.
We are fortunate enough that the birth family wants an open adoption. That way our son can know where he comes from and just have more love.
They get to visit him, and we are in constant contact with them, keeping them updated about little man.
The next step is finalization of adoption. Six months after the birth of the baby — which for us will be November — and after a social worker visits our home every month and reports back to court on the well-being of our son, they will legally name him our son, and we will get a birth certificate with our names and the name we gave him on it.
This can vary by state but the process itself is very similar everywhere. Some states require monthly visits, and some states require bimonthly. It depends where you live. We live in Missouri.
For us the entire process with LifeLong Adoption included two months to be matched, three more months until the birth of our son and seven months of the post-placement process — a total of 12 months. It was quicker than what we ever imagined.
Was there any part of the process that was particularly stressful,and if so, how did you manage that stress? Waiting to be chosen by a birth mom and the 48 hours after birth are the hardest steps in the process. That’s why it is so important that you have a strong relationship before you embark on the adoption journey. The only way to get through these steps is by supporting each other, giving each other strength and love. When one of you is down, the other one needs to be strong and encouraging. Our social worker told us it was ok to talk to a counselor if we felt like we needed to. We knew there is nothing wrong with seeing a professional, but in our case, we needed each other more than we needed someone else.
Do you plan to adopt again in the future? Yes, we definitely want more children, at least one more, but we definitely want to wait a little bit. Sebastian is going to be an amazing big brother. We have to admit it; we are suckers for his smile, and waking up in the mornings to that beautiful smile is priceless.
What advice do you have for other LGBTQ couples or singles who are looking to adopt? Take the time to choose an adoption agency that fits you and your family. We will always be advocates for LifeLong Adoptions; they were exceptional. Start your research with them; they will become part of your family.
What would you like to say that I haven’t asked you about? Always be open and honest with yourself and each other. Make sure you both know what you really want before growing your family. It is a huge commitment, but it is beautiful and something you will never regret. We are extremely thankful to have each other and now to have Sebastian. We are happier than we have ever been.