Millions of people believe same-sex couples are unfit to be parents. Husbands Noel and Chris adopted Daniel almost a year ago, and they prove this belief to be totally false.
You adopted your son Daniel from Portugal last year. Guide us through the process.
We decided that we were finally ready to take a further step in our life, as a married couple. We felt like we were ready to provide for a child and be a family all together.
We heard of an adoption center in Portugal and sent the required papers to start the process. We were then approved by the local adoption team as prospective adoptive parents. Our agencies started sending us profiles of children ranging from 5 to 16 years old.
Every day, we would sit down and translate all the profiles from Portuguese to English and go through their medical history, education background and so forth.
It’s very difficult to decide on one child as we felt like we were indirectly rejecting all the others. Every child deserves a home and our wish was to give that opportunity to one of them.
We saw Daniel’s profile and the connection was immediate. We instantly felt attached to this little boy with a huge smile on his face and we knew he was going to be our son.
Then the matching process must match Daniel’s history and his personality based on the information we gave them. We cannot express the joy we felt when the matching process confirmed that our personalities and so forth matched. We now had to book a flight and meet our son.
How did you feel the first time you met Daniel?
It’s difficult to put into words how incredibly nervous and excited we were. Was he going to love us the way we already loved him? Was he going to accept us as a family?
We had never met Daniel physically and the only pictures he had of us were from a welcome book we had prepared as part of the adoption process.
When we arrived at the adoption center, the first child we saw was Daniel, looking at us through the bars with a giant smile on his face. Our hearts were racing and we couldn’t wait to hug him. We got there too early and had to wait until they opened the center. Daniel was shouting ‘where are you going? where are you going?’ in Portuguese. Maybe he had thought that we were not going to come pick him up or that we had a change of heart?
When the doors opened, we had to meet the team first. They gave us more information about Daniel such as what he likes to eat, his behaviour and so forth…
We remember that one of Daniel’s wishes was that his adoptive parents bring him a blue car with a remote control. The second we got to hold Daniel in our arms and gave him the blue car, the bond was instant and the joy infinite. We were shivering when we met him to be honest. It was an incredibly emotional moment that we cannot put into words. We felt blessed and grateful for welcoming this wonderful boy into our lives.
Then it was the first time we held hands with him and went for a walk in the park. And three days later he was completely living with us in Portugal in an apartment we had rented.
During our 3 week stay and by the time the documentation was validated by court and that Daniel felt ready to leave Portugal; we came back home to Malta.
It has been ten months now.
How were your first days as a family in Portugal?
We are lucky that Daniel is a loving and caring child. From day one, he would run to hug us, kiss us, and say ‘I love you’. As parents our main goal is to listen and be open with our child so that he trusts us and feels safe with us. With Daniel the only challenge was the language barrier as we didn’t speak Portuguese and he didn’t speak english. Google translate was definitely extremely useful and we slowly understood each other.
We were finally all together and there was so much love, we couldn’t be happier.
Were you scared Daniel would be made fun of at school for having two dads?
We didn’t know how the kids would react and wanted to make sure no one would bully him for that. We recently attended his school concert, and he was saying to his friends, ‘oh, this is my Papa Chris, and this is my Papa Noel’ to which the kids answered: ‘Oh! Two papas? That’s cool!’.
It shows that kids aren’t born with such prejudice and are much more accepting and loving than most adults.
Slowly the culture is changing in Malta, and people are becoming more open and more accepting. We believe that the future generation will be more accepting and hopefully more same-sex parents will be able to adopt.
Do you know other same-sex couples who have adopted children?
Of course, many. Here in Malta we have the “Rainbow Families group”. We meet once a month where same-sex parents and single parents who either adopted or have their children share their thoughts. We discuss social issues, and talk to local authorities to support us.
What has come up in our latest discussions was the importance of teaching kids at a young age that a family isn’t just the mother and father figure. There are many kinds of families and all are valid.
What advice would you give to other gay couples who want to adopt?
We would say that the adoption process is a long journey. It took us nine months but for Daniel we could’ve waited for as long as necessary.
Keep in mind that what you are doing isn’t just having a child. It is the objective of giving a home a future, love and education to a child.
How would you describe your family in one word?
Love. As a family we have full responsibility of each other. I’m responsible for Chris, Chris is responsible for me and we are both responsible for Daniel. I think family is responsibility and commitment. We were shivering when we met Daniel because we loved him from the second we saw him. Basically as a family you need a lot of commitment because heterosexual couple if you have a lot of arguments, we always come to a compromise, that’s very important.