We met in 2005 after Jonathan moved to Thomas' hometown of Vero Beach, Florida, for a real estate opportunity. Until 2012, we split most of our time between Florida and Vermont. We married in 2012, and just a few months later in 2013 at a friend's wedding, we finally decided it was time to start a family of our own. At the time, Thomas was in the Army and Jonathan, to this day, is the CTO for a software company, so it wasn't until we arrived at our first duty station in Baltimore, MD ( Fort Meade) that things started rolling. Our path to fatherhood wasn't an easy one. We suffered two failed adoptions. Our first daughter Emma was born only to live a few hours. It was devastating, and to this day, we still look back at that moment with such sadness. Our opportunity to adopt a second time fell through when the birth mother changed her mind two weeks before giving birth. We were crushed, but the decision was hers, and hers alone to make. Something we greatly respect. So it was with reluctance that we enrolled in the training program with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services to become foster parents with the hope of creating our family. It became clear, very early on, that we were the only same-sex couple taking this course and likely one of the few in their entire program.
A few months after starting our training, we received a call asking if we could take in a newborn. Forty-five minutes later, Grace came home for the first time. Five weeks later, just around 5:00 pm, Daddy, Papa, and Grace were sitting down to eat dinner. Little did we know our second daughter had just been born. It wasn't our intention to adopt twice, let alone two babies just 5-weeks apart, but later that night as we were all getting settled into bed, our phone rang. It was relatively late on a Friday night, but we immediately recognized the number. It was someone from the Baltimore City Dept of Social Services. On the other end of the phone was the deputy director with a straightforward question. "We have a newborn who is immediately available for adoption. Would you like to adopt her?" We both said YES before she was even able to finish speaking. Her next question was, "can you come to the hospital right now to meet your daughter?" It took us all but 15 minutes to get out of the house and on our way to meet her.
— Papa West