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On Parenting: I Always Wanted to Be A Dad

Cystic Fibrosis Canada will be profiling different journeys of fertility and parenting with CF. If you are interested in sharing your story please email tgillespie@cysticfibrosis.ca

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a Dad. But I learned as a young teen that, because I had CF, I would in all likelihood not be able to have children.

When my wife Tara and I decided we were going to build a life together, we both knew we wanted to be parents. Soon after we were married in 2005, we attended a fertility clinic in Winnipeg. After both undergoing fertility testing, it was confirmed that I was infertile. We learned from doctors, and our own research all about in vitro fertilization, including our options of using either donor sperm or procedurally removing sperm from my body. We also learned the successful live birth rates were lower than we expected. Plus, the costs for these procedures were, in our opinion, astronomical. Based on these circumstances we explored another option for becoming parents; adoption.

At the beginning, I knew nothing about adoption, but I quickly learned it is wide ranging subject. There were many options as far as adoption agencies go; religious or cultural based agencies, the government (Child and Family Services), or international adoption. In Winnipeg, we found a private adoption agency; Adoption Options.

Through them, we learned about the adoption process as well as how adoptions, for the most part, are now open. Open adoption means that the child generally knows from a young age they were adopted and will have some access to the birth family depending on the situation. There is also a system in place where birth families/birth mothers and potential parents were matched with each other based on criteria of their own choosing. For Tara and I, we were seeking a newborn (less than 3 months) child, plus we completed a survey that listed numerous factors we were either comfortable or uncomfortable with. For the birth mother/family, they would have been seeking a young couple, with no other children, professionals, and living in their geographic region. We were matched with our daughter, Daryn’s, birth family about month before she was born. Our initial meeting with her birth mother, birth father and their families was at the agency, but over the next few weeks we met a few more times at their house and our own. As a group, we decided that when she was born, Daryn would be our daughter (although we thought she was going to a boy named Liam).

Daryn was born in the summer of 2008, and three days after her birth she was placed with Tara and I. The hardest part was that for the following three weeks Daryn’s birth parents were legally allowed to change their minds at any time. We were warned by the agency this did not happen often, but it was always a possibility and to be cautious about becoming too connected to her. Tara and I decided we did not agree and created bonds with Daryn right away. We did not want to miss out on three weeks of becoming a family because they might change their minds.

Once the three week period ended, we were set. We were told from the beginning of the adoption process in Canada you cannot ‘buy a baby’, but there were still many costs associated with the process. All in all, we paid about $8,000 into the agency and lawyers, including the birth parents legal fees.

Daryn is now eight years old and has regular visits with her birth mother and birth father as well as their families. They have both become a part of our extended family as we have shared holidays with them and vacations. I know this set up is not for everyone but it works for us. She knows who they are and their roles in her life, but to Daryn we are Mama and Daddy.   

Photo 2016-08-21, 7 48 08 PM