North Texas Daily

The road to adoption

The road to adoption

January 28
04:12 2016

Matt Payne | Copy Editor

@MattePaper

The first gay couple to apply for and be denied a marriage certificate in Denton always makes sure to put family first.

The beginning of Casey Cavalier’s removal from the accepting California culture he was accustomed to would begin at a pride party, where he made eye contact with a man wearing a cute sweater vest.

“It would take me subtly making conversation with him as I spoke with somebody else,” Cavalier said. “I was very interested in him. I just wasn’t brave enough to speak with him on my own.”

Since that fateful encounter, Cavalier and Tod King have been enjoying life together. During the four years the couple lived in Santa Barbara, Cavalier said there are plenty memories of he and King watching children frolic down congested streets, suppressing the urge to scold them as they wanted a child of their own.

Casey and Tod's son, Eddie, looks longingly at their wedding cake after the two were the first same-sex couple to be married in TWU's  Little Chapel in the Woods. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

Casey and Tod’s son, Eddie, looks longingly at their wedding cake after the two were the first same-sex couple to be married in TWU’s Little Chapel in the Woods. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

But matters would prove complicated when Cavalier and King relocated to Georgetown, Texas for King’s studies toward an MBA in marketing.

A gay man transitioning from a familiar life, Cavalier said he never felt the sort of subtle opposition to his orientation in California that he did in Texas.

“It probably took me up to four or five years to get used to living in a state like Texas,” he said. “I felt lost.”

In 2009, Cavalier and King began the three-year process of adopting a child.

The men considered several different options, such as in vitro fertilization, surrogacy or fostering, but felt traditional adoption was the appropriate course for them to take. The process presented a spectrum of obstacles, at the forefront of which was the amount of money needed. They received $12,000 from taxes to contribute toward their cause, but an additional $13,000 was still necessary to meet the $25,000 requirement.

But the biggest hurdle for the couple to overcome was finding an adoption agency that would work with same-sex couples.

“We knew gay couples were adopting, so it was possible,” King said. “But that often entailed surrounding yourself with lawyers and hobbling through a series of documents.”

Some websites posted notices proclaiming, “same-sex couples need not apply.” Others had special protocol necessary exclusively for same-sex couples, like one agency requiring the two to provide a vaccination record of their pets.

Finally King learned of an agency based out of Tucker, Georgia that was supportive of same-sex couples: the Independent Adoption Center.

The agency provided Cavalier and King with a hotline number, and they would receive phone calls whenever a child was up for adoption. The process of finding a child was precarious, as calls often included scammers calling asking for money or individuals intent on berating same-sex couples with no intention of discussing adoption.

There were even instances when the couple would receive phone calls from expecting parents months before birth, only to have the parents ultimately decide to keep their child. But one phone call from a soon-to-be father at Sam Houston University—with only a month until his girlfriend gave birth to a baby boy—would change everything.

Already used to how tentative their hopes through the IAC have been, Cavalier and King were skeptical. But their hopes were reignited when they met the family.

“Adoption is like dating, or a job interview,” King said. “You do the right things, the best things, and sometimes, it doesn’t work out.”

Casey Cavalier, left, and Tod King, right, wrangle their 2-year-old son, Eddie for a family photo in their backyard. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

Casey Cavalier, left, and Tod King, right, wrangle their 2-year-old son, Eddie for a family photo in their backyard. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor

But this time, the hope was real. In November of 2013, Eddie Cavalier was born, and Cavalier and King were present for the delivery. Though negative thoughts raced through their minds, like the 48-hour recall policy where a parent could choose to keep the child, Cavalier and King were happy. Within two days, Eddie went home with them.

The couple said they haven’t faced such targeted opposition since their move to Texas in 2001. As the first couple to apply for a marriage license when the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage constitutional in 2015, the two faced similar biases.

Nevertheless, Cavalier and King are accustomed to overcoming any obstacles that come with being two married fathers with a son. And now, Cavalier remains hopeful as he looks to the future with his family.

“After all we’ve overcome, we never really have an issue anymore,” Cavalier said. “Traveling with Eddie is like traveling like rock stars.”

Featured Image: Casey and Tod react as Eddie grabs the water hose during a family photoshoot in their backyard. Kristen Watson | Visuals Editor   

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