Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Back To Where It All Began - An Engaging Story

Seven years ago on Nov 23, 2005, Brad and I went on our first date after chatting online for a week or so. We decided to meet the night before Thanksgiving in Georgetown to catch the opening of RENT in theaters and then grab dinner afterwards.  We loved the show and then stolled our way down M street and landed at Pizza Paradiso for dinner.

Something that night clicked and we both new we wanted to see each other again. That night started it all, and now seven years later we have a beautiful family, with a beautiful home in the burbs. Life could not be better.

On that day -- November 23, 2005 -- I don't think we could have dreamed of the day that marriage equality would pass in both Washington, DC and Maryland.  However, let's fast forward this story a little to November 23, 2012.....

It is not the day after Thanksgiving - Black Friday, and we have made arrangments to go our for our anniversary (we celebrate our first date as our anniv) while our friend, Teresa, babysat Kyler for the evening. Brad was hopeful that we could "revisit" the past and catch a movie at the same Georgetown theater and some dinner at Pizza Paradiso.  Okay...not a bad idea.  We checked into the movies, the show times, and weighed our options for getting there and back in a normal time so Teresa was not with Kyler all night. I made a few brief attempts to just grab a movie in downton Silver Spring and dinner at our favorite restaurant, Olazzo.  A viable option we would enjoy (and save time), but Brad had his heart set on reliving our first date.  Yes, it was a romantic idea and we both agreed to just do it.

We made the drive downtown in record time and found parking pretty quick, so the night was starting off just fine. We got the Pizza Paradiso, and it was packed. Wuh-wah! A 45-minute wait was ahead of us, but that would prevent us from getting to the movie on time. Our chance to relive our first date was starting to come a bit unraveled. Luckily they offered to seat us at the "bar" in front of the pizza makers if we wanted. We jumped at it and sighed relief that we would have plenty of time to enjoy our evening with a pizza. 

Now comes the fun stuff. We ordered some champagne with our meal, and sat back and enjoyed the buzz happening before us. Within our conversation, we started talking about when and how we wanted to get married.  Do we want a big event? Do we do something small & intimate? Do we jump to Aruba and get hitched on the sand?  We had been waiting for marriage equality to pass in our state and planned to marry as soon as it did, but we really hadn't discuss "how."  Well, the time had come....we needed to start discussing what our options were...yadda, yadda, yadda.

Our meal comes, but before we can get to it, Brad hands me a gift to open.  Dammit!  "I didn't know we were doing gifts!"   Now I'm hacked off (internally) because I thought our "gift" was going to be the wonderful evening out we had planned.  Okay, okay....learned my lesson on that one. So, after putting down the lonely anniversary card I had for Brad, I start opening the gift. Low and behold there is a beautiful watch inside. Stunning and shining in the lights of the restaurant, it took my breath away. I could not have picked out a more perfect watch.  **Side note:  if you don't know Brad, he's an amazing gift giver. Quite a talent to always find that perfect gift.**  

So now I feel like the entire restaurant is looking at me (which they're not....get over myself) and I start putting on the watch.  Brad says, "There's an inscription."   Of course there is! This master gift giver has had this all planned out well in advance. I turn the watch over and instantly see today's date "Nov 23, 2012" on the top part of the back. My smile widens...."how sweet is that" I'm thinking.  Then my eyes scan to the bottom part of the back -- there's more inscription. The bottom contains the simple words, "Will You Marry Me?"

WHAT!?  This sneaky sucker....oh how I love him. Catching me off guard like this and doing something so comletely romantic and dripping with emotion.  I just kept smiling. I think at some point he said, "Well?"   Oh yah....I forgot my role.  "YES!" pops out and so starts the celebration and the Facebook posts.

We then made the movie, drove home and relieved our fabulous babysitter of her duties. It was a most memorable evening -- one that we will enjoy telling our children. Everyone needs a story. Even though we are a same-sex couple, we deserve one too. Thank you, Brad, for making our story possible.


And yes, I did the right thing.....I picked up the restaurant bill and movie.   :)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Our Journey. Moving Forward.

It's been a while since we've provided an update on our adoption journey to build our family, so here's just a quick post to let you know how and what we are doing.

First, we can't being without again thanking you all for you love and support. Many people have asked us why we are so public with our adoption journey before we finally "secure" the child. We have both thought about it and have decided we wouldn't want it any other way. We truly feel we couldn't have faced this second failed adoption without the support we have been given via calls, emails, FB posts, etc. It really did help to heal the pain and bring our focus knowing we had so many people concerned about us and offering up their love and support.

When you take a step back and look at our situation, it's hard to imagine that we had two failed adoptions within the span of six months.  That just doesn't typically happen. With this last adoption opportunity, everything just felt so right...just as it did with Kyler. We loved the couple we were working with and we were just stunned when we received "the call" from the them just a mere six hours after leaving the hospital with them. We just take solace in the fact that this couple was extremely loving and sweet, and both of them had families that were involved and supportive in their lives. Knowing "Kellan" was with good people did help with the healing process.

Even so.... we still had a lot we needed to process and think about when we returned home. We have both looked at each other and said "we can't go through this again," meaning.....a failed adoption. So it's been a little hard to try and make our mark to move forward but still have this sense of caution about protecting our hearts. Two truths that we feel strongly about have helped us stay the course, 1) God will not give us anything He feels we cannot handle, and 2) everything thing happens for a reason... even if we don't quite know what it is at the time.

Brad and I are determined to build our family again. We just know Kyler is destined to be a big brother and we are meant to at least be a family of four. We have entered the adoption waiting pool again and are now just playing the waiting game again, just as before. The call may come tomorrow....the call may come three years from now - we just know that the call will come.

We are happy. We are healthy. We have a home full of love....and a child who melts our hearts with each smile. This is all wrapped by the circle of arms from our friends and family who support us every step along the way. No regrets and no looking back. Like the President, our current mantra is FORWARD. Forward to the promise of a new day (hat tip to Paula Abdul).

The Brads & Kyler

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ready. Set. Wait. Our Adoption

This is just an update for everyone on our adoption journey. We are still in a waiting pattern at this point. Momma’s due date was this past Saturday….she has since had a doctor appointment on Thursday and everything still looks good. She’s only dilated at about 1.5cm and no other real signs that the baby is ready to appear. BUT the most important thing is that he appears to be very healthy and about 6.5lbs at this point.

We are still in Maryland and will not head to New Mexico until she goes into labor or is scheduled to be induced. So…..now you know about as much as we do. Our next son has all the control in this matter, and we think he still wants some time to continue baking. We’ll take this weekend to continue in some preparations for our departure.

Again, as soon as we have heard any other news that we can share we will post something for you all to know. Until then….we appreciate your prayers and support.

The Brads & Kyler

Friday, July 06, 2012

A Stone for Chelsea, II

This is a follow up post from A Stone for Chelsea, where we reached out to all of you to ask for support in purchasing a headstone for Chelsea after her tragic death. Brad was please to get back to the family with enough money raised to cover the cost of the headstone completely. A big thank you to all of you who helped in relieving a bit of the stress for this family during this very difficult time.

We believe in paying it forward....and we hope that your generosity is paid forward and then some.

Now, sleep with the angels, Chelsea.

What's My Name?

With our recent announcement that we will soon be adopting our second son, we are once again faced with the enormous task of picking a name. We've done this twice before, so we should be pros at it by now, right? However, it hasn't made it any easier. It's a HUGE amount of pressure to know you will be naming another human being that they will more than likely keep for the rest of their life. Good grief, what if they hate it?

We've quickly had about 3-4 names that have risen to the top that we have been playing around with. Brad has a tendency to try and use the name as if the baby were already here to get used to saying it...and see how it feels. I just tend to think and ponder about it.  Then we usually find pockets of time that we discuss new options and then usually find our way back to the final candidates on the list.

As you know, we don't make the announcement of the name we have have chosen until the baby is born .... but we are very excited to tell you that we have finalized what our son's name will be .... and are so eager to share it!...but you'll have to wait until the big day.

Any guesses what the final name will be?

Monday, July 02, 2012


WE BELIEVE!!!!!!  We are over the moon to share the BIG news that we will soon be a family of FOUR. Yes, we are blessed to become daddies again and Kyler will finally be a big brother. We are excited to say we will be adopting our newborn son who will be born around July 7th(YES IN 5 DAYS) in Los Alamos, NM. We are fortunate to be working with the same adoption agency again, so all is going smoothly. As you can imagine, we are thrilled and will be leaving whenever "mama" goes into labor... could be and day now. No name picked out as of yet, but we will be sure to have it ready and introduce you when he is born. We are beyond blessed and feel so fortunate to be sharing this news with you all. Your continued thoughts and prayers for the health of the baby and a safe delivery are much appreciated. We will keep you posted, as usual, and thank you for the support.... HERE WE GO AGAIN! -The Brads & Kyler

Monday, May 07, 2012

A Stone For Chelsea

Some of you may have already seen this posted to Facebook by Brad earlier last week. I'm posting this here to make one last attempt to help raise some funds for this family. To date, Brad has received about $280 of the $1,500 needed for this angel's headstone at her grave. I see this as a "Pay It Forward" moment in a way. Brad received some comfort from this young lady at a time when he needed it. He hopes to provide some comfort and peace-of-mind to the family by helping out this way. If you can help, checks can be mailed, or you can use my Paypal account using email address:  bradmbenton@gmail.com

Here is what Brad posted earlier providing more details on the situation:

Hello friends. I reach out to you with a very special request. A dear family friend of mine lost her 14 year old daughter in a tragic car accident in my home town in Alabama a... couple of weeks ago. An unbelievable tragedy. Due to a lack of insurance, the family is struggling to pay for the funeral costs and the headstone. They are having bake sales, car washes and donation buckets placed around the city, but are still in need of donations. If you would like to help out, I will gladly pass along any money I can raise. I had planned to send a personal donation today, but I will hold off until next week in hopes that I can help raise more funds. I only met this sweet young girl once – when my father passed away over a year ago. I remember how she hugged me and squeezed me so tightly that day. I just can’t get that moment out of my head and feel compelled to help out as much as I can. I found out from her mother yesterday that she donated her organs. They just received a letter from the Alabama Eye Donor Foundation informing them that her eyes were donated to two blind children who had been waiting for 2 years for a proper match. This is just one way this young girl’s giving spirit will remain alive. I want to respect the family’s privacy, so if you would like more info on how you can help out, please send me an email here on Facebook – or to my personal email address. Thanks, Brad
We all have some things that come into our lives and touch us in such a unique way that we feel compelled to respond, change our lives or take some type of action. This is what is currently touching Brad's heart at this time and we are here to support him. Thank you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baryshnikov in Work Boots

What would have happened if Baryshnikov had not pursued dancing because his parents did not believe in him? If they felt that a boy should not dance, but should be in something more manly like construction ... trading his ballet shoes for steel-toed work boots. The world would have been deprived the beauty of his God-given talent. A dear friend of mine posted the personal story below on Facebook, and I thought I would share this story. Although a very simple story, it speaks volumes to some of the issues facing kids, parents and many adults alike.
"Yesterday my heart broke. The theatre in my school was rented for a large dance competition sponsored by a national chain that makes a lot of money. For the most part the competition was good and healthy and a focus of "doing your best at what you have trained to do" remained present throughout the day.
As I standing in a corner supervising a hallway, I witnessed a mom kneeling by her son and fussing over him to get him ready to go onstage. I would have guessed the boy to be in 2nd or 3rd grade. As typical as it was at first glance, I noticed the uncomfortableness in the mom and then heard her say, "boys aren't supposed to grow up to dance - i just dont understand this. We are supposed to be playing soccer and football with the other boys." My whole body chilled and it was hard for me to walk forward and say something. She gave him a hug and patted him on the back and said, "do your best" and sent him off as she wiped a tear that he never saw.

When the boy came of the stage I made it a point to find him (and mom was nearby). I leaned down and said, " you were awesome. was that fun?" He smiled and nodded his head "yes" and then looked up at his mom. I said, "did a good job." She replied, "thanks." and I went on my way.

It is an image I cant get out of my head today. So I guess I want to say, "thank you" to all of you that are parent and you play dress up with your kids, go camping, paint your toenails, play sports with your kids, and dance. Thank you for raising your kids to know that they can do anything and that you still love them just the same.

While what I witnessed was real and uneditied, I could go a long time and never have to see it ever again. I will also guess that it happens more than I will ever know."
What is your reaction to this story? Have you possibly said (or even thought this) about your child? Was this something you felt subjected to in your childhood? If you had witnessed this yourself and been in my friend's shoes, would you have said something as he did..... or would you have said even more?

I'm personally curious as I start to think about all the possibilities of what my son will want to take part in as he grows up ... what he will show interest in .... what he will want to try ... and finally what he wants to be. I feel my job as a parent is to expose him to as many of his options as possible and encourage his choices and interests. This is how I see my son shaping into the best possible teenager and adult. Do you agree?

Please feel free to leave a comment or share.