As they start their journey towards adoption, Brad and Justin tell us their story.
Hi! We are Brad and Justin from Bristol, Virginia, and we are hoping to grow our family through open adoption. For those who have heard of Bristol before, thoughts of the Birthplace of Country Music or the “World’s Fastest Half Mile” probably spring into their head, but probably not thoughts of a same-sex couple adopting. We hope to give a sneak peek into our life and our adoption journey as we set out together to become dads.
Brad and I both work as flight paramedics on a medical helicopter. Though we both work for the same company, we work at two different bases so we never get to fly together. (Which works out really well as our plan to become dads grows more and more elaborate.)
Brad and I met in 2011 in Norfolk, Virginia at a work conference that neither one of us had initially planned on attending, talk about fate, huh? To be completely honest, that was the first time that Brad and I had officially met face to face, but we knew of each other long before we met.
Remember back when AOL Instant Messenger or “AIM” as we all called it was popular? Sounds of doors opening when your friends would sign on or doors slamming shut as they left or that very iconic “ding” as you received messages. We considered ourselves acquaintances, only knowing each other over AIM and I think we were even MySpace friends, too. Either way, we chatted occasionally, mostly about work stuff as Brad was already a paramedic and I had just started paramedic classes, until one evening after I had come home from class.
Both of us must’ve had a rough day because our chit chat turned quickly into complaining about one thing or another. And then I put my foot in my mouth and didn’t think before I typed, “You’re complaining a lot.” I said. The next thing I heard was the sound of a door slam shut, but it didn’t come from my apartment, it came from Instant Messenger. That was the last time Brad and I talked until almost 2 years later in Norfolk. We got, and still get, a good laugh out of it. I was full of apologies that night we met and we talked for hours, exchanged phone numbers and the rest is history.
Brad is an only child and I am the oldest of four. As we got to know each other, we both talked about how important family is to us and how we wanted to be dads. After 3 years together and hours of discussion, one weekend at Dollywood, a theme park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, sealed the deal and we were ready to go! We had spent the day with our friend’s 3 grandchildren, who ranged in age from 3 to 7, two girls and one boy.
As the day wound down, the only boy had a bit of melt down after not getting his way. He began to pout and then throw a temper tantrum. Brad and I sat back and watched for a moment or two, then Brad leaned over to him and said “Real crying has tears.” You could tell by the look on his face that he had been called out. A group of ladies gathered behind us must’ve heard because one of them turned to Brad and says “Spoken like a true father!” I remember turning my head, seeing the grin on Brad’s face and feeling my smile grow from ear to ear.
Brad and I decided that evening that we were going to be dads! We didn’t know how we were going to do it, how we were going to pay for it or where to even begin. What we did know was that someday, somehow, we were going to be two proud dads!
Learn more about Brad and Justin’s open adoption journey to becoming dads onbradandjustinAdopt.com
By Brad Fields and Justin Miles
Photo: Getty Images