For many social media-minded parents, sharing a photo of the kids on Facebook is no big deal.
But imagine you’d waited years and moved halfway around the world just to adopt your children, only to feel like you couldn’t publicly acknowledge them on Facebook. At least, not until the paperwork went through.
Daniel and William Raillant-Clark celebrated the end of a four-year adoption process this month, by sharing the first photo on Facebook with one of their sons. William called the moment their “second coming out,” because it marked the first time they were allowed to acknowledge Liam, 4, and Philip, 5, in a public way.
The couple originally moved to Montreal from New Zealand seven years ago, and waited another three years for adoption services to link them up with Philip and Liam. They immediately started raising the boys as their own, but they had to wait until now for Quebec to finalize the adoption.
For the Raillant-Clarks, it was the end of a long, long journey to parenthood.
“Daniel and I emigrated to Canada because it’s the only place we could adopt,” William told CTV Montreal.
Quebec enforces a waiting period during the adoption process, so biological parents have an opportunity to change their minds before the paperwork is signed, typically after 30 days. However, additional complications meant the Raillant-Clarks had to wait much longer than that to bring Philip and Liam into their family.
William says the process was long but worth it, and that he and Daniel are excited to finally call Philip and Liam their own.
“For me, that adoption being done, my name on the birth certificate, all these things means that we can be a normal family that can be proud of who we are,” he said.
Daniel says he felt as though Philip, the first boy they adopted, was his the moment he laid eyes on him. “We walked into his foster mom’s house, (and) there he was staring up at us,” Daniel recalls. “He was in a crib at the time, and it was like, ‘This is my baby!'”
Liam unofficially joined their family as a baby a short time later. However, the threat of losing both boys hung over the Raillant-Clarks for years, because the adoption process continued to drag out.
“You are given these beautiful children that you love to death,” William said. “And then you have this (sword of) Damocles hanging over your head, that maybe they’re going to go again.”
He added that it was difficult to live a double life with friends and co-workers. Some knew about his kids and encouraged him to share photos of them, which he couldn’t do. However, many others in his life had no idea. “I think people were like, ‘Why can’t William come out for a drink on Saturday night?'” William said.
But now, after all that waiting, the Raillant-Clarks can officially say they are the proud parents of sweet, sensitive Liam, and rambunctious, hockey-loving Philip.
“I want to ensure that they have every opportunity to be the people that they want to be,” William said.