A New Fuller Life
by Emily Reese
Holidays for Sean Cary and Anton Novak are always elegant, extravagant affairs. From October until the New Year, their world and their home is filled with lavish parties, beautiful decorations, endless food, and lots of people.
As the celebrations for 2016 drew to a close, Sean and Anton started to reflect on their years together and the conversations quickly turned to their vision for the future. Early into those conversations, both men realized 2017 was their year to start a family.
“We aren’t like other families,” Sean chuckles. “We can’t just have too much chardonnay and put on a romantic movie. We knew full well going into this it was going to take education, perseverance, hard work, lots of tears, and maybe even heartache—and that’s all before we physically have children placed in our home.”
As successful business owners and entrepreneurs, married couple Sean and Anton know what it is like to take risks and start new ventures. “We very much looked at starting our family the way we have looked at starting our businesses,” Anton reflects. “Is this the right thing to do? Is this what we truly want? Will we make the world a better place in the process?”
Sean and Anton intensely researched and heavily weighed their options. Surrogacy was almost immediately ruled out. Neither man possessed a strong desire to have a blood related child, or for that matter, a baby. In addition, they quickly agreed bringing a new life into this world when there are so many children out there yearning for a home to call their own was not their path.
Sean and Anton travel the world extensively so the thought of foreign adoption was very attractive to them. This option, too, was eliminated. “Foreign adoptions are expensive, lengthy, and the harsh, sad truth is only a handful of countries will adopt to a same sex couple and that is heartbreaking,” Sean said. “I just didn’t have it in me to invest fifty grand per child and up to three years of our lives only to find our dreams vanquished by some corrupt government official.”
After many visits to the Washoe County Social Services Website, www.haveaheartnv.org, the couple decided to adopt from the local foster care system. “The pictures on the site were heartbreaking, yet inspiring. We knew these children staring back at us had been through hell for most, if not all, of their young lives, but we also knew we were potentially looking at our new family.”
The application process, while lengthy and exhaustive, really isn’t worse than any other background check. Components include personal and family references, criminal history, financial information, and of course the oft dreaded home study. “I had no problem with the home study,” Anton stated. “We weren’t dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or something like that. We had made the conscious decision to go through this process and we knew the home study was part of it. Frankly, I learned more about myself, my husband, and our family than at any other time. I wish more couples would ask themselves and each other the frank questions (Sean and) I had to answer.”
After receiving their required foster care license, Anton and Sean began the matching process. “My first piece of advice for any families looking to adopt is always be open. Open to the process, open to the pitfalls, and open to what your family is going to look like because believe me, you don’t know. The things you think are important will fly out the window once the real adoption conversation starts.” Sean continued, “This process isn’t glamorous. It’s gritty, it’s tough, and far too many adoptions don’t happen because well-intentioned people don’t fully understand what they are getting into.” Anton also stressed not to let that be a deterrent. “Yes, the process is hard, impossible at times, and borderline heartbreaking at almost every turn, but that is no reason not to do it. The first time your adopted child looks at you and says ‘I love you, Papa,’ all that goes away.”
Luckily, for Sean and Anton, their matching process went quicker than most. Although they had consistently said they wanted one or possibly two boys, their path took a different and larger turn. A sibling group of three (one boy and two girls ages 8, 7 & 4) came up for adoption and they knew from the beginning they were destined to be a family. After visiting with the children for over four months, they have now moved in and are settling into their new lives and their new home. Anton laughs when he thinks back to it: “I knew I wanted a son. What I didn’t know was I wanted him to have two beautiful little sisters.”
This is part one in a multi-part series chronicling Sean and Anton’s adoption journey. We look forward to introducing you to the children in an upcoming issue and we wish Sean and Anton the best of luck in their new, fuller lives.