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We: An Adoption and a Memoir by Ben Barnz | Adoption Law

We is a story of Ben and Daniel Barnz’s legal battle over their adopted daughter. The birth mother, Emma, has decided to hide her pregnancy from her friends and family in Minnesota in an attempt to regain what she considers to be her normal life. After flying Emma to California, Ben and Daniel work tirelessly to build a relationship with her before she gives birth. Emma voluntarily terminates her parental rights but Liam, the birth father, decides to contest the adoption and seek custody of the baby. Ben and Daniel turn to their attorneys for guidance hoping the lawyers are as knowledgeable as Ben and Daniel are passionate about assisting them with their legal battle. What happens next is surprisingly unexpected. The entire process becomes the cornerstone of what will become an unbreakable bond between the couple and Emma.


This suspenseful read will draw you in and leave you anxious to see what comes next. Ben and Daniel’s dreams of fatherhood are realized when they bring home their precious baby girl. An event that will transform their lives completely – where vacation pictures once were there are now diapers and a changing table. However, their world gets tossed into chaos and uncertainty when Liam decides to dispute the adoption. The idea of missing their daughter’s first words or first steps begins to haunt their thoughts, leaving Ben and Daniel with the unfathomable realization that every moment with their daughter could be their last.

The author effortlessly utilizes the humorous nature of Ben’s personality to lighten the mood throughout the story. Ben is a perfectionist, and as such he has planned what he considers to be a perfect first meeting with Emma. However, their meeting doesn’t go quite as he had planned. As it happens one of Emma’s cats became sick on the airplane and as a result, they are forced to endure the nauseating smell the entire car ride home. Ben’s plans turn on him once again when he tries to help Emma relax by taking her to the movies, but it turns out that seeing a pregnant woman on the movie screen only reminded of her own pain.


Ben gives us a quick glimpse into his fear of AIDs in the 1980s and that, statistically, he was more likely to die of AIDs than become a father. The story briefly touches on his liberal parent’s difficulty accepting his sexuality.  It focuses more on the grandparents’ excitement to meet their beautiful little granddaughter. According to the story, the same sex couple adoption was a non-issue for all parties involved and it is rarely mentioned in the reading.

Ben missed an opportunity to explore issues that same sex couples face when adopting a child. Ben says his sexuality does not define who he is, but in 2001 when their adoption takes place, there were several obstacles same sex couples had to overcome in order to adopt. Ben’s readers could have benefited from more substance about these issues and how they handled them.


I recommend this book to any couple contemplating the journey that is the adoption process. There are invaluable tips on using local support groups to find the best adoption attorneys, how to handle the first phone call with a birth mother, and how to relate and empathize with a birth mother. In this story Ben realizes during labor that Emma is having the most intimate moment with a pair of strangers and by the end of the story he calls Emma his hero. This adoption story explores how Ben and Daniel supported each other through a difficult legal process as well as their meetings with Liam. They knew when to lean on each other and their families. They also knew when they simply needed to vent their frustrations to one another. These are just a few of the applicable skills for any couple preparing to adopt.

Contact the Adoption Law Center, PLLC to explore any of these issues at 615-543-8640 or [email protected].  We have represented many same sex couples in adoptions, and would love to work with you!