This should be such a simple question, but it never is. For some, it comes down to how many kids they can have, whether that means how many rounds of IVF or adoption they can afford, or how many times they can get pregnant before they feel too old. For others, it’s choice alone, or what they can manage. Still others? How much chaos can they handle. Or how big is their want for another child?
Dave and I talk about this a lot, often inspired by people asking us. (We get asked this and many related questions daily!) The truth is, our opinion changes like our threenager’s moods. And that’s saying something! We know two felt incomplete. We felt three wasn’t the whole family. But we also know there’s a limit. We will not have a sports team. We do not have any desire to raise a small army. We need to fit in a car, with Joy. So that set some sanity parameters. And adding Leah? Full house, full car, full hands and hearts at the moment!!!
Being chosen shouldn’t be novel; we have four beautiful children. And yet, every time we got picked, we felt like the luckiest parents in the world. It feels miraculous and impossible. We marvel every day that these birth families consider us worthy of parenting their incredible children. Their trust and our blessings makes it impossible to take parenting for granted.
We do this together, as a big birth-adoptive family. I didn’t think there could be anything more loving than a family with lots of kids; this zigzagging adoption-founded family we have today is beyond my wildest dreams. We reached out to all our birth families to tell them about this potential match, and answer any questions they had before we flew to California. Everyone cheered us on. The support from our entire extended family, and their happiness at our happiness, is unbelievable. Knowing a whole crew of people are as delighted with our kids as we are feels incredible. Our kids are awash in love.
So how many kids do we want? Apparently four right now! I’ve been scrolling through photos of friends with one or two, reflecting on the freedom we’ve abandoned by ballooning into a “big family”, which means three according to almost everyone we know. I wondered for a split second if we’d miss out on adventures or if our kids would resent our choice.
Tess has been to Italy and France though, and the other kids have been all over the country. They love flying and road trips, staring out the window and yelling things like, “a lake!” or “cattle guard!” Our adventures with them are just beginning. Can you picture Remy’s grin strutting around in Europe? Tess and Leah speaking German with Ute, Tess’ birth great grandmother in Austria? Has to happen.
David and I were and are those kids from big families. We each have a solid handful of siblings. As kids, we had a different perspective: he loved it, it drove me mad. As adults, I love being part of a big family. My siblings and his siblings make me laugh, comfort me with unorthodox words when I’m down, and never hesitate to tell me if I’m being an idiot or an ass. I need that – maybe more than most.
Leah’s mom, Amy, asked us why we’ve chosen to adopt so many kids from so many backgrounds. We stammered. I’ve never had a good answer to that, but I should have one. I thought about it that whole night. Here it is: Dave and I found a happy, happy life after some really unhappy years before we knew each other. We have so much love! And not everyone gets to have that. We are raising curious, joyful little people, which is the most fulfilling role of our lives. We love being parents, but more importantly we love raising happy kids who believe in themselves and what the world has to offer.
Our kids already know they have something to share with the world and that we believe in them. They know how to take care of someone who gets hurt, and hug each other with abandon. They take care of each other and have a blast together. They dance spontaneously in public, and sing to people when they feel inspired. Neither Tess nor Remy cares whether they look alike or not, and they seem pretty entertained by their differences, when it comes up.
Our kids have different backgrounds, and don’t look alike. We’re not blind to that at all, but celebrate the little differences. For example, we talk about why Remy needs different shampoo than Tess uses. We also talked about how good-looking both of them are! Their awareness and lack of judgment on that front and so many others makes my heart burst. Of course we wanted more of that!
A special shout out to Kerna, Remy’s mom, who just graduated and got a new job! We are so proud of everything she’s achieved. Also, we’re total nerds and getting a degree as an adult is a big deal. Woot! And best wishes to Amy, as she starts a new life in Oregon.
Are you ready for the best news ever? We signed all the paperwork on Wednesday, and on Thursday at noon we were told we could go home. That’s amazingly fast! We got into San Francisco late Thursday night, and flew home Saturday. We are beyond excited to get home!
Okay, the picture of Leah holding Griffen’s hand says it all: siblings are there for you! Congratulations on your newest baby girl!