Dave and I have been talking about having a family for a decade or so now. We talked about kids before we even talked about dating. Don’t ask me how that happened! Nothing was traditional about us even from the beginning. Everything from trying to get pregnant, going through fertility treatments, and finally realizing that adoption was a better fit for us than 300 rounds of IVF has led us to our wonderful beautiful family that we could never have imagined.
When Tess was born almost 6 years ago, we knew she would not be alone. We’ve always wanted a large family, and as we watched the beautiful bonds between our kids grow, it’s made it all the clearer that the greatest gift we can give our kids is each other. Let’s be frank – the kids can be just as cruel to each other as they can be kind! But they learn so much about how to love and take care of each other through their lives together. And as an adult, I know that my siblings are there forever even if we rarely agree with each other and live very different lives.
Two years after Griffin, David I knew for sure we wanted one more Oplinger. So we did the requisite paperwork, meetings, forms, fingerprints. We renewed and submitted and signed and double checked and resubmitted all of the documents needed to add to our family. And as 2017 became 2018, we took a deep breath and settled in for a long wait.
Until this past Wednesday morning, when I got a call at work from an agency about a born baby in Austin. She was a perfect match for us and she had arrived the day before. How fast could we get on a plane? The answer is fairly fast! Dave and I were in Austin that night holding her. She was permanently placed in our care on Thursday evening, and we have spent every single minute with her since.
Sylvie Josephine is the beautiful Oplinger caboose. I didn’t know what to expect about welcoming our youngest, if I would be sad that the years of babyhood were coming to a close or simply excited to know who all of our children are. Based on the turmoil of emotions we have experienced in the past few days, I don’t know if I can say for sure one way or the other. But right now, everything just feels perfect. Sylvie is a great baby and very snuggly. The big kids all seem excited to meet her, and we can’t wait to bring her home. Griff doesn’t look entirely convinced, but his disdain for a younger sibling is at war with his love for babies. I suspect we all have a strong suspicion of how that will end.
And because our stories are never simple, we are currently cradling this beautiful newborn as we listen to the sounds of SXSW happening all around our hotel! I had always planned on trying to come down for this, but not with Sylvie strapped to my chest. We are staying out of the madness as much as possible, and limiting our Austin explorations to the pediatrician and a close friend’s place nearby who also just had a baby.
Welcoming a newborn at 40 means not feeling any pressure to continue living a fabulous adventurous life with a newborn in tow. She is the adventure, and it’s just as much fun to admire her beautiful cheeks in our hotel room as it would be to go bump around among humanity and listen to great music. Dave will be heading home on Tuesday to scoop all of our big kids up in his arms and tell them how much we’ve missed them. And I will be here nesting with sweet Sylvie until Texas tells us it’s time to go home.
I have rarely experienced “living in the moment” quite as accurately as I am feeling it right now. The logistics of this week are outlandishly complicated, but we are being saved by good friends at home. We are putting our trust in them and refuse to let reality interfere with the current state of calm and bliss. I’m sure Sylvie will get colicky or cranky or something! But for the moment she’s looking at the light with her beautiful brown eyes and snuggled on my chest after a good bottle. And I’m going to spend the next few minutes watching her with a smile on my face.