Fostering Hope: Beginning the Journey to Expand Our Familyby Patricia Fischer, RN
Those were two words I never thought I’d hear my husband say.
When we were engaged, I’d told him I wanted six kids and would be willing to adopt to have as many as we could afford. My cousin was adopted, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
“One at a time,” my ever-cautious soon-to-be husband had replied then. His response made sense, but I took it as thanks, but no thanks. We began our newlywed lives with high hopes. Women in my family didn’t seem to have any problems getting pregnant so six pregnancies would give us six kids, right?
Piece of cake.
During the next ten years, we had four pregnancies, but the first and fourth ended in miscarriages. In fact, the first ended at nineteen weeks, a rare second trimester miscarriage. Devastated, we discussed adoption, but only in passing. Our fantastic OB/Gyn told us I should be able to have children again, but I always had doubts. What if we can’t? What if I can’t? Within eighteen months, we were pregnant and I delivered a healthy baby girl. Two years later, we had another healthy girl. To add to our momentum, we found out in late 2007, I was pregnant again. The third pregnancy in four years. Okay, we’re on our way. Just got a slow start. But seven weeks later we weren’t anymore.
Fast forward three years later, we’re in the middle of 2010 and my husband suggests we adopt. After the last miscarriage, I’d given up on the idea of a big family and I thought he had as well.
“You want to adopt?” I asked. “Why now?"
He smiled and took me in his arms. “Because I know you wanted a bigger family and I feel like we're not done making ours. Don’t you think there’s a child out there we can add to our family?”
My heart melted and reminded me why I’d loved him all these years. “Yes, I think we’d be a great place for a child to grow up.” Then I wondered. “What if I get pregnant again?”
“Then you get pregnant again.”
“You’re alright with more than two? More than three?”
“More than alright.” My husband expressed his love for our family, but we didn’t have a boy and how sweet it would be to add a little man to our lives. “Don’t get me wrong, I would kill for our daughters, but a son would add a different dimension to our lives. Not better, just different.”
I couldn’t argue. The idea of nurturing a boy, watching him grow to be a good man felt right. We asked our daughters and they became very excited at the idea of having another sibling. In fact, our youngest requested a little girl named Lila. We said we’d do our best. For the next several days we poured over websites, read lists of information, and message boards. I went to Barnes & Noble and purchased about $100 worth of books on adoption. I called my cousin, my friends who’d adopted, and anyone else who I could think of that would offer good advice on the subject. In the days following, we came up with more questions for each other.
Should we try fertility treatments instead? If so, how far into the fertility treatments were we willing to go?
Or should we adopt domestically or internationally? If internationally, which country? Who do we call? Who can we trust?
How much does it all cost? Did we want a newborn? A toddler? An older child? Boy? Girl?
Straight adoption? Or maybe we should consider a child from the foster care system?
Did we really want to do this? Will we be fine if we decide not to do this?
What if this is a disaster?
“I’m thinking a boy between eight and twelve,” my husband explained his thoughts later that week. “That way I won’t be seventy when they all graduate from high school and we're not starting over.”
“Eight and twelve? Are you sure?” The idea didn’t sit well with me. “Yeah, but our girls are six and four. An older child? A boy?”
Bringing in an older child gave me pause, especially with our girls being young, but I didn’t dismiss the idea. I knew so little about the adoption process that I felt if I said no to everything that I didn’t fully understand or feel comfortable with, we wouldn’t do anything.
“Well, let’s see who’s out there.”
And so our adventure began...