The following article was originally published on The Society Letters on September 7, 2015 where I am a contributing writer.
The typical American family is anything but typical these days. All you need to do is look around and you’re bound to see single parents raising kids, families with 2 moms, or families with 2 Dads. There are blended families and those where the siblings are from opposite ends of the world.
Families are transforming and are more ethnically, racially, and stylistically diverse than ever. Much in the same way the family unit no longer resembles a Norman Rockwell painting, the manner in which families are created is evolving.
Parents are having children the old-fashioned way and by means of artificial insemination, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy and adoption. My husband and I chose to expand our brood through adoption. Why we chose adoption can be summed up in 4 words:
I WANTED A GIRL
Yes, that is somewhat of a cheeky answer, but there is a whole lotta truth to it as well. Let me back up a little bit.
When I was younger and envisioned my family, that picture included 2 kids. One boy, one girl. Much like my own family. When I became pregnant with our first baby, I just knew it was a boy and nine months later our big, healthy baby boy was born 2 weeks early and I was ecstatic! When I became pregnant with our second child, I just knew it was a girl and the ultrasound performed on my 26th birthday confirmed – it was a boy. Needless to say I was not immediately ecstatic. Please don’t judge. I LOVE my boys and being a mom to these two energetic, crazy kids has brought me more joy than I ever imagined and kept me young at heart. But the desire to have a daughter never left me.
Shortly after our second son was born, my husband had a vasectomy. We both agreed two children was the number for us. It’s what we could handle emotionally, and financially, but the desire to have a girl was still there.
Around the time our youngest son was 5 years old, I started mentioning adoption to my husband. You see, I had absolutely NO desire to be pregnant again and last I heard, despite all of the technological advances, adoption was the only way to guarantee the sex of your child. Our financial situation was improving beyond what I ever expected, and every few months I would bring the topic of adoption up to my husband. He would engage with me in the discussion, but we always left it there, at the discussion phase.
Specifically, I wanted to adopt a girl from China. I am one-quarter Chinese. My dad is half Chinese, his mom and my grandmother are 100% Chinese. Also, the plight of girls in China was well-known and it seemed only logical that we would adopt a girl from there. During one of our many open-ended discussions, I finally asked my husband if he would seriously consider adding to our family through adoption, or if this was simply a far-fetched dream of mine.
You obviously know his answer because 11 years after the birth of our second son, we brought our beautiful, baby girl home. Before meeting our daughter, I worried if I could love her as much as I loved my boys. I didn’t know if it was possible to love a child that I did not carry for nine months and birth, the same as my biological children. All of those fears dissipated the moment our daughter was placed in my arms.
Our family is now complete. Often times people comment on what a wonderful thing my husband and I have done by adopting, but honestly, it is US who have been blessed. Our daughter was meant to be in our family. Her birthday (which is more of an educated guess since her true date of birth is not known), is September 14th. Our boys were born on October 14th and August 14th. If that wasn’t enough of a sign, the orphanage officials found her on October 14th, our oldest son’s birthday.
Our daughter’s adoption brought out more love and compassion in our boys than we could have ever instilled in them on our own. She taps into a part of my husband’s heart that only a daughter can, and has brought me more joy, pink (lots of pink), and inspiration to be a better woman than I could ever have imagined.
Adoption is an exciting and complex topic that I could talk tirelessly about. Please feel free to leave any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to answer them!