Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Path

I am really bad at tempering my excitement, even if it’s about something that isn’t even certain to happen. I figure, What the hell? I’ll just be really excited and if it never happens, I’ll deal with the let down. Luckily, I’m pretty good at dealing with disappointment. It weighs heavy on me, but I am remarkably capable of picking myself up in short time and being just fine.

Yes, I realize that there’s a different approach—to be patient and calm and even-keel; to get excited about something only once it’s actually there in front of me to be excited about. I married a guy more like that, which is good, because two people like me could be trouble and two people like him could be boring. We’re a great match that way.

Anyways, lately, I’ve been excited, really excited, about the prospect that one day, we may have a third baby. As I’ve explained before, given the hormonal therapy that I take every morning and will take for the next nine years (God willing), I cannot get pregnant. Since we didn’t harvest my eggs prior to my treatment (which could allow for a surrogate to carry our biological child), that leaves one way that we can have a third baby—to adopt him or her. Finally, we’re starting down that path.

I have written a lot about this part of my journey, I just haven’t published most of it. At first, I didn’t fully understand, or better yet, I didn’t take the time to understand, why those posts felt so much more personal than anything else I’ve written. It’s strange, I know—that I’m okay publishing about hemorrhoids and old saggy boobs, but when it comes to this third child, things often feel so intensely personal. Of course I know that it’s fine (and, some likely would argue, better) not to blab one’s life into a blog like I usually do. In fact, if we decide on a “closed” or “semi-closed” adoption, I may need to erase this blog from existence altogether.

There are other reasons to keep this topic quiet, ones that I won’t even bother discussing tonight. But there are several reasons to talk about it, too. In fact, if I didn’t find someone willing to talk about it with me, I would never have been given this gift of hope for another child. I have lots more to write, and maybe even publish, on that topic, but tonight is just a baby step, if you will; an explanation of one realization that I have had about having a third child.

* * * 

In most ways, I’ve followed the rules my entire life. I’m bold in my convictions, but I’ve never been a rebel, so to speak. I grew up in the suburbs, did my homework and played sports, went to college after high school, became a teacher, got married, went to law school, had a baby boy, became a lawyer, bought a house, and had a baby girl. Personally, I think it’s all indescribably remarkable, but I also know that I’ve followed a relatively traditional path.

It’s not just me that observes the existence of a traditional path, even if it's all a figment of our imaginations. I know because I hear what people say—in their heads and out loud—when I mention that Brian and I may adopt a third child.

“But you already have your boy and your girl...” It’s a popular response, and I’m not faulting people who say it. I’d bet most of them say it to mean that we’re so blessed that we have a boy and a girl, and I appreciate the reminder, even though I never really need it. In fact, now that I think about it, I’ve probably made comments about the birth of a third child that could be wildly annoying if overhead; things like, “Oh, they must want a girl,” or, “I hope they get a boy.” I don’t know why I have assumed that the motivation behind a third child is always gender balance.

For Brian and I, having a third child is not logical. Financially, adoption is so expensive that we’re not even sure that it’s possible, and after that $30,000-$40,000 that we don’t have is gone, we’ll need money to actually raise the child. We would need a bigger car, bunk beds in Teddy’s room, and time away from things that we both love to do. Of course, there’s the scariest part of thinking about adoption—the thought of, What if? What if my cancer came back? What if we bring a child into our family only to have that child suffer the grief of his/her mother’s passing? Is it fair to that child? Is it fair to Brian? To Teddy and Annabel? I’m not saying these questions are logical or rational or even fair. I’m just saying that they happen in my head.

There are a million different reasons why Brian and I should clear out our basement of all the baby stuff, let our account become defunct, and start to enjoy easier work days and weekends now that our kids are getting older. It would make sense to stop; to enjoy what we have and not ask for any more. But deep down, I don’t want that. Not yet. Right now, I don’t want to be logical. I want a third child. I want a house full of awesome kid chaos. I want Annabel to have the gift of being a big sister and Teddy to have the gift of another friend for life. I love my brother, and if my parents never had a third child, I’d have lost out big time.

And so our journey begins. It’s not the logical or rational or traditional route, perhaps, but in the end, it’s not very complicated, either. Sure, there will be stacks of paperwork, FBI clearances, and home visits where we need to pretend like our kids do what we ask them to do. There could be awful disappointments and humongous complications. But that’s true for anyone who brings any child into the world. There are huge risks involved, probably because nothing is riskier than falling in love with someone. But in the end, it seems like an awful shame to waste a whole lot of love that and Brian, the kids, and I all want to give. Especially when I believe, deep down, that there’s an unborn baby out there who’s going to eat it all up.

*   *   *

Quote of the Day: Last night when we were all talking about adopting a baby, I asked the kids if they would want a baby brother or sister. Teddy immediately answered, "brother." Annabel thought about it for a second and then declared, "Why don't we just get both?!" 


  1. pretty dang awesome, T... xo

  2. Hi! I am a fellow breast cancer survivor and I've followed your blog for a while...adoption is an overwhelming process but it is so worth it! We were trying to get pregnant with our first child when we found the cancer and I'm also on tamoxifen now...we decided that domestic infant adoption was the right path for us and I am overjoyed to have our week-old daughter sleeping in my arms as I type this on my phone. :-) I'd be happy to give advice or suggestions...Adoptive Families magazine and website and also Creating a Family website and facebook group are some great resources! Best of luck!

    1. Maria, Congratulations on your new daughter! How absolutely wonderful. My email address is if you have a chance to send me an email so we can get in touch. No rush. I know you have your hands full :) Again, my deepest congratulations!