Growing up, I was very different from other girls. Not because I was a tomboy; not just because of knowing at a young age that I am a lesbian. Growing up I wanted a family, but was different because I never wanted to carry my own child. I was never interested in experiencing childbirth. When we had Gavin, I was glad to be holding Kristin’s hand and experiencing birth that way. I always wanted to adopt and through the foster system would be how I wanted to do that. What I never thought about was the after-adoption part of being a parent.
Before we conceived Gavin, we thought about how our adopted kids would feel. Thinking about it, he does have similarities like our adopted children. He has a parent that he is not genetically connected to and he may also have siblings out there that we don’t know about as well. I personally have the same bond with him as I have with all our children. The bond that proves you do not have to give birth or be genetically connected to your child to feel that unconditional love. I just never thought about some of the future questions that would arise later in life after our family was complete. Honestly, I feared having Gavin that I would never be able to have the same connection I have with the other kids, only because he genetically is connected to Kristin. That faded quickly by the way. He looks just like her, yet his personality is all mine.
Occasionally, we have the discussion with all of them: why they have two mommies. With the world the way it is, we feel it is important to be open with our children. We ask about school and if it is mentioned there, just to make sure they are emotionally prepared for comments along the way. We planned and prepared for that before ever having children. We discuss how all of them became foster children, in the kiddy version of course, and then why they were adopted. What you don’t plan for is the emotions later in life of the things that you cannot answer.
February 1, Gavin had his first birthday. We were excited and sad all at the same time – that our last baby is was one. It feels like just yesterday we were in the operating room having him. We are even prepared for his questions later in life of how he came about and why there was a donor to conceive him. That is easy, that’s also what connects him to our adopted children. We were meant to have him, so a donor helped us when we wanted him so badly, for mommy to experience carrying a baby in her belly.
What we did not prepare for was the night terrors of a 15-month-old that we cannot explain. Explaining to him that we received him right from the hospital is easy, he was created for us. Explaining that he is with us, especially because we adopted his biological sibling, not so bad. But when it comes to asking about the day he was born and was alone in the hospital for days is probably where his terrors come from, now that is the hard part. How do you console a baby that only knows you, but must subconsciously know that he was alone right after birth? We sit up at night with him, holding him, rocking him through these emotions, but is that enough? I held Gavin all night, the night he was born. His brother that is only three months older didn’t have that. They act like twins, with two completely different birth stories. Maybe it is emotionally harder on us then will be on the kids knowing things like that, who really knows?
As parents, it is not hard for us to talk about why our family is different. Sexuality and why we look different, that’s simple, we are a blended family. We are of all colors and shapes and sizes and that’s what makes our family amazing. If anyone has an issue with that, that is their problem not ours, the kids are understanding that. The hard part is answering the unknown questions of what it was like at their birth and who was with them then. Until we gave birth, it never dawned on us that at some point we all want to hear our beginning story. In some ways, we wonder if Gavin will feel different then the other kids, not the other way around. They all have that connection, the not knowing their birth story, all except Gavin. Although their connection with Gavin will be stronger seeing their pictures laying on mommy’s belly as Gavin was inside; waiting for that final piece of our puzzle to be put into place. That they were apart of their youngest brothers’ birth, that is what will tie them all together.