No. That is not me. No. That is not my kid. We will never be so picture perfect…except in my dreams.
For the last…(counts on fingers)…6 years, when people ask me how many kids I have, the answer has been two and a half. Before you start thinking that I’m some weirdo who cuts kids in half, or some sicko who counts a disabled kid as less than, let me explain!
I found out I was pregnant with DD a couple weeks after my 21st birthday. I was so excited, but also scared witless because I was going to be a mother. I prayed daily to be pregnant with a boy. Remember when I talked about marriage and I said I wanted 20 babies? Well, at 21 I would have been happy with a single child…as long as it was a boy.
Then I found out we were having a girl. I cried. These were not tears of joy, but tears of disappointment. Then came denial. Despite the scientific proof, I was determined that my child would come out a boy, and I continued to pray that the ultrasound was wrong and I would have a boy.
Then I had a c-section after my labor had been induced. The doctor pulled out a…you guessed it! A girl! That doesn’t mean I love her any less! It meant two things: 1) we had to try again and hope C got it right this time and 2) I was completely and totally lost!
A third thing: DD will out-stubborn C and me combined! She’s been doing it since I was pregnant and she’s still doing it nearly 17 years later!
Then, I found out I was pregnant again a year and a half, or so, later. This time I didn’t ask, but just said, “Your will be done, Lord.”
We had a couple scares this time. We were in a car accident. Aside from some bad bruising and some anxiety about being in cars for a couple of weeks, I was fine. Then, I had some spotting. After having a nearly normal first pregnancy (I couldn’t pass the glucose screening, but I wasn’t diabetic), I was freaked out by this. But everything was fine.
While I was pregnant, C and I agreed that this would be our last natural child. We agreed that there are plenty of children in the world that need loving parents. If we decided later that we wanted more kids, we would adopt. So, we asked to get my tubes tied during the C-section.
Then I scheduled my c-section. I had my last appointment with my Ob-Gyn. This kid decided that wasn’t soon enough though. Late that afternoon or early that evening, I went into labor. Since I hadn’t gone into labor on my own before, I didn’t recognize it for what it was until C was getting ready for work.
We went to the hospital, called C’s mom on the way there so that she could come get DD and watch her while I went under the knife. While we had been told that we were having a boy this time, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Imagine my surprize when the doctor pulled out…a boy!
We didn’t have to worry about pregnancy anymore. We only had to raise our children. I quit work to go to school full-time. I was going to be a music teacher. Our kids got older. DD started Kindergarten at the same time I started taking my serious music courses. DS started preschool.
When I transferred to the local University, DS started Kindergarten. C had gotten into the habit of sleeping while the kids and I were in school, then wake up to help with homework and make dinner, and go back to bed after dinner. Things were going smoothly. If C and I wanted to go out on a date, we asked my youngest brother to watch DD and DS.
Eventually little brother (LB from here on out) moved in. At first he had his own room and DD and DS shared. As DD got closer to finishing elementary school, LB announced that he was going to be a dad.
Several months later, I became an aunt again. Nephew was born in the system, though, because mom didn’t have her act together. The case eventually ended with LB having sole custody over Nephew.
Nephew moved into the house too, so we had to shuffle people around. DD got her own room. LB and DS shared bunk beds. Nephew’s crib was put in DS and LB’s room.
LB was told not to leave nephew alone with mom. LB didn’t listen. Mom eventually reported LB to child services. She probably thought that she would end up with him, but that didn’t happen. Nephew was put in our care.
We eventually had to kick LB out. He’s doing better, but isn’t the focus of the story. Mom is doing better too, but also isn’t the focus of the story.
All of a sudden we had a 10-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy, and a 3-year-old boy. Nephew wasn’t potty trained…and it had been more than 5 years since we had had to potty train. When we saw how much help LB wasn’t being, we took control of raising Nephew and have been doing it ever since.
It took more than 2 years for mom and LB to almost lose their parental rights. Their Hail Mary was to give us guardianship instead of losing their rights. Guardians, where we live, almost have all the rights of adoptive parents. We have all of the responsibilities of adoptive parents. The biggest difference is that adoption is permanent.
So. We are guardians. Nephew is ours, but he’s not. So we have 2.5 kids.
When C and I agreed that there are plenty of children who need loving parents, raising our nephew wasn’t what we had in mind. When we agreed that adoption was an option, we didn’t realize how much work raising a kid who is not biologically ours would be. When we agreed that there were plenty of kids in the world who need love, we didn’t realize how much therapy would be involved. When we agreed, we didn’t realize how many school meetings we would have…or that we would be on first name basis with the school’s administration.
So C and I have 2.5 kids. Every day is an adventure. Every day brings some challenge. There have been some years when we’ve had 3 kids in 3 different schools.
DD is just a few months away from being 17. She is just as stubborn now as she was when I was pregnant with her. Just because I wished and hoped and prayed for a boy doesn’t mean I love her any less. She is silly. She is funny. She is loving. She is caring and compassionate. She is selfish, and argumentative. I wouldn’t change a minute of life with her.
DS is 14 and a half. He is just as impatient now as he was a week before he was supposed to be born. Just because I wanted a boy doesn’t mean that I love him more than DD. He is ridiculous. He is loving. He is funny. He is caring. He is shy, but a chatterbox. He has a servant’s heart. There are times I’d like to give him away, but then he says or does something to make me smile.
Nephew just turned 9. He is just as stubborn now as he was when he was potty training. He is the pickiest eater in the house. He is sensitive. He is loving. He is caring. He is energetic and funny. He is defiant. He wants to be in control. He is forgetful and disorganized. I wouldn’t have him any other way.
There are lots of stories between the beginning and now. I can’t wait to share them with you!