Holden arrived before our second wedding anniversary. We were thrilled to be parents and didn’t wait long before trying to have another. In short, it didn’t happen and during those two years we struggled with “secondary infertility” and lost a child. We lost a dream. It was devastating.
Fortunately, Mark and I had talked in–depth about having a family; it had been part of our discovery and evaluation of one another while we dated. We explored the topic of adoption within these talks and settled on the size of our family, four or five children. I believe that after facing infertility and losing our child, we came to accept the reality of our situation quickly because we had had these discussions.
We did an “about-face” and began to earnestly research adopting. We’ve done some silly things, like writing down our answers to tough questions and then flipping the paper over to see what the other has written, to make sure we’re not trying to please one other. Such as it was with the first of our adoption decisions – domestic or international? Our unanimous decision was international.
The next step was, Where?
I will never forget asking Mark this, “If you came into a room filled with children representing every conceivable ethnicity, race and culture, what would you do?
I will never forget his answer, “I couldn’t choose.”
Wow. And beautiful, liberating.
For the purpose of this post, I will keep it short, but I could write (yes) a book about our experiences of becoming the family we are today. (I have written a few stories.*) My point is this, by Mark being on board with me, by being completely open, our family came to be what it is. We were able to follow our hearts and bring our children home. We were able to go with and follow our gut feelings and, like many adoptive parents, felt that the decisions to form our family as we did were bigger than us.
Mark is an amazing and flexible father. He is present when he’s with his kids and isn’t above being playful – like painting the girls’ toenails, dancing with the kids, or jumping out and scaring them. Devoted and loving, he is also a wise counselor and mentor. I’ve seen him patiently help with homework or explain a concept to them, like the value of “your word”.
Mark’s children are just that, his children. Mark, the father of my children, who feels profoundly blessed and enriched by the rich love and joy that his children bring.
* My story, “Souls Speak”, is featured in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families, the newly released volume of the national best selling Cup of Comfort series, available at your local bookseller and on Amazon.