A Letter to my Children

by Kristi T.

Dear Kids:
If I could only tell you one thing, it’s that Daddy and I are blessed. If that sounds self-centered, I’ll explain: Back in the olden days (circa 1985), Chris and I met eyes just outside of our high school auditorium. By now you’ve heard the story of our first date—eating McDonald’s in that sweet mustard-colored Malibu Classic 1974— and about how we stayed together through college and got married “too young” by most people’s standards. Your daddy was 23 and I was 22, and boy did we have our lives all planned out. I wanted four kids; two girls, two boys.

Never did I imagine we’d be childless for the next ten years. I lost count of how many baby showers I went to while we hoped and prayed for a baby of our own. At times the pain felt unbearable. All I’d ever really wanted to be when I grew up was a mom.

Once we decided to start the adoption process, our joy and excitement about being parents felt fresh again. I’ll never forget the day we met with the adoption agency to update our photo album, our showcase for potential birth mothers. There was one, we learned, who was considering us. The meeting went well, we thought. Near the end, Chris asked the director how far along she was. “Full term,” the director said. Can you imagine how happy we were feeling? Multiply that times a gazillion.

Before we left, the director wanted us to speak with the social worker assigned to the case.  She went out to get her, leaving Chris and me alone in the office. All we could talk about was how incredible it would be to be chosen. If it all worked out, we’d have a baby by Christmas.

Then the social worker walked into the office. She was holding this tiny red stocking, with tiny beautiful you wrapped up in it, Katie. Can you even imagine? We lived that glorious moment! All of the pain that we’d felt for so many years, wiped away the very instant we held you in our arms. I can still feel your warm little head in the palm of my hand for that very first time. Three years later, we decided to start the adoption process again, hoping for a little brother or sister for our “firstborn.” We figured we had at least a year to prepare for baby number two. But three months after mailing in our paperwork,

I walked into the house to find Chris with a camcorder in one hand, a blue balloon in the other. As I started the inquisition—“OMG, has he been born yet?!”—Daddy reached around the corner and handed me another blue balloon. I was in total shock. Twins! It felt like fate, too: When we started this round, my grandmother flat-out told me we’d be getting twins. Somehow, she knew. Within a few hours, we met our sweet, oh-so-tiny baby boys. That’s you, Will and Matt, aka baby A and baby B. We spent the next three weeks loving on you in blue hospital gowns, rocking in hospital chairs, until you both hit a solid four pounds and we got to bring you home. Life had never felt so complete.

Fast-forward two years: Chris is at work, I’m in the kitchen with two little wild men in nothing but diapers chasing each other through the kitchen, seeing who can scream the loudest. Our firstborn is plugging her ears and wondering why in the world we signed up for this. I’m way overdue for a shower. The phone rings.

The voice on the other end was the director at our agency. “How would you feel about a fourth baby?” she asked. My first reaction was laughter—lots of it, the crazy kind. I looked around, wondering how I could take care of an infant in this very moment. It was a short conversation, just long enough to tell me that this baby was the sibling of our boys. “Think about it over the weekend,” she said in her kind voice.

During naptime, I let it sink in, deep. In a few months there would be a new baby boy or girl coming into this world. A full-blood sibling of our double trouble club. I called my mom and had her come over. It was my turn to do a little surprising.

When Chris got home from work, I had a card for him to open: “Congratulations on being a dad… again!” Oh, if only I’d had the camcorder running! He asked if I was pregnant—a question I’d dreaded for a decade—and with a huge smile I said, “Nope!”

Even though we knew it would be a challenge having four kids under five, his heart felt the same as mine. For the first time, we were “expecting,” and by the end of that summer, we had our little cherry on top—that’s you, Kara. We were at the hospital right after you were born, and you’ve been flashing us that same big smile ever since.

God makes families in lots of different ways. For us, it’s been through the gift of adoption. We have more gratitude than we can ever express for the birth mothers that chose life for our kids, and for our adoption agency that works tirelessly to care for birth mothers, children and adoptive families. Chris and I joke about how we’re this infertile couple, yet we had a surprise fourth… and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In the 16 years since we were handed that little red stocking, many people have said to us, “Your children are so blessed to have you.” We sure hope you feel that way, but we’re always quick to respond, “We’re the ones who are blessed.”

Kristi T. was born in Tennessee and settled in Cary. She’s currently a stay-at-home mom who loves hugs—even from grumpy, mad kids.