When our son turned 2, we decided that it was time to think about having a second child. We'd made it through those first parenting milestones of pure euphoria and utter exhaustion -- that feeling of having no idea what you were doing, but eventually knowing you were doing something right. Our baby boy was turning into a little toddler and we were ready to be dads again.
We always knew we wanted two kids. My husband and I have both have siblings, and we wanted our son to experience the joys of being a big brother.
But whether we should actually have a second child was still a huge decision -- emotionally and financially.
We realized how lucky we were to have one child. In private adoption, there are no absolutes. No matter how many courses you take, how in-depth your homestudy is, or how friendly your adoption profile looks, you have absolutely no control; kind of like trying to get pregnant, but definitely a lot less fun. All you can do is throw positive vibes out to the universe, and hope the universe responds.
Having a second child meant a second homestudy and all the associated costs. It meant opening our lives up to a social worker again, and redoing the entire list of medical, reference and police checks.
If we wanted to register with the provincial ministry in addition to our private agency in order to broaden our chances, it meant repeating the same six weeks of classes we had already done. Because, you know, having a child already wasn't enough to prove to the government that we knew how to be parents. But I digress.
It meant waiting again -- for who knows how long -- to be picked by a birth mom or birth family. We recognized that so many couples wait years for just one child -- and we had only waited nine months. Had we used up our universal karma? How long would we have to wait for baby number two? If and when we did get picked, would the age gap between both kids be too big? Would we be too old?
We were also told it would be harder the second time. Our agency explained that the majority of birth moms they've worked with don't pick a family with a child. Could our son, who we knew would make an amazing brother, be a liability for us to become parents again?
And what if we did get picked and then the birth mom changed her mind? We'd been through that before -- could we go through it again?
You see, six weeks after we finished our first homestudy, we were chosen to be dads. Not by our son's birthmother, but by another birth mom. We were elated. We told everyone we were having a baby. We bought the minivan and the crib. And then the birth mom changed her mind.
It happens in open adoption -- we had been warned. But we were confident it wouldn't happen to us.
Boy, were we wrong. It was emotionally devastating. Could we put our son through that? "Son, meet your sister/brother... ummmm... nevermind..."
Honestly, as much as we wanted to be dads, there was a part of us that thought, maybe we should just count our blessings and be happy with the family we had.
But we knew we weren't done. We looked at our son and realized that if we had quit the process when our first adoption fell through, we would have never been his dads. We decided that all the risk, uncertainty, and anxiety the adoption process involves was completely worth the effort.
And it turns out that we were right -- ten months after we completed our second homestudy, we got the call.
"Do you want to be dads again?"
Five months later, our incredible daughter was born.
We now look at our two kids, and we absolutely know we made the right choice. I couldn't imagine not being their dad.
Our house is filled with the laughter and giggles my husband and I always dreamed of. Our kids have this amazing bond -- one that only siblings know -- and one that I hope will last a lifetime.
They play, they fight, they share toys, they grab each others toys, they chase each other, and they run away from each other. They do all the things siblings do. It's exhilarating and exhausting, and most of all, beautiful to watch.
And one day, when they hit those teenage years -- when Daddy and Poppa go from being awesome dads to annoying dads -- they'll have each other to commiserate with when we tell them:
"No, you can't go to that house party."
"No, you can't get a piercing there!"
"Yes, you can take the hover-car, but only if you pay for a tank of clean-burning organic gas."
When our first adoption fell through, someone told me, "Ian, you're meant to have the children you're meant to have. Your children are out there, you just don't know them yet." At the time, I didn't understand or believe that. All I could do was focus on the loss.
But now I completely understand. I know we were destined to be our kids' fathers and that our kids were destined to be brother and sister.
As I said -- in adoptions, there are no absolutes. But I also know that if you don't go after your dreams, the universe absolutely has no chance to respond.
And for us, it responded in the best possible way -- by creating our family.