Hard-won happiness

Nobody ever asked me why I wanted to become a parent. Nobody ever came to my house to make sure I would be a good one. I never saw a psychologist or submitted myself to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (thank goodness). And, aside from regular health insurance payments, the whole process was pretty inexpensive.

In fact, I did very little thinking, myself, about why I wanted kids, whether I would make a good mother, and what being a parent means. I was in love, and a family seemed like the right way to share that love. And I’m sure hormones played no small part in the whole decision-making process.

Now that the kids are here, I do wonder how I, a classic introvert, ended up living with three roommates — and two of them so very needy and incapable of doing the dishes, to boot. But I never second-guess the decision to welcome the little “people who began moving in on my territory one by one,” as Kris Berggren puts it in her Teens and Tweens column, and no one ever questions our family. There’s a luxurious surety and acceptance that seems to come just from having done things the usual way.

I know now that my husband and I are very fortunate. Our friends who have adopted — single moms, same-sex couples, couples unable to conceive, and couples who simply decided adoption was right for them — had to do a lot more tough thinking and answer a lot more tough questions. And the lucky ones now cradling babies and chasing toddlers still face the occasional tough question, from others and from within themselves.

Anyway, Kris says it all far better than I can in her essay on page 6, and she talks to some same-sex adoptive parents about the choices they have to make in building their families, on page 23. There are a lot of ways to build a family. Not all of them are as easy as “First comes love, then comes marriage…”

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