When I was eleven years old my parents decided to open our home to a foster child. I will never forget the first and only newborn baby that entered our lives. We called him “CJ” and he was five days old. He was tiny and plump, with thick ink black hair.
CJ changed the whole dynamic of our home; I saw a side of my mother I had never seen before. I remember coming home from school hearing my mother singing, laughing, fussing over this little baby that needed her in a way my brother and I no longer did. Even my father and brother who rarely showed affection, enjoyed CJ’s company.
Four days later, CJ’s paternal grandmother decided she would be his guardian and CJ was gone.
It was the first time I saw my mother cry. In only four days CJ made us all fall in love. And more than two decades later, I still think of him.
A few months after CJ left, a social worker rang our bell one rainy Tuesday night with a wobbly toddler wearing a yellow and white sweatsuit. Her name was Jennifer. We were cautious at first, not wanting to get too attached. But it didn’t take long for Jennifer to feel like she was part of our family. And we fell in love with her as easily as we did with CJ. Years later when Jennifer was finally eligible for adoption, we didn’t even have to think about it.
In these last few months, I’ve been considering adopting a child of my own.
After my son Norrin was diagnosed with autism, I couldn’t imagine having another child. Not while working full-time and navigating the complex world of special education. Another baby would only make our family life more complicated. I was content with our family of three.
Eventually I decided I was ready and almost immediately became pregnant. For sixteeen-weeks I let myself imagine our life with a new baby. During my sixteen week appointment, I found out I had a missed miscarriage. The days and months that followed were the darkest of my life. And I haven’t had the courage to really try again.
But I would love for Norrin to have a sibling. I would love for him to have a companion, I like the idea of a family of four. And I would love to open our home and our hearts to a child. A few weeks ago I decided to take the first step. I attended an adoption information seminar and it gave me so much to think about.
Have you considered adoption?
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.