One of my favorite family pics of almost all of us a few years ago!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Part 4 - Lee Family: Our Birth - Foster - Adoptive Journey to 20 Children: Part 4

(This is Part 4 of our story.  If you missed Parts 1-3, you might want to start at the beginning!)

The Almost Middle of the Beginning – The First Children

We got pregnant on our honeymoon and I gave birth to our oldest biological daughter Rebecca almost exactly nine months later.  (And no, we weren’t pregnant when we eloped, although it wasn’t technically impossible if you know what I mean!)  We must have been quite the fertile couple because two more girls quickly followed.  When our third daughter Amy was born, Rebecca was 2-years-old and Kathryn was still only one. 

Because of Fini - my special needs sister that my parents adopted when they were about 50 - my husband knew a little about fostering and adopting kids.  It was part of my everyday conversation.  But he had no interest whatsoever.  He wouldn’t even talk about it.  He just listened to me talk about the possibilities for us as a couple.  It was my passion – but not yet his.

I was still practicing law and my husband was a Certified Public Accountant.  Life was busy and full to say the least. But we adored our children and made our careers fit around raising our girls.

When the girls were 2, 3 and 4, my husband and I went on an overnight camping trip for our anniversary.  At that point, two of our three children were conceived during the same week - so we often joked about not taking any more trips for our anniversary unless we wanted another child!  That year, my husband had a vasectomy, so we thought we were safe.  Little did we know.

While we were there, we saw a group of girls playing at the lake.  A very outgoing, talkative girl from the group named Nikki approached my husband and insisted that she knew him from somewhere.  He had no idea who she was and although he’s not the most talkative man around, he engaged her in lively conversation.  

After she walked away, my husband became curious and asked the couple at a nearby table about the girls. He learned that the girls were on an outing with their group foster home.  The couple went on to explain that the girls lived in the group home, but some had respite homes where they could visit for weekends and holidays so they didn't have to stay at the group home all the time.  One of the girls, Gail, had not had a respite home in many years. 

My husband was intrigued.  He asked questions and found out how to become a respite foster home. It was surprisingly simple. Up to that point, he was convinced he could never love a child that wasn’t his own and he didn’t want to have anything to do with foster care or adoption. 

When we were alone, he asked me if these were the kind of kids I had been talking about.  I told him this was exactly what I meant. After five years, he changed his mind and I didn’t have to do anything!  I sat back and watched as Alan made phone calls, obtained the paperwork, arranged to have us fingerprinted and did all that was necessary for Gail to start visiting our house.

About six weeks later, she came for what was supposed to be a week- long visit – and stayed for almost 6 weeks!  We fell in love with her immediately.  Our relationship flourished and she began coming to our house every chance she got.

That was the beginning of our foster/adoptive journey as a couple.

Part 5 of the story continues with our journey to adopt Heather.  As some of you know, our spirited, troubled, smiling, talented daughter Heather joined our family on January 16, 1999.  She was killed in a car accident on January 16, 2011.  We miss her every day.

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