Oh Joy, What a Family

Ike & Moose 2011

We've recently started planning for Moose's second birthday and Ike's fourth (how time flies). These milestones have me reflecting on how our family came into existence.

It all started more than 13 years ago when Rahn and I met as volunteers at a charity 5k. We talked a bit that day, and Rahn made fun of me when I shared my theory that it is impossible to eat animal crackers without playing with them (I stand by that theory, by the way). We went our separate ways that day, and met again at a social event almost a year later. The rest, as they say is history.

When we decided to expand our family, about 9 years ago, we assumed we would follow the "traditional" path. However, after years of fertility treatments, we realized that was not going to be the case. At that point, we chose adoption.

The adoption process, including the home study was a long and exhausting process. Finally, we were matched with our kids' birth mother. We opted for a semi-open adoption and built a relationship with her during the pregnancy. In May of 2009, I was awed to be in the delivery room when our twins were born.

Ike & His Happy HairYes, I said twins. Ike is actually our middle child - he was welcomed into the world just minutes after his twin sister, Ellie.

When they were just 2 days old, Ellie was rushed from the hospital where she was born to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital where she was immediately admitted to the cardiac ICU. (I cannot speak highly enough of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital... the medical care was superior... but on top of that, they cared about our entire family.)

Ellie was born with a chromosomal deletion that resulted in multiple medical conditions, including several heart defects and DiGeorge Syndrome. In the first three weeks of her life, she underwent two major surgeries, including open-heart surgery.

Ellie BeanWe were optimistic about her future, and brought her home to her brother as soon as she was well enough. Unfortunately, Ellie's medical problems proved to be too much for her, and after a tough fight, she passed away on the day she turned 8 weeks old.

With Ike in our lives and Ellie in our hearts, we felt like our family was complete. Then, one day out of the blue, we received a surprise phone call. Ike had a biological half-brother on the way... and the boys' birth mother wanted us to adopt him, too. We were shocked, honored, and excited all at the same time.

MooseTwenty-three months after Ike and Ellie entered our lives, I was again awed to be in the delivery room for the birth of our second son. Moose has brought us more joy and wreaked more havoc on our lives than we could imagine.

Now, with Rahn, Ike, and Moose in my life and Ellie in my heart, I know that my family is complete... that is, until grandkids!!

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