Sunday, December 13, 2009


Annie 347/365

Lucy 347/365

Today I am thankful for my younger sister, Amy, aka Mamie! She turned 25 today!! I know she had a fun birthday weekend, which makes me very happy. I wish that I got to see all of my sissies more often. I can't wait to get home for Christmas and squeeze your neck pretty girl! Maybe since I am thankful for you today, you will leave a comment! :) Love you so much.

So, I thought I would answer a question tonight. Several people asked what our plans were for adding more to our family. Justin and I have never tried for a biological child. We always knew we would adopt, and after a lot of thinking, we decided to go that route first. When we were in Vietnam adopting Lucy, we both just looked at each other one day and agreed that we would be adopting one more time. We just knew that once wasn't going to be enough as far as making our family complete through adoption. So, we obviously got started relatively quickly on Annie's adoption after Lucy was home - about 8 months after we got home we started the paperchase again. I would happily adopt again and again. But, I would prefer to adopt from Vietnam and it really doesn't look like that is a great option any longer. I would like 4 kids, and Justin wants 3. I bet that I can convince him for 4 some day!! :) Right now we have agreed to keep a decent sized age gap between Annie and the next child. She still has a lot of needs that we need to focus on and that would be very difficult while going through a pregnancy and with an infant. I like the dynamics of my own family. Holly and I are 2.5 years apart and then there is a 5 year gap between Amy and me. She and Katy are 2 years apart. There has always been the big 2 and the little 2. Everyone had a playmate. If we really are only going to have 3 kids, I don't want that big of a gap because I want the baby to be close enough to Lucy and Annie that they can all play together. So, the answer to this question is that the jury is still out on when we will add to our family again, but we definitely hope to some day. If I had to predict, I would guess that we will have all girls, just like my family. I am not sure why, but that is what I imagine happening. I hope we get to experience raising a son though. It would probably be a nice break from the drama of us ladies in the house.

While on this topic, I am curious about thoughts on having a family that is mixed with biological and adopted children. I honestly worry about Lucy and Annie when I think about this because I just don't ever want them to have any sort of feeling of being any less our children than a biological child. Maybe it is a silly thing to worry about, but it is the one thing that holds me back from having a strong desire to have any biological children. We would obviously never make them feel that way or think that way, but I just worry as they get older and start having lots of questions and concerns about their past, that it would be hard having a sibling that doesn't have any of those same questions and fears in their lives. Do those of you that have both in your family worry about this, too? Is anyone reading this with experience on it - where an adopted child did have a hard time with a biological child? I know that it can and does work all of the time, but I just worry so much about this for some reason. I am sure so much of it would have to do with how we parent them all, which would be just the same, but I still have concerns.




Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this - we wonder about the same thing - a mix of adopted and biological. We have one adopted and got in the process for the second 5 months after we got home from China.

Thanks for the comments on Four Christmases, we picked it up tonight and we are watching it right now.


Anonymous said...

I have a homegrown daughter who was 7 when we adopted Annie from Vietnam. Annie was 4 months old when we brought her home. I had the same concerns, but honestly they are 100% sisters, and I see it in the way the love and the way they fight! Just as I am sure you forget that your girls are adopted, to you they are just your girls, it is the same with my girls, I don't think of one as homegrown and one as adopted.
It has been easier than I ever imagined, although we have years to go-but as I watch my girls together there is no doubt in my mind they were meant to be sisters.
God Bless You, and Thanks again for this wonderful year of posts.
Jennifer in Indy

Amy said...

Thank you so much for the sweet comment about being thankful for me. I have the best sisters in the world! =) Love you soooo much!

Secondly, Kelly, I am obsessed with pregnant people, and I bet you would be absolutely precious pregnant! I seriously cannot wait for that day to be here! Love you!


Anonymous said...

where are ya lee....snoozing?


Jena said...

Hey Kel-
I just read your post, and am on my way to bed, but obviously I have some stuff that I would love to say, since we have parented both bio and an adopted child, and if we are blessed to have more kiddos, we would plan on adopting them...
So my plan is to come back and leave a well thought out comment tomorrow...

Mom said...

Hey poopsie! And, no, Dada, I am NOT snoozing! I was trying to put together a 20 year old train that I found in the attic for the grand kids for Christmas. But alas, it is not to be. So, of course, now I want to find a new one!!! I'll keep you posted.

Lucy looks adorable, and I'm so glad to see the cowboy boots! Her piggies are getting LONG! And Annie looks so pretty in front of the tree!

I think that what ever happens in your family building will be wonderful. And I don't think any of your children would ever feel different. Good lovin' is good lovin'. Our big 2 and little 2 was not the plan, as you know. But when God closes a door, he opens a window--and in our case that turned out to be Amy and Katy. And I can't imagine our life without all 4 of you precious girls. I'm with Amy on thinking that you would be pretty cute preggers, but I can also imagine lots of whining! Did I say that???

Love to the four of you, the four of mine, and to the four of Holly's. Love, love, love LeeLee

Ruby's Fairy Godmother said...

I'm telling have the most beautiful babies!
They are just precious!

Anonymous said...

i know that i only know you from your blog...but, i know that you are such a wonderful and caring mother. no matter if they are adopted or biological...they are yours and i know that your heart is so huge to love everyone with sooo much love. the way you speak about your girls and the pictures that you capture of their everyday life is really amazing and truly inspiring.

Jason and Erin said...

We have lots of girls in our family, too, and my mom always says teenaged girls will always find a reason to resent you, so you shouldn't worry too much about bio vs. adopted, etc. They'll find a reason, so you might as well give them one!

Beth said...

Obviously, you will love all your children the same, but you know that, and your children will know that. We have two bio teenagers, and one 4 year old, adopted from China. I truly believe that as long as adoption is an open and positive subject in your home, all will be fine. But... as adopted kids get older, they do have lots of questions, and one of those may be, "Do you love her more?" There's no way to avoid some of the issues that will arrise with our adopted children, but our job is to love them as best we can and support them, including if they have questions or issues.
I have a friend who is 30-something, and she was adopted from Korea as an infant. As my daughter grows, I occassionally call my friend and ask, "What was this like for you?" That way I'm getting some inside information. Not just reading books, but talking to somebody who has been through what my daughter has been through. She is my anchor, and she is committed to be there for me and my daughter in the future to help out... so that I can understand my daughter's point of view better. - Do you know any adopted adults (or teenagers) you could talk to? I just think it would help you to hear it from someone who's been there.
By-the-way... I'm not meaning to say NOT to get pregnant, because I think all children are gifts and I hope God blesses you with those gifts. :)

Anonymous said...

I am 34, love your blog and had to comment. I have a brother who is 31 and my younger sister is 24 and came into our family via Korea when she was 4 months old. I totally understand your concerns but in our family, I really don't think there have ever been issues. My mom always says that as soon as they handed her the baby, she was "mine". I think that's how you feel as siblings, as well. We don't use the terms adopted/biological or anything else. They are just my brother and my sister. Family isn't always blood...

Sarah said...

Well, after reading what your sweet mom posted, I just want to cry. Any child, biological or adopted would be so incredibly loved in your family!

As a mom to two bio teenagers and then my 4 year old Guatemalan princess, Sophie~Bug, I can tell you that there is absolutely ZERO difference in the love I feel for all three of my kids. I honestly can say that I forget all the time that one of them came to me through the heart and not the womb.

I have, of course, not had to deal yet with any questions or issues that may come up in the critical adolescent years... I am sure they will come just as issues with my older two have. I just hope that we can gracefully cross that bridge with as much love, education and understanding that we can when the time comes.

You have a beautiful family. I love watching Lucy and Annie grow up day by day. Thanks for sharing with us!

mimi lam said...

You and Justin are very good, kind, generous people, therefore you are great parents, to see your love, and passions pouring toward your children through reading your blog, I know you have built a strong foundation for your family,and for the next child, regardless, which option you choose. I love Leelee's comment.

Trying Traditional said...

We have four girls, 2 older are bio and then our twins from Vietnam. It's been three years and I can honestly say, from the first couple days that they were handed to me, before I was even legally their mother...they were my daughters whole heartedly. I was amazed with the birth of my first child how much I loved her and then that I had another equal measure of love when my second was born. I wasn't sure what to expect when adopting the twins and it still surprises me today how easily they won my heart and how I have that same measure of love for each of them that I do my older two.
I have not seen any resentment towards each other, though they are all young still. I know that there will be different battles and tears in the teenage years between the two sets of girls and am doing what I can to be prepared :)
We say we are done, no more bio for sure. Though, I would like to have a son it just isn't the right time and never may be.
If it counts at all....go for four not three. I am the oldest of three girls and there was always an odd girl out. It was rare that we all three played or did things together which many times ended up with someone in tears. My husband has three brothers 18 mo between the older two, 5 years, then 2 years between him and his younger brother. He feels like 5 years was a little bit too much of a gap between the ages, we ended up with 4 years between our two sets and so far it is working out well. The big girls are such a help with the twins. They will play with them, help wash hands before dinner, and help them pick up their room.
Sorry this is a bit pieced together. I was going to wait to write until tomorrow as it is late, but was afraid I would forget.

Sherri said...

Sisters are great. It makes me sad that Gracie might not every have that.

NeuroMama said...

I'm just so excited to read a blog where the family chose to adopt first without fertility issues. My husband and I have done the same and we've often felt like the odd couple out. During our first home study (of three), the social worker actually gasped when we told her that we weren't infertile (to our knowledge) and said that she'd never had another couple like us. I thought that was totally weird and slightly inappropriate. We just always knew that we wanted to adopt. I was never a little girl or young woman who dreamed of being pregnant. At one point, we thought we might try for one bio child after adopting. But, having adopted three times from China now (two with special needs), we just don't feel that having a biological child is the right thing for our family. It would be very difficult for me to bring another child into the world when I know that there are so very many here already who need families. I just don't think it's the right thing for me/us.

We would also like to add a 4th child to our family, but are a little worried about ethical issues in the China program and that is really where our heart is. We are also not in a position to add to our family right now and we don't want a big age gap between our youngest and the next/last child. Our youngest is three now. So, if we don't do it in the next couple of years, I think we'll be a family of five. That would be fine too.

Anyway, I am totally going to miss your daily posts if you don't do it again next year. I love hearing about all of the things you're grateful for. And, of course, I love seeing your beautiful photographs of your gorgeous children!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kelly,

I stumbled upon your blog about a month ago and have just loved seeing your precious little girls! I am part Vietnamese, but I was adopted in the US (Dallas to be exact). My parents were able to have my older sister biologically and after that were unable to have any more children, thus enters me:)! Growing up, I never thought twice about being adopted and my older sister being biologically born. Of course I grew to realize that we look nothing alike, but to me that just makes for an even better story!

Through God all things are possible and we are all His children!


Jena said...

ok, I am back.
We also always planned on adopting, and to be honest, I would have preferred to adopt first and then have bio kids...
but obviously it didn't work out that way...

So, many of your commenters thus far have stated that their love for their bio kids and their adopted kids is exactly the same. To be honest, that is not the same for me.

My love for all 3 of my kids is very different.

It is the same in fierce-ness and protectiveness, but very different in origin.

My love for my bio kids is pretty simple, primal and uncomplicated.

There are times when I wish my love for my adopted son was like that, but it is not.
My love for him has always and will always include loss.
And his first family.
And it is complicated.

Whether I want to admit it or not, my love for him includes the very messy situation that Vietnamese adoptions where, and the MANY questions surrounding the situation at the time of his adoption.

My choices when it comes to parenting him always include the element of attachment. That is VERY different than my bio kids.

Having said that, it is not something that I think about consciously on a daily basis.

I honestly don't think it is a "bad" thing that my love for my adopted son includes grief. I actually think it is a very healthy thing for me to acknowledge the reality of what he has been through and carry that with me as I love him.
Having said all that, he himself is one of the MOST joyful people on the face of the planet.

And having said all that, it doesn't make me think that having adopted and bio sibs is a bad thing. Each of my three kids so far has a VERY special story of how they came to be our kids, each one has ways that God showed up, I believe, miraculously, along the way. And I don't believe that one is better than another, but in experience they are VERY different, and I personally believe that acknowledging that helps me to be a better parent.

I know this perspective is very different than many of the other commenters, but it is where I am at...
I think I actually wrote a blog post about this a while ago...

Nicki said...

I think this is a total non-issue when adoption chooses you, as it did in your family. I think it's usually a non-issue when you choose adoption out of lack of other options. But very rarely it seems like you hear about families who choose adoption last and then suddenly and miraculously find themselves pregnant and do treat the adopted child as less.

I can't really speak to the dynamics because our family is so different anyway. In our house, the child who struggles to maintain an identity is our biological child. Everyone else has a story, everyone else is connected by Vietnam, everyone else has other parents. I'm not sure it would be accurate to say Noah feels "special" but he is definitely aware of being "different". So when talking about having 3 vs 4 with J, you might keep that in mind. We do love our "big 2, little 2" dynamic. But also you lose the option to fit into a normal car, which stinks! LOL

Trying Traditional said...

I came back to see if what I typed made sense!

I did not mention that we wanted to adopt first. When it came time to start a family, we didn't have the finances. His insurance was good, though, so bio ended up fist. No regreats here, it's hard to imagine our family any other way.

Someone mentioned how they love their children differently. I agree to an extent. I love no child more or less, the concept is even hard to think about and there are no favorites. The measure is the same all around which as I said just amazes me. How I love them might be different, though I find it hard to put words to. Things that are uniques and there are many these are just examples: When I see me second girl, I absolutely love that she looks exactly liker her daddy but beautiful instead of handsome...who knew something like that was possible. I adore that my oldest is an insane combo of my husband and I in the way she looks at life and approaches things. One of the twins is so delicate and sweet while the other is all sass and smiles. The bits and pieces are all different, but still it's all a genuine mother's love.

Nicki is right about the vehicle deal. Our old junk mini-van is on it's last leg (150000 miles and the dials decide daily if they are working.) It is not easy finding a vehicle that fits eight as we often go places with my parents. Mini vans are pricey to buy or rent on vacations! Other things to think about in that manner would be hotel rooms, we usually end up at one of the suite chains.

I have a hard time imagining five. As of right now, we still can each hold a hand and know that everyone is safe and accounted for :)

MKH said...

hey there-well, I think just by reading your blog and getting to know you and your family that way, that you couldn't love lucy and annie more-it's not possible! clearly the sun rises and sets with your babies. And if you added a biological baby, I sense that love would be the same. no doubt in my mind!

Laura said...

I have the exact same thoughts about age gaps! We're done for now (and possibly permanently...we'll see how the next few years go), but if we have any more children, we'll wait a few more years, then adopt two close in age again. And if that doesn't kill me, we're definitely done. :) Mattix and Molley are just over a year apart and I feel like they need some time for a few more years. Then if we want to expand again, I'd like to adopt two more close in age. I'd love to parent another boy and girl. However, four seems like a LOT to me and I always planned on only two, so we'll see. I'd also love to have at least a part time career eventually, and if we start again in a few years, that's going to be pushed back a lot.

As for mixing bio and adopted, we chose not to do that. Like you, adoption was our first choice. After we brought Mattix home, we decided that it was the only way we would add to our family, so Ed visited the urologist for some surgery. :) We made this choice for several reasons, one of which J mentioned - that the love for an adopted child includes loss and a very different history. For us, the experience with Mattix made me realize that I would have a very different experience with a biological child. Not bad or good or worse or better - just different. My experience parenting Molley has been entirely different from my experience parenting Mattix, but it does come from the same place. I'm emotionally uncomplicated in general, so I felt like it would be best for us to stick with adoption. This probably doesn't make any sense, but it does in my head. Additionally, I feel very strongly about my children's beginnings and their past, and I don't know how I'd reconcile that with a biological child. Again, this makes sense in my head!

Every family knows what will work for them and from what I've seen, most families parent their children wonderfully - bio, adopted, or both. In my opinion, what matters is knowing what we're capable of doing and doing it well. Whatever you and Justin decide, you'll make a great decision for your family. You're wonderful parents and your girls are clearly loved. You'll be just as great for more adopted or biological children.

Paul and Heather said...

Hi Kelly,
I am usually a lurker on your blog but love your photos! My husband and I are also "adopters who never tried for bio kids". We knew we wanted kids...and we knew they didn't need to be born to us. Never even went off the pill :-)
Anyway...I have experience with a blended family of adopted and not. My older two sisters are adopted (domestic) and me and my younger sister are bio to my parents. I think in the right family, with the right doesn't matter. Will there be some questions, and issues...sure. My one older sis Steph and my Mom didn't get along...but it had nothing to do with adoption. I actually don't get along with my Mom for the same reasons and I am bio to her. As far as the sibling aspect...I am closest to Stepg (adopted) and most distant from Mer (bio sis). Steph and I just get along better and she "feels" like a sister :-) To a loving family who really doesn't care...I think it works out. Like I said...there will be questions, and I am sure some tears and frustration...but I think it can work out ok.

kristin said...

hi kelly,

i thought i'd chime in, too, since we have a first-born adopted daughter and a homegrown daughter... we always wanted to adopt and decided, for many reasons including financial, that we would adopt first. we hoped to experience a pregnancy as well, but adoption was always on our hearts and in our family plan; we entered into that journey with tons of excitement. our vietnamese daughter was so deeply wanted and we worked so hard to bring her home... it still hurts to think back on all the waiting and uncertainty sometimes.

once we brought her home, we became pregnant with her sister... who was also very wanted! since our first is adopted, people ALWAYS seem to make comments and assumptions about our fertility. they comment about how our adopted daughter was a "good luck charm" or how they "always hear about people adopting and then magically getting pregnant." it is really frustrating for us to hear those things because it seems like people are minimizing how intentional we were about adopting our daughter... we adopted her because we felt called to adoption and it was in our hearts to find her... it's very frustrating to have to listen to people imply that our true goal in building our family was to be pregnant... as though that is somehow better. i cherish both of my experiences... adoption and pregnancy.

our bio daughter is only 4 months old, so we're still working through how to handle these comments and thankfully, our adopted daughter is only 2 and doesn't understand much of what people are talking about when they make those comments... but i hope to arrive at some solution of what to say before her little ears would ever hear such things and wonder for one second if "what we really wanted" was to only have biological kids. i don't think people realize what they are implying when they make comments like that, but they hurt none the less...

that being said, my girls ADORE each other... payton is so sweet to the baby and it has really helped our attachment with her to model how a mommy loves a baby since she missed having a mommy to herself for 12 months... and the baby's face lights up when payton comes in the room... she can get her laughing like no one can. i'm so glad they have each other, i love the 2-year age gap, and i hope they stay close...

just wanted to share our experience... :)

Anonymous said...

I guess i am getting into this conversation late, but we also have a blended family of 2 bio boys, one daughter lost at birth, and our daughter adopted from VN. So far for us it has been really smooth, except we get asked all the time if we just couldn't have another baby of our "own" which drives me crazy. I just say she is our own and move on! As far as how they all feel, the one who complains of being left out is my oldest. He was the baby for so long he just never wanted to give that up!I have been really trying to make a special time to spend with each of them. Overall i would have to say the positive moments overwhelmingly are worth any negative or tough situations we have faced with having a blended family. i love my family just the way it is--from reading your blog i am sure it would just be natural for you as well. Hope this helps!

Tara C.

K said...

Adoption was also the way we chose to start our family, like you guys. I have a lot of the same questions and concerns. Not sure yet how to reconcile them, or if I can. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Anonymous said...


I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog and seeing your beautiful pictures of your girls. I wanted to chime in on the adopted and biological children but feel it's a little too personal to write here. I was adopted into a family that had biological children and an adopted baby. If you would like to hear my point of view, I'd be glad to give you my email address.

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

We have a bio son and an adopted daughter(from Vietnam). Our son knows he grew in his mommy's tummy and our daughter knows she grew in another mommy's tummy until her family could come to find her. She knows a 3-year-old version of her story, only what she can digest at this point. (And she's oddly obsessed with the part of the story where, after receiving her referral, I painted her room and bought her little clothes. She really loves that part, it's strange!) Anyway, they are 22 months apart in age, and they SO very much love each other. They are unequivocally brother and sister; fighting, hugging, protecting each other, loving, tattling... the works.

We never planned to have a bio child (opps!) and so our second child is, ironically, the planned one. As far as my experience as a mother, many people make the blanket assumption that it's the same experience, just a different route to get there. It's not at all the same experience, but I wouldn't trade either experience or either child for the world. Honestly (I guess I'm strange), I enjoyed the process of adoption much more than pregnancy. I felt like I could pursue what we wanted and also make the world a little smaller, a little happier at the same time. It feels doubly good! And having an adopted child taught me more about my bio child than I ever expected because through her I have learned to respect each child for who they are, not for who we somewhat expect them to be. What I mean is, that I don't have traits to assign to my adopted child (you got this from your grandma, or you are good at that - just like your dad). She simply is who she is. And it made me look at our son with less preconceived expectations and more unassuming wonder about who he is or may become.

I think I'm rambling, and honestly, I don't know how our little one will feel someday about being adopted v/s bio. She knows she was born in Vietnam and seems to be very proud of that fact. She'll tell just about anyone that! But all I can do is love them both and let them know the ways that each one of them contributes to the sum of our family. And even when they grow up and struggle with these issues of who they are, where they came from and how they fit into their families, I think that (love) is enough.

Of course, my kids are 3 and 5 years old, so maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about!


- DeAnn