It's interesting to think about the whole thing of how many kids you have and what kind/size of family you want from a perspective of age . . . those of you who are having kids in your early-mid 20's are sort of in a whole different place than those of us who are doing it in our mid-late 30's! For example, when we're done having kids it probably won't be as big of a deal if we want to do some sort of permanent contraception (for him or me) because I'll be pretty much at the end of my fertility anyway! So to some extent, it doesn't really feel like we have as much of a decision to make as if we were younger, iykwim. At 36, I just biologically don't have time to have five or ten kids, unless of course I start popping out one every year, which is not my style. Not that we would want ten kids anyway, but you know what I mean . . . some of the options for natural reproduction are constrained. We are absolutely certain that we want two kids, and we are open to the possibility of a third but that is a decision that will be made seeing how we fare after we have a second. Two is a lot more streamlined in a lot of ways (one kid per parent, don't necessarily have to trade the Hyndai Elantra in for a minivan, our house is a 3 bedroom, easier to haul the whole family to India to see the grandparents, etc.) But I've always also thought that it might be nice to have three kids. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Although I do really feel a tremendous deal of conflict and pressure because of my age--even though there are a few things I would like to do before getting pregnant again I know that even if I got pregnant right this very day I would be 37 when I had the baby, and I worry that I might have trouble getting pregnant and there is definitely a higher risk of miscarriage, twins, and genetic defects with increasing age. Also, we are in a weird situation because we really do want DH to go back and do his Ph.D, which will mean about 4 years living on a grad student income, or I'll have to work. So that kind of plays into the whole scenario too, because it's not like we can just take a break for several years and then pick up where we left off in five or ten years! What kids we are going to have, we pretty much have to go ahead and have them within the next 4 years, and then be done. Which means either putting off the program or having a hell of a few years there! We'll see how it all pans out.
I also don't think that we are really open to fostering or adopting at this point in our lives. I actually seriously planned on fostering/adopting as a single woman before I met DH and got married--I was licensed as a foster mom for infants and even had a bassinette and baby things ready in case I got the call. But I just never got a placement, and then I ended up being paired with a 12 y/o who had some gender identity issues and who was having some real problems in group care--they thought that I'd be a really good match for him and wanted me to expand my age range and be his foster mom, but I was not financially or practically equipped to be insta-mom to a 12 year old with behavior and attachment issues. (I had a 1-bedroom apartment, and couldn't afford to move at that point, and for a kid over 2 they have to have their own room by the foster regulations.) I agreed though to meet him and be a "special friend" and really struggled with the whole thing because I really loved him and wished I could give him a better life and take him in but I knew that I really would not be able to handle him or the situation. Obviously establishing bonding and discipline as a foster/adoptive parent with a newborn/infant and with an almost-teenager are two different things! (The story has a fairly happy ending anyway--I was his "big sister" and did things with him every weekend and sometimes during the week for a year. I took him to his first gay pride festival!
He got moved to a better group home situation from the one he was in and then at the end of about a year his grandmother in another state agreed to take him in and he moved there. Some not so great stuff happened with that and I sort of lost touch with him although I tried to keep in contact (eventually she shipped him off to a hardcore Christian bootcamp type program) but then after that he ended up being reunited with his mom. After many years I just got into contact with him a couple of months ago--he is a young adult, doing well, living with his mom, graduating high school, preparing to go to college, and it sounds like he's doing great!
I was so happy to talk to him again, and he was really happy that I found him too!!)
Anyway, about adoption, especially because of the racial/religious/cultural/national mixture in our household, I think it would be a lot harder for us to both meet our own needs for creating a cohesive sense of our own identify as a family and to sort of expand that to meeting an adopted kid's sense of needing to have a sense of their heritage and background. I don't know if that makes sense, but I also look at all the little things that we say about Ella--how we find traits in her physically and in her personality that come from one or the other of us or another family member. Like DH thinks she has his mother's artistic temperment and his brother's spiritedness and mischeviousness. She definitely looks like a mix of the two of us physically--she has more his build I think (long torso) but definitely my hair, my mom says she has my chin, and she has (unfortunately for her!) inherited DH's weird toenails! lol! Also, we always have an ongoing thing about whether she looks more Indian or more white, and sort of observe how that changes a bit over time with her favoring one or the other look at different points in her development. I think it might be hard to manage that with two bio kids and then adding an adopted kid into the mix . . . would we adopt a totally Indian kid from India? Or a white kid who didn't share in the Indian heritage? Or totally mix things up and adopt a kid of a different racial background entirely? The only way I could really see it working well with us is if we raised our own bio kids and then sort of had a "second family" with an adopted kid or two--even people who have an age gap like this with their own bio kids (like having a few in their early 20's and then having a later-in-life kid or two in their late 30's early 40's) sort of end up with a different dynamic where it's kind of like they have two separate families, because the older kids are more or less grown and gone and the younger ones sort of grow up with the older ones being more like aunts or uncles than like siblings. Does that make sense? But anyway, I am rambling because Ella is off at the babysitter's and, well, I can! lol! This long post represents about the first fifteen minutes of uninterrupted thought I've had all week!
But my eggs are aging even as I type!! So I'd better get off the computer and accomplish something here!
Hugs to everyone--and Amy, sorry that Brynn is sick, if you need anything LMK!! I can come up there and bring you whatever if you need anything from the store or whatever.