Raising a Blended Family

The Biggest Casualty.

on April 7, 2013

With three foster kids and two of our own, we get a lot of comments on our unique family situation.  One of the comments I get the most often when people learn about our mixed family is “Oh, you’re an angel.” Followed by a lot of gushing about how awesome and selfless I am. Blahdy-blah-blah.

Thanks and all, but you guys? I have a confession.  I am not an angel and I’m certainly not selfless (the awesome I’ll take, though).

Fostering all these children is wonderful and something I do gladly. As more and more information pours in about their home situation (hint: someone involved just popped positive for mothereffing meth, you guys. METH.), I thank everything that we are able to be there for them and be their safe space, now that their home is not that place for them.

But doing this for them is not without a price, and sometimes I worry that the price is too much to pay.

There. I said it.  See? Not an angel, not selfless.

Worried about how much this is costing us.. but not monetarily (screw the money).  Costing us in other ways… in terms of our future children.

Once Pax was born, and before all of this happened (when we still just had Addie), Shorty and I were NOT done.  We both very, very, very much want another child. You see, we have Thing One, and now we have Pax.  We love them both, but they are seven (almost eight) years apart.  They will never go to the same school, ride a bus together, play at a park together, or be small children together.  By the time Pax is five, Thing One will be a teenager and want nothing to do with him! By the time he is ten, she will be graduating high school and off to college.

I have only one other sibling- a brother.  He and I are eleven years apart, which is bigger than eight years but not THAT much bigger.  I am the older sister and while he is still living at home, going through high school, I am all the way across the country raising my own kids. He and I are not close and were each basically raised as only children, and I never.never.never wanted that for my own kids.  It is too late to close the age gap between Thing One and Pax (although the age gap is one of the major reasons we started trying for Pax as soon as we did!) but Shorty and I always envisioned having another baby after Pax, making them as close in age as was possible and reasonable, and then being done.

The baby we are envisioning already has a nickname: Link.  Link is important to us not only because we want to see him/her and Pax grow up together, but for one other reason: his/her nickname comes from the fact that not only will s/he be a younger sibling for Pax to grow up with, but s/he will also, literally, Link our family.

It works like this:

Shorty carried Thing One, who also has a dad.  I carried Pax, and we used Known Donor.  It has always been the plan for Shorty to carry Link, and for us to use Known Donor.

Thus, I carried Pax, and Pax and Link will be genetic half-sibs because we will use the same donor. But Link and Thing One will also be half-sibs because Shorty will carry/carried them both, and we will all be Linked, as a family. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed envisioning and looked forward to so much.

Enter current circumstances.

We were going to start trying next month (yes, we want them close).  Shorty was already tracking her cycles, even.  Of course, that’s not going to happen now… it’s a little too hectic at the moment for TTC.  When we realized this, we made a note on our mental calendars, and pushed our TTC date back to August, and soldiered on. And August could still happen, but then again, it could not.  What if August rolls around and we still have all these kids? September? October?

The Idiot’s parental rights will be terminated come November (mandated by state law), if she fails to meet the requirements to get her children back by then. If that happens, Addie will be up for adoption, and we would, of course, adopt her.  We aren’t sure where that would leave Bubby or L due to the presence of the Moron but the possibility remains that we could end up, permanently, with all these kids. And while that may be in the best interest of the current children, unfortunately, it might be Link’s undoing… I don’t think we could financially manage a house of six children, permanently- so adding another would be out of the question.

So where does this leave us? I don’t know. If we’re going to have him/her, we want to start sooner rather than later, to reduce the possibility of a big age gap.  But how can we start TTC again with all this craziness going on around us?

This is not the first time we have been in this kind of situation. Before we started trying with Pax, we had Bubby living with us. We questioned then, too, if we should go ahead and try even though we had him with us and the possibility of keeping him.  We went ahead, and here Pax is, and of course I don’t regret it one single bit. If we went ahead with Link in the same way, I know we would never regret that either. Maybe that’s the answer, then.

No matter what, I love these kids we’ve got and I know it is absolutely not their fault that their worlds fell apart around them.  Shorty and I are both here for them, to be the strong and dependable adults in their lives.

But dammit, I want our little Link baby too.


7 responses to “The Biggest Casualty.

  1. This may be a stupid question, but would raising six kids really be that much more unfeasible than five? I mean, either way, you’re talking economies of scale at this point anyway, right? Just a thought.

    A friend of mine from college found out that she was pregnant a few months before her wedding. They weren’t planning it, but they weren’t unhappy about it either. She told me once that it wasn’t the perfect time, but if they’d waited for the perfect time, they’d never have had kids at all. I’m sure that there are those who would say that PB and I should have waited to have Critter, or this coming baby, for financial reasons. We’re both a bit underemployed, shall we say, although we get by okay. We don’t own a home, although we would like to eventually. But we decided to go with our guts, and the reasons for acting when we did (that you can’t buy back fertility, and with this second one, that we didn’t want too much of an age gap). We figured that if we waited until things were perfect, we might be waiting forever, but if we had a kid(s), we’d just have to figure it out as we went along. So far, that’s been working out fairly well. I certainly don’t regret it.

    None of which is to say that this isn’t a hard situation, or that I don’t think that at least putting off ttc till August was a good idea. And if it sounded like another baby was something you were on the fence about, I would agree that maybe it would be better to not do it.

    But it sounds like this is something that’s deeply important to you (and I *totally* get that), and I would hate to see you give something like that up, and then regret it. And it might be worth considering it from this angle: if you do end up with all the kids you’re currently fostering permanently, and decide not to try for your Link baby, do you think you might end up resenting the other kids at some level? (I’m not saying that you *would*, I’m just saying that if I were in your situation, I think that’s an issue I might be considering.) And if that’s a possibility, which would likely be harder on them (and T1 and Pax, for that matter) – the possibility of resentment, or the additional financial strain that another child would bring?

    You guys will make the best choices for your family, I’m sure. I just wanted to toss out a couple of other angles that were occurring to me. Big hugs to you all, because I know this whole thing isn’t easy.

    P.S. METH? Really? Why does anyone ever do meth? They feel like they have too many teeth, or what? Oy. Sorry.

  2. pepibebe says:

    I have nothing more to add to what catsandcradles so adeptly said already, except to echo- what’s 6 compared to 5 lol, and go with your gut feelings. Also I must comment on the hilariousness of catsandcradles ‘PS’ comment. I actually did laugh out loud. Quietly as it’s 11.51pm here and the wife is asleep next to me.

  3. CJ says:

    Life has a way of making those decisions for us. We wanted to use our same known donor, that won’t be happening. We wanted the kids to be close, like I could breastfeed the second (Ash is carrying this time) but we have been trying over a year now. I would be happy to be done, but I know she really wants to carry and I am not opposed to another, I am just content with what we have.

  4. chachachaliz says:

    hard choice. i would personally want to give it a few months to get a better idea on what is happening with the other kids, but i don’t see a big difference between 5 kids and 6 either at this point. i hope you do get to keep all of them though, it would be the best thing that has ever happened to any of them and they deserve that. there is nothing better at destroying lives then meth. did you know that one of the big problems for kids with parents who do meth is that they don’t get fed because the parents arn’t eating? that is so sick

  5. Isa says:

    Moar. Babies. Is what I always say. But then I don’t have a house full of them. Still, it’d be my inclination…

  6. X says:

    I’ve been thinking a bit about this since you posted it. While I agree with the other comments about economy of scale in terms of cost and size of house and all the logistics, I think I would be heavily considering the emotional impact on all of the kids and what unanticipated needs they might have due to their backgrounds even outside of having another baby (which may be nothing or may be nothing that you can know anything about right now anyway). If you do end up keeping all of the children, Pax will have the close siblings that you are discussing; the loss will be in the dream of the biological linkages which, to me, while poetic, will ultimately probably mean much less to the kids than it does to you (and if you keep the other kids, excludes them from being linked, though again, that might also mean much less to them than it does to you).

    Obviously I’m not in your situation so I don’t know what I would actually do and struggling with the potential loss of a plan would be so very hard for me. Good luck as you keep thinking about this and as you move forward with whatever is the best plan for your family!

  7. lesboparentstobe says:

    Our situation is totally different, but I certainly understand about letting go of the fantasy, or struggling with that. It’s hard, and there certainly is no right answer to any of it. I hope you guys aren’t in limbo with the other kids for too long, for all of your sakes. And I certainly agree there probably isn’t a huge difference between 5 and 6 kids, but X makes a great point about the biology being less important to the kids than to you guys. Of course if Shorty really wants to carry another baby then that’s a whole other story. Letting go of that can be really, really though.

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