By Gabrielle.

Do you remember Meg? How could we forget? Hers was one of my most popular, most interesting tours I’ve shared, mostly because it was this close to being the tour that never was! See, Meg and her husband Zach didn’t even want kids. And when they did add one to their mix, they did so in such a wonderfully open and honest way that their story still sits somewhere in my head, filed under A Well-Lived Life.

Well, there’s a been a change in their family, and Zelda is getting a sibling! Hooray! But there’s so much more to the story – and so much more to learn from this sweet family – and so I’ll let Meg tell it. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and enjoy it some more.

My birth story really isn’t mine or at least isn’t mine alone. Our daughter is adopted. My husband and I were both in Dallas, where our birth mom lives, in the days leading up to her birth. We were fortunate to get to attend a prenatal appointment with our birth mom and adoption counselor, at which we were provided with ultrasound pictures of our soon to be born daughter.

We were present when Zelda was born. Everything went as planned: she was born on her due date, and I held her first. We had a hospital room next to our birth mom’s, and our newborn daughter stayed with us in our room. We visited between the rooms, Zelda met her brother and her cousins and her birth grandma, and we all just got further acquainted with our new bundle of joy until we were released to go home from the hospital. Zelda went to our temporary home in Dallas with me and my husband. We had a goodbye luncheon with her birth mom before we headed north to Alaska. Really, all of that is just the logistics of how we became a family. What’s more important is how our family has grown and evolved since.

On my daughter’s birth day, we became a family of five. I know that math doesn’t seem to work, but it’s what happened. You see, we gained our daughter that day, but we also added her birth mom and her son to our immediate family. Sure, we don’t live together and, in fact, live many hours by plane apart, but the connection like any other family is there. In some ways it is hard to explain how it all works, but it just does. The closeness is very real; maybe like grown siblings that live in different cities and don’t see each other that often, but there’s a shared history that connects them.

It’s the same with us.

We know what each other is up to, and we stay involved in each other’s lives. While we don’t see each other in person that often, we are fortunate through our closeness to pick up like no time passed since we saw each other last. Zelda and her brother love each other unconditionally and clearly understand that they are siblings. I like to think we get the best of it: all the love, but not necessarily the bickering among siblings that comes with living together day to day.

Since Zelda’s birth we’ve already grown into a family of six. Our birth mom now has a loving partner who has become part of the family.  And this summer our family will grow by one more! Our birth mom is pregnant again, and her and her partner are due in the summer. Our daughter will soon be a big sister! We will soon be four adults raising three beautiful children, so we’ll be a family of seven. I never thought I’d write those words since I never even thought I’d be a mom, but life has a way, you know.

When we told Zelda she would be a big sister, she was so excited. Since I am not pregnant and my belly won’t be growing, we’re checking in with Zelda to make sure she fully understands. She’s seen pictures of her birth mom pregnant with her and now pregnant with her soon to be sibling.

The other day I said, “Remember what you are now?” and she said, “Yes,” and when I asked what, she answered, “HAPPY!”

I said, “Why are you happy?” and she said, “Because I’m going to be a big sister.”

It’s absolutely so precious, and I’m glad she is getting to have this experience. Both she and her brother predict that they will have a baby brother this summer. We’ll find out soon enough, but I hear siblings have an intuition about these things.

When we shared our news with family and friends about Zelda soon becoming a big sister, we were met with a lot of questions and concerns, mainly about Zelda being the middle child and the only one adopted. Yes, this is true, but we always suspected that our birth mom, based on her age, would do what most of us do: find that right person and decide to start a family. That’s what she has done. In time, we will address any concerns or questions Zelda has as they come and in an age appropriate manner. Right now, we meet her where she is at, and that is with shared excitement of her becoming a big sister.

As Zelda’s birth mom said to me as we were talking about our family, “I think it’s great. We have an unique family and it works. When I explain our situation, everyone thinks it’s so cool. They usually hadn’t heard of a situation like ours. I try to let people know family is whatever you want it to be, without rules. As long as you have love, communication, and respect, it should work.”

You know the saying: It takes a village to raise a child. While this may not be what others envision or expect in terms of family, for us it’s all we have known since becoming parents, and it’s all Zelda has known since being born. We’re good. It’s our normal.

Our family works for us. We are braving our own path, doing what feels right, and raising these beautiful children to be the best they can be, surrounded by love. Oh, and these kids are loved by so many! The new baby will be, too. Plus I get to make baby clothes again, this time with Zelda’s help. We are so excited!

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I don’t know if refreshing is the right word, but I keep coming back to it. The way they’ve all just merged and continue to merge is just so restorative, and I wonder why more adoptions aren’t structured like theirs. I’m sure there are so many sides to open adoption stories, but right now I’d like to bask in the love in this one. Thank you, Meg.

If you’d like to see the family’s birth announcement, it’s right here, plus a follow-up here.

P.S. – Find all the stories in this series here. Do you have a story about birth, pregnancy, adoption or infertility? Send your story to me, will you please?