Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development. (David Gottesman)
Very recently my husband and I celebrated our seven year wedding anniversary. Over the last seven years we have had our fair share of hardships and triumphs. The joys of college graduation, nieces and nephews being born, and building our first home together. The heartache of learning that we can not have our own biological children. Through all of these ups and downs we have become much stronger as a team.
We have had the joys of living with our “practice babies” for six years. We have been through surgery and ICU’s, late night ER visits, and episodes of cyanosis. All this with just the littlest of our two Chihuahuas due to her collapsing trachea with subsequent repair. We made a pact when we decided to bring Belle into our home. If we made it five years and Belle was still alive- then we were ready to try for a “real” baby. Well needless to say- Belle is still in fact alive. We even took on a sister for Belle, Coco. Coco came with her own set of special needs. She was a rescue dog. She had been rescued from a puppy mill. She had been in a cage so long she only walked in circles when she came to live with us. She still is unable to jump- she just never learned how.
I give you all this back story to tell you that we have two “special needs” babies already (who are both alive and well). We started to consider adoption long before we found out we couldn’t have our own bio kids. We did not consider kiddos with special needs in this original conversation, but when we started the actual paperwork process it was a natural progression in our decision. We decided to agree on four major “identified medical needs” in the waiting child program- cleft lip and palate, cataracts, minor cardiac conditions, and hypospadias. I was much more comfortable with a child with medical needs due to the fact that I am an ER nurse. Ray took a little bit longer but not much more.
The other day my husband did one of his usual thoughtful acts. He packed my lunch while I was getting ready for work. He told me that he enjoys packing my lunch because it will get him in the practice for when he packs our child’s lunch. Ray’s father packed his lunch for him regularly and would even place notes in his lunch box. I don’t get notes in my lunch but I do get chocolates and other surprises occasionally. When my husband came to let me know that my lunch was packed as usual, I told him that my wish was that our little girl would grow up and marry someone just like her daddy!
That is my greatest wish. If we have a little girl- I wish that she will marry a man just her daddy! If we have a little boy- I hope that he will become a man just like his daddy! Every day Ray shows me the type of man he is by his actions and how he treats me. My coworkers and friends are tired of hearing about all of the wonderful things that Ray does on a regular basis. “I know, I know- you love you some Ray” is a common phrase I hear.
As we wait for our xiao hai (little one) to add to Team Harkness, I can’t wait to see how Ray grows in his role as father in this next very important stage of our family development! I know that he will rock whether our child has “identified medical needs” or is “healthy”.
Thank you for being you Ray!