Monday, April 25, 2011

Everything happens for a reason

It wasn't good news. After years of trying, the whole baby-making thing was just not happening for us.

I was sad, but not completely devastated. I never wanted a litter of kids. Just one would be nice.

I grew up with a large family and so did Don. I didn't think I was cut out for all that chaos. I lived through it and didn't really want to be the sergeant that my mom was. It's a tough job being a mom to four kids. I wanted a career. I wanted to make my own choices and be in charge of my life. Or so I thought.

Then the more I thought about it the more upset I got. It was supposed to be my choice. I never anticipated that I would not have a choice. This was not the way it was supposed to work. I was suppose to decide how many kids I wanted. The decision to wipe snotty noses on one kid or ten kids was mine to make.

All of a sudden I was thirty five. We'd been married eight years. If we wanted to have kids we had to get it figured out or we'd be that weird couple down the street with dogs and cats in a segregated house because the animals don't get along and we don't know how to parent them.

Then one day a teeny tiny announcement in the local paper caught my eye.

A local adoption agency was having an open house. I thought about it for a second and then I mentioned it to Don. He agreed to go and check it out. He didn't even try to get out of it.

The meeting room was full of middle-aged couples just like us. We all sat nervously looking around wondering if we looked like the couple sitting next to us.

The agency reviewed how it all worked. Other couples in the room had done some homework. They were attending for more than just information. They were ready to go. We were intrigued by it all.

A young woman in her early twenties spoke. She had been adopted from Korea when she was a young girl. Her name was Kathy. She was incredibly bright and happy. She left you feeling excited at the possibilities of a happy ever after.

We gathered all the information and headed out to Swanky Franks, our favorite local dive.

We settled on our stools at the counter and ordered our usual. Then I asked the big question.

"So" I said, with a long pause, making sure I had his attention "what did you think?" And in typical Don fashion he took his time answering.

"I don't know. What did you think?" he said.

Chicken. He wanted me to go first. Ok.

"Well. I'm kind of impressed with the China program." I said smiling tentatively.

"Yeah, me too." he said. And I saw hope in his face.

"Really? Should we do it?" I asked, my heart beating faster and faster.

"Yeah. I think so." he said smiling from ear to ear. "Let's do it."

"Ok. I'll make an appointment." and that was it. We had decided. No mulling it over and blah, blah blahing until we were exhausted.

That was September 30, 2000.

On August 14,  2002 we were in Changsha China adopting Elli. The most beautiful nine month old baby girl we had ever seen. Yin Ri Dong officially became Elliott Grace Mulkey. Or Elli for short.

I honestly can't imagine having any other child. She was waiting to be born until we were ready.

This weeks TRDC assignment:  recall something in your life that seemed terrible at the time, but looking back, brought you something wonderful. A positive from a negative experience. 600 words max.


  1. I got chills reading this. A lot of similarities between your post and mine. Nicely done.

  2. beautiful. i loved hearing your journey to adopting Elli!!

  3. What a happily ever after! How wonderful, I could so picture you both sitting discussing it between bites of food as if it would never get any better!

  4. Great story! I also believe children come to you at exactly the right time :-)

    Visiting from TRDC.

  5. Ah. This has tears in my nose! Such happy tears!

    I'm glad you found your daughter. So glad.

  6. The ending was perfection, 'she was waiting to be born until we were ready." I loved how quickly and easily the discussion about adoption with Don was, it lent itself to the notion that in this particular case you two were so totally in sync that it seemed almost a foregone conclusion for a wonderful and happy ending.

  7. Oh, I can so relate to this! A close family member went through the same thing and we are so happy they adopted a beautiful boy. Having him in our family is such a blessing.

    Great post! Visitng from TDRC...

  8. Oh I have chills- lots of them!

    A long time ago I read the book "Forver Lilly" and the author talked about adoptive parents and children being made for each other; I felt that through your words, too.

    I thought you were spot on talking about choices and also? I adored when you called your husband "chicken." :)

  9. Oh how beautiful. I love this so much. "...she was waiting to be born until we were ready..."

  10. I'm so happy you found her. Family is who you surround yourself with, not just who is born into it. My dad adopted me, and I am SO thankful. I can't see him for anything other than my true father.
    We have 2 kids, but due to some issues I didn't ... couldn't do it again. Not to another child. We considered adopting, but the time wasn't right. This has gotten me thinking ....

  11. these posts are going to kill me today Kris, oh my goodness....this story, knowing how Elli came to you, how she waited for you to be ready. This was written with every emotion that I felt during our TTC struggle. Thank you for sharing this and CONGRATULATIONS on your gorgeous daughter.

  12. Kris: Please give Miss Elli a big hug from her Papa tonight when you get home. Not only have your lives been enriched by your decision way back in Connecticut but so have all of ours! I too have tears in my eyes, but thank you both - thank you, thank you!

  13. I'm so glad that you found Elli and Elli found you : ) Visiting from TRDC.

  14. Beautiful! Elli seems to be one lucky lady!

  15. Thanks everyone for all your great comments. Elli is amazing. I wish you could all meet her!

    le Chef - I know so many adopted kids. They are all wonderful. And somehow they all fit with their families like they were meant to be. It's really something. Honestly, I forget that she's adopted. She acts just like me!!!! Kids are definitely influenced by their environment.

    Papa - we'll definitely give her a big hug for you.

  16. Like others I love your last line...and I love your story. So touching, and so meant to be!

  17. The 'waiting to be born until we were ready' gave me chills. That doesn't happen to me very often.

    And the name? Elliot? So dang good. Rockin' good.

  18. I love this. Greg used to say to me all the time as my frustration mounted during the waiting period, "the right baby hasn't come yet". Sure enough, he was right. I feel the same way as you do and that is that there is not a more perfect child for me on the planet. Mya and all of the other babies were sent to us.

  19. What a beautiful story about your journey. It really does sound like that baby was just waiting for you.

  20. Ahhhh. I love this story. I LOVE IT. My husband and I are struggling with infertility and are exploring all of our options. Adoption included. I am so touched by your story, and exactly what I need after another month of a negative pregnancy test.

    I love hearing these stories. It give me such hope that our family will find it's way one way or another. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Beautiful. I love how at the beginning you express your frustration about having your choice taken away from you. I never really thought of it like that. You're absolutely right, it does seem perfectly natural that we assume how many kids we will have will be our choice...until one day it's not.

    I know we're supposed to offer concrit here, but I think you've done a great job. I love that you are very straight forward and that your writing is very crisp and flows so naturally.

    Great job!

  22. ....crying! how am i supposed to get anything done at work???? Happy tears of course =) Elli's the BEST!!!

  23. Kris - This is beautifully written! I read this on my iPhone when you first posted it but Steve's dad was really sick and then he passed I'm just now getting around to telling you how much I enjoyed it. Having had the pleasure of meeting Elli, I agree that she was waiting just for you and Don! Love ya'!

  24. Thanks, Kristi.

    So sorry about Steve's Dad. Hope you're doing well.


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