Jen and I got a call the other night. It was from Nick, the adoptive father of 1F's birth-daughter (I'm not sure exactly what the word is for that relationship, but 'birth-daughter' is at least descriptive, and it corresponds cleanly to 'birth-mother', so I'll go with it), telling us of the birth of our fourth grandchild, a baby girl. So now, they've got two girls and two boys; very sweet. And now they're open to all the 'How Many Kids?' questions that we've heard for years. . .
I remember when 4M was born, and we had two boys to go with the two girls we had first, and thinking that it was all very fitting - that now, each of our kids had at least one brother and one sister (and you would have to have at least two of each for that to be true). Each of our girls had a sister and two brothers, each of our boys had a brother and two sisters, each of our children had one same-sex and two opposite-sex siblings. It was all very tidy and symmetrical (because yeah, I'm all about the symmetry).
The other thing that occurs to me here is how, in barely more than four years, Nick and Meg have gone from being a childless couple eight years into their marriage, to parents of four children. And how stark that reversal must be for them. It wasn't that long ago that they were wondering if they would ever have children, and turning to adoption. And four years later, they've got four kids, three of them 'natural'. In fact, they had barely gotten AG home from the hospital, and the adoption was still several months from being final, when Meg was pregnant - their oldest boy is only ten months younger than AG. I wonder if their heads aren't spinning, just a little bit. . .
And it occurs to me that I know of several families (I can think of four or five off the top of my head) where the same story has played out - a couple, childless for many years, finally decides to adopt, and voila! - the doors to the baby factory are magically opened; sometimes, before the adopted child is even born. Jen's brother and his wife adopted a son, and then she was pregnant within a month or two (the agency which was handling their adoption actually asked them if they still wanted to go through with the adoption; which I suppose needs to be asked, but for them it was pretty galling). Another couple we know has an adopted son and a biological son who are a few months apart, who were often taken for twins.
Now, it didn't work that way for my adoptive parents - they adopted me after nine childless years of marriage, and my brother two years later, and never did have biological children. Which, in an ultimate sense, is what it is, neither here nor there. Although I'm fairly certain that infertility left some significant scars on my 'first mother's' psyche.
But it is at least a fascinating phenomenon, the way that at least some couples who have been 'infertile' for years, suddenly start popping out the babies, practically the minute they adopt, almost as if the adoption itself removes some kind of psychological 'barrier' to conception. I wonder if anyone has ever studied the phenomenon, or determined possible causal factors for it. It is WAY too common, at any rate, to think that it's just random. . .
Anyway, it gives us an even greater joy and satisfaction to see how AG's adoption has worked out - that, in some mysterious way, not only did 1F give them a daughter, but the adoption 'unlocked the door' that has brought them three more children. Not only did our grand-daughter go to a couple who could love her and raise her, she went to a family. And it's a great family, and Nick and Meg are great parents. And if, by whatever mysterious means, our family helped bring that about for them, well. . . all I can do is smile. . .