Our daughter is that age. You know the age. When all of her little friends have new siblings. And she… doesn’t.
Now, she also has friends who are only children; friends whose parents only want one child and are happy with their one. And that’s okay.
But then there are those of us who who would love to have larger families and can’t. At least for right now.
I suppose we’re lucky that she hasn’t (yet?) started asking for a sibling. She understands the concept, though, and knows many of her friends have them. One of her dolls she claims is her sister, and another one is sisters with the (perhaps biologically improbable) plastic dinosaur that she got for Christmas. (But that’s what adoptive families and families of choice are for, right?)
In theory, with no fiscal restraints, J and I would have a large family. It’s something both of us wanted, for our own reasons. Of course, going through these toddler years, I’m no longer entirely certain I’d want to re-do these stages that many times, but the wish remains for a large, warm, and open home, full of yelling and playing and lots of children.
But the one thing that I hadn’t anticipated being so hard, when starting this journey of creating a queer family, is the cost. Sure, the cost of childcare, of course. But one doesn’t really set out on this road thinking “Oh, I can’t wait to spend thousands of dollars on sperm!” or “I really hope I can give my tax refund to the reproductive endocrinologist.” But there it is. And so you end up finding yourself having to make decisions about whether to save up and try again, or be able to pay bills. Whether you budget in for 5 more years of childcare, or hope to be able to take a family vacation at some point ever.
Not to mention decisions over whether to use the same donor – if it’s even possible – or whether to move on to new ones. Whether to give the road of known donors another try, or whether that’s worth the heartache, and the complex issues it’ll cause in talking to children about their life stories.
So, while I realize that the childcare bills are something that every family has to figure out, I have to confess to feeling not so charitable when families who can go through traditional methods try to convince me that we should try for another. Or complain about their own costs. Because when I think about how much we spent to even get this far, it’s really kind of horrifying. (And we didn’t even spend a fraction of what some families have to spend. For that, I try to be thankful.)
And while both J and I are open to adoption or foster-adopt somewhere down the road, it’s not as if those aren’t without their costs, both financial and emotional.
So, yes, she’s an only child. For now. Maybe forever.
But how does one come to terms with that, when it was never the plan?