For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to have a daughter. I started stockpiling childhood dolls in high school, built a decent princess storybook collection, and planned out the first 5 years worth of princess-themed Halloween costumes. I was unabashedly waiting for the day I would have a Little Miss.
The country program we adopted from required us to adopt a boy as our first child. No problem, I wanted to be the mama of a little boy, too. We joyfully welcomed our amazing son into our home, and I jumped into the world of trucks and trains. Even in those first weeks home with our son, I'd dream out loud to anyone who would listen about how we were going to start the process for a little sister as soon as possible. My Prince Charming needed his Princess.
But a funny thing happened. Right before we turned in our application for a second child, thoughts of starting the process for a daughter seemed to be eclipsed by thoughts of another son. Frankly, I was a little annoyed with myself. I wanted lace and frills, but my heart kept whispering to me that we needed to adopt our second son next. We'd always wanted two boys and a girl, so I refocused my expectations by changing the line up, but not the ultimate make up, of our future family.
So, when we thought we'd be adopting a daughter, we ended up adopting another beautiful little boy, this time from a waiting child list. We joyfully welcomed him into our home, and I happily swam in brotherhood and rough and tumbling and mama-adoration. But again, in those first weeks home with our second son, I'd comment to anyone who would listen that we'd be adopting a daughter to round out our family. We already had a name picked out. Our timeline would be flexible since we were going to look for her on the waiting child lists; there isn't anything sweeter than a baby sister with two overprotective big brothers, right?
Again, doubt about our plans entered my mind. After a year and a half of waiting and looking, I started to get the feeling that perhaps it was a third son that our family was meant for. Very few girls were being listed on the country's waiting child lists. We could hold out hope that a girl would one day be listed that we would be the right family for, but that would mean waiting indefinitely, or maybe even forever. Perhaps the dream of a daughter would be just that, a dream. And this time I wasn't annoyed with myself; I was terrified.
It's scary to let go of a dream. It's scary to give up something you really want, even if the alternative is also something you would love. We knew three children was our limit, so the decision to adopt a third son would be a definitive one for us. I was so worried that I'd forever regret not "waiting it out" for the daughter I wanted so badly. The experience of parenting a girl, of ushering her from petticoats to prom dresses, of connecting woman to woman with a daughter someday is something I didn't want to spend my entire life mourning. I wanted to make sure that we were emotionally ready to definitely let go of this dream and not look back.
My husband and I took less than a week of serious contemplation to come to the conclusion that for us, the dream of a daughter wasn't nearly as important as the dream of having three children. We really wanted to parent a daughter, but we didn't really need it in order to be happy with our family and lives. Our lives would be equally full and meaningful and beautiful without a daughter, but we knew we would always miss the presence of a third child. It just turned out that we were perfectly at peace with that third child being a boy instead of a girl. I know this isn't the case for many families, but for our family, it turns out the desire for a third child was far more important than the desire for a daughter specifically. The fact that it took so little time for us to come to the decision with such finality gave me the same sense of peace I felt when we made the decision to pursue a second son. It felt right, and when it feels right, it usually is.
It just didn't feel right until we opened ourselves up to consider the possibility.
From there, things went fast. For months, we'd been keeping our eye on a little boy from the waiting child list who we constantly lamented was still waiting, considering he was perfect. That is, he was perfect for our family, in every way but his gender. Once gender was taken out of the equation, we were matched with him within a month. Our beautiful little boy.
And suddenly, dreams I've never had before fill my mind. Three brothers, close in age, sharing, supporting, and always being there for each other, all going through similar things at the same time. I imagine my kitchen years from now, filled with growing boys teasing and voraciously gobbling up anything in sight, only to softly kiss me on the cheek before heading out to afternoon activities. I imagine my pride in raising respectful, loving, honorable sons. I imagine my sons finding their loves, holding their children for the first time, and growing up to be men as strong and gentle as their father. Oh yes, I am proud and excited to be a mama to that band of brothers.
I never knew I wanted that so badly. I never knew it could seem so wonderful, a house full of boys. But as we wait anxiously to bring home our son, our last child, and finalize our 4:1 ratio of blue to pink, I can't imagine our family being any other way. I'll always smile fondly when I see a little girl dressed in a Snow White costume, but I wouldn't trade one of my boys for all the princesses in the world. Besides, having all boys doesn't mean the dolls and princess movies don't get their share of action. My 3–year-old son insisted on being called "Mulan" today while he rode around on a "digger."
Every dream is different, and what is right for my family might not be right for another family. But I know how I hesitated to even consider the idea of boys, Boys, BOYS; and I know how right and exciting it is for us now. That small voice, the "what if," the tug in your heart, is worth listening to, no matter how scary or unsparkly it might seem.