A few years ago, it suddenly dawned on me that time passes so quickly. I was working a lot, which I loved, but I had always dreamt of being a mother. Now, I’m a mother to four adopted children. They are 4, 3, 2 and 1 years old and their names all start with the letter ‘C.’ We did not plan to have all the children’s names begin with a C. Then again, we also never thought we would have four children, let alone this close in age! It just happened. We really wanted a sibling for our first child, Conor, and when the adoption of our second child, Caleb, was finalized, Conor’s birth parents called. They were pregnant again and asked us to adopt their baby, which is how Colin joined our family. After having adopted three sons, the only wish we had was to adopt a little girl. Caroline completed our family.
Adopting children doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a bumpy road, and you really have to be convinced that you want it. It’s a true test for your relationship as well. Our road led to four amazing children. Now, we sing songs and there are books everywhere in our house. “Pete the Cat” is a favorite right now. Seeing the world through the eyes of my children is amazing. We watch smoke coming out of the chimney, we blow out candles, stare at clouds, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. I get to experience being a child again, and I love it.
Of course, it’s hectic with four under four, and routine is key. When I had only two children, I didn’t do routines. When a friend told me about her strict routines, I just laughed it away, until we adopted two more children. Having four children requires routine and some extra help in order to survive! When my husband Don leaves at 6:30AM, the babysitter arrives to take the two youngest to daycare. At 8:00AM, our nanny arrives to take care of the eldest two. I come home about 6:00PM and the children immediately cling on to me like little monkeys! When I’m hugging one of them, I want the others to know that I’m completely aware that they are there, too, so I look each of them in the eye to make sure they know. One of my patients instilled that habit in me.
“Me time” is not about me anymore; it’s about taking care of my family and work. I love my family, and it’s my passion to make a difference in someone’s life through my job as a dermatologist. People come to me with a rash, a spot, or low self-esteem due to a skin condition, and they put their faith in my hands. The feeling it gives me when I succeed in helping them is indescribable. It works the other way around, too; my patients give me advice about raising my children and I absorb everything they say. They might not know, but I have learned so much from them.
I want to provide my children with the tools to become happy and kind individuals. Above all, I want them to know that we love them more than anything in the world. A dear patient with adopted grandsons once told me that no matter how much you love them, adopted children are more likely than other children to hear a little voice in their heads that someone didn’t love them enough. That thought keeps me busy. They’re still young, but we do our best to make them feel loved by spending quality time with them and by looking them in the eyes. Maybe that’s my biggest goal in life; to make my children feel loved.