I’m a Blessed Adoptive Mother of Four by Marianne Parrish
I had never heard of Turner syndrome (TS) until I was diagnosed at age 17 with the mosaic version. I had already broken five bones at different times (clavicles, wrists, finger) and then suffered a burst fracture of my T7 vertebrae after a cheerleading fall. The doctors decided to investigate why I had such brittle bones and found out I had osteoporosis. I had never had a period, either (though they thought it was just me being a small, muscular gymnast) so the next step was to do blood work, which determined that I had Turner syndrome.
It felt pretty devastating at the time to learn that I would never have children of my own, but I also felt God comforting me in knowing that He had a different plan for motherhood in my life through adoption. I went on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and grew a couple inches and finally finished puberty. I met my wonderful, supportive husband during my freshman year of college at the University of Illinois, and we got married after grad school, knowing that our path to parenthood would be through adoption.
I had defied the TS odds in a way and was very successful at math (every person with TS is different) all throughout school and ended up majoring in Chemistry (a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree). I taught high school Chemistry in the Chicago and Houston suburbs. Many friends at our church in the Houston suburbs had adopted, and there was a fantastic ministry that offered support and even financial assistance in the adoption process. Some friends of ours adopted through an agency called Family to Family Adoptions in Richmond, TX and highly recommended them, so we went to a conference of theirs and were comfortable (as much you can be, haha!) in starting the process. Our agency does open adoptions of newborns (matched with a birth mother in advance of the birth) as well as foster and foster-to-adopt placements. We had the opportunity to adopt a sibling set - two beautiful girls who were almost 3yrs old and 2.5 months old at the time - and we jumped at the chance! We have an open adoption with their birth mom and family and have pretty frequent visits.
We then decided we would adopt again almost three years later, and almost as soon as we signed on with the same adoption agency, a birth mom having twin boys chose us! It was a little overwhelming at first to consider 4 children, but adopting another sibling set, keeping them together, and having an open relationship with their birth family sounded amazing to us, so we said yes. They were born 3 months later on Valentine’s Day and have been the biggest blessing to us, as well as their sisters.
Some additional health issues have cropped up recently in addition to osteopenia- blood clots in my legs, nerve damage to my feet, GI issues, and minor liver issues - but I am always reminded that even in the struggles, God is GOOD and “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20. I am incredibly blessed to be an adoptive mother to four beautiful, healthy children. God has a plan and purpose for your life, as he does mine.