The girls were supposed to return home after three months. But their biological father died suddenly, and their mother couldn't overcome her addictions. Susan and Harold did the math and hesitated. "How old would we be when they're adults?" Then they learned that the girls had a brother on the way.
The birth mother talked about the current political climate, Katie recalls, "how it's a scary time for black boys and men, that it's not an easy world, and that it was important to know about that, and to have people who wouldn't be naïve about that teaching Oscar and helping him."
Tumult is their norm: Alisha pumping milk in an Amtrak train bathroom while texting the au pair and wondering whether Evie needs to practice her sight words, whether August feels lost in the midst of his siblings. Or the night when Bowie stripped naked and colored himself all over with blue marker because, he insisted, "Bears are blue."
It's become easier - or perhaps they've learned to flex their expectations. "When you're pregnant for the first time, you have these whimsical fantasies of how you're going to be as a parent," Becky says. "When it doesn't work out, you feel like you've failed."
The day Meagan learned she was pregnant, Rhett began a punch-list: Paint the room. Buy diapers. Get a crib. Write a will. Start a 529 account. Then came the genetic testing, the diagnosis and months of grappling with what cystic fibrosis would mean for their daughter, and for them.