We agreed that we want several children. Having an only child just wasn't an option for either of us, but I think it was even more important to Jeff than to me.
We agreed we want to adopt. I want to adopt sooner, Jeff wants to do it later. We may compromise and adopt somewhere in the middle! We aren't totally set on how we want to adopt, but I think it would probably be an international adoption and probably not an infant. We'll just have to wait and see!
We agreed that our final total should be 3 to 4 kids. I think right now we're both leaning more towards the three, but we'll have to wait and see what happens!
We really haven't discussed how far apart they should be. I'm leaning towards 2-3 years between each pregnancy. That way I won't have more than one in diapers at a time, which I think is actually a very good thing. I really admire the moms who can have lots of kids very close together. I think it would drive me up a wall. I know just enough from babysitting and school to be dangerous. I know that the influence of one's peers is huge! Every stage is different, but there need to be certain demarkations. And although the "in" thing is to just let children be themselves and do what they want whenever they want to do it, when they are small they need the help of adults to draw these boundaries and understand what is going on in their life. While I don't encourage the harsh training and forcing of "milestones" just to match what's in some book or trying to make something happen that isn't realistic given a child's development, I do think it's important to know how and when to make some distinctions. The best way to avoid a negative influence (or the temptation to get lax and deal with multiple ones at once) is to try and make sure the different kids are at different developmental stages.
We have thought about and talked about how I will handle working and having kids. Although I've always thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom if I could, I really don't think that is right for me. I guess that's what happens when you have a calling that's more than just a job! I don't think we've come to any long-term conclusions, but I know that I love the idea of working, at least part time! This church has in some ways spoiled me, and in others really inspired me. If I could have a small church like this, I think I could really handle the demands of several children and serving a congregation at the same time. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait and see whether that will be an option for me.
In the meantime I will continue to look forward to growing our family when the time is right. Originally we had talked about waiting until all my provisional ministry stuff is finished before we start trying to have kids so that I don't have to worry about maternity leave interfering. Now we're starting to back off on that timeline just a little. If I get commissioned this year I may continue to consider that because the rule is you have to serve full time for at least 2 years (24 months). And although there is vacation time, if I try to take a full 8-12 weeks of maternity leave, that would clearly not complete that requirement and in turn push me back a whole year. We're still not sure what we're going to do long term, but right now we're open to the possibilities.
I know for sure that we aren't going to start trying until at least 2011. And we have agreed that once we "start trying" it won't be a deliberate thing of counting days and ovulation tests and all that, but we won't be actively trying to prevent it anymore. Then we will just have faith that it will happen when it's supposed to happen!