As a modern woman, I thought minivans were for old people, for those 40 plus moms who wear holsters with juice boxes and granola bars, and who live and breathe to chauffer their little ones to and from soccer, piano, and ballet lessons. Minivans were not for me. I drove a sensible, fuel-efficient, and safe car, that the kids fit in, but that didn’t have a single “My kids the student of the month” sticker on it, like every minivan I’d ever seen. Sure, I struggled to get the ever-loving car seats in and out of the car without gouging my shins, bumping my noggin, or swearing so loud that the neighbors took notice, but at least I was not one of those minivan moms. Then one day things changed and I began to see the light.
Our family’s obsession with getting a minivan started a few years ago when we rented one while on a trip to visit my oldest daughter’s birth family. For me it was a miracle; everything fit in the minivan, two kids strapped in car seats, two moms, one dad, one teenaged brother, a stroller, the largest suitcase Lands End sells, and a bushel of lovies, pacis, books and toys to keep the two kids strapped in car seats, happy. For my oldest daughter, the big brother sitting in the third row, was the best part of the minivan. My oldest daughter’s birth brother was seated behind her and he was playing with her hair. It was such a simple and loving act that my oldest daughter’s brother performed each time we piled back into the minivan. He sat and just twirled her hair, like it was their usual routine. Although they had just met, it was not the awkward touch of a stranger, it was the magic that happens between siblings, and the most cherished memory my oldest daughter has from that visit.
Our obsession grew each time we borrowed my mother-in-law’s seven-passenger car to road trip it to visit my youngest daughter’s birth family. The roominess, the DVD player, the cup holders; I began to love all the practical bits and pieces that came with large-car driving. My kids began to love the association between three rows of seating, and seeing their birth families. We would drive and scoop up my youngest’s birth mom and head to the aquarium, the zoo, out to lunch, back for naps and hang out time. There is room in the minivan for giggles and smiles, look-how-big-you’ve gotten and hugs. I began to think the minivan was truly a family car, an open-adoptive family car.
My husband loved that the girls and I were obsessed with the minivan, but he wasn’t so convinced we needed to trade in our economy car for a luxury van. The doors slide, I told him. There’s room for everyone, my girls said. He still wasn’t convinced, but we got one anyways, because he loves our family. We’re now one of those families with a family car, and I’m one of those minivan moms, which I never wanted to be, but truly love being. I’m an adoptive mom with two wonderful girls, one terrific husband, and one big and loving family that all fit in my new minivan.