Traci Lucien always pictured herself finding Mr. Right and having children someday. But as she worked her way up to vice president at a large nonprofit, dating took a backseat. Then several years ago, doctors discovered fibroid tumors in her uterus. The hysterectomy that followed triggered "a long grieving process," she says.
Her Big Decision
Lucien sought advice from her mom and her pastor—and decided to try to adopt, despite still being single. "I didn't talk about it to a lot of people because I didn't want to hear from any naysayers," she says. Shocked by the cost of private adoptions, Lucien opted to pursue a foster child. She first glimpsed Talynn, a 7-year-old Midwestern girl with a wide smile and floppy braids, on adoptuskids.org. "Something in her eyes looked so familiar," Lucien says. For the next five months, while social workers studied her background, Lucien read books and blogs about child development. In April 2010, she finally sat in a foster agency conference room, her stomach filled with butterflies. When Talynn walked in dragging an old suitcase, she exclaimed, "Mommy! You are so pretty!" Lucien fought back tears. This was her daughter.
Back in Maryland, Talynn threw tantrums. "She was testing me to see if I'd give up on her," Lucien says. Her research confirmed that this was typical—and she soon found that a hug could usually defuse Talynn's behavior. Lucien officially adopted Talynn last May; mother and daughter now wear bracelets engraved with the date. "She's very much like me," Lucien says of her daughter, who asks a million questions and likes to snuggle in bed on Saturday mornings. "Everyone says we were meant to be together." —Hollace Schmidt