The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 31

RAISING GOOD KIDS

The HarveySlushers depend on
family structure.

Jennifer & Annie
Harvey-Slusher
Family

The initial idea was for Jennifer to have the first
child and Annie to have the second. The family would
be rounded off at that point. But nature has its own
ideas. After Jennifer gave birth to Livie nine years ago,
Annie's attempts didn't work. Jennifer tried again and
that didn't work, either.
So, it looked like one biological child and two
mothers for a while. They were getting older in a
hurry at that point (they've been together 22 years,
married three). Then, fate intervened and gave Annie
and Jennifer a double bundle of joy, wrapped up as,
first, foster children, then adoptees. The little girls are
Rae, now 3, and Jordan, 1. What was already a nontraditional family, suddenly turned tradition on its head,
something Annie and Jennifer were accustomed to. 
Jennifer is a 46-year-old director of counseling at
Jefferson College and 45-year-old Annie director of
philanthropy for Planned Parenthood.
The most unplanned of the kids was little Jordan,
who came in an unexpected package deal with Rae.
Jordan was offered as the foster process for Rae was
beginning. Adoption, say Jennifer and Annie, is not
for the faint of heart. "It is one scam after another,"
says Jennifer, rife with corruption, disappointment and
expense. But when it works, kids like Rae and Jordan
bring joy into others' lives and stability to their own.
At one point, the moms believed they were going
to adopt a little boy, but that plan was foiled at the
last minute-after Livie had been told she had a
TheRoanoker.com

little brother. "The birth mother changed her mind,"
says Annie. "I think she had a better offer. Livie was
disappointed, but she said, 'That's just the way it's
supposed to be.' She is truly a rock star."
Livie often thinks she is the third mom in this
family, says Annie. Jordan became a "forever sister"
(Livie's term) the day before Livie's birthday. "These
girls are amazing human beings," says Annie. "I couldn't
be more proud of them." Livie, says Jennifer, "sets a
high bar. She's an easy kid to raise."
The family, says Jennifer, "is pretty structured," but
"we go off-script a great deal," Annie adds. "Every day
we wipe the slate clean. Being a parent is not a place
to hold grudges." 
With time having passed, "we try to cruise now," says
Jennifer. "The past couple of years have been chaotic, a
roller coaster. We don't want to over-schedule, but we
want to be active, to learn to develop skills."
Even though "parenting can be terrifying," says
Jennifer, "we both spent our whole lives wanting to be
moms," says Annie. Before the children came along,
"we used to randomly find at-risk four-legged kids."
Their non-traditional relationship is one they knew
could involve risk. "We are very aware there can be
repercussions," says Annie, "but we have thick skins."
Says Jennifer, "It's already an issue. Some of Livie's
school mates have said having two mothers is 'weird,'
and I worry as the girls get older, but mostly we have
amazing family and friends."
Annie's enthusiasm for her family is unbounded: "I
love all of it," she says, "even the 3 a.m. rock-the-baby.
We have three chances to do it right. The universe has
been very generous." I

Meet three more
great families,
including the Midkiffs,
the Workmans and the
Godfrey-Segelkes, at
TheRoanoker.com/
GoodFamilies.

JULY/AUGUST 2018

31


http://www.TheRoanoker.com/GoodFamilies http://www.TheRoanoker.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2018

The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 3
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The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 5
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The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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