Dan and Esther Dennis: When Things Go Better Than Planned
April 2017 - Feature Article
by Dawn González
“I have no desire to collect children,” Esther Dennis says of her future as a foster mother. But since the birth of their biological daughter, Millie, Dan and Esther Dennis of Columbia have fostered nine children ranging from three days old to three years old, children who’ve stayed from one night to two years. Their door still swings wide open to children in need.
“If it weren’t for Millie, none of this would have happened,” Dan admitted. Millie is one in a million—or maybe more.
Like many women, Esther planned to meet her husband in college, marry, begin a career, have three children, and live happily ever after. But nothing happened as planned. The Dennises were diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility, which culminated in three years of infertility treatment peppered with emotional, physical, and financial strain.
Their daughter, Millie, now a bright and precocious 11 years old, was born through in vitro fertilization after three unsuccessful attempts at artificial insemination. Mother and daughter endured a six-day hospital stay due to late term complications and a difficult delivery. As they were packing to bring Millie home, the doctor expressed concern that Millie might have Down syndrome (DS). When the Dennises dismissed this possibility, their pediatrician countered, “I cannot be your pediatrician and have this suspicion but not know.”