I need a bit of wisdom and advice from the experienced mamas here. :-)
My husband and I have two kids. Older daughter will turn 8 in the fall, younger daughter is 3.5. We always wanted at least two kids, possibly a third . . . at this point we are both feeling like we might want more kids in our family but I am almost 42 and not sure if we would be able to get pregnant/have another bio kid, or if I even want to go through pregnancy, birth, and years of breastfeeding again. So, we have started discussing the possibility of adoption. Years before I met DH I was licensed as a foster parent but never actually got a placement and then I moved out of state, but I did go through the training and also had a lot of professional experience in a juvenile court situation working with kids who had a lot of issues--so this is not an entirely novel idea and I have some inkling of some of the issues involved in fostering/adopting. I am a little nervous about it (partly because of some of those experiences). I also am pretty protective of my girls, and don't want to do anything that is going to put them at risk of being harmed or molested or generally end up with all of us being significantly less happy. I didn't want to take on older kids in order to not disrupt the birth order or because of the aforementioned risk issues.
I started exploring a little bit, looked up foster/adoption stuff in our new state, and ended up on a national photolisting site--just to sort of get an idea of what we might be looking at if we were to go that route, kwim? I came across the profile of a 15 year old girl. Something about her face just sort of grabbed me, and I checked out her profile. From the profile and the descriptions of the kid's interests, personality, what she is looking for in a family, I just felt like--wow, that kid might actually fit in with our family really well and we might be a good family for her! This girl was also featured on a tv news spot--there was just something about her that seemed really sweet (of course I know these things are highly skewed toward the best possible picture . . . but by the same token some kids' best possible pictures are not that appealing--like if Jimmy is described as an active kid who loves football, video games and ATV's, those are things we all dislike so they are not interests that we could share/bond over, kwim?) I had not even considered adopting an older kid who would disrupt the birth order etc., but this girl is SO much older than my oldest she'd be kind of in a separate category--sort of like in bio families when people have a kid/kids and then have a big gap of many years and then have more so that the older ones are older already before the younger ones even come around, it's almost like having two separate groups of kids rather than only one big family (my grandma's family was like this, where the older ones were in HS by the time the younger set arrived fourteen years later). Based on families I've seen like that and knowing how my kids interact with other people, I think my kids might end up relating to her more like they relate to older cousins or teenage babysitters (who them adore) than they would a playmate/peer/rival who is closer in age. She is also African-American, and we are not, but because we are a multiracial/multicultural family anyway (I'm white, DH is from India, kids are mixed) it's not like any non-bio kid would look like all/any of us anyway and we are pretty open to including someone else's cultural identity/traditions/heritage. I am a little concerned in that I wouldn't want a kid to feel like they didn't fit in or belong with us because of any of this--but OTOH, this kid also is from a large bio family (she's one of the older ones) and has 9 siblings who are all spread out in foster care/already adopted/on their own who she wants to keep contact with plus she'd probably be 16 already when she landed up in our home. So I'm thinking that if I were in that position, I'd want it acknowledged that I'd had another family before/as well--I'd want to keep my own identity as part of that original family and as part of my bio siblings' family, as well as wanting to be accepted as part of the new family and I'd be looking ahead toward adulthood anyway. Seems like she needs people to care for her and make her part of the family, but also who are going to help her launch in a few years and just always be the people she can come home to, even if she also wants/needs to be connected and in contact with her bio family as well. Because this girl has a unique first name, I was able to do a little online snooping and find out a little more about her, the family, etc., than I otherwise would have known. There are a few things that are concerning (one marijuana thing on a social media page of hers), but my impression is that this girl seems like a relatively normal teenager with normal teenage problems plus one very big problem of not having a family who can care for her (and will then have all the problems that come from that and from being in care, etc.). Seems like she had a halfway normal life until she was at least about 8 or 9, and that even then she seems to have had some mentors and such and people who cared about her and provided some stability.
So, any thoughts on this? Obviously this is a radical departure from the idea of having another bio-kid or an adopted kid younger than my youngest, lol, but somehow I sort of can't stop thinking about this girl. Have I lost my marbles, lol? Is this just a totally bad idea? Are there things I should be thinking about that I'm not, or am I thinking of things in a way that I shouldn't? We are set to attend a meeting this week and sign up for classes for fostering/adopting--DH is a little nervous but we agreed that to be even in a position to make any decision about whether this is something we want to do or not we need to get more information and pursue things a little further (with the idea that even if we decide against this we are in a good position to be able to do respite care without too much of a problem.) I did contact the girl's caseworker but obviously we are not homestudied yet, so it's like, call back when you are. DH is willing to potentially get on board with this girl in particular or with the idea of adoption in the future in general, and also felt a little tugging of the heartstrings for this particular girl (although not as much as me) but he is worried about the financial aspect of taking on responsibility for another kid (bio or adopted) right at this juncture as he is in a bit of a career slump/transition and is having a sort of issue with feeling like he's not being the provider he wants to be. I know there are a lot of things to overcome to even get to the point of being able to take this on even if we do, and I'm not sure that we should. Any thoughts?