questions about adopting two at once - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-02-2009, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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We're just starting out on the journey to international adoption. No kids yet, 2.5 years TTC ending with failed IVF attempts, and I am now getting very excited about our adoption.

We had always talked about 2-3 kids total, mix of adopted and bio. Well, bio didn't happen, and I suppose it still could happen someday but I am not really counting on it after all that trying. So, I'd love to adopt two at one time. My DH is not too into this (yet!! ). He thinks we should start out with just one. The only convincing argument I have so far (besides "my heart says so!") is that if we're going to all the expense of adoption, why not get a second while we're at it? Doing all of this a second time in a few years would be more of a pain.

Any other good arguments for adopting two children at once? I'd also be willing to hear the difficult side of it, too!

Also, how much extra does adopting a second cost, generally? I have only looked into it for one of the countries we saw and the cost was just $2k extra for a second kid. (Sorry, not to talk about money in a way that sounds crass I hope!)

Thanks for any ideas you might have.
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#2 of 13 Old 01-02-2009, 07:23 PM
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Certainly there are folks who adopt two at once, for example adopt sibling sets, and have a great experience. However, as an experienced foster and adoptive mother, I would discourage you from going in with your heart set on that.

First, I want to acknowledge the pain you have experienced with your infertility experiences. I remember by the time we were looking at infertility treatments that would have involved an increased "risk" of multiples, I kept saying, "After all the time we've waited for one, I would be overjoyed now with two, even three at once! Bring it on!" My maternal feelings were in complete and total overdrive with the years of disappointments.

That said, our adopted children are children who have experienced trauma. All of them. The loss of birthparents, even immediately after birth is immense in and of itself. On top of that, many of our children have experienced additional traumatic experiences. Whether it is an experience in an orphanage to moves in foster care, our kids have been through a lot! I've been on the receiving end, with a child who is experiencing what for us may be a joy but for them is yet *another* disruption (trauma) in their attachments and their entire life as they know know that they honestly need and deserve our intense focus.

Except in the case that siblings would otherwise be separated from one another, I just don't think it is fair to take what they need of us and divide it in half. It's not like adopting when you already have one settled at home. You will have two kids who are experiencing trauma in your care...even under the "best of circumstances," with a relinquishment of the child to you immediately around the time of birth. Would a nurse in the ER rather two patients come in with a gunshot wound at one time, or one? One of course! I know it may sound like it, but that's not overly dramatic. Trauma is trauma.

Please consider, just as a start:

I'd like to gently suggest that you adopt one, and really focus hard core on helping your child heal and on bonding together. "Bottlenurse" (as opposed to bottlefeed) or breastfeed, carry your baby in a sling as much as s/he will tolerate, play "attachment games," and sleep together if s/he will tolerate it.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#3 of 13 Old 01-02-2009, 07:25 PM
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I know of a bunch of families that adopted sibling groups. Is that what you had in mind? That is what we were going to do before DD snuck up on us. I think this has a lot of advantages. Depending on your state a group might qualify as "special needs" (their specialness only being that there is more than one of them) and quailfy for support funds. The kids will have a blood relative if that's important to them.

Sorry, I don't know much else about how much it costs. I do know that once you have a home study you don't have to start from scratch the next time around. They can ammend if the only significant change is that first child you adopt.

I just reread your post and realzied that you were talking about international. Most of my experience with adopted siblings is domestic.
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#4 of 13 Old 01-03-2009, 01:21 AM
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I know that at the time we were doing an international adoption, it wasn't really cheaper to adopt two, since most of the costs were fixed, i.e. you needed two visas, unless the cases cleared at the exact same time (unlikely) you still had to travel twice, the court costs, lawyer fees, agency fees were for each child, etc. The only savings would have been the homestudy - you would only have needed one, not two. But that's one of the least expensive parts of the process. Also, I'm not sure which sending countries would allow to simultaneous adoptions - I'm sure that many would not.
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#5 of 13 Old 01-03-2009, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DynamiteA View Post
if we're going to all the expense of adoption, why not get a second while we're at it? Doing all of this a second time in a few years would be more of a pain.
Whoa now! I know you're excited, but step back a minute and think about the reasons for adopting two at once. Are they about you and what's easier for you, or are they about what's best for the child?

A child you adopt, especially if they're not a newborn, is going to have a lot of transition, grief, and mourning to work through. She or he needs and deserves the time to work through that, and to have his/her parents dedicated to just his/her needs for a while. There's a reason the more reputable agencies and programs DO NOT allow adopting more than one child at a time (unless you're adopting siblings). Adoption is hard work. Not just for the parents...mostly for the child.

The reasons you're listing seem to be about money, convenience, and the "why not!" factor. All good reasons for an adult with plans and finances to consider. But....when you have your first child, you're going to see that no amount of money or convenience is worth their happiness, their security, or their attachment to you. You won't mind the hassle or "pain" of adopting again, because you're going to love the one-on-one time you have with your first. In fact, if you're like most parents I know , you might even fear bringing another child into your family because some part of you wants your baby (even if he or she is 2, 3, or 4 at that point) to have your undivided love and attention.

If you do look into adopting a sibling group, REALLY look into it. If your agency doesn't require extra training, reading, or classes, you should seek them out on your own. There are a lot of challenges to adopting more than one child at a time, and educating yourself on that is important if you really want to consider it.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#6 of 13 Old 01-03-2009, 02:27 PM
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Most agencies won't allow the adoption of two unrelated children at one time, although some few countries do allow it. One example of how this might be in the child's best interests, is if they had a close friend at the orphanage, someone akin to a sibling although not related by blood.

But i would say most "frown" upon this practice for reasons already stated.

There is a huge need for parents willing to adopt sib groups though, esp larger ones. A friend online adopted five (i think?) sibs into their family where they already had a school age child (he was somewhere in the group age-wise, but i think it was "out of birth order")...and while there have been lots of challenges, it has ultimately worked out well and they dont regret it. With international though you then throw in not only adoption issues, and family dynamics issues (is one sib parentified? are there abuse issues within the sib unit? etc) but dietary, language, culture issues as well.

On an email list i'm on, an adoption recruiter for Wash. state said that people there just "cannot imagine" adopting large sib groups, so groups of even two or three kids are often split, and they have a horrible time finding families in that area to adopt four or five at once. There are LOTS of sib groups posted on the TX photolisting as well (the most recent one i got in my email box was a profile of six or seven kids under ten or eleven years old!)....and Adopt America Network routinely sends out emails recruiting for young sib groups (three or four kids under 7 yrs for example) the need is here as well. Probably not what you had in mind, but something to think about.....and these kids would come with a monthly subsidy, medical card, in some instances college would be paid for in their home state, etc etc. And the adoption costs would be paid as well.


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#7 of 13 Old 01-06-2009, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. Those are all good points and I will keep thinking about them. I was talking mainly about Ethiopia if we go with that country because 4 of the 5 couples I know in real life adopted two (unrelated) babies from Ethiopia, not one. So that got me excited since we do want more than one kid for sure!

Thanks again for all the thoughts.
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#8 of 13 Old 01-06-2009, 09:15 PM
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I know people that have done this is well. A friend of mine is currently in Ethiopia bringing her two kids home.

Having been home with my son for over a month now, I have to say I think it's a bad idea. It was tempting to us as well as we wanted to adopt more than one child. It would've saved us quite a bit of money. The savings would've been over $5,000, which is a very large sum of money to us.

I'm so glad we didn't do it. Having that one-on-one time with our new son while meeting the needs of our other kids has made this a great experience. I have the time and energy for each of them. I think this has led to limited resentment and better bonding. I think each kid deserves their moment to be "the baby," especially children who have experienced loss.
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#9 of 13 Old 01-07-2009, 01:18 AM
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I have had my 2 grandchildren for about 6 weeks now, ages 3 months, and 2 years. The older kids and I are handling it all (fairly!) well, and the babies are settling in. But I think in some ways, they are missing out. The 2 YO is very independent (typical of kids from neglectful situations), so it is all too easy to let her amuse herself when the baby is fussy. Slinging the tiny baby means I am not too anxious to carry the toddler, and even my lap is pretty crowded. I wish I could give as much to each baby as I did the bio-dumplings. YoungSon and BigGirl are only a year apart, but she did have that 1 year of full attention. And I tandem nursed and coslept with both, so she really wasn't shoved aside. But the Figlet can't cosleep. She can only sleep in an isolated crib (her past experience), and because she will be returning to her family, it doesn't make sense to mix it up. In our case there was no choice, but in an ideal world, I would prefer to add one kid at a time.

There is still some chance I will be adopting the 4 siblings of my foster-dumpling. I will certainly want to add the identical twins together, but I hope the others will come separately - for their sakes as much as mine!

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#10 of 13 Old 01-09-2009, 06:04 AM
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We adopted just one at a time (already had 2 at home).

One suggestion I just wanted to throw out since you mentioned Ethiopia would be to put a request in for one or twins. Twins are very common in Ethiopia (much higher rate of occurence than here in the US). I know people waiting at the same time as I was who were considering sib groups and decided to do this instead. Some got singles and some got twins. It's about the same chances of getting twins as if you were pregnant. This was with WHFC.

One thing with sib groups to consider is that it very rare to have a young sib group. So if you really want young children you could be waiting a very long time. The older sib groups are much more in need of homes. I personally wouldn't consider adopting 2 unrelated children at the same time. To many different variables and issues to deal with at once. With a sibling group they are coming from the same family and medical history, you are likely dealing with the same parasites and levels of malnutrtion, socialization, etc. With unrelated kids you might be dealing with two children from completely different parts of Ethiopia, and languages (some areas right next to each other, speak multiple languages and many adoption agencies place from multiple regions).
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#11 of 13 Old 01-09-2009, 05:48 PM
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We adopted 2 at once internationally. They are biological siblings and were 21 months and 3 when they came home. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. Both had very definite and very different needs. The 3 yo, for example, would not be put down for a good 2 months. When dh wasn't home, she was in my arms constantly (she would not go in a sling), even when I used the restroom. Frequently, I held both at once, cooked with both in my arms, etc. I cried a lot.

Having said that, were I to adopt internationally again, I would consider a sibling group. We brought them into our world, our home, our language, our culture, our traditions, our rules etc. etc. The fact that they had each other made ALL the difference. In fact, the only reason I could get up out of bed when they napped was that they would roll into each other and sleep in each other's arms. In retrospect, I feel relieved that they had each other as they went through all that craziness. I was new to parenting and certainly new to high-stress parenting. It might have been very lonely for either one had they not had the other. I really believe that their togetherness (and the fact that they had been together in the orphanage) made all our our adjustments much easier.

Having said THAT, if I could do it all over again, I would have requested and accepted a lot more support from people in my life. We have no nearby relatives and, sadly, the mom friends I had at the time were a bit ignorant about adoption (some worried their kids might catch an awful disease from my kids). I also would lower my standards and not try to do everything. I think I wanted to move too quickly into what I thought was a "normal" family. I wanted them to take Mommy and Me classes, enjoy the park, etc. All of that took a lot of time and I always found myself disappointed and longing. I also thought I should be able to do laundry and clean my house (with a 3 yo on my hip and another on my shoulder).

I hope this helps. To re-cap, our ultimate experience has been wonderfully positive. The first few months to a year were really really hard, though, and I wish I'd had more help.

Good luck whatever you decide.
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#12 of 13 Old 01-09-2009, 06:41 PM
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There are lots of wonderful points brought up in this post. We are in the process to adopt from Thailand and while it is really rare we have left it open to adopt young silbings or twins. That way our homestudy and dossier and set up in case the really rare occurs.

Homeschooling Momma to DD, DS, DD and DS two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband.
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#13 of 13 Old 01-09-2009, 06:43 PM
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We are planning to adopt a sibling set from Liberia in the future


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