You’ve wanted kids for so long. You’ve been pricked, prodded, and scoped both physically and emotionally through your years of trying to get pregnant and then trying to adopt. Finally you are a parent. You are living your dream. And then one day you get a call from your adoption agency or adoption attorney. Or maybe the call comes from your child’s birth mother herself. She is pregnant again and wants to place this child with you. Oh my.
If you want another child, this is the happiest day of your life. If you thought your family growing days were over, it is the beginning of many days of soul searching. As one mom asked:
How could we say ‘no’ to our daughter’s sibling? How would I explain to my girl that her sister doesn’t live with us? How would I live with the guilt?
To Thine Own Self be True
It is one thing to intentionally split up sibling groups when adopting, but what about siblings that are born after the adoption? That can be a sticky wicket for sure. What is considered the “perfect” family size is amazingly individual. It depends on finances, where you live, how time consuming your jobs/careers, your energy level, your age, and quite frankly what you want your life and family to look like. And it depends on all of these factors times two since the desires of both the mom and the dad must be considered.
In my opinion, the decision to have another child regardless if it is the decision to get pregnant or to adopt, has to be made based on what the parents want, not what they think their child wants, nor guilt they may feel. While this advice is easy at the extremes where the parents are clear that they want no more kids, it gets might murky in the middle where parents think they probably don’t want another child, or think they can’t afford another child, or think they may be too old to start over, or simply aren’t ready right now, but hope to be ready in a few years.
If you are sitting on the fence in the murky middle, then it makes great sense to throw into the mix of your decision making that it might be good for your child to be raised with his full or half biological sibling. This factor might just tip the scale. Personally, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the perfect timing or perfect age spacing. Most of us who have faced infertility or adoption know that planning for perfection is a joke.
No Guarantees for the Future
The woman I quoted above decided to adopt her child’s sibling, but then the next year the birth mother was pregnant again. After much agonizing they decided that their family was finished and another family adopted that child. Now another year later the birth mom is pregnant with twins.
We can’t predict the future, so the best we can do is decide what is best for our family at any given point in time, and then make the best of what develops. This family was able to suggest a friend to adopt the third child and now have a close relationship with that family. I hope they’ll be able to do the same with the twins.
What would you do? How would you weigh the benefits of your child being raised with a biological sibling vs. your plans for your family size?
Image credit: Joseph.Boss