Q: What should you think about before you consider adopting two children at once?
A: According to Marissa Leuallen, LMSW and Social Work Manager at Holt International Children’s Services, the first consideration is to understand your own motivation for adopting two at once. If your motivation is convenience or financial savings, your expectations in both areas are unlikely to be met. The costs, planning and overall impact to your household will be more significant without space between children joining the family.
Next, think about your family’s suitability for this type of adoption plan. The professionals who assess you for a concurrent adoptive placement will be looking for specific family traits and experience. These include: a strong marriage, local family/community support, adoption (or equivalent) experience, well-balanced structure and nurture within the home, knowledge of sibling adjustment issues, time, an understanding of grief, loss and attachment, cultural resources, medical and schooling resources, flexibility, realistic expectations, and a demonstrated ability to seek help from outside sources. Even the most skilled and experienced adoptive parents cannot know how the transition will go for themselves, for the children being adopted, or for the other members of the family ahead of the placement happening. You want to have your support net cast wide so you are ready to meet the unexpected challenges as they come up; because they will come up.
Last, but certainly not least, is this decision in the best interest of both children? In most cases, a child will transition more smoothly into a new family without having to compete for attention with a second child on the same journey at the very same time. In some cases, such as with related children, those who have grown up together, or when there is a compelling reason for a simultaneous placement to occur, a concurrent adoption (two at once) may be the best option for both children. The shared history and experience can be a benefit to Adoptees down the road too. Consider this – Would either of these two children have a greater opportunity to thrive if placed into a family who is able to focus solely on the needs of that child individually? Every child needs to be treasured and deserves the opportunity to develop secure an autonomous identity within the family.
Adoption is a life-changing and lifelong decision that impacts many. It will require thoughtfulness, preparation and a network of supporters to succeed. Allow yourself plenty of time to think through the decision.