If you’ve adopted a child, you probably consider yourself a pro when it comes to the process of adopting. Every family, whether created through adoption or not has difference questions to ask themselves when considering the second time around. Before you decide, you should ask yourself some questions about the adoption and your family. Telling your child and including them in the process is the best way to go about it.
Reasons you may be adopting again:
There are so many reasons why a family chooses to adopt a second child. You may have always envisioned a house full of kids running around. Maybe you were an only child and always wanted your child to experience the sibling bond that you never had. If you are choosing to adopt solely because you fear that your only child will suffer emotionally without sibling relationships, please know that research has shown that only children are as well-adjusted as children with siblings. Maybe you came from a large family yourself and want that for your child too.
Questions you may want to ask yourself:
Are you ready for the competing demands of more than one child? You may have taking care of one child down, but by adopting a second you will need to double everything. You will need double the food, clothes, attention given, homework help, etc. Don’t get me wrong, two children can keep each other entertained, but they are children and they need their own attention given from their parents.
How would you deal with the increased financial demands? As you are well aware adopting a child can be expensive. It can cause some families to incur significant debt long before college tuition has entered the picture. Some parents believe it is their responsibility to provide a comfortable home and educational opportunities for their children. My advice would be to know your limits. If you believe that you can afford to adopt and you want to adopt then do it.
How important is it to adopt a child who has a similar background to your first child? If your child is of a different background than yourself, you may be considering which background your second child may come from. Some families adopt from the same country so that there are cultural connections between the siblings. For domestic adoptions, maybe you want your second child to have the same skin tone as your first adopted child. This is all completely up to you and what you believe is best for your family.
Your arrangements for placement are going to be different than your first time around considering you have another family member this time. You will need to figure out how placement will go. This includes how long you can stay, if you will be bringing your child, if you will be bringing an additional person to watch your child while you go through the adoption, or having a family member or friend watch your child while you do placement.
The last thing you need to consider when going for round two is the levels of openness of your adoption. You may have a great relationship with your child’s birthmother but child number two’s birthparents may be in a different situation. Each adoption is different and there is no “cookie-cutter” way of open adoption and so it is important to understand that each of your children’s open adoptions will be different in their own way.
Telling your child
The most important thing to remember is the use age appropriate language. If your child is less than five, it is a good idea to tell them six weeks before your travel date if you are doing an international adoption. With an elementary aged child, telling them as soon as you know is the best bet. You should discuss your adoption plans often and have casual conversations. Until your domestic adoption is finalized, you should tell your child you are babysitting the child for a few days or weeks.
Involve your child throughout the entire process. Allow them to write a piece or help create a piece for your dear birthmother letter or your profile book. When getting ready for the arrival, let them pick out the color of the stroller or help them paint the nursery. Make sure that you do not give them too many care giving responsibilities, remember that this is not their baby, but their siblings. Throughout the process assure your child that you are their forever family and this second child will not change that.
Throughout the process, encourage your child to take on the role of big brother or sister. A good way to start out is to throw some books on being an older sibling into their nightly reading. A few books include I’m a Big Brother or I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole, Big Sister, Little Sister by Leuyen Pham, and Waiting for May by Janet Morgan Stoeke. A suggestion for helping your child is to revisit your child’s adoption story. While working on your profile book, show your child the book you made for their adoption. Talk as often as you want to about how their adoption went and what they can expect for this adoption.
You should also let your child know that babies need a lot of attention and love. They will most likely have a hard time understanding that your attention has to be split between taking care of the baby and playing with them. Let your child vent about the new sibling or you being too busy. A good idea is to create a special time for your child like a weekly date or a craft to work on while the baby naps. Lastly, you can give your child a small gift from their new sibling to help alleviate your child’s worries or fears about a new child coming into the family.
Deciding to adopt for a second time has its pros and cons, but ultimately it is decided between your family and what you believe is best. Remember that every child is different and adopting a second child does not mean it will go the same as your first.