Monday, March 1, 2010

2 kids better than one?

I originally wrote this post as a (very long) comment on my friend Lisa's blog. She asks questions weekly and I was offering some input. This week's question was:

"What are the pros/cons of adopting more than one child at a time? We are considering also requesting a preschool boy in addition to an infant girl…and we’re willing if God asks us to do it, but quite honestly, it SCARES me to think of helping five children adjust to a major life change!"

Here are my thoughts:

I can only share from our perspective, but we were a family who initially planned on adopting one child (toddler/preschool boy) and ended up pursuing another adoption as well (preschool girl). There were a number of reasons we decided to do this. One, to be completely honest, was money. We really thought we’d want to adopt again and it was far cheaper to do two at once than 2 separate adoptions. Now, we would have never based our decision SOLELY on finances. But we figured… all other things being equal, we’d like to save a few $$. And we figured, we are already going to be outnumbered (we had 2 bio girls at home) so why not jump right from 2 to 4?

We also thought it would be easier on the kids. Putting myself in their shoes (well, as much as one can), it seemed like it would be easier to come with someone familiar, someone who shared the culture/skin color/etc. I think this definitely proved to be true – in many, many ways it was easier on our adopted children.

And I’m not sure it was any harder on our bio kids at home – there were adjustments there too, but there were going to be whether or not it is one kid or two. You just don’t know. You could bring home a baby girl and a young boy who just fit seamlessly into your family. Or, you could bring home just one sweet baby girl that locks horns with one of your existing kids and they are like oil and water from the start. You just don’t KNOW. This is true with bio kids too. I think this is more of a personality thing vs a number thing. When we were deciding, it was a positive factor for us that our oldest daughter was very go-with-the-flow. We were confident she could handle the changes and disruption. Our younger daughter was only 12-18 months at the time and we didn’t think 2 vs 1 would make much difference to her either. I don’t think it did, for the most part.

So, I would say that it was financially advantageous, it eased the adjustment for our adopted kiddos, probably did not make much difference for our bio kids… and as for us parents?

IT. WAS. WAY. HARDER.

Now, I have nothing to compare it to, because our first adoption for two kids at once. BUT I honestly think it made Mark and my adjustments harder. Snap - We went from 2 kids to 4. We’re outnumbered! We had our two new children (who happened to now both be middle children) who desperately needed our attention and affection. We had a 6 year old who was excited to have new siblings, but needed some affirmation herself. We had a very cranky 18 month old who was NOT pleased to have been left behind for 2 weeks while we were in ET… (translate to super-clingy for MONTHS)

And so many days it seemed as if we just didn’t have enough arms to go around.

It was 2 little bodies infected with giardia. 2 little bodies that were scared to death at night for months. 2 little bodies with millions of doctor appointments. 2 little bodies with needs – physical and emotional – that [understandably] just kept coming. 2 little bodies that didn’t speak a word of English and were just so frustrated. And us poor, na├»ve, tired parents, often felt like we just couldn’t keep up.

BUT.

The first 3 months passed and things grew easier. Then a few more months passed. We adjusted. We were a family.

Our kids had a dream transition, at least in my opinion. And yet, those first few months were so hard! I actually think it was more than twice as hard. But only for a short time. And with all the other pros… well, I have never regretted our decision. It was the right one for us.

2 comments:

positivelyorphaned said...

Thanks for your insight on this topic. We don't have any children yet, and we are hoping to adopt one or two HIV positive children in the 0-36 month range. We just cannot seem to decide, but your post does help. We are trying to stay open to both options for as long as possible and desperately hoping that our child(ren) will become very clear to us at some point. So far, we feel like we're on the right path.

Mark and Wendy said...

Thanks so much for your post! I'm glad Lisa directed us this direction! We have three bio kids, boys ages 7 and 5, and a girl almost 3. We have initially requested an infant girl, but later felt led to also request a preschool boy. There is really "no obvious reason" for both my husband and I to have started thinking this way independently of each other, so we really feel like it's a God thing. We still have to contend with our social worker changing our home study approval to 2 kids, but if that's what God has planned, I know she doesn't stand a chance. :) One of our thoughts on adopting two is that it could be so much better for self-image. Our three bio kids are like cookie-cutter kids: blonde hair and big blue eyes, and our community is very white. To me, it seems that it would be so much easier to have at least one other person who "looks like me." Of course easing the finances helps, too. We're just continuing to ask the Lord for guidance! Thanks for your perspective and counsel!