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Adoption after having Biological Children

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Fertility issues - want a second child - IVF or adopt?

March 2014

My husband and I have a beautiful 2 yr old son and want to have another baby. We always knew we had fertility issues but somehow got lucky with our son. This time we have been seeing doctors and apparently our situation has gotten more complex. The drs suggest we try IVF. I have been poked and prodded for months and I am emotionally and physically exhausted. Compared to many other couples I think I am in a better situation because even though some information is new, we always knew we had problems so not shocked but going through all the tests again is not fun. We need to make a decision soon if are going to try IVF but part of me says just forget it and may be we should adopt a baby. I dont know if I really want to adopt or am I just tired of trying to get pregnant. Also I dont know if I would love an adopted child as much as I love my son. Will the kid have received good prenatal care and does that really matter for how smart / developed the kid is ? I love children but is it different when you have one of your own ?

How do people feel when their first child is biologically theirs and the second is adopted ? (Please dont judge me, I am being honest) Confused mom We are going through the same thing. We have a biological daughter and tried for years to have a second but are now in the process of adopting. It is difficult and seems to be a very long process for most people, but I believe we will be glad we adopted in the end. From the parents I have met who have adopted their children, I don't see that any of them have had trouble bonding with their child. I am part of an adoption support group (for women who are adopting after infertility) that has been helpful. V.


This will, perhaps, be an unpopular opinion here, but I'm going to tell you the truth as I have lived it. If you find yourself in the position of being able to adopt a healthy newborn infant, and by that I mean under a week old, you are very very lucky. You might well love your adopted baby and he/she will love you, just as if you gave birth to it. If, however, like most people, you end up adopting internationally or adopting a baby domestically who has been in foster homes, or has spent several months in the hospital due to medical problems, you will be in for some very difficult times together.

I adopted a baby internationally at 5 months. She was healthy, seemed happy, and in any case I thought that love conquers all. So no matter what problems might arise I would just love her through them! Unfortunately love is not a solution to the problems that come with adoption.

My child (now 9), has been in therapy since age 3. She is the ''difficult one'' every year in her classroom at school. She is smart, curious, funny, and beautiful, but other kids (and most grown-ups) can't bear to spend time with her. This is because she is also, anxious, controlling, hyperactive, and always causing fights, scenes, breakdowns of various kinds. She is desperate for attention every second of every day. But when she is given attention, she rejects it. Even as a baby she rejected being held, hugged, fed or making eye contact. She hates when her dad and I show affection to each other. We can't get out together very often because we can't keep a babysitter. Our daughter is so impossible for them that even paying twice the going rate, none of them want to come back.

Somewhere in her second year I joined an adoptive mom's group and discovered that I was not alone. Virtually every single mom and dad were describing the same situation. Since that time, I have visited many adoptive parent groups, talked to many therapists, read many books and have concluded that this is the norm. Babies who don't have one consistent caregiver in the first year, are living in a state of constant anxiety and/or rage due to feeling abandoned, but at the same time they are absolutely determined to NOT let anyone rescue them from that state of abandonment because they cannot trust.

While I understand this, and my heart breaks for my child, it also breaks for me. I do all of the work of a mom with virtually none of the gratification. I have lived with years of feeling like a failure and years of grief that my child does not, can not, love me or trust me in the way I always thought it would be.

Adoption is important. There are so many children who need families. If you go into it with your eyes open and are up for all of the difficulties that come with it, then do it, and God Bless you. But if your hope is to have the same feelings and relationship you would have with a baby you gave birth to (or adopted in the first day or two of life) I would suggest you not do it. Adoptive Mom


I am an adoptive parent of one, but we know many other families who have adopted for their second one. Personally, I can't imagine my life without our daughter, and she feels very much ''our'' child. For the people I know with a mixed family, it seems similar. Really, it ends up being a very natural family relationship and over time the children's origins matter less and less.

From where you are right now, you definitely have to process it yourself emotionally and figure out what is right for you. For me, once I got beyond the idea of who my child was supposed to be and let go of my preconceived notions, I found that the important thing for me was being a parent. It also helped to think about people I love where I don't have biological ties -- and our pets.

The people I know who adopted their second child have told me what a gift it was to be able to be a parent the 2nd time around after their various struggles. For me it has been a gift just the once. Hope that it is helpful.

Last thing-- I would highly recommending getting in touch with Adoption Connection, a non-profit connected with Jewish Family and Children's Services. They are an agency, but also offer great workshops for adoptive and prospective adoptive parents and would be great people to talk to as you consider how you feel about this. adoptive momma


On the one hand, your post shocked me, but on the other hand thank you for being honest with yourself and asking for input.

You are uninformed about the process of adoption and what adoption means for a child or adoptive family. PLEASE - if you are questioning whether you would love an adopted child as much as ''your own'' child, don't adopt. And don't think this is somehow the easy answer to the difficulties of going the IVF route. Adoption is difficult and is an emotional roller coaster like IVF, but in other ways, whether you do it privately, publically through the state (foster-adoption) or internationally.

To answer your specific questions - yes, prenatal care (among other things) does matter in terms of a child's health, mental health, and development. You may or may not know whether the birthmom has had good prenatal care, although in a private adoption it is more likely that you would know. If a child is internationally or publically adopted, it is very likely that they did not get optimal prenatal care and very often, inadequate care and/or drug exposure in utero. In international and public adoptions (and sometimes private adoptions) you will generally have incomplete, and sometimes false or no information at all about family history.

Adoption is about both loss and gain, for children and families. It is a wonderful way of creating a family if you are open to the challenges and willing take on the responsibility of informing yourself and learning how to deal with them. Otherwise, it's not for you. adoptive mom anon


I'm so curious to hear the advice you get, as I find myself in the same boat: my amazing daughter was born when I was over 40, after a year+ of 'trying'. I realize now how incredibly lucky I was to get pregnant, and have a safe, easy pregnancy and healthy child. But it doesn't look like it's going to happen again. And IVF doesn't work as well for older women.

I *really* want a second child! We are starting the adoption process in April. I have concerns about prenatal care, health & genetic issues, etc. that are out of our control. I just read that cognitive/intellectual development tracks genetics more closely than nurture... we are a bunch of nerdy bookworms. What if our adopted child is not???

Still, life is full of unknowns. When I imagine the future, I see two children in it. I have realized that I will be sadder about not trying to add to our family. I've also decided that for us, money is better spent on adoption fees & trying to offer a loving home to a child that already exists (or will soon exist) than on IVF. That calculus is different for everyone, of course. Best wishes in your decision. Would-be mama of 2


Wow, I just have to respond to the parent who adopted and has had all kinds of problems with her daughter. First off, my heart goes out to any parent, adoptive or biological, with a child who has special needs. I can understand why it would be as wearing as it seems to be from her post. However, it is wrong to say that all adopted kids have the sorts of problems her child has. My son was adopted and we are members of several strong adoption communities, both international and domestic. Some of the kids have academic problems, some have ADHD, but most are just fine. Really.

It's true that the rates of ADHD are higher in adopted kids, but you can think of it this way: If your kid is born to you, you have a 10% chance these days of their being diagnosed with ADHD. If they were adopted, their chance is 15%. I probably got the math all wrong, but you get my point. The other way to look at it is that their chance of not having ADHD is 85%. My kid has dyslexia, which clearly runs in his biological family. He would have had it if he stayed with his birth mother. He's a fantastic person and the other adopted kids we know are just great. Having kids has always involved risk, no matter how you do it. Take the Risk


To the adoptive mom of the 9 year old girl: I appreciated your honest response and wanted to share my experience in hopes it provides you some encouragement. The difficulties of adoption are not openly addressed enough. My background may not be as extreme as your daughter's - my parents adopted me (closed) when I was days old w/in the same state - but even so, I struggled with abandonment and trust issues. My most difficult period was (not surprisingly) from the beginning of high school till the end of college. While most of my anger was directed inward (I thought I was intrinsically horrible and didn't realize it had anything to do with adoption because I was only ever told how lucky I was.), I was a difficult person to be around and the brunt of my acting out was directed at my mom (also probably not surprising). Although I didn't have the benefit of therapy, through time, a lot of self reflection, some self medication and the continued, unwavering support of my parents, I am now on the other side of it. When my mom saw the difficulty I was having, she found my birth mother. Years later I also met my birth father. While they are very nice people and it was healing to finally learn my back story, I haven't felt the need to pursue much of a relationship with them. Meeting them helped me to realize that I had everything I needed all along. More importantly, as I have gotten older (I'm in my early 30s) and now am a mother myself, I am beginning to understand my mother's strength, the incredible amount of love she has for me, and how much I draw on it every day. While it was a bumpy road, we have a great relationship now (don't get me wrong, we can still get on each other's nerves sometimes, but it's in the normal way that all mothers and daughters can do). And somehow, she remembers the whole period as not being that difficult and normal teen behavior, though I know it was really hard on her at the time. Raising an adopted child is not for faint of heart (my kids are very young, but I suspect this may be t! rue for raising any kid?), and it's especially hard on the adoptive mother. Based on my experience, it's certainly not a challenge I would seek out. I guess, I just wanted to say, keep up the good work. If my experience is any indication, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope the turn around comes sooner for your daughter than it did with me. Glad there are mothers like you out there.
I just read the outstanding responses to your question. We were in the same boat except it was with our first child and it was clear that my eggs were not going to work even with IVF. I did the adoption research, found many of the same answers that were given here, and as a couple we decided adoption was not the route we wanted to take to make our family happen. We opted instead for donor egg IVF. I know this was not one of the choices you are asking about, but it is an option many women in your situation do take and I know more than one family with one sibling conceived by both parents (either naturally or via IVF) and additional siblings conceived via donor egg (dad's sperm, donor egg, mom carries baby and gives birth). I have yet to hear of anyone regretting their decision to go this route to grow their family, but like adoption you need to go in with your eyes wide open. If this is an idea that appeals to you I recommend you visit pved.org for information, resources and a phenomenal online community. Happy Mom
While I appreciate the candor of the adoptive parent who shared the very difficult struggles her adoptive child has had, I hope I will not be alone in responding to point out that no child comes with a guarantee, adopted or biological. I, too, am an adoptive parent, my daughter was also just under five months old when I brought her home, and is now 18. There have not been any attachment issues -- nor have the half-dozen friends who also adopted at about the same time experienced any with their children (and two of my friends adopted a second child each). There is potential for heartbreak and joy in any of life's major choices. Another Adoptive Mom
We have a bio kid and a kid by adoption. It has worked out great for us. It took us a couple years to get our footing. But similarly, I know bio parents who are still looking the worse for wear when their kids are 4 or 5 years old still, so hard to say if it is due to adoption or only partly due to adoption. We do know parents who adopted kids and instantly fell deeply in love and others who gradually fell in love. One thing I think is different about kids by adoption is that on a statistical basis they are apt to share less genes with you (duh), so they are apt to have a different temperament than you or different physical or mental abilities than you, which can be a little tiring but also fun. Our child by adoption is exceptionally good looking (unlike us) and athletic (unlike us) and of average academic ability (unlike us) and outgoing (unlike us). So we help our second child with homework (never helped the older child) but it's fun to watch her success on the soccer field. You are doing the right thing in looking into it, understanding the risks and other info, and only proceeding if you will love any kid you get--every child deserves a loving family. The other difference about kids by adoption is in my experience their parents on average are older, better educated, and are more flexible. Good luck. anon
I was shocked by some of the initial replies and felt like I needed to weigh in with our positive experience. My first child is my biological daughter, but we opted to adopt for our second kid. Our son came to us at about 8 months after an international adoption. I do recall initially wondering about how my connection would be to him vs my biological child, but I felt every bit as thrilled to have him in our lives.

Adoption isn't something that happens overnight, at least not in most cases. Ours took about 18 months and the whole time I was hoping, wondering and dreaming about my future child. There is a bonding that is going on even before you meet your child. Maybe even before you know who your child will be. I've heard people refer to it as a 'paper pregnancy'. When I finally met our son, I just loved him with all my heart and felt very blessed that he had come into our lives.

He's now been home for ten years. Honestly, I do think about the fact that he is adopted a lot, but it's in a good way. Like, I feel so lucky that he came to us, when he could have had many other different outcomes. I love how our family was created and I know lots of 'successful' adoptive families. It's completely normal to have fears about adoption and there are some horror stories out there. There are also less postitive outcomes with birthing and raising a biological child too. Nothing is a guarantee, right? Hopefully you'll conclude that adoption is worth pursuing.

It's important to read a lot and get educated about adoption and its risks. Try to find out as much about a child or birth mother as you can. And, if you are ultimately not comfortable with the child, then don't proceed with the adoption. We declined a couple of kids after hearing about their situations before decided to pursue our son.

Adoption can be such a gift. Please open your heart and mind to this choice. Mom of two special kids


I have two biological children and one child that we adopted at birth. I love my adopted child as much as I love his older siblings and he is fully a member of our family as a son, grandson, nephew, and brother. He is 13 now and it's been a long time since we even thought of him as an ''adopted child''. It was an open adoption, so not a secret at all, but the fact that he is adopted just never comes up. It's a non-issue.

Before we adopted him, I worried too that I might not love him the same way I loved my biological children. But this never happened. It turns out that your parenting instincts kick in, exactly in the same way as they do with biological children. You just stop thinking about what might be different, because you are dealing with all the usual baby issues that all parents deal with regardless of where the baby came from. I will say that for the first few weeks after we adopted him, it did feel a bit different from my first two, because I did not go through a pregnancy and childbirth. But I was very ready for a baby after waiting for two years to adopt and before that, three years trying to get pregnant.

I know that there are bad adoption outcomes, but I believe these are rare compared to the many happy adoptive families (which you are less likely to hear about.) We have many friends who have adopted children, and I have yet to hear about any problems they have that are different from the kinds of problems parents of bio kids have.

Good luck whichever path you take! local mom


Adopt a girl the same age as our biological son?

Sept 2010

We have a 4.5 year old boy and a 7 month boy and are thinking about picking up where we left off on an Ethiopian adoption prior to getting pregnant with #2. The wait is 1-6 months for a referral and say 3 months to pick up the baby.

To me, the idea of having them be similar ages seemed great. We were going for a girl, so I thought that they would be so different they wouldn't compete.

But, there is a very real chance the baby will be pretty close to our little baby in age... maybe 5-6 months apart and I just read all of this really negative stuff about virtual twinning. In my gut, I think it will all go swimmingly. Our household is loving and fun and stimulating.

Any thoughts would be most helpful... especially based on first-hand experience. Conjecture... not as helpful. Thanks.


I have 1 bio and 1 adopted but 5 years apart. But 1 friend adopted from Mexico and then got pregnant -- both kids are fine. And another friend has 2 kids from Kazakhstan about 9 months apart (but adopted about a year apart) -- they are best friends. I guess every situation is different. I know my 5 year old found it hard to have a new baby in the house that needed a LOT of attention -- but that could be a problem with bio or adopted. Good luck. anon
As a sibling who was artificially ''twinned'' with a younger brother who skipped first grade, I would say, wait a bit until you can guarantee they will be at least a year apart. My younger brother and I did many of the same activities as kids, shared many of the same strengths, and were placed in the same grade at school even though he is a year younger. He was bright, verbal and outgoing. I was bright, quiet, and wanted to fit in to such degree that the school didn't realize how bright I was until they tested me because of my brother's IQ score and were surprised at how high my scores were, too. I went through most of my school years identified as ''Mitchell's sister'' (often assumed to be his twin) without the psychological connection that being a true twin might have given me. I didn't realize how much that label bothered me until I became an adult with a life completely independent of my brother. When I began attending school reunions, the first question I got from lots of folks was not about me at all but what my brother was up to these days, and I realized how secondary I felt as a kid despite being the oldest child.

My brother and I get along fine, we had and continue to have a warm, funny, loving family relationship, and I can't speak to his perspective on this, but I think looking back that the inadvertent twinning we received from outside the family was not great for either of us, and we were both full bio siblings. Maybe it would have been different if we had been younger when it happened, or both been boys, had completely divergent interests, or any number of other factors. My advice to you is, by all means adopt, but let each child be separate enough to have their own life. reluctant twin


Hi, I grew up with a black brother who was my same age. My parents adopted him when he was 3, and he is four months younger than I was. We were best friends.

The only problem was living in a racist Midwestern town - there were times when I just wanted to blend in with the white masses instead of being harassed for having a ''strange'' family. This caused some strife between us.

You shouldn't have that problem in Berkeley! Nevertheless we survived that and were very close. He died as a young man, over 20 years ago - I still sorely miss him. best of luck anon


Adopting a girl with three older bio sons

Feb 2010

My husband and I have been married for 12 years and have three boys, ages 9, 7, and 5. We are thinking about adopting a little girl, and I would really like some honest advice.

We have always had adoption in the back of our minds, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately. We have a lot we could offer a child. But I am also worried about the risks. We would probably adopt through the county - a child of a different race, and possibly a toddler. Basically whatever we could get, we would take (though no severe developmental or health problems). Are we crazy? Our boys are all doing really, really well and our family is really happy. We have excellent schools, we do tons of sports, and though we're not rich, we are comfortable.

I want to make things better, not worse for our family. I think a child could add so much to our lives and would enrich all of us. And we would in turn give so much to the child of course.

Does anyone have any experience - either positive or negative? Any advice? I'm really confused about how seriously we should be pursuing this. anon


I so appreciate the honesty of your question and the generousity in your heart. I was struck by the fact that you didn't mention that you want to parent another child (the objectives sounded more altrustic, wanting to give, which is great - but different than wanting to mother another little person). It was also flag for me that you wanted an ethnic child... yes the need is great but there are so many implications to transracial adoption. I'd encourage you to further explore your interest by attending workshops through agencies that specialize in foster care to adoption, for example www.baprc.org. They workshops which provide great information and will give you the opportunity to explore expanding your family. I wish you and your fanily happiness in this journey. Having similar thoughts
As far as adopting a child of another race, I highly recommend a wonderful local resource: Pact, An Adoption Alliance. They are an Oakland-based non-profit that specifically serves adopted children of color and they can provide you with a lot of guidance, advice, and resources if you are considering adopting transracially. I'm not exactly clear what you mean by the ''risks'' involved, but there are many excellent books on adoption that can help you think through the issues involved (the books of Patricia Johnston are a good starting-point). For me and my husband, becoming adoptive parents has been a joyous experience. Of course, we didn't already have 3 kids. Whether to add to a family of that size seems a complex question in and of itself, separate from the adoption issue.
Having worked in the field of adoption for many years, there are a few things that I can suggest.

First, you may want to do some research on Transracial Adoption. PACT in Oakland has fantastic workshops that are very thought-provoking and honest. http://www.pactadopt.org/

Second, it is important to speak with other families who have adopted children from the foster care/social services system. MANY children have found their forever families through county placements, and it is a wonderful, beautiful way to grow your family. But just remember that there are so many more pieces to this puzzle. Your child's birth family, history, and journey so far, will all play important roles in their/your life. Often, older children who are adopted through county social services have been removed from their biological families due to abuse/neglect, etc. Some of these relinquishments (termination of birth family's rights) were voluntary, and many were involuntary. This means that these children may have histories of trauma, and will need some very special TLC and support. Make sure that you have access to this support, and that you are committed to helping them heal. There are some wonderful fost-adopt agencies in the Bay Area. I would recommend doing some research and talking to the County Adoption Department in your area. They usually have workshops to help prospective adoptive families explore the next steps of the process. Good luck, and best wishes! anonymous


Aside from the financial responsibilites, as you already know, children require time, energy, attention. Adopting a child in the system could potentially require more of all of it.

I strongly encourage you to discuss this with a social worker, or attend one of those open adoption meetings the county puts on. There, they can answer questions for you. And perhaps a social worker could put you in touch with other parents who have adopted children in the system, so that you have a more realistic perspective of the affects on your family, and the various issues children in the system come with. It's not like you can return the child if not completely satisfied!

I'm an adoptive parent. i've never experienced childbirth or pregnancy. Adoptive parents have no 9-month physical connection that birth mothers do. I thought I was going to lose my mind with worry and uncertainty. Birthmothers know that after 9 months, whether the child wants to or not, they're coming into this world and your life. During the process of adoption, there is no time period. It could be quick, or longer than 9 months, and the whole time there's nothing that helps you track the progress, such as a bigger belly every month. just when you've jumped through one hoop, there's always another to endure.

I hope you get some good responses here, because your posting was worrisome to me. It reminded me of hearing people that talk about getting a puppy, but don't really get the lifelong responsibility associated with that adoption.

But just for the record, becoming the parent of my son is the best thing I've ever done, and I am committed to doing right by him everyday! good luck. anon


I wanted to provide my experience around adopting. I adopted a ''special needs'' child through Alameda County. To get prepared, I suggest that you find a good family support agency (I went through A Better Way).

My experience has been very positive. The first year or so was challenging, as it would be for anyone with a young child. My son was a little over a year old and had some significant health issues (most of which have been resolved, and he is now a normal, bright and active toddler). He needed a lot of love and attention, not just from me, but from my extended family. He has enriched our lives and he is a beloved member of the family, even though he does not look exactly like us.

If you are ready, and your kids are ready to focus on the child in the same way you would focus on bringing any new child into your family (biological or otherwise) -- then I would say you are ready. It will take time to adjust, and there may be jealousy about the attention she is getting and all the other things that happen with a new family member. The physical problems she may have will add to your need to focus on her, but if your children are prepared, and on board, you will have the opportunity to forever change the lucky little girl's life for the best.

I don't think you will regret it. I don't know anyone in the adoption community who does regret a moment of their decision. It may be difficult, but like anything worthwhile (and any other addition to the family) you will not be able to imagine your life without her. She will be a blessing like our son is for us. anon


I am sure you will receive a lot of feedback on this. I am a single mother by choice who adopted an older child (8) through the foster care system after being a step parent for many years. It is not an easy road and looks much different than parenting your own bio children. I believe it is so worth the work though. My daughter has made me a much better person. The first year was pretty awful and you should be prepared for that because it is standard. It will be difficult on the entire family but worth it in the long run. Living in the bay area there are many great resourses. I used a small non-profit agency AASK to help me with the adoption process. They were great and continue to be a resourse for me. They have informational nights monthly and might be a good place to start. They could put you in touch with other families that look like yours and have been down the path before. Good luck with your decision! Very happy adoptive mom
I don't think it's at all crazy to consider public agency adoption. My perspective is that with 90,000+ kids currently in California's foster system, most of whom will never be reunited with their birth families, there is a real need for permanent, loving, stable families for kids who need them. You sound like an experienced parent. I adopted my kid through SF County as a single mom with no prior kids--so I had all of that first-time parent worry of my own-- and my kid is truly a joy. Be prepared if you're adopting transracially for all manner of racism to enter your family's life--make your family strong and prepared. My kid and I face comments in public almost daily (yes, here in Berkeley) that reflect people's racism and assumptions about kids adopted through the US's foster system, so I devote a lot of energy and time to giving my kid options about how to handle this. My experience with the system was overwhelmingly positive and I feel unbelievably lucky and blessed to have my kid. Pact, an Oakland agency that supports kids of color placed in adoptive families, has great family resources, including an extensive booklist and lots of workshops. I adopted through Family Builders and found them to be, again, as helpful as I could possibly imagine. It helped me a lot as I was going through the process to know lots of families with adopted kids of all ages-- while reading about all kinds of ''issues,'' I saw what regular old playground play looked like too. I wish you the best. Grateful adoptive mama
We have a bio kid and a kid from the County. We lucked out both times, but I do look back and think we could have been less lucky. Both times. With friends and other families, we see some kids that would drive me insane. Really, really insane. Kids with probable borderline personality problems. A kid with OCD and sensory issues. Impulse control problems. We won't even discuss the kid who grew into a full-blown mental illness.

I could handle some things better than others. ADHD kids don't bother me too much -- I can do the breaking things down to small pieces, be disciplined about keeping them focussed, etc. The personality stuff that makes kids act like jerks drives me batty.

Anyway, I've seen it happen with bio kids, mom ate organic during pregnancy, etc. But, my guess is that it's more likely with kids from the County. Now, this isn't an argument for getting kids from oversees (where some people seem to think there are fewer potential problems). From what I've seen, I totally don't buy that.

I find that parents who have won the kid-lottery often think they're responsible because of good parenting. Sometimes there are things I privately disagree with about what parents do with their difficult kids, but in truth it's obvious that ain't the problem. Studies show that people with good kids have a much happier parenting experience.

I guess my point is that if you've had good luck with your boys, just think about how much it will disrupt things if you have a difficult kid, cause you could get one -- however she comes. If you want to go forward with getting a kid from the County, ask the moderator for my address. We've been through it and have some insights to make the process easier. anon


We adopted 3 siblings 5 years ago through the County with an Agency... It has been a wonderful experience for us. A toddler would be a good choice because she would bring lots of bad habits with her. You can request a child where the parental rights have been terminated and she is available for adoption. You will still have to foster her for 1 year (I think), but after that, she will be free to adopt. The adoption process is not as difficult as you might think, but there is a lot of paperwork. I would recommend adoption to anyone. There are lots of children that NEED a loving family to take care of them. Our kids are a HUGE blessing to us and we would do it all over again if we had to. fb
As an adoptive mother myself, I know you are making a big decision. Please do everything you can to educate yourself. A good place to start is an organization called PACT. Here's their website: http://www.pactadopt.org/ Go to conferences, read, read, read and talk to other adoptive families (especially those with a mix of adoptive and biological children). Adopting a child of a different race and/or an older child is complicated, so please give it some serious thought. Is the school your children attend diverse? How about your circle of friends? Your neighborhood? It would be hard for your adopted child to be isolated as the only person of color in your immediate community. Also, you say that you'll ''take what you can get'' but no developmental or health issues. Remember that there are no guarantees when it comes to kids (whether you adopt or give birth to them). That said, I wish you the best but encourage you to do some serious thinking and research. happy adoptive mom
When we were considering adopting we consulted with PACT (http://www.pactadopt.org/) who are really great about trans-racial adoption issues. A great place to start when wrestling with this question.
I read your post and felt compelled to share my family's experience of adopting through Contra Costa County. My husband's son was 4 when our son came into our home. He was 14 months old. My step son was very jealous and the boys have never been close. They are now 16 and 13 and it is a little better but not much connection. Dealing with the needs of our son has been stressful. He was drug exposed before birth and was in a few foster homes before he came to us. There is the attachment disorder issue, he has huge rage issues, ADHD and of course, all the adoption issues - loss of his birth monther, etc. It has not been an easy road with him at all. He has seen many holistic practitioners over the years but had to put him on medication for the ADHD. My son is a really sweet, bright, insightful kid but can turn into a monster, primarily with me. I have been challenged in ways that have been incredibly difficult personally and have taken a toll on my marriage. The issues my son has to overcome are difficult. We have needed a lot of outside help over the years and understanding adoption issues and attachment disorder is really important, especially if you are looking at adopting a toddler. It takes a lot of patience and commitment.

We were naive about the reality of what we were getting into when we adopted. I think if your family is working well right now, you need to be aware of what can happen if you bring someone new into the mix. You might consider a consultation with Nancy Verrier, an adoption specialist/therapist in Lafayette. We found out about her only a few years ago and the consultation we had with her was extremely helpful. She also has written some books, you might take a look at.

I think it is great that you are gathering as much information as you can and deeply considering your motives. I know that we have provided a good life for our son and people always say that he is lucky to be with us, but it has not been easy nor joyful a lot of the time. I am grateful for him and I have grown in ways I could have never imagined but the price has been high. I am happy to talk to you further about this, if that would be helpful to you. Marika


You raise some key questions about the ramifications of adoptiing for you and your husband as a couple, for your children, and, of course, for any child who would join your family. In addition to getting feedback from parents on BPN, there are other sources you might want to use. You can usually have an initial, free consultation with a representative from an adoption agency, including agencies that work with fost-adopt situations. Adopt A Special Kid (AASK) and Family Builders by Adoption are two such agencies in the Bay Area.

If you are considering becoming a transracial family, you will definitely want to look into PACT, an Oakland based agency that specializes in transracial adoption and education. They have a very informative web site. www.pactadopt.org


Hi I read your post and I am in the same position and would love to hook-up to chat. I have 2 biological boy's and want a girl. I also posted on BPN and had very mixed advice about adopting. I have gone through the PRIDE training through Alameda County and am awaiting my final walk through. So i am a little further in the process. Please feel free to e-mail me, would love to meet people in the same situation. I think it's wonderful that you want to ADOPT!!!! katy
I am the adoptive mother of two children, both of whom are of a different race than mine - one came home at 5 months, the other at 14 months; they are now 3.5 and 6. My sister is also adopted, my mom was adopted, many of my cousins are adopted. If you'd like to chat about adoption, please feel free to email me...it's part of who I am and who my family is. I can't imagine my life without adoption and would never change a thing - but also know that depending on the situation, there can be some downsides to consider. My sister, whom I love with all my heart, has issues because of the situation around her abandonment...for some kids, that's going to be part of the territory. But I also feel like whether a child is born from your body or from your heart, if you walk this path you take what you are given and love them. I could not love my children any more than I do - they are my life.

Teen daughter is a bit hostile to the idea of adopting another child

June 2006

I have always seriously considered adopting an older girl (between 5 and 7) and would love to hear about people4s experience as we are hoping to start the process this year. I have 2 daughters (11 and 14). The youngest is very receptive. The oldest is excited at times but also explicitly talks about being jealous and that our interest in a third child reveals that we are not happy enough with the children we have. She also begs us to adopt an older sister for her, which for us is pretty much out of the question (we want a child who will be living with us for awhile). I would be interested in hearing about other family4s adoption experiences of children in this age range or older. Are there books that you found helpful? If you had older children, how did that go? I would love to hear about your experiences in the family and as parents. Thanks for your help!


Though it is wonderful that you would consider adopting a child, especially an older child--a rare occuerence--it sounds as thought your older daughter is a bit hostle to the idea. Though I doubt that you are adopting another child because you aren't satisfied with the ones you have, and I would be confindent in saying that your older daughter is probably going through the rebel-against-your-parents-and-claim- they-hate-you teenage phase, I would hold off on adopting if your daughter feels very strongly. For an adopted child to come into a family, knowing that she could just as easily not be there, and to have someone who obviously doesn't want them there, could be very tramatizing. It might be hard on everyone if you do this while there are such strong feelings of resentment. Also, a thought: Are you set on adopting a girl? Do you know the child you are considering adopting? Because, an older girls are often less jealous when they have little brothers that little sisters, in terms of attention, because parents tend to regard them differently, to the attention she gets isn't really withdrawn from Anna
I really think this might be related to your daughter's age, not as much about her feelings about a new sibling. We adopted a baby when our older kids were 15 and 18. The 18 year old was enthusiastic all the way, but the 15 year old was very negative. At first, when we first began discussing adoption, he claimed to be indifferent ("I don't care - it's your baby, not mine.") As the birth date grew closer he began reminding us frequently "I hate babies." For the first few months after we brought the baby home, he complained bitterly about the crying, the dirty diapers, the clutter of baby equipment, etc. Then suddenly, when the baby was around 6 months old, he made a complete turnaround. He began playing with the baby, getting it to chirp and giggle, bragging about it to his friends, and using it to impress girlfriends, and he's been a proud big brother ever since. As soon as the baby began interacting, he got interested in him. I realized some time later my 15-year-old had been showing a little bit of sibling rivalry. I never expected it - I thought he was too old. But in retrospect, 15 is a tough age, and this was a big change for him to adapt to. Now, 5 years later, nobody in the family would have it any other way than the way we brought the little one into our lives. So I would say that you shouldn't give up on the idea of adoption just because your daughter is being a little negative, but do be aware that it may be tough for her at first.

Is it harder on the second adopted child if older child is biological?

Dec 2004

I am looking for advice or experiences from people who have adopted a second child after having a biological child. There was one post in the archives, but it didn't really give me much sense of what some of the issues might be and how they can be addressed. Are there particular problems that people experience, and if so, how do you deal with them? It's easy to imagine that the adopted younger sibling might go through some pretty difficult emotions as he or she grows into understanding the fact of adoption, and we're wondering if this is made more accute or difficult because the older sibling is not adopted. Of course, we'd love to hear some positive stories too: this is a huge decision we're trying to make, and essentially, we want to feel informed and confident about it. Thanks! Prospective adoptive parents


I don't have any personal experience with adopting a second child after having your own biological child, but you might enjoy reading a column written by a mom who has done just that. Her name is Deesha Thomas and she writes a column on www.literarymama.com, called ''The Girl is Mine.'' (See http://www.literarymama.com/columns/thegirlismine/) Her column is all about the joys and challenges of adopting a second child, with a biological first child. Good luck- Jennifer
I thought I'd give you the perspective of an adopted child. My situation is a little different than yours in that I was adopted first and then my mother conceived a biological child with a second partner. I always knew I was adopted (couldn't point to a specific moment because I think my mom always talked about it matter of factly - e.g. as another answer to the question of where do babies come from. I never thought it was unusual or made me less my mother's child. In fact, I felt really special growing up, because my mother chose to be my mother and she lucked out when they allowed her to care for me.

When my mother introduced me, she referred to me as her daughter and when my brother came along, she referred to us as her children. I think you have the power to make your choice to adopt another child be something normal, matter of fact, akin to adopting as another way of getting a child (rather than choosing to conceive a child and give birth, you are choosing to adopt. If you are worried about your older child my advice is to treat the situation like you would if you were pregnant and they were about to become an older sibling. Just as an aside, I am fully grown, have a biological child of my own, am totally grateful to my biological mother for choosing adoption, and totally consider my adopted mother to belong to me. I'm well adjusted (mostly), and if I ever meet my bio mom, it won't be to fill a void. I think that's because my adopted mom was able to love me as her daughter even while telling my the truth about my circumstances. She allowed me to talk about it openly and honestly, but always made sure I knew that she considered me to be as connected to her as if I came from her belly. I got through my whole teenage life without once saying to her ''you're not my mother'' because I didn't even consider that to be a true statement. I hope you do decide to adopt! Good luck with your decision. Jen


I adopted a baby after having two biological children. The first thing I want to tell you is: everyone loves a baby. I wondered if some of my older relatives would treat my adopted son differently from the other two boys, but this did not happen at all. They were all to the person delighted to have a baby in the family, even my old set-in-her-ways granny, and it seemed not to matter at all where the baby ''came from'', so much did they enjoy having him around. Every once in a while, the topic of adoption comes up at family gatherings, but never anything like ''your adopted son and your real sons'' -- it's always in the context of ''cousin so-and-so is trying to adopt a baby too''. My two older boys accepted their new brother immediately and without reservation as their baby brother and this is how he is introduced to their friends. He is almost 4, and just starting to ask questions about his birth. But I have always found that if I just answer matter-of-factly, kids are very accepting of simple facts. I say ''your brothers grew in my stomach and you grew in Betty's stomach.'' He just says ''Oh'' and then moves on to a different topic. There are plenty of complicated topics besides this, still to come: my older boys have a different daddy (first marriage), son #3 has two biological siblings adopted by two other families that we see frequently (his ''other'' brother and sister), and so on. These things seem complicated to us adults, because we think of the Ozzie and Harriet model of the nuclear family, but to a child who has no such preconceptions, they are all perfectly acceptable examples of a family. And aren't we lucky to live in a place where all these variations, and more, are in ready abundance.
As an adopted child I wanted to give you my viewpoint. I was adopted with my brother from Korea and my parents had two biological children. They were both older and out of the house when we were adopted. My brother never adjusted and moved out of the house on bad terms at 18. I adjusted very well and was thrilled to have a new home. We both knew our parents favored their biological children. I say 'knew' and not 'felt' because, although they said they loved us equally and we didn't really have to compete for their attention since their 'real' kids were moved out, a time came for my parents to chose sides and they chose thier biological daughter. I won't go into detail about the event but I will say that they should have chose to side with me because I was the victim but their biological link to their daughter outweighed their sense of morality. Of course you could be different, no doubt, but let me warn you, no matter how much you tell your adopted child you love them equally, they may, way deep down inside feel that that is not true. It think it is an impossible feeling to shake especially when the child is being yelled at. It's so easy to assume unfair treatment because you are adopted. So I guess I have to say, don't make them feel different. Try your hardest to treat your children equally, check yourself because you might accidently find yourself favoring your biological child, I think it's easier to do than you may think. My mother unwittinglly through words and actions, often made me feel less loved than her biological children, though she always told be she love me equally. I never believed her. Good Luck, I hope you have kind and patient hearts. Betsy
P.S. One thing I always hated were people's comments on how nice it was of my parents to adopt me. It made me feel like a charity case.
I would recommend contacting Ellen Roseman, a well respected adoption facilitator in Marin county. Ellen is mother to both biological and adopted children, and very open and supportive to others. Her phone number is 415-453-0902. best wishes, phylis

Adopting a third child; we have two children by birth

Nov 2004

We have two children by birth, aged 5 and 3, and wish to adopt a 3rd child. We prefer a domestic open adoption of a newborn. I am wondering what our chances are of being matched - as I have reviewed profiles of waiting families online, it seems that most either have no children or one child. Has anyone had any experience adopting a 3rd child, and did you go through an agency or adoption facilitator? How long was your wait? I understand that average waits may be a year or more. We can wait, but would like to think there is a good chance of success in the end. Thanks!


We are in the process of adopting our first child, domestically, through Adopt International in San Francisco -- they do both domestic and international placement. I firmly believe that all families get matched with the right baby for them, though some may take longer than others. There may be a young birthmother out there who came from a family of three children and really wants the same for her child! Some advantages of international adoption are that you know up front the cost and the timing, so that may be a good choice for you. Alternately, if you don't mind the uncertainty, open domestic adoption provides a wonderful opportunity to remain in touch with your baby's birthmother or birthparents, for health questions and to help your adopted child understand his/her history.

Almost all of Adopt International's families have babies within 12 months of finishing their paperwork; they keep very careful statistics. Many, many large families have built their families through adoption. We started our adoption research with Resolve, by going to their pre-adopt seminar, and joining them and getting recommendations for well-run, honest agencies, and I recommend that route as well. Good luck! Tamar


One of my friends adopted a third child last year, and it seemed to go really smoothly for them, although my friend thought it was little weird that they were required to take parenting classes before they were approved. They had two boys, and dreamed of a girl - adoption was the only sure way! Now they have a lovely daughter who is almost 2 in addition to two wonderful sons, 4 and 6.
I work at a non profit private foster care and adoption agency. In my experience the number of children you have is only one consideration when looking at a family. Other things that are closely considered are: is there a stay at home parent? How much time off work with the parents be able to take following the child's arrival? Support (i.e. family, friends, etc...) In our agency we have been able to place babies with families quickly, they are usually children of color, who were drug exposed, and might still have a chance of being reunified with their families. Foster-adoption may not be what you are looking for, but I imagine the considerations I mentioned above are similar for most adoption agencies. Sarah

Considering adoption for a second child

June 1999

We are an inter-racial / inter-national couple (in the sense of different citizenship, my partner is a US citizen, I'm not) who currently live in the Bay Area and are considering adoption for our second child. Our son is two and a quarter. We have started to look around and if we do go ahead with this will most probably adopt either from my home country or the foster-adopt program here. However, I would very much like to hear from others who have adopted a second child after having had the first. I only know two couples who have done this--both of whom do not live here. While the parents themselves don't seem to be having any significant problems (the kids are still young) one set of grandparents treat the children differently, which is creating friction. What are the other kinds of issues that come up? Any information/advice that you can share will be very much appreciated.


I have been on the adoption mailing list listed below for about 5 yrs. This would be a good list to post your question. There are a number of people on the list who have done this exact thing and I am sure you will receive good advice. Good luck! http://maelstrom.stjohns.edu/archives/adoption.html
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