Any opinions about adoption with biological children?

I second the PP's comment that children in other countries also need families and that international adoption is a great way to form a family.

We adopted internationally (so far we have just one child) and everything that I've read suggests that you should not adopt out of birth order -- whether or not you have bio kids. Transition issues can always be difficult and going out of birth order makes it that much more difficult.

The OP raised all sorts of good questions - and preparation is part of being a "good" adoptive parent. You have to think much harder about things because adoption is an intentional act that requires you to engage in a lot of reflection. I'd suggest getting on adoption listservs for the country/countries you might want to adopt from - there are unique issues to each country, both in terms of process and the types of children who get placed for adoption and that can help you in your decision-making. There are also good books out there on adopting older kids.

As some other commenters have suggested, I think adopting solely for altruistic reasons (you want to "save" a child) is a bad reason for adopting. You adopt because you want to be a parent, recognizing that you are enabling an individual child to have a family that s/he might not otherwise have.

One book I'd recommend for any adoptive parent/parent considering adoption is "Adoption Parenting: Creating a Tool Box, Building Connections".

Good luck!
My husband was/is adopted, and has 3 younger siblings who are biological children of his parents. He was from China, so he is also a different race than his brothers and sister (who are Caucasian).

My sense from his experience, is that his siblings view him no differently from each other. They're all very close. I think his younger brothers look up to him, and really are "blind" to his adopted status, and different race. To them, he is just their big brother. I think this is in part because he was FIRST... so they have never known life without him.

His parents are loving and wonderful people, but I'm not sure that in his heart of hearts, that he really believes that his parents feel the same way about him as they do their biological children. How much of that is him, and how much of that is caused by what I would think would be a natural insecurity of adopted children to wonder if their parents really love them "the same"... I don't know.

I think YOUR thoughts and feelings SHOULD be the primary motivation to adopt (or not adopt) another child (and it sounds like they are). The fact that you recognize that there is a need in this regard makes you smart, and charitable... but it doesn't necessarily change your motivation.

As for adopting a younger v. older child... this is purely my own speculation... but here it is... I think adopting an older child (one that changes the "birth order" for your existing children) would be a difficult situation. I think that would be much more likely to upset and confuse your existing children.

Adopting a younger child (whether a baby, or toddler) is more likely to fit into your family in a more seamless way. I do wonder, however, how the biological children feel when their Mom goes out and "gets" a new baby/child that they pick out? I'm sure people do this all the time, and it is an obstacle that can be overcome... especially with young kids. But, just trying to put myself in the shoes of your existing children, how would I feel if you came home with a new baby? Maybe its no different than coming home with a new biological baby? Or does it make the children feel less valued/loved because Mommy went out and "picked" a new baby (and that new baby doesn't look anything like them?).

I'm sure you've already thought about this, and I suspect there are better resources out there. As a general rule, however, I think children are most flexible when they are littlest, and get progressively less flexible as they get older. It sounds like your kids are still pretty young. I think if you want more children, and have it in your heart to adopt, you should go for it. Good luck with your decision.
I really support adoption even when you have biological children! There are lots of families in this area that do it and I've see it work really well. One family I know have 3 adopted and 3 biological, seemingly randomly mixed with respect to birth order. The children are all great! I think the key for that family was seeing all their children as a joy and a gift, and they never approached their adopted children as if the parents were doing the children a favor. Good luck.

Anonymous wrote:OP here - I really appreciate everyone's honest replies. I really did want completely honest opinions. In the spirit of further frankness...let me ask more on a touchy issue. One poster said to adopt because you want more children, not for charity (or something like that). While I understand the reason for that, I also know (I work in a social services field) that adoptive parents are "needed" (particularly for older kids). I would think that to adopt a child because you think it is helpful, might be a valuable motivation, particulalry if and when things become difficult.

I was the poster that made that comment and your follow up comment makes me more concerned. If you have the attitude of "I am helping this child, they needed me" that is going to come across to the child especially when things are difficult. Older children who have been in care for a while are going to have some degree of attachment issues and they are NOT going to appreciate that you "helped" them or saved them or whatever. No child needs to be in a position of having to be grateful for being adopted or thankful that someone helped them. I understand that as an adult they could reflect on the situation and come to that conclusion but as a child that is an immense burden to place on them. Since you are in the social services field, talk to several social workers how do homestudies about your motivations and see if they can provide feedback or resources.
To the PP - I think the OP was talking about her internal thoughts/motivations, not that she would make these explicit to a child she adopted. As an AP (adoptive parent) myself, I thought she really provided some thoughtful reasons. I fully agree that adopting to "save" a child is a bad reason to adopt and completely unfair to a child being adopted. Personally, we viewed adoption as our way to become parents - period - and can't stand it when people say how "lucky" our son is.
I think 9:42's point was that it is impossible to conceal these feelings altogether, and they will inevitably affect the child.
Anonymous wrote:Is being partly motivated by the desire to help a child in need a bad thing? If my motives are misplaced, I don't want to adopt (I don't want my problem to become a problem for the child). My motives right now are to have a bigger family, but also to be helpful to a child in need.

16:52 adoptee here. Firstly just want to thank posters. It's helpful to see all the stories and thoughts in such a constructive way. OP, it's certainly not a bad thing to care about others. It may be more a question of how you are evaluating your priorities versus just motivation.

FWIW, ironically my adoptive parents had the opposite motivations. To help - not to adopt. They were asked to take care of a week-old baby of another race temporarily for a young birth mother who kept changing her mind about custody. With 2 young bio kids and a bunch of baby stuff still at the house, my mom said "sure, I'll babysit". Weeks became months of babysitting. My then 6yo brother bonded quickly with "his baby". My then 4 yo sister apparently asked daily to send me back to the hospital (she still does sometimes ) Guess being a middle child does not seem to be easy in any combination.

Long story short, you never know what might happen. Of course OP you know that already being a parent of two youngsters!

Sorry I don't have any definitive books to recommend as a pp requested. Spending time with other adoptive families and support groups in person is a great starting point for weighing your priorities.

For transracial/international adoption perspectives, check out Not always easy reading, but does give some interesting opinons and really cute pictures of kids.

(01:39, my parents would totally agree with you. My mom sure ain't Mother Teresa !)

My older sister and I were adopted separately. My parents adopted her when she was born and the agency called my parents a year later when I was born, hoping to keep biological children together (we'll full sibs). My parents then had two biological children, my brother a year after me and my youngest sister six years later. None of us looked a bit like the other and our personalities couldn't have been more different. I'm thankful each day that my parents chose me to be in their family. My parents still tell the stories with excitement and smiles of the days my sister and I came into their lives. Even as the "most spirited" child in my family and the one who gave my parents the most grief as a teenager, my parents loved us all the same. My brother and I were great friends growing up and my youngest sister and I are best friends today. Frankly, I don't care if my parents adopted us to help children in need or because they had trouble conceiving, I'm just grateful they did! My husband and I have two children and I have thought about adopting another because every child deserves a family and to be truly loved.

Good luck to you, OP, you are a wonderful person!
I can speak to this from some personal experience-- my parents adopted an older child (8) when I was in my early 20s. So, there is a BIG gap between us, but there are also other siblings in between who are closer to her age. (I am the oldest.) I love my sister, but I have to say that I don't think she ever grew to think of me and my siblings as her "brothers and sisters"-- I think she sees us more as cousins. When she was pulled from her home, they separated the four siblings into three homes. She definitely still thinks of her biological brothers and sisters as her immediate family. My parents recognized this and the three sets of adoptive parents still get the kids together at least a few times a year. I feel badly for my sister because I can tell that she really misses her biological siblings, especially her little sister. Sometimes I do think that has stopped her from totally bonding with our family-- you can tell that she feels conflicted loyalties sometimes. So that is one consideration with older kids. With that said, my sister is still really happy to be with our family especially after spending three years bouncing around to different foster homes. I really feel for foster kids-- they have it tough. If we ever adopt, I would definitely look state-side for that reason. There are so many kids here who need a permanent home.
PP here-- my post is meant to say that my sister was 8. I don't know why that smiley icon popped up instead of the number 8!
Anonymous wrote:
Anonymous wrote: International adoption is most attractive to us because that seems to be where the greatest need is.

There are kids here who need homes -- call the foster care office of your county. They can place children with you who are available for adoption or likely to become available for adoption.

Actually, thousands of children are languishing in foster care in the U.S., with bleak prospects. I would add to older, and kids with disabilities, that children of color are less likely to get the permanent homes they need than white children.

Right now, many foreign countries charge an "adoption fee" that is basically a payment to the government for the child. That's you subsidizing the government of Guatemala or China.

Domestic foster care systems often offer tax incentives to adopters-- that's how much they need to find loving, permanent homes for the children there.

I don''t think that it's a bad idea to choose adoption out of a desire to help a child. It sounds selfless and brave. I also think that whatever child comes into your home, he or she will have a far brighter future and happier life than in foster care.

Children are more resilient than we give them credit for. There are all kinds of life changes that we subject them to because these are considered "normal." Home moves, school changes, biological younger siblings. Your kids don't have a reason to find a more unusual change more stressful than the other changes they will face. At this age, they don't know that people don't often welcome an older child or a child of a different race into the family. They know that it's different, and you help them through it like the birth of a sibling. And perhaps they'll even become better people because they'll know firsthand that there are many ways to form a family-- all of them beautiful.

OP, I know someone who adopted a child with her biological children. Sadly, she said that she did not love the adopted one as much.
Anonymous wrote:OP, I know someone who adopted a child with her biological children. Sadly, she said that she did not love the adopted one as much.

This happens with biological children, too -- but it's taboo to talk about loving one more or less than another.
OP 1:39, you seem so solid and awesome....I love to hear different perspectives. Good luck and go well...
My husband and I have three kids -- ages 8, 6, and 4. The older two are our biological children and our youngest is ours through adoption from China (adopted at 11 months). OP, we had terrible pregnancies, too, with months of worry, complications, and bed rest. We'd always talked about adopting and it seemed like a natural way for us to grow our family.

Before the adoption, I was secretly worried that I might feel differently but the second we saw our youngest, we were her parents. She was already part of our hearts and family! Having said that, the road hasn't been easy. DD had terrible night terrors, health issues, and attachment problems that made the first two years post-adoption a true challenge, but just as we dealt with other challenging issues with the other two, we did with our youngest. I feel very lucky as I know that bonding doesn't always happen as immediately as that for all adoptive families; sometimes it takes longer or in a very small number of instances, doesn't happen. But this can happen with bio children, too.

We have been very lucky with the relationships between our kids. They get along wonderfully. The two girls call each other best friends and sleep in the same room every night, even though they each have their own. Our son loves the girls, too, and they build forts together, play Wii, do art projects, etc., all as a group. I worry more about him feeling left out sometimes, than I do about the split being between adopted/not adopted. Our youngest is aware she is adopted from China and calls herself "brown" compared to her siblings, but we talk about it very matter-of-factly. For a while, when she was two especially, she expressed displeasure at being different. She said, "I don't want to be from China. I want to be from your belly," and a few other comments like that. Our other two don't know any differently and so our family arrangement seems very typical to them.

One of our biggest ongoing issues has been how much to get involved in the larger community of adoptees and Chinese heritage groups and such. Many adoptive families we know have gotten heavily involved. DD struggled with attachment a lot & we got help from an attachment therapist who really helped our whole family. The therapist said that she felt DD would feel more different and separate from the family if we were constantly interjecting about China. We do talk to her about her birthplace (the Olympics were great for that!), I answer any questions she asks, and I have kept a growing memory box that we look through as often as she likes. We have just focused first on being a really strong family, rather than choosing that aspect to focus on first. You would want to think about this when considering whether to adopt domestically or internationally, as well as just getting to know your child and what will work for your child.

Something that takes getting used to is how often people stare at our family. Now, I am as likely to read the stares as an appreciation of how beautiful my kids are as any big question mark but at the beginning, it felt weird. Some people just keep it at stares but others will say things ranging from, "She's so lucky," to "Where did you get her?" in front of all three kids. While I know they are well-meaning, my responsibility is to my children and I try to shut down invasive inquiries asap.

OP, as you know, having a child -- whether by birth or adoption -- is a huge leap of faith. In our case, we just felt we had a daughter out in the world who needed to come home and jumped off the cliff to find her. I am so very grateful we did; our family would be incomplete without her. Best of luck to you with your decision. You are asking great questions.
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