Just like people who have children by birth, we’re often asked if we’re going to adopt again, or “if we’re going to have another one.” I’ve even been asked if Theo is “our first,” which always makes me chuckle. Much as I love the idea of siblings, a posse of fun-loving children playing merrily together (ha ha), we won’t be adopting again.
Things would be different if we were in our 20s or early 30s but we’re, er hem, a bit older than that. And we don’t have the luxury of getting pregnant or planning our “baby spacing.”
Adoption is a long, complex and deeply emotional process, something I really don’t want to go through again. And we were lucky. Our adoption unfolded in a fairytale-like manner. Seemingly out of the blue, we were selected by a young couple (and their parents) to become the adoptive parents of their soon-to-be-born little boy in a local, open adoption. Everything went swimmingly and quickly, and before we knew it, we had a beautiful baby boy in our lives. Eighteen months later, he is ridiculously healthy (has never actually been sick outside of a cold) and blessed with (IMHO) a winning personality (biting notwithstanding).
I can’t imagine such stunning outcome a second time round. To throw our hearts in the ring again only to be shut down or wait five years is a risk I’m not willing to take.
And then there’s the openness conundrum. We have a very open adoption with Theo’s extended birthfamily, something that is unlikely to happen a second time around. Our relationship with Theo’s birthfamily is emotionally complex and involves a lot of relatives. What if we adopt a child in a closed or semi-open adoption where contact is limited? How will this child feel when their brother has this madcap family around the corner, which they are now a part of? How would we manage this dichotomy? Conversely, what if child number two also had a large birthfamily living close by, how would we manage two complex open adoption relationships and still have time to be a family?
Do I worry about him being an “only child?” Of course. I worry that he’ll be lonely or want a sister or brother. He’s very friendly and active. He loves a party, and I can see how siblings could be good for him. But the addition of one sister or a brother who may be nothing like him is no guarantee of future happiness.
As it stands, we live in the city where space is tight but friends and family live close by so we have lots of small children available to play at a moment’s notice. We anticipate new cousins will arrive in the next couple of years, and I imagine there will be birth siblings in the future as well. He won’t be lonely. For now, we want to ensure that our bond as a family is strong and that we are as close as possible before he goes out into the world of pre-school, blastball, soccer and drumming.
But the biggest reason we won’t adopt again is because the way Theo came into our lives felt so right and so fated. We are happy just the three of us. We are a family. We are complete.
How did you (or will you), decide whether to expand you family?