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My Husband and I have been considering adoption for a while now as a “someday, maybe” kind of thing, but just recently it has become a real, “can we actually do this” conversation. We have 3 biological little girls, ages 7,4 and 1. We are interested in a domestic adoption of a little boy under 2. We have given ourselves a timeline of a year to “soul search” and really dig deep to figure out if this is right for us. My biggest stumbling block thus far is that I do not feel like I am a good enough Mom to my 3 that I already have. I am far from perfect. I struggle in whether I should pour the compassion I feel towards adoption into my current children and just focus on being more for them. I worry about the financial end of things, we are far from rich. Some months we barely make it. Am I patient enough? Then there is the issue with the fact that my husband and I have different motivations in wanting to adopt. He wants a boy, he wants a son, we both want to help a child in need, but I feel like he has higher expectations for what that means for himself. My motivation, and why I keep coming back to it, despite my doubts, is that I feel like while I am content with our family, I feel like there are so many children in need, we may not have it all together, or have a lot of money, but I can offer a home, a sense of belonging, and unconditional love. And in my own experience with parenting, you don’t need much more than that. I guess I feel intimidated because most of the blogs and stories I’ve found are about adopting several children from all around the world and people who have dedicated their lives to this process. Does it all have to be that intense? I don’t want our lives to change as far as everything revolving around our adopted child or our decision to adopt. I am not trying to pass any judgement about anyone else’s journey when I say that, I just want to add a little member to our family and love on it with all we have. At the end of the day I am happy with what we have which is what is motivating me to expand and enrich it with adoption.  I am not naïve about the challenges involved. I just haven’t seen another story that starts off with how I am feeling, so it makes me feel like maybe I am not the right type of person. I hope that this came out right, and wasn’t offensive to anyone. I am just trying to be VERY REAL and true to myself throughout this process because lives are at stake, and it’s not about saying the right things, it’s about being honest with my feelings. Any and ALL feedback is greatly appreciated.


First of all, no parent is perfect. There is no such thing so you can dismiss that concern right off the bat (In fact, if you do a search “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent” you’ll find an great campaign of PSAs created to educate people about a need for adoptive parents for foster kids)

That said, financially you should definitely be stable enough to confidently care for an additional child in the home, adoption agencies will consider that to be a critical part of your ability to adopt. Some children from the foster care system can qualify for assistance after adoption in the form of a stipend and/or continuing medicaid coverage BUT you can’t expect to be able to rely on that and younger single children don’t often qualify, at least in my state.

Adoption, regardless of method is a very involved and time consuming process - before, during, and after - you have to be fully committed to the whole thing and understand that adoption comes with new challenges that WILL take time and attention away from your daughters. Your life will change drastically. That doesn’t mean its a bad thing but there is a reason you see stories about how much lives have changed. 

Definitely keep learning and researching. You can talk to foster-adoption agencies in your area about the process of becoming licensed to adopt and if your desire to adopt a single boy under the age of 2 is reasonable in your area. You could wait for years and years. Most people adopting ‘want’ younger children, and to be able to adopt one that young (especially if you are not open to any major health concerns, special needs, or major behavioral issues) will likely mean fostering first. Are you prepared to take that risk? Are you willing to accept reunification as a possibility? These are the questions you have to ask yourself if you go that route.

If you go the private route and try for an infant, you could spend thousands upon thousands of dollars and still wait years.

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Feb 22, 2018 at 3:06pm

There are many people waiting to adopt children under 5. Most little ones are adopted by their foster parents. As a matter of fact most foster children who are eligible for adoption are adopted by their foster parents (I think about 70%)

Would you be willing to be a foster child and work with the birth family on reunification and adopt if the child becomes available (often you can adopt an infant or baby but it may take 3 years or more before you know if it is permanent. Some are faster) Your children would have to understand you are “babysitting” for a long time or the child may move in a few days to a relative.

Private adoption domestically will usually be a newborn. It can be expensive. International is also expensive usually the children are one or older.

Maybe you could call local agencies. Many have information nights which you can attend to learn more.

Are you interested in special needs? That could be prenatal exposure to drugs/alcohol, a medical issue. or sometimes there is a need for a family for a minority child. Interested in a small sibling group?

Adoption from foster care is generally free or very little costs (like MD exams, getting to classes)
What if the boy is not the son your husband imagines? Can he accept that?

Learn a lot. There are many books. Look at for many titles. Best of luck it is a big decision.

Posted by Regina on Feb 22, 2018 at 10:33pm

We are considering the foster route, for several reasons. The chance to help and experience prior to making the HUGE lifelong commitment, the education, the need and finally the cost. There will be lots of individual and family counseling in order to get to the bottom of it, I just thought it would be helpful to hear from others who’ve been there. It’s been a challenge to find a private forum with people who actually read and respond, so I appreciate you both taking the time. I’m sure Facebook has a ton of resources and groups but we aren’t ready for friends and family to weigh in until we have made the decision one way or another.

Posted by DetroitMama on Feb 23, 2018 at 1:05am

foster adoption is intense, and your world will change if you choose to go that route. first there is the homestudy process; you will be required to write a brief autobiography, your home will be visited, you will have to submit multiple background checks, letters from your doctor, reference from friends and family and possibly even your boss, you will have to give detailed financial statements, and you will be interviewd with some possibly very personal questions about your childhood, marriage, other children, etc. its a very invasive process. then once a child is placed with you, you give up a lot of control. you will likely have to transport the child to visits with birth parents and possibly other relatives, show up for meetings with the social worker, court dates, doctors appointments, meetings at the wic office…. and most of the time they make very little effort to accommodate your schedule (or your other kids). you show up when and where they tell you. you will have at least one social worker coming to your house at least once a week. again, all very invasive, and for the time that he is a foster child, you may find that the foster childs needs dictate the rest of the familys schedule. and sometimes it can take years for a child to go from a foster to adoptive placement, if it ever happens. you have to be able to support reunification with birth parents even while hoping to be able to adopt. trauma can affect even babies and very young children pretty severely; some kids come through it with no issues at all, and others have severe emotional issues for life, and everything in between. and there is no way to predict which path a child will take; some older kids come through horrific abuse with few behavioral problems, while on the other hand you might have an infant who experienced moderate neglect who ends up with severe emotional issues. but it is very possible that your adopted/foster child will have emotional needs greater than your daughters’, and will require extra attention. I don’t mean to discourage you, but the process of adoption is difficult, and parenting adopted kids can be different from adopting biological children. both of my girls are adopted, and it was 100% worth it. but it is intense! you say you haven’t joined any facebook groups because you don’t want family/friends weighing in; there are multiple groups out there that are a lot more active than this site, and they are private, so your family and friends won’t see what you post.  you are doing the right thing by reaching out to other adoptive families. good luck to you with whatever you decide

Posted by rn4kidz on Feb 23, 2018 at 2:21am

Adopting a child is not the same as adding another biological child to your family, and you are right to be concerned and to reach out.
Children who are adopted, even if from infancy and not from foster care, do not necessary fit seamlessly into the new family—they have trauma, even if minor or not remembered; they have existing biological families; they have genetic predispositions—from talents and interests to health issues—that differ from those of the adopted family.
This is especially true, as others who have posted have noted, if you intend to adopt from foster care. Unless a child has already been cleared for adoption, which is unusual but not completely unheard of for very young children, you will be expected to support his reunification with his family, regardless of how you feel about them or how much you want this child in your own family. That’s not something everyone can, or should, want to do, but it’s necessary to be an ethical foster parent.
You wisely bring up your concern of your husband’s expectations, and you are smart to do so. Even if you are successful in quickly adopting a young boy—and it happens—that boy may not at all be what your husband is expecting. Maybe he will have entirely different interests. Maybe he will not be classically “masculine.” Maybe he will not bond in the way that your or your husband hope.
While it is wonderful that you want to share love—and I mean that sincerely—it’s not true that only love is enough, and many adoptive parents (and moreso, adults who were adopted as children—I really recommend going on some of their web pages to get a different perspective) have learned that to their dismay.
An adopted child will have different needs than a biological one, and if adopted from foster care that will be multiplied. Your biological daughters are very young, and injecting an equally young stranger—for that is what he will be at first—into the mix will of course impact them. As will, as you have noted, the fact that you as a normal human have limited energy to expend on all of them.
An adopted child of the opposite sex of the bio children will be aware that they were adopted to fulfill that need, and that can be a hard burden on a child.
Reaching out here is a great first step, but I would encourage you to, i additions to joining other groups as m4kidz suggested, so as much reading as possible on adoption and its effects on not only the adopted people but also their families, to take your local CPS classes for potential foster/adoptive parents even if you are far away from making a decision, and especially (and caveat here, I am a FFY who was adopted) groups of adults who were adopted.
I know you mean well, but John Lennon in this case was wrong: love is NOT all you need.

Posted by NoraT on Feb 23, 2018 at 11:38pm

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