Adopting Baby 2: Why Adoption?

Family GeekMom
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Photo by Sarah James

O turned two in March.  And, for me, the question of Baby 2 suddenly became an urgent one. I was an only child until my dad and stepmom welcomed my brother—when I was 15. Needless to say, we have a hybrid sister-aunt relationship. While I appreciate many of my only child traits, and love my not-so-little-anymore brother to death, I have always known that I wanted at least two children, relatively close in age.

Which brings us to the great Baby 2 debate. My husband doesn’t feel the same way. He loves his siblings and his large, blended family. But he thinks being an only child would have been A-ok too, and that O will be fine as long as we have close friends with kids. Oh yeah, and he is also a committed environmentalist, and feels that having another biological child would selfishly add to our family’s burden on the earth.

And let’s add to this discussion the difficulties of having O. I won’t take you through the details, but let’s just say it was a long process to even get pregnant, and his birth would qualify as a horror story.

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Photo by Sarah James

For us, the best compromise seems to be adoption. We’ll get to have a second child, O will get a sibling, we won’t have to ride the conception and birth roller coaster anymore, and my husband can feel better about our carbon footprint.

Except, adoption is a whole other roller coaster.

My mom and uncles were all adopted in the early ’60s in closed adoptions that were typical at that time. All have had serious issues throughout their life related to that closedness—feelings of otherness, longing for biological brothers and sisters, health questions, etc. There is no way we would ever consider this type of adoption.

We are also liberal atheists and want to know that the birth mother was not forced to carry her/our child by religious or organizational biases. We knew we needed to choose an agency that provided equal counseling for all options.

There are only two agencies in the whole country that fit these criteria. One is in Vermont. Luckily for us, the other one is in the Pacific Northwest, with offices in Portland, Oregon and our hometown, Seattle, Washington.

We’re in the very early stages of this process. Over the next few months we’ll be making a budget to be able to afford this, putting together a family book for potential birth families to look at when choosing who will raise their child, completing a homestudy to give the birth family an idea of our home life, and going through counseling to prepare for all the vicissitudes of adoption. This is all just to enter the pool of waiting families.

I plan to continue updates on this story over the next few months and years as we enter the pool, wait to be chosen, navigate adoption planning with the birth family and finally, hopefully, finalize the placement of Baby 2. I hope you will follow our journey and chime in in the comments with your own experiences.

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6 thoughts on “Adopting Baby 2: Why Adoption?

  1. I’m honestly curious and not gunning for an argument here. You say “We are also liberal atheists and want to know that the birth mother was not forced to carry her/our child by religious or organizational biases. ” Does this mean that babies in need of parents because of such heinous practices aren’t deserving of our help? I’m wondering why you came upon this particular limitation to your desire to adopt? If a woman didn’t have equal counseling, which as a liberal Christian I believe she should have, and was forced to carry a baby that she either doesn’t want or cannot keep or isn’t allowed to keep, why does that limit the needs of that child?

    1. Fortunately for the babies there are significantly more parents waiting to adopt in the US then newborns who need them. We’re not hurting anyone but ourselves with this restriction.
      It comes down to the kind of adoption relationship we want to have and the kind of organization we want to help.
      We are hoping for a relationship with the birth family that is open for the long term. We envision the birth family visiting several times a year and being available for our child to contact whenever she wants. We don’t believe most mothers coerced into having their child would be up for this kind of sustained interaction.
      Also, adoption fees cover more than an agency’s out of pocket for your adoption. They cover organizational and marketing costs too. We’re not open to having our dollars used to market coercive agencies to birth families.

  2. Just to let you know a little about our own adoption. We decided to go international for two reasons. The first is that we did not want the birth family in the picture because we were concerned that they might challenge the adoption at some point. Event if they don’t do it
    legally, they could do it emotionally and potentially physically. This might be a remote possibility, but still possible. You will never know if this could be the case until some time after the adoption when the biological parents have had a chance to dwell on it. So do consider all perspectives.

    Reason number two was the amount of time to adopt a young child domestically was just too long for us and we were/are not getting any younger. From beginning to end our adoption process only took a year. In the U.S. and many other countries it would have been 3+ years. We were also
    able to adopt 2 children at the same time, saving time and money. I don’t know if you can do that in the U.S. or not.

    I have 3 friends that were adopted and do not know their biological families. They wonder about their biological families from time to time, but they have no feelings of longing or otherness. They’re just grateful they were adopted at all, considering that their biological
    families could not or would not care for them. To them, their real family is their adoptive family.

    Considering the above and the fact that we had actually aged out of some countries, we decided to adopt from Russia. It was expensive, buy my wife’s company had a generous adoption benefit. Between the benefit and tax credits we were able to cover 85% of the cost of the adoption. Of
    course now American citizens can not adopt from Russia. I feel for those kids languishing in the Russian orphanages.

  3. After a difficult process of trying to get pregnant, my partner and I have recently been looking into adoption. We’re just discovering the world of open adoption. I’m so impressed with your commitment to open adopt and would love to hear more as (/if!) you are ready to share it with those of us who are also hoping to go down this path!

    1. Hi! I’m not sure how to reach out without giving anyone who reads the article my contact info. But I’m happy to discuss. Do you have any ideas?

      1. I suppose I’m selfishly interested in time lines and cost (Because I want a baby yesterday and we’re both teachers so we have a cap! And every damn adoption site gives a spectrum of costs and it drives us crazy! 🙂 ) But I don’t want anyone to divulge anything they don’t want to- and I also know that costs can vary staggeringly from state to state. In all honesty, I’m just really looking for as much general information as I can to understand people’s decisions for their chosen path. We’re still going back and forth between adopt (domestic and foreign) and fostering. People that are set on their chosen path make me quite jealous…

        There are aspects about open adoption I’m still trying to grapple with. Such as the process with which families (birth and adoptive) comes to terms with what exactly “their” open adoption is going to look like. Does the birth mom (parents) dictate it? Are you and your partner going in with established boundaries as to what the contact will be? Are there legal contracts you sign prior to birth to dictate these (supervised vists/visitation) or is this relationship – like all relationships- something that evolves as the baby grows? ( I apologize if any of these are naive.) How long is it supposed to take? How long DOES it take? (unless you’re very lucky I’m assuming that’s a question you’re waiting for an answer to as well!)

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