When thinking about whether or not to adopt another child, the consideration is not much different from a parent or parents trying to decide to have another biological child. Of course there are some differences, the main one being that adoption is always a conscious decision and takes a commitment of effort and resources, whereas biological children can be “unplanned.” Adoptive children are seldom “unplanned.”
The first thing to consider in evaluating whether or not another adoption is in your family’s future, is motivation. Parents may be tempted to adopt to provide a sibling for an existing child. Experts unanimously agree that this is a poor reason to add another child to your family. Having a child should always be the parent’s (or parents’) decision and should be made based on the following factors:
Do you have the time, resources and passion to parent another child? As an experienced parent, you know how much goes into child-rearing in terms of daily tasks, emotion and expense. With an adoption, there will be the increased expense of another adoption process. Some adoptive parents use the tax credit they receive for one adoption to put toward another, but you are still aware of the roller coaster of time and expense necessary for a successful adoption.
With adoption, you can consider whether you would like to adopt a child who is older or younger than your existing child(ren). This decision also takes some thought. Regardless, it is only fair to expect your existing child or children to feel jealousy and resentment at being “demoted” or having to share. When I started the adoption process, I made the mistake of assuming since my three biological children were older teenagers, with only a few years left at home, they wouldn’t feel jealous or resentful. Boy, was I wrong! They expressed feelings very similar to those expected of a young child – Would I still have time for them and their activities? Would I love an infant more than them? How would they adjust to having another brother or sister? And, my favorite, would I spend all the money on the baby so there wasn’t any left for them?! It will take many age-appropriate discussions to gage how your child or children feel about a new sibling. And, still, you should expect some ambivalence and feelings changing from day to day.
Additionally, as you move forward and consider what sort of child would be a good fit for your family, you will need to assess the potential special needs, the realities of trans-racial and trans-cultural adoption, and what the capacity is for your family. While you may have been able to make the decision all by yourselves as parents when you were adopting the first time around, you will now need to take into consideration what your existing child or children can handle and what the family as a unit can handle with another adoption.
Even with all these considerations, adoption remains a wonderful way to build a family. And, parents who have been through the process before, are often better prepared for the roller-coaster reality of the adoption process. Your extended family is most likely already prepared and experienced attachment to your existing child so while there are always some unknowns, you also “know the ropes,” so to speak!