Whether you are interested in foster care adoption, international adoption or private domestic infant adoption, you may be considering the possibility of adopting siblings. You may have always wanted a big family, and the chance to adopt multiple children at once can seem like the perfect way to help you achieve that goal quickly.
However, like any parent who decides to have multiple children, you will need to consider some important things before choosing this path. While parents who have or adopt single children can often space out the additions to their family, if you decide to adopt multiples, you won’t have the same time they do. Instead, you will likely be presented with an adoption opportunity for multiple children only months or weeks before the children are placed in your home.
It’s always a good idea to speak at length with your chosen adoption professional about the realities of adopting twins or a group of siblings. Whatever adoption path you take, there are a few common things to think about:
1. You may pay extra fees if presented with a case of siblings for adoption.
It makes sense: More children require more money. When you are presented an opportunity with siblings, you may be required to pay more for the care of those children and the associated legal fees for their adoption. The exact amount you may expect to pay will be determined by your adoption professional.
Therefore, if you are considering adopting siblings, you should speak at length with your adoption professional about their fees for such situations. That way, you will understand what extra fees you might expect to pay — and whether this adoption path is financially feasible for you.
2. If you adopt through foster care, your chances of adopting multiples are higher.
Approximately two-thirds of the children currently in foster care also have a sibling in foster care, whether or not they are placed in the same home. Siblings in foster care can include full or half-biological siblings, step-siblings, or even non-genetically related children who are bonded to their foster siblings. For those children located in the same foster home, they will likely need to be adopted together when their parents’ rights are terminated.
This is for many reasons — mainly because these sibling groups have a tight bond and separating them would be emotionally devastating. The majority of adoption professionals today believe that maintaining sibling relationships are in the child’s best interests, and there may even be state laws upholding those processes. In fact, there is a federal law — the Foster Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act — which requires states to make reasonable efforts to maintain sibling connections in order to receive federal funding.
Parents who choose to adopt from foster care will always have the ability to decide how many children they are open to adopting, but they should also be aware of the hard-to-break connection between siblings in foster care. As long as it’s in the best interest of all involved, siblings must be adopted from foster care as a package deal.
3. Twins in private domestic infant adoption are rare.
Twins are only conceived naturally about 2 percent of the time. Consider the small percentage of women who end up placing their children for adoption, and you can see how rare it is that a woman pregnant with twins places her children with an adoptive family.
If you choose to pursue private domestic infant adoption, your adoption professional will likely ask you if you are comfortable adopting twins. Even if you are, you won’t be presented just twin adoption opportunities. It’s far more likely that a prospective birth mother pregnant with one baby will choose you than a prospective birth mother pregnant with twins.
4. You will need to decide if you are comfortable with multiples before searching for adoption opportunities.
Whatever adoption path you choose, your professional will work with you to create a list of preferences for potential adoption opportunities — including whether you are open to adoption situations with multiple children. You must answer this question before you go active with your agency, as it will determine what opportunities are presented to you.
If you decide you are open to multiples and later change your mind, it can cause issues and delays in your adoption process, especially if a prospective birth mother has chosen you in private domestic infant adoption. Therefore, before deciding on adoption of multiples, make sure this is the right path for your family.
5. If you are open to multiples, you will need to make certain arrangements.
Raising two children at once will require a great deal more time, energy and money than raising a single child. If you decide this is the right path for you, you will need to have the proper resources and preparation in place before finding an opportunity — even if you don’t end up being presented with a multiple adoption opportunity.
Consider the extra items you will need to purchase to bring home more than one child, as well as the financial preparation you’ll need to complete. Think about any childcare you will need as your children grow up, and start making plans for their future (like any college funds you choose to save up).
Again, all of these things should be considered before adopting multiples.
6. There are likely different requirements for adopting multiples than adopting a single child.
Every hopeful adoptive parent will need to complete an adoption home study. These legal investigations typically approve a family to adopt one child — so, if you are considering adopting multiples, you may need to complete additional steps to be approved for adopting multiple children. Your home study provider should walk you through this process to make sure you are approved for potential adoption opportunities.
Similarly, your adoption professional may have additional requirements when you express interest in adopting multiples. Speak with them before setting your adoption opportunity preferences.
7. Siblings must always be treated as individuals, not members of a group.
Finally, you should recognize the emotional challenges of raising siblings. Even if siblings have grown up together and created a tight bond, they must be given separate and equal attention to develop their sense of self and independency. This is even more important when siblings are adopted after a childhood of trauma and disruption. Similarly, adopting siblings from infancy will still require that you treat them with a sense that they are separate people, not just “the twins.”
If you choose to adopt older siblings from foster care or through international adoption, your adoption professional should prepare you for these potential challenges. They will also give you critical information about your children before placement and ensure you have the resources to successfully parent them. Raising twins from birth may be a bit easier, but it will still come with its own challenges.
When in doubt, if you have questions about adopting multiples, please speak with your adoption professional.