Friday's Answers: Working Parents and Adoption

This week Kathryn asked,

My husband and I are in process of adopting – hopefully 2 – children and are running into some problems with our social worker.  I am a teacher and right now I’m unable to quit work to take care of the kids full-time.  Our social worker would like us to commit to staying home for 6 months after we bring them home in order to facilitate bonding.  While we are working to see how we can make that happen for 3-3.5 months on 1 salary, we are seeking advice from other adoptive parents who have adopted more than 1 kid and where both parents work.  Do you have any advice?

I appreciate so many of you responding to this question.  Thank you for taking the time.

To see the complete answers, please visit the original post, Tuesday Topic: Working Parents and Adoption.  Here are some excerpts:

Ann Marie wrote:

We have adopted three times. The children were 13 months, 19 months and recently a 5 year old all from China. I have worked after all the adoptions after my adoption leave. I think the key is to have the same caregiver while you are away at work (not a large number of rotating people) and to have that caregiver educated (in our case we did this) about our child’s adoption history and adoption related behaviors…

Jane wrote:

We adopted 2 children last year. I was working 3 days/week at the time and I actually went back to work sooner than I was planning because we NEEDED more structure. We already had 2 children at home and with all of us under emotional stress no one really liked being home and I was struggling to implement a routine. It allowed us time to get into routines, get used to our new family life, etc.

Bonnie wrote:

I am wondering how old the kids are you are thinking about? and what your daycare plan would be? perhaps if you could swing 3-4 months home and then if they are small have a nanny come into the home rather than going to a center that would help, and if the kids are school age maybe they could go to your school – that would help. Also is there any chance your husband could work flex time to be home early if that would reduce the amount of child care needed.

Nancy wrote:

We went into international adoption with our eyes wide open, at least as open as they could be for 2 PAPs that had never adopted before. We took classes. We read countless books. We asked a lot of question, including the hard ones. I journaled, and I talked about every possible problem under the moon with both dh, our caseworker, and other APs.
Then we got our children. The adjustment was intense to say the least. It was different than any scenario I could have imagined…

We still don’t know if our full-time efforts were enough. But looking back, I do know that I’ve given it all the time I had to give, and that in itself has to be enough.
IMHO I think most adopted kiddos should do well after 3-31/2 months full time with their new parents. But be prepared for the unexpected, be flexible, and have a back up plan in case your children need you full time…

Kayla wrote:

…I am thankful that I didn’t have to return to work. That doesn’t mean it can’t work for others. One thing I think I would ask myself if we continued to have two people work outside the home is “what is our plan if this doesn’t go smoothly?” There is always the possibility that you may have a child who really does require a stay at home parent, homeschooling, etc..

Amy wrote:

I think that bonding time is irreplaceable. If adoption is what you really want to do, it may be worth it to make every sacrifice to make the first 6 months happen. I know its a hard line, but it is something I wouldn’t go without after adopting one very well adjusting child.

Sandee wrote:

…I think ,as Lisa and others have posted in the past, both parents and chldren can benefit form a little break from each other in the midst of all the intensity of bonding. With a good school, or preschool, or day care, your child can benefit from the structure of the class setting and snuggle more deeply into the 1:1 or in my case 4:1 time with just family. I had a hard time with my first adoption, due to a social worker that was not open to a working parent. But it worked out in the end…and both my daughters are happy for their school time and momma for her “respite” time at work…

Shannon wrote:

I would first check with your school to see if they would even allow you to do this, if you havent already. If they will allow you the time off then you CAN do it. I dont know how long you do have until your babies arrive, but you can start to cut back on everything. This is, of course, assuming that you dont already do this. I am just going to guess that you have about 6 months to go….do not buy anything that you absolutely do not have to have. Turn your ac up 3 degrees. Eat leftovers….

Leah wrote:

…Our oldest arrived home 3 months ago (6 years old from Ethiopia). Her need is great and it is totally critical that not only I stay home full time but also my Mom moved in with us to help full time. Attachment, trauma, grief are BIG and need a full time, nurturing parent. Adopting two children at once is HARD work. You will be double tired, double taxed, double everything. Your children will NEED you like you have never been needed before. I would wait until you can take those 6 month or more off from work to stay home full time. Set yourself up to be successful and give the best opportunity to your kids. Best of luck!

Amanda wrote:

My husband works full time and I am finishing my undergrad full time. I have summers with the kids so we timed our adoption of our two daughters (12rs and 7rs) so that they would get here during the summer. It has worked out very well and school has been a welcome break for all of us from being together 24/7. We voiced our concern over our busy lives and the social worker at our agency told us that the kids would have to learn at some point that when we left, we always came back. It’s been a smooth transition and bonding experience so far and they have been home for about two months.

Michelle wrote:

I am 100% against requiring new adoptive parents to have one parent home for any set amount of time. You may get your new children home and decide that you have to have a parent home indefinitely, you may find that you are fine staying home for one month. I have adopted twice and had 2 bio children and each child needs different things.
My point is that for a social worker to mandate a period of time you have to take off to approve your homestudy is unrealistic….


And there was a question from Our Private Quarters:

My question to tag along with this one would be: if you are adopting from foster care, does it make sense to wait to move the children to their new home AFTER school as ended and not in the middle of the school year? I know may not always be possible but with internet and phone and perhaps visits in-between it would seem to help ease the transition…just thinking things through.


Well friends, you probably noticed that I am an entire day late posting these comments.  I got home from Seattle and we had family in town as well as Sweet Pea arriving.  We are in full school-prep mode since Honeybee and Dimples start Monday as do my college kids and professor husband.

I thought I was organized for the first day of school until I realized that the bin with the girls’ shoes is buried in the garage behind the seats from our big van.  Russ and I are going to tackle the garage today.  I’m excited to unearth our bins of Sonlight books for my homeschooled kids.

Have a great weekend and I’ll be back soon!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Crystal Tower
    August 23, 2010

    I work for a school district as well, so had the same window of time off and had hoped for longer. Something my administrator was willing to do was let me come in one day a week all along so that my weeks off stretched out longer. My husband also used his two weeks of vacation leave to cover a couple more weeks. Another person in our building moved to half-days for a school year.
    Lastly, I found child care close to my work and every lunch break, walked over and snuggled. She used to drink a bottle and we would rock–usually she fell asleep in my arms. It was heaven! This year she is older and we are going to read books together and cuddle.


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