Tuesday's Answers: When Do You Adopt Again?

Totally unrelated to the topic - but had to share these great snowmen.

Thank you to all of you who responded to Tuesday Topic:  When Do You Adopt Again?

Lisa H. asked the question:

“What are the non-negotiables that you feel must be in place before you feel free to adopt again?”

Here are your responses:

Laura wrote …

well. we’re not there yet–just home 4 months, but i am assuming that once your family starts to gel and the major adjustments that needed making don’t seem so major anymore we could be ready. i’ve been thinking about this for our family and i do know we are so not ready and not sure if we’ll ever be. however, i would consider adoption again if all 5 of our boys were really good with one another, and if i was really ‘good’ with my new role as mom to 5. this sounds all ambiguous…but i know what i mean. ;o)


Wow! This is a great question. My answer is, “I have no earthly idea.” 🙂

But seriously, I’m very hesitant to insist on certain conditions that must be met prior to adding to your family. I had conditions I wanted met before even having children, but God had different ideas. I tend to resort to a ton of prayer, a whole lot of reflection and listening, tons of discussion with my spouse, and more prayer. The process of spirtual discernment is extremely beneficial in my opinion, and is often neglected.

My husband often talks about his fear of changing our family dynamic and this beautiful thing we’ve got going. (This has been his concern in adding each of our children, even the first.) I suppose that’s a good indicator that your family might be ready to endure the change and uncertainty that adoption poses.

When it comes to practicality, I appreciate that I’ve had an opportunity to really understand what makes my adopted child tick. Having that time to really get to know him, to understand his fears (a major priority I think), and to feel like our family is dancing to the same tune has been a HUGE blessing. When we started our second adoption I’ll admit I didn’t feel I was ready to add to our family, but I resorted to the activities in the previous paragraph. This bought us a lot of time, giving us an opportunity to reach a place I really wanted to be. It will be a year and a half between our two adoptions (maybe a bit more) and I feel like we’re ready.

Caroline ·

… We adopted after 2 years and people said that it was too soon but we felt it was the right time. When we got our babygirl it was exactly 2 years after we got our boy. He was 2,5 at the time and the first words that he said when he saw her picture for the first time was” She is brown as I am”. I love her! Then two weeks later and still today he loves her and she loves him very much!…

Karen ·

With our first 2 adoptions, we were being selfish–I just wanted to be a mommy. We started adoption #2 when we felt we could. I would have started it the minute that kiddo #1 arrived home at 4 months of age (ha!), but WE weren’t ready then. So, when kiddo #1 turned 3 years old, we began adoption #2. The girls are 3 1/2 years apart in age. 2 kids–just right, right? Then, God put a little special needs girl on our hearts. We prayed about it for months. I felt certain God was calling us to do it. My other half? Not so much.
We met with our pastor and he said that one of us wasn’t listening to God (meaning either I was thinking He wanted us to adopt or my other half was thinking He was saying no way!) OR that God hasn’t spoken to both of us yet. He felt certain that we would feel “on the same page” whenever God had clearly given his direction to both of us, which ever way that would go (adoption or not). We continued to pray and, sure enough, we both felt God calling us to adopt her. Is it convenient? Is it what WE had in mind? Nope, but it’s God’s plan for our lives and for our family. While girlie #3 isn’t home yet, she is definitely our daughter and sister to our girls already home.

Matt ·

My gut reaction to this question is when we get our tax refund. The adoption tax credit has allowed us to adopt our second and hopefully soon to be third child. We adopted Lleyton in 2008 from Russia, and once our tax returns were filed for 2008 and we received our refund, we were prepared to adopt Parker from Ethiopia. Now 2010 has rolled around and our tax refund will be here soon and we are eagerly awaiting word that our case is moving forward to adopt our little girl from ET.

There are other factors, such as how the kids are adjusting and their feelings regarding another sibling, but, even if we wanted to and were prepared to, we couldn’t move forward without the adoption tax credit. So please write your congressmen and ask them to support the bill that allows that tax credit to continue.

Kelly ·

Great question. I can’t wait for to see the answers. 🙂 With our first 2 adoptions, we did mild or no special needs, and they were domestic. This time around we are doing 2 girls at once that are both special needs… so to adopt again, if we do, there will have to be more specific criteria met. First is finances. Not so much for the adoption, but the actual support and cost of raising more children. Also, I have to feel that the girls are in a good place, and will still get the extra attention they need, while not taking any more away from the other kids. More kids, more needs, more specific criteria.


We have just started our second adoption. My children are 4, 2.5 and 2 and all my ideas about when we would adopt have been blown away with the wind. With our first adoption we felt like we needed to have all the finances together before starting (we didn’t) and have our youngest be at least a year old (he wasn’t). And it was the best decision we made. This time we wanted our youngest to be home a year (he hasn’t been) and to have our bedroom addition finished (it’s not started).
Each time a child has joined our family it was sooner than we thought it would be. The seed is planted by God and there nothing we could do to stop it. The yearning is there. I don’t like saying “it just feels right,” but there is a peace with the decision.
So I guess the non-negotiable in our family is when my husband and I both have a yearning for our next child and a peace about beginning the process.

Nancy ·

My husband and I are so so excited to adopt again but haven’t even started for many reasons. We completed our last adoption 18 months ago. Now just isn’t the right time.
Our youngest daughter, adopted just after her first birthday, is still quite developmentally delayed and still is having issues with attachments. She currently has 3 therapy sessions a week. We don’t feel adding a child under these circumstances would be helpful to her or another child. We’ll choose to adopt again when she is
With the economy still in a tale spin in our home, there just isn’t the money. We’re slowly saving. Very slowly. But it’ll take a while. We’ll choose to adopt when our finances are more stable.
Our family has chosen to adopt in birth order and since our littlest ones are only 2 1/2 years old, and were not interested in adopting highly sought after infants, waiting is best.
The country we would love to adopt from again (VietNam) is now closed but hopefully will open someday. If it stays closed, we’ll choose a different country but for now we want to wait and see if it opens.My only hesitation on waiting to adopt again is that I’m getting old! I’ll be 42 soon, and although that’s not ancient, I realize that the day will come when it just isn’t fair to a child to be adopted by senior parents. I’d love to have a discussion (from both those who have adopted and those who haven’t) about when is too old to adopt/what age child! I wrestle with this everyday and hope this factor doesn’t make me jump into adoption prematurely.
Nancy-The Crazy 8s

staci ·

since we are still in the middle of our first adoption i don’t know the answer. BUT, i will say this. one of our reasons to adopt is my debilitating pregnancies. so for us, adoption process is CAKE. i mean it. take all the heartache, paperwork, waiting of adoption and it has been the calmest most wonderful process for us compared to my pregnanies. so really, it will have everything to do with what happens when the new children join our family since the process is such a walk in the park for us, relatively speaking.

how they are doing with attachment, if we start adding trips for therapy. if we think the youngest or most needy of the children (whether they are bio or have been adopted) will do well with another addition, that could be the green light.

prayer doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

My response:

You all brought up so many good points.  Nancy, you also offered a great Tuesday Topic for next week which I’ll post tomorrow.

I have had a particularly taxing day, so I’m going to say up front that fatigue may affect the tone of my answer, but not the content.  Deep in my heart I know that my family is not ready to adopt again and I don’t know if we ever will be.  We adopted four children, including two older children, in a period of eighteen months and some days it feels like we are still living in the middle of a swirling snow globe.  Our children have significant needs, and I’m not only referring to our adopted children.  Even healthy kids need their parents’ time and attention.  How horrible it would be to pursue changing the lives of more orphans only to lose the children we already have.  They need us…the little ones needs us early in the morning and the older ones need us late at night.  Russ and I are spread thin and we feel the intensity of it.

If we had to give one answer to the question of our “non-negotiables”  for adopting again it would be framed by the statement that we believe we must answer to God for the children He has placed in our care.  As of today, we are responsible for eleven amazing children.  My heart may be tugged by the story of another child, but I believe at this point adopting another child would be detrimental to the children we already have.  I need to be patient and let God lead and for now that means knowing our limits, knowing our children’s needs, and being sure that we are staying within those boundaries.


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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. Laurel
    February 17, 2010

    Great topic! Great answers!

    Most importantly … listen to God … hear what He has to say about designing your family.

    These same questions can be applied to having more bio. children. No one supported us when we had 5 bio. babies in 4 years. But, we truly KNEW that they were each one ordained by the Lord. Then … we had times of waiting. We also had times where I was ready, but sweet husband was not. We KNEW that we would BOTH hear from the Lord, if we were to add to our family. We had to trust our spouse's relationship with the Lord, and the ability to hear from the Lord.

    Then, we adopted. After a year, I would have thought that we would have been ready. But … then (15 months after bringing the children home) our Adoption Crisis hit. The past 9 months have been more difficult than I ever could have imagined. I don't know if we could ever trust ourselves to adopt again. God would have to speak VERY clearly to both of us.

    You never know … what is "just around the corner" for your family. But … God knows. We have trusted Him for each and every child that He has brought into our home.

    mama of 13

    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 17, 2010

      Laurel, it is so good to hear from you. Thanks for adding your wisdom.

  2. Kelli
    February 17, 2010

    Although we only have four children (one adopted just over a year ago from Ethiopia), I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts, Lisa. When we adopted our daughter, our hearts were drawn to her & we wanted so badly to protect her & be her family. Over the course of this year, we have learned more of her story & what she has left behind, including lots of family. Although we were idealistic going into this, we have been surprised by the amount of energy & time it takes to parent her. To those who know her casually, she is a bright & sparkly girl. However, as her parents we see the issues & deficits she faces and know that caring for her deeply does require more of us than we ever expected. This means that our time, energy, resources are now divided even further. Our other children understand this, but it is oftentimes at their expense. I know that our goal as parents is not merely our children's happiness, but I do want to attempt to leave each of them with a great sense of loving their home- not feeling that they are shoved aside while we deal with "issues".

    Another thing my husband & I have noticed is how it is increasingly hard to have time & energy to invest in our marriage since we have adopted. Our family dynamics are completely different now. Our ability to leave the children or find childcare for them is not nearly as easy as it once was. I know that we could easily be drawn into another child's story, but for us I believe we need to first guard our marriage & be faithful with the children God has entrusted to us.

    I hope these comments don't sound overly selfish or rude. Our first year has been a tough one & I think we all feel we have weathered a pretty intense storm. We have seen great progress in our daughter's life & there are great things about adopting an older child, but it has come at a cost. Our older daughter the other day said to me, "Mom, I know some people adopt again & I want to be open to that if that is what God would have, but I KNOW how bad it can really get & I never want to live through that again". As her mom, I need to encourage a life of love & faith, but I also need to hear her heart. And this has truly been her experience.

    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 17, 2010

      Kelli, I got choked up just reading your comment. You spoke graciously of what I imagine has been a very hard time. You are right that our goal is not to make our children "happy", but we also don't want to intentionally tear their childhood from them or cause them to suffer more than they can bear.

  3. Dawn
    February 17, 2010

    I like a lot of the answers. For us we have adopted 7 children in 9 years….and are working on our number 8. I think there are factors for every family. Including the feeling of being ready. It is kind of like marriage. NOTHING WILL BE PERFECT, but being prepared really really really helps!

    So if you feel that God has prepared you- your heart, the hearts of your entire family……then you are ready.

    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 17, 2010

      Dawn, I'm so glad you are doing great and going for number 8! You are so right that a little preparation goes a long way.

  4. Rebecca Maas
    February 17, 2010

    Sorry I missed answering this topic. We struggle with this question every time we bring a child home. We started our 2nd adoption 2 months after we brought our 1st daughter home. We brought home our boys(2nd adoption) 4 months after that. We started our 3rd adoption 6 months after our boys(2nd adoption) came home. We brought them(3rd adoption) home 10 months later. So, total that up and we brought home 5 kids in 2 years through three seperate adoptions.

    Our decisions were never based on finances or appropriate timing. We based each decision on the fact that children are dying and are living without parents. We had the room and the love to share with them. God will provide everything else.

    YES, I am ready to adopt again. Our girls have been home 4 weeks and are doing great. Unfortunately, our home study agency says we don't have room for more so until God provides us with a bigger house we are waiting.

    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 17, 2010

      Rebecca, thank you for your encouraging comment. I popped over to your blog and saw your reference to the Jesus Story for Children in Amharic. I put it on for Honeybee and she was so excited; she remembered seeing it at AHOPE. As she watched she kept calling out what the people were saying. We are hoping to help her regain as much of her Amharic as possible and I think this will be a good resource. Thank you!

      Check out these resources: ” target=”_blank”>http://globalrecordings.net/language/1

  5. Julie
    February 17, 2010


    Thanks for answering so honestly (Laurel and Kelli, too). I trust God to direct out paths, but, at times, I feel stretched to the limits of what is physically and emotionally possible. My heart is there, but my 45 year old body feels the weight of the decision. I wouldn't take our 15-year old van on a cross-country trip. That would not be wise. Likewise, at this point, I wouldn't feel comfortable starting a process that I know would be very long-term and physically demanding. Wisdom says that now is not the time, and probably not later, either. However, God is bigger than my limited wisdom and my ways are not His ways.


    If God placed a baby in my arms…I would rejoice with the angels that God chose me and I would set to the work of parenting a new little one.

    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 17, 2010

      Julie, I think we "mature" parents can be prepared to adopt slightly older children too, which wouldn't leave such an age gap as we grow older. But I'm right with you on catching my breath and being wise.

  6. Emily
    February 18, 2010

    Is it wrong to say you would not adopt again but if you found out you were pregnant you would not be too unhappy? Well…one of us would not be too unhappy…and its not that I did not enjoy adopting – I love that we were able and my boys mean the world to me..but its very very hard and I think I agree with your post- that we have older kids who really need us to be 110% there as they get older it seems harder and more complicated. I remember my mother in law saying once that she would be fine once a certain child learned to read…I feel like that with one of my kids- but now I also know that there will be another hurdle down the road and another and another. And because we both have to work full time right now to pay the bills…well there is little left to really care for the children that God has given us now. In another life (like if I was on LOST and living two lives) I would have 11 children and live next door to you in Idaho and homeschool and we would offer respite to eachother so we could parent many many children! 🙂

    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 18, 2010

      Em, please do move to Idaho and be my neighbor. There are a few acres north of us that would be perfect for you. Life really changes as children get older and it is completely false that they need us less. Their decisions and responsibilities increase and they need more guidance as they transition to adulthood. I think many parents make the mistake of letting go of their children too soon in the name of independence, but at 18 or 19 many kids falter and aren't ready to be on their own.

  7. Wendy
    February 19, 2010

    Lisa, even though this topic doesn't apply to us right now,I have loved this topic and all of the heartfelt responses…thank you to all!
    We're waiting for a referral for our first adoption, adding to our three bio kids age 7, 5, and 2 1/2 (adopting an infant girl).
    But, I would love to see this topic discussed: What are the pros/cons of adopting more than one child at a time? We are considering also requesting a preschool boy in addition to an infant girl…and we're willing if God asks us to do it, but quite honestly, it SCARES me to think of helping five children adjust to a major life change! I would love that to be another topic to explore: how do you prepare for both they physical family dynamic changes, and how do you "grieve" the loss of the family life you had pre-adoption? Or is it something to grieve? I read that in those terms before, and it resonated with my fears.
    Okay…enough topic ideas for now! Thanks so much!

  8. laurad
    February 19, 2010

    good thoughts. our littles that we adopted are adjusting, they still hold back, shut down, etc. it is our oldest bio boys that are really needing us right now. i think they're needs are just as important as our littles. so we wait. and maybe forever. God has led us this far. We trust Him to continue to lead.

    1. OneThankfulmom
      February 19, 2010

      Laura, we have also found this to be true. It is important to meet the needs of all of the children – which is tough! I know that if/when we adopt again it will be because God made it clear to us that it was time.

  9. faith
    February 20, 2010

    We have felt ready since we finalized our adoption on our 10th child 2 years ago, and started the process again. However, God obviously had another (wiser!!) plan, and we are still waiting for our next child. Starting the process is definately within our control, but the actual outcome will always be driven by God's sovereign plan. I anxiously (some days more anxious than others!!) await our next child, but have NO idea how or when it will all come together.


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