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What was it like to adopt two children simultaneously?

We heard from both domestic and international adopters with a wealth of experiences to share. Although all described a hectic beginning, most were very positive.

Viewpoints, July/August 2001

An AF reader asks:

We are considering adopting two children simultaneously. If we adopt domestically, we may look for newborn twins or a sibling pair in foster care. We are also exploring international adoption, and we are open to children who are unrelated biologically. We would like to hear from readers who adopted two at the same time about their experiences.

AF Readers Reply:

An Instant Family

We adopted our three children as a sibling group, and I heartily recommend it! In 1995, they were five, six and eight when we became a family. Everything was new for them, yet no transition was traumatic or even difficult. The consistency of their relationships helped normalize their experiences. When they wonder what their birthparents look like, we take all three to the mirror. They have each other, and this gives them comfort.
Gayle, Indiana

Trying to Keep Everyone Happy

I am the mom of nine children. We have three birthchildren, and adopted three sibling pairs through the foster care system. Four girls were born within 19 months of one another, and are very close. The same is true for the three youngest, all boys.
You ask about challenges. The children are fiercely competitive for material things, and are jealous of one another's peer friendships. On the other hand, the kids always have someone to play with, and are the best of friends.
Dianna, New York

Thinking of Practical Matters

We had always planned to have more than one child, and the financial savings in making just one trip abroad was too significant to ignore. We've found that adopting two close in age (our daughter was 26 months and our son, 14 months), leaves us open to intrusive comments. Although they look nothing alike (they are not biological siblings), we're often asked if they are twins. My answer, "She's a year older," has elicited comments of: "You were in a hurry!"
Adopting two may require more work than one, but our kids' laughter, and our joy, are immeasurable rewards.
Patricia, New York

Not Easy, But Worth It

We adopted two babies- Anna Thi Hong, and Matthew Tu Anh, four and six months old-simultaneously from Hanoi in January of 2000. Things have rarely been easy, but I wanted two babies close in age. The paperwork was overwhelming, and I didn't think I could manage it a second time. Also, I didn't want to be out of the workforce with two babies in diapers for five or six years. There are some downsides, such as sibling rivalry and the level of chaos at our house. Still, the kids are having a ball.
Peggy, Washington, D.C.

Just Like Twins-Almost

We adopted two children from Russia, ages 14 months and 17 months, at the same time. We didn't want an only child and were unwilling to risk the chance that one overseas trip would scare us away from another. We were also concerned that Russian policy might change. Although our days are not without challenges, most are logistical, similar to those confronting parents of twins.
Kathy, Pennsylvania

They Will Always Share the Same Adoption Story

We adopted two children from Uralsk, Kazakstan in May 2000. Nickolas is now 5 and Grace is now 3 1/2. I love having both of them in my life, and I'm glad they will always have the same adoption story to share, as it's the closest connection we can provide for them. For the first two years home, they slept in the same room at night, talked and sang to each other when the went to sleep and had company when they woke up in the morning.

It's hard at times that they are so close. Grace invariably wants to do what her older brother is doing, even if she's not ready. He also needs to have something that is only for him from time to time. It's also very convenient, as they are involved in many of the same activities; I don't have to try to split my time & attention between gym class and the waiting room. Every day is a balancing act between what is good for the family: the kids as individuals, and my husband and I as a couple.

We wanted an instant, complete family and that's exactly what we got (except now we're going back for #3). I wasn't sure I would survive the first four months home, because it was such a huge change of lifestyle (lack of freedom, your whole life is about the kids), but after an afternoon off, now and then, I'd be ready to be "mom" again. Make sure you have a good support system in place before you adopt two!

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