Adoption - Should I Agree?

Updated on February 12, 2010
R.G. asks from Clinton, MD
28 answers

My daughter is 8 years old and has no siblings. When she was younger, I wanted to have another child, but my hubby was adamantly against it. He did not want anymore kids. Now, I am much older and too old to have kids. My daughter wants a sister and playmate. Being that my daughter gets whatever she wants from her Daddy, she has convinced him that adopting is an option. I love my child and my husband, but I am not certain that I want to take on more responsibility. I feel some resentment towards my husband, because when I wanted another child, he wasn't having it; but now that our daughter wants a sibling, it appears to be okay. The adoption thing also concerns me in that some of the kids have gone through terrible experiences and by no means do I want to subject my child to situations that may not be necessary. There are so many school age children who are in need of love and a good home and I know that we can provide that. I just don't know if I want to take on the challenge. Am I being selfish? Let me know your thoughts.

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answers from Norfolk on

This is almost the same situation my sister was in. My niece was demanding a sibling to play with and they were thinking about adopting. But then they fostered an inner city child for a 2 week summer program and suddenly my niece changed her mind. This other girl was the same age, and she was her own person and did not want to do what ever my niece wanted to do. She was a person with likes and dislikes and she had no problems telling my niece exactly where she could stick her opinions. And that was the end of that. My niece is now very happy being an only child and loves not having any siblings to share/differ/fight with.

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answers from Chicago on

I imagine that you went through a grieving process when your hubby did not want children years ago. A part of grieving is closure. Is that door really closed for you, or did you leave it open a crack in the hopes that he would come around one day? Is his openness to adoption something that he would have come to despite your daughter's prodding?

You received a lot of foster care suggestions. Please do not sign up for this without considering how the process works for kids in foster care. They have already experienced many transitions and heartbreaks... if someone comes to your home, you guys aren't prepared... don't like him or her... who knows?!?... that child will be removed and sent to ANOTHER home. The more these children get moved around, the more they suffer now and in the long run. It's terrible. Please go into foster care only after you are ready to accept the long-term responsibility of parenting a hurt child. Think of your home as the last stop that child needs to make before either returning to his or her parent or staying with your family for the rest of his life.

I'm disturbed by your hubby's logic here. Actually, I'm bordering on being offended, but I won't let myself go there until I know more about the situation. I'd love to ask him if he thinks that children who were adopted somehow require less love and effort than his daughter... like it's such an easy decision now compared to having another child years ago??? Based on what you shared, he has NO IDEA what challenges can come to your family by adopting a child. For this reason alone, I recommend a stern NO from you right now. In time you will find out if he is serious about taking on the challenges of expanding the family through adoption.

Please do not look at adoption and foster care as "saving" a child because you have the means. Because you can't. No one can love the loss out of these children. But people who are committed to parenting a hurt child can give that child a better chance than s/he may have had otherwise. Many people congratulated us for doing such a great thing, what an admirable thing, we're saving a child from whatever..... It nauseates me because these statements, however well intended, wreak of negative stereotypes of children placed through adoption. My child is not indebted to me for our choice to adopt him. I could go on... message me if you want some more of my perspective on this topic. In the meantime, you can visit or pick up Real Parents, Real Children by Van Gulden and Bartels-Rabb.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

being a foster parent first could allow you all to give it a trial run before you make any life long changes to the dynamic of your family. There is a huge need for foster & adoptive families both.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

Adopting a child because your daughter wants a playmate is not a good reason to adopt. What happens when she decides she doesn't like her new sibling or gets jealous of them & wants to send them back. Will Daddy give her what she wants then?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I'm a social worker and I run a foster care program. We do foster to adopt placements. If you want to talk more about this my work number is ###-###-####. My name is D. (Dan-Nee-Ka).

I will say that fostering to adopt is very rewarding if you are on board and some of our kids are not as damaged, but some DO have severe behaviors and horrendous backgrounds.

My own family was a foster family so I lived this personally and I believe and our families and other professionals have stated that I am very good at matching kids to families, but you really need to be on board or it won't work. As I said I am happy to talk and really tell you about my families and I am sure a couple of the ones who adopted who be willing to talk too. Good luck with whatever you decide!

D. Copp, MSW, LCSW
Children's Services of VA
Manassas Office

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on


I'm a little biased... BUT: If you want(ed) more than one child, and now you can't have more, then adoption would seem to be the answer. As you said, there are SO many school-age children that need homes. You don't have to go into the situation blind. You can get to know the kids and their situations. If you work with a social worker he/she can tell you the individual child's strengths and challenges. You can choose what you can and can't deal with. I've been all but begging my husband to let us adopt from foster care. I just feel that there is an opportunity there to give back, and recieve a blessing at the same time. He's not on board yet, but I'm still praying. Our girls are 18 and 21, and my plan was ALWAYS to have two and adopt two. At this point, I'd settle for one... a boy.

So, to everyone who read this, would you say a prayer for RbG and myself? That both situations work out. :-)

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answers from Roanoke on

You should not adopt unless you wholeheartedly are wanting to. I say this because what if later on you resent the child you adopt and your husband who has refused to have another child only to change his mind to adoption.

You need to come to your own thoughts and terms to want to adopt. I don't feel that in any way you are being selfish to not want to at all.

Good luck with your decision.



answers from Boston on

I was going to suggest foster parenting as an option, too.



answers from Washington DC on

I haven't read the other responses, but my immediate response is that you'd better work out with your husband the fact that he didn't want another baby when you asked, but is willing to consider it when your daughter asked. This is an issue between the two of you and should be resolved before you consider bringing any other children into the family by whatever means.

Best of luck to you.



answers from Washington DC on

I say no - you both have to be on board - especially since you will probably be the one doing a lot of the parenting....mothers need to be there 100%, but if you are not sure, then it's not a good idea. Pray about it and wait and see if you feel differently....but there is an extensive vetting process and you don't need to waste your time if you aren't sure of the reasons why YOU want another child.



answers from Norfolk on

Adpotion is not a 'easy' solution to your concerns. Children in the foster care / adoption come with their own set of problems and concerns. We have very close friends who have been in the foster care system for years. They have children of all ages coming in and out of their home -- some they were able to adpot but not after tremendous amounts heartache and legal issues and money. I agree with another poster here who questions your husbands motive to adpot .. it is not like getting a puppy, this is human life and it is, hopefully, forever.

Most parents have warm, welcoming homes and feel as though they are able to give back in some capacity, however, adpotion is not a quick fix to your childs/husbands requests.

It seems you'll need to weight the pros and cons. And be sure to consider the potential chlid you may welcome into your life. Would you want to be adpoted to a family who doesn't 100% want you or was out numbered and adpoted because of the request for a playmate?

Think carefully. And no, you should not just 'agree'.

Best of luck.



answers from Norfolk on

Hi - I'm sorry your husband has put you in this situation. If he is truly interested in spending lots of time with another child, he may consider being a big brother to a young boy. How active is your daughter in extra curricular activities? Is she in girlscouts, martial arts, dancing? All of these activities would keep her very busy and surrounded by plenty of friends that she can become best friends with and consider like a "sister". Does she volunteer anywhere? Maybe she and her father could volunteer together doing something with the boys/girls club or volunteer at a hospital for children. Her boredom and desire for a playmate should not result in adoption of a child regardless of how much dad wants to please his little girl. Good Luck!



answers from Harrisburg on

Growing up, my parents always said they were going to have 1 of each and adopt one. They did exactly that....but let me tell you, my parents adopting an 18 month old baby girl was nothing that we expected. She could cuss out a truck driver, she owned no shoes, and was still on a bottle. She came to us with head lice, and so many more problems developed in time. She is ADD, ADHD, OCD< tourettes, MMR, ODD, and more. I love her, but my life changed the day she came to live with us. I was 11 at the time, and I remember wanting a sister the same way that your daughter wants a sibling. She has to realize that it is not all fun and games. My sister is now 22 years old, and still acts like a 12 year old. Yes, my family did more for my sister than any of us, but it was because she really needed it...she needed a family....the family she would of never had if it was not for my parents. You really need to have a meeting with family, friends, and your pastor.....just to get a feel for what you really want/need.



answers from Sheboygan on

I agree with Dawn - foster care may be just the thing for you to try...and the nice thing about foster care is that there are a lot of children that are able to be adopted through foster care - plus the cost is minimal compared to a standard adoption.
It's understandable that you would feel a bit resentful towards your husband for changing his mind, and it may seem that he has changed his outlook due to your daughter wanting a sibling, but that may not be the case. He may just be using the fact that she wants a sibling as an excuse to say that he wants another child also, and thinks that this way you won't be as upset with him as you would be if he just one day said, "I want another child", knowing that you can no longer have children, due to age or whatever reason. If you seriously don't want another child, you need to have a private discussion with your husband about it, though it seems to me that you do want another child but are concerned about getting a child that may have emotional problems and how to deal with that - which is completely valid.
On the upside, my brother and his wife just recently completed an adoption through foster care - they fostered the children from when B was 1 1/2yrs. and J was 4yrs. They are now 4 1/2 and 7 years old, and though J had some emotional problems when they got him, he is now a well adjusted and smart 7 yr. old.
Good luck to you on your decision!



answers from Washington DC on

adopting a child so that your daughter has a playmate and is happy would be cruel for both your daughter and for your adopted child. Only adopt if you feel sure you have room in your heart and in your home to love another child. there will be the same trials and tribulations with this adopted child as there were l be with your daughter, maybe even more since there will be feelings regarding belonging to her new family and her place in that family to deal with. There are sure to be many high and low points but it would seem that your family does not have the best interest of a adoptive child in it's heart yet. You all should meditate/think on the reasons you have for adoption some more. Make a list. If the benefits for yourself are more than the potential benefits for the child you want to bring into your home to be with you for LIFE then your can't be ready.



answers from Washington DC on

You are NOT being selfish! It is totally different to have had a child of your own years ago, or to adopt one now!!! Adopting a child is not a decision to be made by your child and her father - good grief! You have a healthy, normal child and it sounds like for the most part a good relationship with your husband & daughter. Kids don't always get what they want; she might not be so happy once the other child actually arrived on the scene. A sibling does not guarantee an automatic playmate, either. My advice - quit while you are ahead.


answers from Casper on

Try to forget the past and just ask yourself, Do I want another child? If the answer is yes then go for it, If the answer is No, then work with hour husband, not your child, and explain that he and you already made the choice of not having anymore. Remind him that you are a partnership not he and your daughter. Just because she wants it doesn't mean it would be the best thing for your family. I would also try to work out your feelings with your husband. He may be regretting his decision and resenting himself too. Just make sure that your decision is one that you came up with together.
good luck



answers from Colorado Springs on

I think it would be very hard not to be resentful in your situation. I'm fairly sure I would be, especially since you wanted another child & were basically told no, but when your daughter said "let's go pick me up a sibling" your hubby said 'okay sure". Ouch!
Who will be primary caregiver to this child? Are you a SAHM who will be doing most of the raising for this child? I'm with the other ladies, try foster care first. Adoption isn't like getting a puppy, & even that is a big commitment. To me it sounds like that's how your daughter & hubby are treating this, like getting a puppy. Sit down w/your hubby & explain your feelings to him-how you are having a hard time with the idea of adoption because you had hoped so much to have another child & he didn't want another. Leave it at that, don't get into the "now that she's asking' because it will make you look petty, even if you're not trying to be. Do some online research, find some stats for adoptions-how many of which race are adopted by which race, countries that have the most children needing adopting... find a message board-or few-about adoption & start asking your questions. Hopefully you'll find a local family that you can visit with to get their perspective on the joys & challenges of adoption.
Find out what you need to do to be a foster family, if your hubby & daughter are set on adoption. After you go through the process, ask for a variety of kids (not that you can order them, but I believe you can specify that you want certain age groups)-if they need a teenager home, say yes, if they need an infant home, say yes. And if your daughter wants to go pick up a new sibling, let her help-she can get diapers, shake prepared bottles, sit w/a toddler, share her toys w/a child her age...
I hope it works out for all of you! (just read other comments) And for you too Tina!



answers from Tulsa on

I suggest you go through the steps to be foster parents first. Nearly every state requires you take classes and do training if you adopt a child through them, which is the less expensive way to go because they usually pay the legal costs. There may be a child waiting for you that you will meet and fall in love with.

We have granchildren in foster care and are trying to eventually adopt them. We learned so much going through the classes that addresses the very issues you have listed above about what the kids have been through. It will prepare you for the changes that will happen in your family too. It may be a way for your daughter to experience being a sibling to a "borrowed" brother or sister and fulfill her needs. The foster parents who have my 2 youngest grandkids got into foster parenting for similar reasons, the daughters were older but still wanted babies around to play with.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi! I really don't think you are being selfish. You are thinking out the decision carefully as you understand and are realistic about the responsiblities of being a parent again. Also, if you decide to go through the foster care or adoption option, not all families are accepted. There is a long, drawn out process. We have done both and have found that both state and private agencies require many meetings, home studies, visists to physicians to verify each of your health status, visit to police office for criminal background check, etc. If you and your husband decide to go to a private agency, the cost needs to be taken into consideration also. Typically, if you are working with a state agency, you will be focusing on a child with higher needs, but not necessarily. We adopted our daughter from a private agency, and now that she is turning 5, her doctors are noticing a few delays and are attributing it a possible Fetal Alchohol Syndrome, but her birthmother said she never did alchohol or drugs during the pregnancy, so if birthparent isn't honest about her situation, it doesn't matter what type of agency you choose. Our agency had us fill out paper work as to what we were willing to accept, such as disabilities, drug/alchohol use during pregenancy, multiple births, etc. We were specific about avoiding the FAS and drug use because I had been working in Special Education and saw how FAS affected kids development. I'm just sharing this because I hope by you knowing this, and realizing that even in adoption, as with all children, things do not always go as hoped. I'm sure if you and your husband do choose to do foster care or adoption, the right child for your family will be placed into your loving home and all will work out as it's meant to.



answers from Washington DC on

You aren't being selfish AT ALL. This is the kind of life-determining event that demands full cooperation and commitment by all parties involved. So if one party is less than enthusiastic, that should be enough. All of your reservations are valid. Plus, if you would be the one doing most of the caretaking, then your vote should count very heavily. Letting a child make this kind of decision for a family is really not a great idea, either. What if she decides that she doesn't actually like sharing her parents' attention? Would your husband then agree that the child should be given back? And let's be real, it is not an easy thing to raise a child, and starting when you are older only makes it harder. Maybe talking to a counselor as a family will help. Good luck and don't back down from your very real and valid feelings.



answers from Washington DC on

Sheesh, for an 8 year old to take on the responsibility of a baby is quite a task. They cost a lot of money and live a long time too. You usually have one of those pesky "no return" policies if the baby's not the right gender or color. Is the baby going to match with her Princess outfits? I don't mean to sound so rediculous, but this situation is rediculous. Shouldn't she start with a puppy, you know, to see if she's ready for a baby? Once she's had to get up in the middle of the night to let it out or to clean up after it, that idea of a baby will go right out the door. And if she gets sick of it, puppies can find new homes too. Oh! Wait a minute! They want YOU to take care of this baby. Yeah right. Enough said. This is a LIFE and a LIFETIME commitment we're talking about here, no subject for an 8 year old to broach at her whim.



answers from Cleveland on

Sometimes you can foster then adopt. That way you can see if it is truely what your family wants... know it sounds bad in a way, but your concerns are just. Some kids have been through a ton and react certain ways because of what they have been through. Also, the fact that your hubby was completely against having another child till your daughter wanted on is wrong in my eyes... I can understand why it bothers you.

Follow your heart... take time to make sure it is what you want to do.


answers from Fort Myers on

Hi RbG,
I understand your frustration in this sensitive issue of adoption. Your daughter wanting a sibling is not going to secure your place on a list of possible candidates for a school age child or under. Your concerns are more than valid and I would get your husband and yourself into counseling first on a short time basis with an impartial person to make sure that both of you understand what you are taking on for the rest of everybodys lives before moving forward. Adoption of a child is a life long commitment and not one to be taken lightly.
Best of luck to you and your family hope that everything works out for the best!



answers from Charlotte on




answers from Indianapolis on

Your heart will provide the answer, and it appears to be leaning in the direction of not adopting. I wouldn't say you're being selfish at all. The worst thing you could do is to bring a child into a family that isn't prepared to deal with all that goes along with it.

At 8 years-old, she has no concept of the additional emotional, financial and personal expenditures that having another child brings. Personally, I'd love to have one more (3 total) - I don't know if it's going to happen as my husband and I haven't come to an agreement on it yet.

Adoption can be a hugely traumatic experience. Waiting lists on American kids can be long, there are tons of kids in Foster Care that desperately need permanent homes, but most are not adopted because they're not babies. Foreign adoptions are costly and restrictions are beginning to be imposed from some nations.

There are a lot of considerations that you and your husband need to talk through before making a decision. If you have the room to love a child, it's one of the most admirable things people can do, but if you're not sure, is it fair to that child (and yours)?



answers from Washington DC on

I agree with the option of becoming a foster parent first. There is a setup wherein you could foster only kids that are adoptable. That is kind of the best of all worlds. You would be helping a child, your daughter would have another child around, if you decide you want the child to become a permanent member of the family you can, and if you decide that its not working for you, you can withdrawl your name as a foster family.




answers from Washington DC on

Adoption is something you do because you want to adopt a child, not to cater to another child's whims. While adoption is a great thing (my son is adopted), you are correct that many of the children who need homes have some baggage. One thing that people don't consider is that an adopted child never knows where they get their traits, their past is a dead end for them. That in itself requires that the parents help the child with this blank spot in their history.

I applaud your desire to help a child, I am concerned that your husband may not be committed enough to assume the responsibility of assuming that role of parent to an adopted child.

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