Adopting a child is a wonderful way to grow your loving family. So, it is not uncommon for a family that has already adopted one child to consider welcoming a second child into their family. Adopting a second child is similar in many ways to adopting the first one, but there are a few distinct differences to consider.
Adopting a Second Child Means Another Home Study
You probably remember the home study process – meeting with a highly trained adoption social worker who conducts a series of interviews with your family and your references, inspects your home, runs criminal background checks, collects medical and financial documents, and discusses your plans for raising a baby. The entire process can take up to 90 days. And when you consider adopting a second child, you have to go through the entire process all over again. The updated home study will require many of the same documents to be redone, and the social worker will again look for any safety hazards for your child, health concerns, and the general living space’s atmosphere. This time, however, the social worker may interview your first child as well.
“Even though it feels that they are looking for something you did wrong or it feels kind of invasive, the social workers are on your team,” says one adoptive mother. The Home Study is to “screen in” a family – rather than “screen out.” The home study social worker reaches out to the prospective adoptive family in a supportive, positive and affirming manner to help make the adoption process positive and loving. “They want you to succeed, and they want to find happy, healthy homes for babies who need to be adopted.”
Factoring in Another Mouth to Feed
- Finances: It should come as no surprise that children are expensive. According to the BabyCenter child cost calculator, you will spend about $725 per month in total supporting one child. So, double that. Can you afford a second child?
- Space: Look around your home now and see if you have enough room for another child. From a legal standpoint, your home has to have enough room to sustain a child in a healthy living environment. This is one of the factors the social worker will consider during your home study.
Consider How to Talk To Your Child
One of the biggest differences between adopting your first and second child is that now you are already a parent. Depending on the age of your first child, explaining this lovely addition to your family can be difficult.
“It’s important to keep in mind that adoption is not abnormal, nor should discussions about it be stressful for adoptive parents,” says Dr. Kathleen L. Whitten, Ph.D., author, developmental psychologist, and lecturer at Georgia State University.
Remember to tailor the conversation to the individual child. For example, if you have a four-year-old, “use a storytelling technique and language that can be grasped by a four-year-old,” says Susan Fisher, MD, co-author of Talking With Young Children About Adoption. Then, allow the adoption conversation to grow along with the child.
“You have to start out from the beginning with a clear plan,” says Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of NCFA and a former adoption agency director. “Lay the foundation by teaching children what adoption is, gradually share more age-appropriate information until the child reaches a full understanding, and continue the process throughout his life.”
Have More Questions About Adopting a Second Child?
Adoption Makes Family is here to help! We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.