Lately the desire to adopt again has been weighing heavy on my heart. From the very beginning of our adoption journey I've flip flopped back and forth about whether or not we should adopt more than one child. Before getting too far in the adoption process with Hannah I was certain I wanted to adopt twice. Two kids sounded perfect to me. However, I wasn't prepared for the stress of actually adopting and shortly after Hannah was born I was sure I was DONE. I couldn't do that again. It was just too emotionally hard. The more removed I became from the initial emotions of adopting I started to think about how it might be nice to have another child someday. Then the stress of parenting Hannah hit and I was pretty sure I was DONE again. Being a mommy of one was plenty for me. I was content, if not a little over my head at times, and I felt like our family was complete. Then, for reasons unknown to me, I decided to look at a website with photolistings of waiting children through the department of child and family services. That was pretty much the end for me. I'm pretty much convinced that at some point we are meant to adopt again, but this time through the foster system. This thought scares me a lot. We've successfully navigated an agency adoption and have a healthy open adoption with Hannah's birthfamily. That's what we know. Hannah was adopted at birth. We know her birthfamily. We have frequent contact with them. A child that is adopted through the foster care system had a life before you came into the picture. They lived with their birthfamily. They may have had multiple foster families. They may have experienced abuse or neglect and they have most certainly experienced at the very least the trauma of being removed from their birthfamily. All these things make their mark on a child. They have to be dealt with eventually and they'll always be a part of their past. I don't know if I'm a strong enough parent to help a child through that. Then there's the issue of birthfamily contact. Hannah has a close relationship with her birthfamily. How would we handle things if we adopted another child that was not able to have contact with anyone from their birthfamily? How would this affect both Hannah and our hypothetical 2nd child? Then there's always the matter of whether or not I'm cut out for the stress of parenting more than one child. Could I successfully parent a child with possible emotional or behavioral problems when I so often feel helpless and unable to parent Hannah effectively? Still, with all of these doubts I still keep coming back to the thought that we are meant to do this. I'm not sure how. I'm not sure when. I just feel led to pursue this.
As I've been thinking about adopting through the foster care system I've started to notice some differences with regards to attitudes about and the prevalence of adoption between Rhode Island and Indiana. When we lived in Indiana we personally knew many people who either were adopted themselves or who had adopted children both domestic infant, international, and through the foster system. We've lived in Rhode Island for a year now and we've yet to meet a single person who is either adopted or has adopted. I find that a bit odd. There are two possibilities for why this is that I can think of. Either fewer people here in Rhode Island adopt or people just don't talk about adoption here because there is a stigma about it. Based on what I've observed while living here I would imagine that the reason is a combination of both of my theories. Whenever the subject that Hannah was adopted comes up people always express shock and surprise. When they learn that we have an open adoption they are even more taken aback. Generally after the initial shock wears off one of two things happens, either the person I'm speaking with quickly grows uncomfortable and changes the subject abruptly or they start gushing about what a wonder service we have done for Hannah and her birthfamily and we are quickly elevated to sainthood. They don't believe me when I say that Hannah isn't the lucky one, we are. We wanted desperately to start a family and adoption was the route we chose. This just seems inconceivable to most people here. Another thing I've noticed is that I see very few multi racial families. This could signify both that there are few international or foster care adoptions or that anything that is "different" is frowned upon and both adoptions and mixed race families without adoption are "different." This leads me to wonder what adopting through the foster care system here in Rhode Island would be like. Would it be hard on Hannah and the hypothetical 2nd child because adoption is not as accepted here or am I just imagining things? The Midwest is not the most accepting place in the country, but adoption is actually fairly common there and there are many areas where multi racial families are also quite common. Would we be better to wait until we didn't live in Rhode Island? So many questions to think about. But one thing I'm still so sure about is that we should do this. Our family is meant to get just a little bit bigger. The details can be figured out later, but the big picture seems clear.