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Adopting Same-Age Children
Twinning and Sibling Adoptions
August 01,2008 / Dawn Davenport
Untitled Document

Most countries have siblings groups that need homes; however, some parents are interested in adopting more than one unrelated child of similar ages at the same time, sometimes called artificial twinning. While adoption professionals try to place sibling groups together whenever possible, many are strongly against the proactive of adopting two unrelated children at the same time, especially who children of similar age. When adopting siblings, most adoption professionals believe that the benefit of keeping siblings together outweighs the disadvantages of adopting two children at once. Artificial twinning does not have these benefits. Some countries prohibit the practice, and some agencies do not allow it even with countries that do. It's not surprising that both sided to this controversy have well-thought-out arguments.

More quickly reach family size you want. This is especially helpful for older parents
Each child deserves to be the center of his parents' attention for at least nine months, and some child development experts recommend two to three years
Having another child going through the same thing at the same time may help the child adjust
Each child deserves to establish himself in the home as an individual, not as a member of a group.
The children will have a built-in playmate and will have someone from t heir birth country with whom to identify.
It is very difficult to avoid comparing children of similar ages with each other. Even if parents are determined not to compare, teacher friends and-perhaps most important-the children themselves WILL. This is especially difficult for a child who may not be as good as his sibling athletically, academically, or socially. A few months' difference of age can make a BIG difference developmentally.
Saves money on home study, dossier preparation, travel, post-placement reports, and sometimes on agency fees
It is a huge adjustment in time, disbursement of attention of affection, and daily tasks for parents to add two kids at once. This much change can make the adjustment to parenting and family-building much rougher than necessary.
More efficient use of time since you do the paperwork only once.
The emotional needs of two children who are both adjusting to the change of everything they know can overwhelm the family.
Two children coming into the home at the same time may reduce the sibling rivalry, since neither child is displacing the other child's position in the family.
It is harder for parents to establish a special relationship with each child as an individual.
Don't have to worry about what to do with the first child when you travel to adopt the second
Adopting agencies report that they see more disruptions in families adopting more than one unrelated child at the same time
Minimizes the time one parent needs to be out of the workforce since the parent needs to take off form work only once for both children.
Parents will have age-related expenses, such as college tuitions, hit at the same time.
These kids need homes, and it is better for the child to be adopted, even if two are adopted at the same time, rather than remain in an orphanage.
If the children are in the same grade, they will have to explain often that they are not twins and that they are adopted. Some kids don't want to stand out as different.

Each family must look at themselves and their resources in making the decision. If cost savings is your primary reason, most families Interviewed did not save much money by adopting two at once. You can take the adoption tax credit for both, but depending on how much tax you pay, you may not be able to use the full credit within the specified time limit, and many employers do not double their adoption benefit when two are adopted at the same time. Before you decide, visit in person with families who have adopted more than one at the same time and ask lots of questions. Ask about the advantages and disadvantages on your favorite Internet adoption forums. Most families I talked to, even those who recommend the practices, acknowledged that the first six months to one year after adopting two were VERY hard.

If you decide to adopt more than one unrelated child at the same time OR within less than nine months of each other, consider the following advice from families who have been down the road.

  • It is very important for one parent to stay at home for at least a year, if at all possible.

  • For the first three to six months at home, get help with housework.

  • Treat each child as an individual with her own strengths and needs, and spend the time necessary to develop a special relationship with each child.

As with all decisions in adoption, focus on what is best for the child rather than what is best for the parent. By doing so, the long-term prognosis for the entire family will have the most successful outcome!

Adapted from The Complete Book of International Adoption by Dawn Davenport. Visit Dawns website: Creating A Family


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Readers Comments  (3 Comments)  View All Comments
Our artificial twins were born 8 days apart and adopted 8 years apart. They get along like most siblings, some good days, some not so good. Overall, it has worked out well for us.- Anonymous
We did 'artificial twinning' though it wasn't our real intention when we started in adoption. Our youngest sons were both adopted and are 4 months apart in age. The second arrived home 6 months after the first. We are grateful for the small age difference in the boys and they have both bonded beautifully to us, each other and their older siblings. They are now inseparable and the joy they get from each other just ripples through the family. It has been perfect for our family.- Anonymous
First we adopted Al. He settled in well. We then adopted Milo and Zach, they were 2 and 2+1/2 and are half brothers. Anya and Michael came home, a sibling group also. Anya was 1, and Michael was 3. We now have: Alex 11, Milo 8, Zach 8, Mike 5 and An 3. They fight like kids do, but seem to have settled well now. Milo and Zach are competative, but they are also different. Milo and Zach have heart problems which are now ok, they might have died if left. They are happy now.- MJ + Kelley
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