General chatter - Considering adopting 6 kids - advice?




FitGirlyGirl
08-04-2010, 10:32 AM
My husband and I want both love children and want to have kids. His ex forced him to have a vasectomy that did not correctly reverse, so he can't have kids. I have PCOS and type 2 diabetes (very well controlled). We have considered lots of options to the path of parenthood - donor sperm, infant adoption, foreign adoption, and foster child adoption. I was just sent some information about a sibling group of 6 children. DHS is trying to place all of the kids together. The kids are 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, and 8. One of the twins is a girl, the rest are boys. They are all healthy. The kids are black and we are white, but we live in a multi-cultural neighborhood and the children's race does not matter to us. My husband is military, so the children's health care and such would be covered until they are adults or graduate college, whichever comes last. He is in the middle of doing the math to make sure that we can afford them. The one problem we have is that we only have a 3 bedroom house at the moment and so the twins and their baby brother would probably have to share a room and the older 3 boys share a room. Since we bought the house with a VA loan we are not allowed to sell it for another 2 years. We do have a very large living room and a huge backyard, so they would not be restricted to the cramped bedrooms for play. We also have a room that we are currently using as a library that I may change to a play room if we do this.

So what I'm looking for is advice, points we may not be thinking of, thoughts, opinions, whatever.


gottadoit2010
08-04-2010, 11:02 AM
Wow! Sounds like those children would be blessed should this work out. Good luck!

pinkflower
08-04-2010, 11:09 AM
Have the parents rights been severed yet? It can take well over a year if they haven't been, or they could even be given back to the parents after all that time. It would be such a huge blessing for those kids though!

I don't know how to say this without sounding crass, but it is a reality.....One thing to keep in mind is that many placements have a "honeymoon" period where everything is going along great, or manageable, and then months later, the behaviors come out and many adoptive or foster parents back out because they simply cannot handle it, no matter how badly they wanted to, or how much they love the kids. I would just keep that in mind before you start promising the kids permanency, and before you fully commit to it. It would be a drastic change (obviously)

Good luck :) again, to have those kids together would be amazing for them


winning the war
08-04-2010, 11:11 AM
Wow! What an undertaking! God bless you for even wanting to help these kiddos out! The home space stuff will work out. I wouldn't worry too much about that because they are all so young. I think a careful consideration, however, is how involved their natural parents would be in their lives. I think it's important to know the specifics of contact rules (if there is to be contact), and to know what the kids were exposed to before so you can be somewhat prepared. If you can love these children, the logistic stuff will work itself out. Cramped quarters don't seem so cramped when you're with people you care about. Best of luck to you!!:hug:

AR4life
08-04-2010, 11:12 AM
Wow again! It would be wonderful for these children to be adopted together.
I'm thinking a lot of support needs to be available for you and hubby, it will be a huge undertaking.
I hope it all works out :D

Ciao
08-04-2010, 11:30 AM
My mother is a single mom with 5 kids.
(Newborn, 4, 9, 13, and 15) Some days
can be frustrating, but trust me, when
we have family time it's the best thing
in the world. She's also said that once
she gets married, she may even have up
to 7 kids or even an 8th. Even though she's
a single mom she loves kids and does everything
in her power to make sure we are all loved.
There's days where we can't do/have anything
because my mother just simply doesn't have
the money and we work around that- going
to the beach, going fishing, going to a friend's
pool, etc. So my advice is to just love them.
Always. You don't have to give them expensive
items nor do you always have to take them places.
Playing kickball outback is just as good. :)

EDIT: Something else you may want to consider
is "how will this effect my weight loss?" I'm not
saying losing weight is more important than these
kids, but I am saying it's going to change your life
and you won't get as much "you" time that you may
need to go to the gym and such. My mother has given
up losing weight right now so she can take care of
her kids. Just something to consider about what
other things you may need to give up.

Vladadog
08-04-2010, 12:08 PM
I'd want to know what sort of support network the state will provide for you and the kids - not financial, because usually if you are adopting you assume all financial responsibility (although in extreme cases and 6 kids at once is kind of extreme) the state will help for a bit - kick in something for school clothes, for example.

But the support I'm thinking of is more along the lines of therapy once the "honeymoon" period pinkflower mentioned is over. Each of the kids may react to the trauma of their lives in different ways (and some not at all) and you could really have your hands full then. Make sure your health insurance covers therapy and family counseling and if it doesn't make sure the state will help out for the first few years.

Also, it's important to start out as you mean to go on. Don't treat the kids like special guests the first few weeks or even day and then expect them to start following the house rules. If bed time is 7pm for the little 'uns and 8 for the big ones then start out with that. Figure out age appropriate expectations for things like making their beds and clearing their dishes then model that behavior and require it every day. Routine, consistency, fairness, love, and structure are all really really important. I work at residential treatment center for kids with emotional and behavioral issues. We get a lot of adopted kids in to stay with us from 10 days to 2 years and we place a lot of kids who have been seperated from their families. I can't stress enough how important routine, consistency, fairness, love, and structure all are.

Oh, and you'll need a bigger car!

JessLess
08-04-2010, 12:31 PM
I highly recommend this book to anyone considering adoption. I used to be very pro-adoption and I have two adopted cousins of different races and think that adopting was the one of the most selfless things a person could do. After reading this I have changed my mind bit on issues like international and transracial or transcultural adoption. I think it's a good read for anyone whose family has been effected by adoption.

http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Thief-Georgia-Corrupted-Adoption/dp/0786719443

nelie
08-04-2010, 12:35 PM
Wow, 6 kids is a lot but if you love kids, it may be the right thing for you. My cousin has 6 biological kids and they have definitely had some challenges such as difficulty renting places to people giving them strange looks/comments.

My uncle though adopted 3 kids, all siblings when him and his wife were in their early 40s. I was a bit skeptical for them to go from no kids to 3 but they latched on to parenthood and love it. If you think you and your husband are able to do it, then I say go for it.

bnorah
08-04-2010, 12:49 PM
I think adoption is a wonderful thing a couple can do for a child(or children in this case) without a stable home. There are SOO many kids that need good homes and no one to take them in. It saddens me though to hear about all the mamas that can't properly care for their children because of health risks, or the mother was too young to be a mom. I would absolutely adopt if I found that I was not able to bioloically mother a child. Bravo for wanting to do this for those children. They sound like they would be very blessed to have a family like yours. Good luck!!

SouthLake
08-04-2010, 12:52 PM
Wow! 6 is awesome!! First off, for finances, talk to your social worker. Most staes provide adoption subsidies for what they consider special needs children. Special needs generally includes children above a certain age (usually anywhere from 3-5), sibling groups (usually 2, sometimes 3 or more, 6 would be a definite I would think!), and in some states, certain minorities. See if this group is eligible. Even if you don't need the money now, make sure that a subsidy isn't totally closed off, in case it becomes necessary later (especially for things like additional tuturing, therapy, etc that your children may likely need) Also, most children adopted through foster care have access to mental health resources and will be dual insured with your insurance and medicaid until they reach 18, sometimes even older. So, look into that as well.

The biggest thing is to research research research. Demand full access to their records, including any mental health diagnoses. Speak to current and former foster parents. If they've had more than one placement, encourage the foster parents to be honest with you about why the placement was disrupted. What is their background? Do they have an behavioral issues? Have they ever acted out aggressively, or sexually? (I know that seems overkill considering their age, but, it is something to be aware of) Do any of them show any signs of attachment disorder? Remember, many AD children will seem exceptionally affectionate at first (often overly so) and so you need to speak with their case worker and foster parents to get more information.

Remember that when these children are placed with you, they will be foster children until finalization (generally close to a year later) Don't think of this as a trial period, this is it. Period. A disrupted placement can be worse for these children in the long run than no placement at all, so make sure that you are confident in your decision before you make it. Be prepared for a long haul, as an adoptive family you'll face issues a lot of parents won't. Make sure that you guys have a strong support system not only for the kids, but for you as individuals as well. Set your boundaries now, and determine how you are going to work to keep your marriage strong. Good luck!!!

To clarify- hubs and I aren't parents yet, but have chosen to adopt "older" (non infant, probably non toddler) foster children when the time comes for us to start a family. It's a big passion for us, and so, we've done lots and lots of research. Unfortunately, it's still a few years out for us.

FitGirlyGirl
08-04-2010, 01:02 PM
Thanks everyone.

Pinkflower - I am pretty sure the biological parents' rights are already severed. I am thinking that if we do this I would try to get them here as a foster home asap. That would provide a sort of transition. My husband and I are also both very stubborn and we don't give up easily, so while it may get tough, if we can adopt them there would be no sending them back. I once tried to convince the principal of a school I was working at to return a boy to my class after he had attacked me and knocked out 2 teeth and broken my ankle.

Winning - I will have to find out if there are any visitation agreements. That's especially important since the military could send us away from this area. Thank you, that had totally slipped my mind.

jema - my main reasons for weight loss were to get control of my diabetes (it is in control) and to try to get pregnant (adopting 6 kids would mean I would not be doing that right now, if ever).

Vlada - Our health coverage covers almost everything. It includes therapy and counseling. Our only expenses are 50% of dental and paying for glasses if needed (exams are covered). I had not thought about the car issue though. Yikes! I guess I would become a mini-van driver, I never thought I'd do that! My father would probably help with that if we needed him to.

eclipse
08-04-2010, 01:04 PM
The biggest questions I would be asking at this point are about why the children are in care - what have they been through, how does it affect them physically and psychologically, do they have special needs? If they do have special needs, will you continue to receive a stipend from the state after finalization to help you deal with the financial realities of those special needs?You really need as clear a picture as possible of their circumstances to decide if it's something you can handle. Also, as a PP asked, what is their status? have parental rights already been terminated? If not, how likely do the social workers think it is that they will be terminated? Are there extended family members that could come forward and offer to take the children? can you handle uncertainty, should family members make the offer or the parents complete a reunification plan? Are there extended family members that are good, healthy people that can't care for the children, but want to maintain a relationship with them, and how do you feel about that? Since you're a military family - what will happen if you get new orders before finalization?

Just things I'm throwing out there. All that said, if you think you can do it, do it. There aren't many people who are willing to foster or parent sibling groups that large, and separating them could be devestating for them.

FitGirlyGirl
08-04-2010, 01:14 PM
SouthLake - thank you so much for your response. I have done some adoption research, but I haven't looked into the foster adoption thing much. It has only been about 2 years since we found out his surgery didn't work and while we had planned to look into adopting at least 1 foster child after we had a baby, we figured it was a ways off yet. There are quite a few things in your post I had not considered. Subsidies, for instance, I had read about that, but I forgot. Thank you, and good luck to you guys when the time comes.

FitGirlyGirl
08-04-2010, 01:18 PM
Eclipse - I had not thought about extended family member visitation, but we would be totally fine with that assuming they were healthy people for the children to be around and the state allowed it. As for him getting orders during the process, there is paperwork that he can do to suspend the orders until we are finished with the adoption process. We are currently at a base where people get 'stuck' and we are hoping for that.

FitGirlyGirl
08-05-2010, 03:32 PM
We have decided to try to get them. We have found out that they ARE fully clear for adoption and we are now talking to an adoption worker to find out exactly what the process is here as well as talking to the base to find out what their privileges would be during the time in between them being placed in our home and the adoption being finalized, checking our house for things that would need to be done before they could move in, and all that good stuff.

SouthLake - Since you have already done so much research on the foster adoption thing, are there any really good websites or books that you would recommend?

sarahyu
08-05-2010, 04:16 PM
Is there a chance your hubby will be sent overseas to Iraq or Afghanistan? Dealing with a deployment and 6 young children would be hard.

I know that there are large families with a deployed mother or father but those kids tend to come 1 or 2 at a time with a year or more in between. You'll be getting 6 all at the same time, with all the trials and tribulations of adjusting to a new family.

Fortunately they are young so hopefully they haven't been too traumatized by foster care. Can you do some weekend visits for awhile to see how they are? If you can handle the stress of so many at once? I know that in some areas they have something like weekend foster parents so the regular foster parents can get a break from all the kids once in a while.

Good luck, it's very nice that you want to do this.

Vladadog
08-05-2010, 05:13 PM
jema - my main reasons for weight loss were to get control of my diabetes (it is in control) and to try to get pregnant (adopting 6 kids would mean I would not be doing that right now, if ever).

Now that you've decided to apply to adopt these very very lucky kids start taking precautions so you don't get pregnant. Even if every test your husband has had has shown there are no viable sperm or no sperm at all, do NOT assume you can't get pregnant. Things change and there are plenty of examples of "miracle" babies. And while it truly would be a wonderful lovely miracle, your life is about to get exciting enough without that added adventure. A few years from now you can go back to letting nature decide...

Good luck! I'm so excited for you guys!

FitGirlyGirl
08-05-2010, 05:54 PM
carly - Well, I hope the info my hubby got is wrong then. I'm going to have him check into it. I would much rather get out of this house regardless of the outcome with these kids.

sarahyu - There is a chance, but it is slim. If he were deployed I would probably take the children and go stay with family. My father has a giant house and one of my brothers, his wife, and their little girl also live there. I also have 2 other brothers plus wives and kids in that area. So, the kids and I would not be alone during his deployment.

Vladadog - There is really VERY little chance of that happening. I will be canceling the plans and appointments for donor sperm though.

chickybird
08-05-2010, 06:06 PM
I ditto everything Southlake said. You also may want to talk to a financial adviser, or CPA to learn about financial strategies or income tax info applicable to you.
I don't know about your state, but in TX, if a child is in foster care, they do not have to pay college tuition when they attend. Anyone, feel free to correct me if I go that wrong.
DH and I plan on adopting through foster care in a few years ourselves. Good luck!

bacilli
08-05-2010, 06:13 PM
As someone who is adopted in a family full of adopted kids, and who has given up a child for adoption, I want you to know that what you are doing is amazing.

2phatinvictoria
08-06-2010, 01:07 AM
wow! thats amazing. Hopefully everything works out for you and the hubby and those kids!

I can't wait to adopt:)

sarahyu
08-06-2010, 08:54 AM
No one has brought this up and I don't want to sound like a bad person-but in some areas of the country people are still very much color sensitive-ok I'll just spit it out-some people are out right racisist and mean about it. It makes me angry that we still have this type of behavior in this day and age. Are you prepared? Military bases tend to be very multi-cultural and ok with things like this. But small town rural America can still be pretty backward.

My husband is Chinese, we lived in a small town in the midwest a few years ago. I was working as a quality assurance person in a factory. Everyone was really friendly and helpful until the company picnic and people saw my husband. Then it was total turn around, no body would talk with me, nobody would help me get samples. I even had a couple of the guys ask me why a white guy wasn't good enough for me. Doors where slammed shut in my face, little petty things happened-sampling buckets would dissapear, etc. It was my first experience with that type of behavior. Another person un-invited me to there summer picnic. She said her husband didn't approve of mixed marriages and it would be uncomfortable for everyone involved if we came. Another person made the commnet "at least you don't have any kids" "what does that mean? " "well, they don't get on well around here". ????? Needless to say I didn't stay long at that job. I was quite happy when my dh got another job across the county and we moved out that ....oh, gee sorry-still a little bitter.

Still think it's a wonderful thing adopting a complete family unit.

FitGirlyGirl
08-06-2010, 09:51 AM
sarahyu - We live in Arkansas, trust me, it has crossed my mind and I understand and appreciate your concern. The town we are in is mostly awesome though. There is one school and its surrounding small neighborhood that is bad, but the kids would not go to that school. Our neighborhood is absolutely great. We have black, white, hispanic, and asian neighbors. There are a couple of families that are mixed races. We are also going to go ahead and start looking for a church that is a good mix so that our family will have a church we are comfortable in. The town right next to us is a 'white flight' town. When we first moved to Arkansas we didn't know any better and we moved there. Well, my husband doesn't look quite fully white (especially if his hair is a bit grown out at the time), so that was a really bad idea. We moved away and now we just don't go there. We drive through on the highway (about 2 minutes to get to the other side), but we don't stop. Little Rock itself is a lot more progressive than you would think. We were at a movies in the park event on Wednesday and just in the small area that we were sitting in there were three inter-racial families and 2 sets of white parents with fully black children. None of the fully one race families surrounding those 5 families said anything untoward to them, most were smiling and watching the children play, many of them had children who were playing with those kids. There is also an area in Florida, between my father's house and town, where I would not stop with the kids, but it is a short 3-5 minutes on the highway. There are also people that are legally our family who won't like it one bit, but they are people we already don't associate with because we refuse to be around those kind of people. The last time I saw the worst one was in 2001 at my mother's funeral. If for some reason we were forced to be around him, the rest of the family would make sure he behaved. Our eventual plans after he is out of the military (a little under 4.5 years) are to settle near either Portland or Seattle. While the issues here are small, if this does go through I will be glad to get to an even more progressive area before the kids are teenaged.

SouthLake
08-06-2010, 11:50 AM
Fit- Some of the best information I've found has been on this forum. http://forums.adoption.com/ Real parents from the trenches with great advice and information. You'll see a lot of quasi horror stories, and even more families that have made it. But, the women and men on this site are awesome and a huge wealth of knowledge. Good luck with the potential new additions to your family!

Jura
08-07-2010, 08:59 AM
Congratulations on what will be your new family!

I feel a little nosey suggesting this, but as a child care professional, I highly recommend that every parent take parenting classes. All parents can gain insight and knowledge from the classes....even if it's only to see how they DON'T want to parent. Also, becoming familiar with the stages of development as children mature will also be invaluable.

I wish you all the very best!

FitGirlyGirl
08-07-2010, 01:31 PM
Jura - We are definitely planning to do so. We know the state puts you through some classes. The base also offers some. If after we've done both of those we feel we need more we'll look around. He has already had to take classes before as part of his divorce (his daughter is 17 and lives in England with her mother). I took child psych and child development classes in college (I'm a teacher). We fully believe in being as prepared as possible though, so we're going to be taking as many classes as we can get our hands on.

Elijahs phoenix
08-07-2010, 03:53 PM
First of all congrats! as far as the interracial things go I have a black husband and and a wonderful 18 month old mixed son. I do live in the west however, and from what I have heard is that there is still alot of racism in the south. It's kinda funny becuse 3 of my cousins have married black men, we joke around that it must be in our genes to go for black men.

Now you say that your a teacher, would you quit you job and be a SAHM or would you put the younger ones in day care. Ether way that will be a big loss of income.

Best of luck! and please let us all know what happens.