Mary asked for opinions on how you know if you should expand your family or not. The Lord (I’m assuming She reads this blog) knows I need to win that book on blogging Mary is giving away, so here’s my thoughts:
Deciding to go from 0 to 1 was easy. Susan and I talked about being parents before we got married, so there wasn’t really a decision to make. Or rather, it was made independently before we met each other.
Deciding to skip 1 and go straight to 2 was also fairly easy. We had waited to have kids until I was out of grad school and we had a house and 2 jobs. Then we waited quite a bit more while we pursued adopting in Panama. So by the time we decided to switch to Ethiopia, we were in a better place financially and desiring children even more. I remember being in our kitchen (awe, the joys of a time when you could cook with your spouse) when Susan brought it up. It seemed like a bad idea for a few moments (two kids are more work than one, after all) but after thinking about it a little more, it seemed to make more and more sense. We called our placement agency and changed our request the next day (our homestudy already said 2 since our social worker told us to get approved for one more than you’re expecting to take…just in case you change your mind).
Going from 2 to 3 was not as easy a decision. I guess if I could have seen into the future and seen that everything would be fine (knock on wood, we’re only 3 months into this), we would have just made the decision quickly. Instead, we hemmed and hawed until our placement agency said Yordie really was available for adoption. Part of the indecision was probably us protecting ourselves from the chances of her not really being adoptable but a bigger part was us not being sure that we wanted to sacrifice (mostly financial, but also the older kids getting less attention) for a baby we had only briefly met. Ironically, the doubt we had about whether could handle it (like we had going from 0 to 2) was completely absent. At that point, we knew that we wanted at least 3, but money would be (still is) extremely tight for a while if we went to 3 so quickly. In the end, we basically decided that (even with all the sacrifices) there was no way we would regret the decision to take Yordie. And honestly, that was the way we were leaning all along, we just kind of needed our family to tell us that we weren’t crazy (which they did). Yordie has brought so much joy to all of our lives in the little time she has been with us, I really can’t believe we even considered not accepting her referral.
There’s already talk in the house about going to 4. But, assuming there’s no more siblings out there, we’ve decided to wait until the kids a quite a bit older (and we have quite a bit more money) before we add to our family again. So I really have no idea how you know if you are truly done. Presumably there’s some feeling of contentment you get…but I don’t know what that feels like.