There are many of us who adopt for a second time, or adopt after having a birth child; some of us even do it the other way around, today the lovely Suddenly Mummy reflects on the responses she’s had when revealing her plans to adopt again…
Odd Responses to My Second Adoption
Never having had a biological child, I’m not completely sure what people say to those who announce that they are expecting their second. Personally I seem to remember using “Congratulations!” or some such similar sentiment in those situations, but maybe I’m unusual.
Since I announced to the world that I am adding to our family by adoption, I have encountered a surprising (to me anyway) range of responses. Let me be clear, I am not offended or upset by any of the things people have said to me, but I have found some responses interesting and perhaps indicative that adding to your family by adoption is far enough out of the ordinary that people find themselves saying the strangest things in response.
Responses so far have fallen into four main categories:
- Congratulations! Wonderful news!
Yes, many have simply managed to rejoice with me in the same way as I’d imagine they’d rejoice with any expectant family. This has been lovely. Sincerely, thank you to all those people.
- How big is your house again?
Yes, I do indeed have a large house. It has five bedrooms, which I know is above average. One for me, one for OB, one for my parents who visit a lot, two for any foster children who might pass through – one of these will become permanently Birdy’s. When people ask me this, it is not an enquiry as to the relative size of my house. No. It’s actually a ‘jokey’ way of expressing concern that I might become a serial adopter, filling all five bedrooms with waifs and strays as though I am starting some sort of mission or orphanage. Some have said it far more directly, worrying aloud that I won’t be able to resist all the babies.
I’m going to have TWO children, people. TWO! Not TEN! Two is a pretty average size for a family I’d have thought. I can’t imagine anyone pregnant with their second child being placed in the category of 16 Kids and Counting! Some of the people who have said these things already have more children than I am planning to have! I have fostered seven children. I will have adopted two of them. Not seven of them. I can resist the babies!
Truly, nobody has been so brazen as to actually ask me this in a one-word question, but it comes up in a round-about way all the time. People are very interested as to why I want a second child and, more specifically, why it is going to be Birdy (as opposed, presumably, to all the others I’ve fostered). If I say it’s because I love her so much, this gives rise to other concerns (see 2. above). But, apparently, issues such as appropriate age gap, gender of the child, wanting a sibling for OB, my own advancing years etc. are not acceptable. This causes me to wonder what reasons people have for biologically conceiving a second child (assuming it was planned). I’m pretty sure I’ve heard friends of mine talking about biological clocks, career progression, age gaps and only-child versus siblings issues. I even know people who have had several children of the same sex quietly hoping that one of the other might come along in the end. I have a lot of reasons for choosing to go ahead and adopt right now. Oh, and I do love her so much!
- I’m worried about how you’ll cope with XYZ
This is sweet. People care about me. I like that. But at the same time, such questions imply that people don’t think I would have considered these potential worries for myself over the past few months and come up with an answer to them. Hey, guys, I will be able to support myself, I will be able to ‘manage’ three children if (and when) I continue fostering – I’m doing it now! – I will be able to home educate *gasp* two children successfully, if the experience of friends who have 5, 6 and 8 children is anything to go by. And if I find myself not coping, don’t worry, I’ll be sure to call you and ask you to babysit!
As I said, I don’t find any of it remotely offensive or upsetting, just interesting. I’d love to hear about the kinds of responses that others have had on announcing they were adopting . . . again!
We’re big fans of Suddenly Mummy here at The Adoption Social, and we’d like to say ‘Congratulations and good luck’ to you, OB and Birdy on your wonderful news.