Many couples wind up only adopting one child. One reason for this is the high cost of adoption. Another reason is that many adoptive couples are older when they choose to adopt, and they do not want to start over with a second child as they approach their forties or fifties. Regardless of why they only have one child, some couples wind up regretting that their child has no sibling.
The regret can run even deeper when the child is a very social kid who would likely have flourished with a sibling in the home. The adoptive parents can feel guilty or sad about seeing their child looking lonely during the holidays or while on vacation. The regret can also burn when the child has birth siblings that he has never met.
My husband and I are one couple in this position. We had always planned on having two children, and I even hoped for more than that. By the time we adopted our son, we were in our mid-thirties. Our second adoption was moving so slowly that we finally decided to remove ourselves from consideration because our son was already almost four years old. While we could technically still adopt an older child, we are exhausted by our son’s special needs – asthma and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – and do not feel able to take on additional special needs by adopting a child out of foster care.
All that being said, we both have regrets that our son does not have a sibling. I do not believe that wanting a sibling for your child is a good enough reason to adopt again, and I can truly say that, at this stage in my life, I have no desire to parent a second child. So, my husband and I are trying to find a way to make peace with the way our family has turned out.
I have worked overtime to try to meet my son’s needs in other ways, such as providing him with plenty of play dates and ensuring that he does not grow up too fast. Outside of this, I have to grieve the loss of what we do not have so that I can fully embrace and enjoy the wonderful life that we do have. We are still a family, even with only one child.
Photo Credit: Lynda Bernhardt