Thursday, 29 November 2012

To Three Or Not To Three: Capacity and Velocity

(First! In! A! Series! of short posts about the possibility of another child. I just don't know where to begin with all of this, so I'm going to begin here). 

So I find that I'm thinking about another kid. Another kid for our family, I mean. I think maybe Jay and I have spent too much time watching series one of Parenthood, and he keeps saying I want a big family like that, I want my children to have lots of brothers and sisters to depend on when they are old and have kids of their own and we're totally self-absorbed and unreliable. 

I would like that too, but we can't seem to make any kind of decision. If we go back into the adoption process, I don't know that I can take it. I don't know that I can handle going crazy again (because believe me, I went crazy last time).

And hey, forget that, some days I just think that if we had another kid in the house I don't know that I can take it. My life is already so full of yelling and poop that I do wonder where I'd find the time to yell at another child. And I keep getting hung up on how much harder it would make my life. Am I really ready for that? My sister told me, not long after her third was born be very careful going for a third, three is exponentially harder than two. And I can see that. Right now I have two arms and two children - I can cuddle them both at once and that's really nice. My children are much snugglier (read: demanding) than lots of other three-and-a-bit-year-olds I know and they go kind of mental when I give one of my arms to someone else. They talk a lot about babies (you gotta bayybee in your tummy mummy? You gotta bayybee?    No, honey, not today, not when you asked me yesterday and I think the answer will still be no when you ask me again tomorrow), but who knows how they would really react if there was a little competitor in the house. Actually, I think I do know, and I don't think it would be pretty.

Thing is, though, I do like the idea of another FascinatingBaby. I was cuddling someone else's baby recently and my body thought hey, I remember this. The weightlessness, the wriggling, the soft downy head, the way the skin on her little tiny face felt like velvet. And that's part of my decision paralysis, honestly - personally I would like another baby, if we decide to Three (yes, that's a verb now). Not a ten year old, not a child with significant and known preexisting condition. A healthy little baby.

But seriously, Claudia, did you just say that out loud?  I've already been greedy enough to have two of those. I do feel sometimes like there is some kind of hierarchy of worthwhile adoptions. Older is better. Adoption from foster care is probably better too. Special needs is definitely better. And I absolutely understand this.I absolutely understand that medical problems or emotional problems and age and a hundred other things make some children harder to place, and that these children are absolutely not less valuable, less worthwhile, less wonderful than chubby healthy babies. I know this.

I know how precious these higher-needs kids are. My problem is not with higher needs kids. My problem is with me.

I always thought that we would do an 'easy' adoption first time around, and then when we had more experience as parents, we would adopt a child with higher needs than a healthy baby. And then we brought our twins home and they kicked my butt.  Babies are really hard, and they turn into toddlers (who are really hard too) and so are preschoolers and I'm guessing that the stages to come have their challenges too. I find parenthood to be something that stretches me to breaking point and beyond most days of the week. I am good at bits of it ( playing imaginary games, as long as I can do them from the sofa) but I am terrible at other bits of it. If my children are sick, I usually forget to give them at least one in three doses of their antibiotics. Not something I'm proud of. This makes me think that maybe I'm not the ideal person to parent a child who needs, for example, regular medication.

And I can't stop wondering: where does our awareness of our own capacity need to fit in to decision making around all of this stuff? Where should it fit it? How about the capacity of my current children? They have got pretty big needs, pretty big demands (but doesn't everyone?) And even if they are higher-needs than most (and I think they are, particularly one of them) other people have multiple complicated kids and live to tell the tale.

I just mean that - an 'easy' adoption feels pretty hard to me. Being a mother to two children who were adopted as babies feels pretty challenging. I am much more aware of my own limitations now than I was three years ago, and I no longer feel at all sure that we are prepared for another child who has bigger needs. I know that I get wound up and freaked out, maybe more than other people (although who really knows what is going on in everyone else's house). Sometimes I do think that maybe I just have less capacity than other people to deal with.... life. I mean, general ability to get out of the house before midday with everybody fed and clean must be in some kind of a curve, right? Someone has to be at the bottom and I think it's me. The very thought of buying the 28 presents I need for Christmas (yes, that's BEFORE I get to my own kids, yes, we HAVE tried trying to reduce the number of people we buy for; one family member pretty much stopped speaking to us the year we brought that up) makes me want to dry heave. I will almost certainly forget to even buy any tinsel.  The children live on pasta.  We don't own fingerpaint. I am hardly any kind of earth mother. When I've said we are not sure that we will stop with two, people look at me and say Really? YOU want MORE? as if it is totally crazy to think that I would handle that.  And maybe it is, I don't know. I'm not even sure that I want to do it, although I do think I do.

This should probably make me go awwwwww but it actually makes me go ARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Sometimes, though, I wonder if what I feel is partly the appeal of the decision. Making a definite yes decision would feel really good, even if it was actually really dumb. I've mentioned this before - I think that there is a huge psychological appeal in having some kind of velocity in our lives. It's nice to feel that we are going somewhere, we are doing something, we are aiming for an outcome. I think that the feeling of moving forward can trick us into thinking that we are making good decisions, whether they actually are good decisions or not. When we have something to look forward to, everything looks better, even if the thing itself is not actually very smart. Even if, to pull an example out of the air, our family adopting a sibling set of five would not actually be very good for  us or for them, I bet it would still feel good to decide that we were definitely going to do it.

I wonder if- can I say this? - what makes me wary here is that I think I have seen people make decisions on that basis - deciding on another adoption (or another bio baby) because life is a bit flat or a bit hard, as if another child to plan for will fix that (it won't; it never does). That might sound harsh, but it isn't meant to. I think that another child brings the promise of newness, of freshness, of starting again for a family, and that certainly appeals to me.  It certainly appeals to me when I'm standing in baby gap, looking at the adorable tiny clothes that no longer fit my twins and feeling like I can hear the sound of a whole corridor of onesie shaped doors shutting behind me. I'll be honest, it feels really weird to me that we might never have a new child. It sort of makes me think is this really it? Is this the way our family story ends? Is this the end of the upward portion of our narrative arc? Sorry to be a nerd about that last one, but I hope you know what I mean - as women, particularly, it feels everything is always pointing towards the next relationship-focused thing-  we want to meet a guy, then we want to kiss that guy, then we want to get engaged to that guy, then we want to marry that guy, then we want to have kids with that guy and if that's over, then, well, is this really it? 

(A non-baby-related and totally serious aside - I'm sure we all feel like this sometimes, whether we admit it or not, and I think it's an echo of how empty every earthly thing ultimately is - it's all just a chasing after the wind. Nothing is ever going to be enough here - even if I had a hundred children, they would all grow up, the most amazing career will end,and if I live long enough, I'll probably get terrible arthritis by the end anyway. I need to remember that only Jesus is the answer to what's my purpose and only he will never disappoint me. The only destination really worth aiming for is Heaven, is being with Jesus, although that's frighteningly easy to forget). But - back to the topic in hand - it would feel odd to me if this was the end of my life's big happy events. I feel the pull of a baby, but I also feel the pull of velocity. I would like there to still be something significant standing between me and the onset of the inevitable eventual funeral invitations.

Also, babies are really cute.

But we cant' seem to make any kind of decision. And I wonder: how does everyone else know when to stop? How do other families with two children know that two is enough? Or otherwise, how do other families with two children know that they want a third?  Those who have three, that they want a fourth? I have no idea. (I'm so curious; please tell me).

I think that we could be very happy with whatever we choose to do. But I do want it to be a choice - I dont' want to drift into a third because it seems inevitable, or into staying with two because we never quite get our act together. Do we have the capacity for this? For a baby? For someone with higher needs? Or are we just attracted by the velocity? I try to be honest with myself and really examine my heart, but honestly: I have no idea.

37 comments:

  1. I obviously have no answers for you. We approached this entire situation from a very unorthodox manner....first-time parents to TWO older kids. But I just want to say that I love your honesty in examining your motivations and limitations. So that being said, you will, eventually, make the right decision. And you will know. Until then, keep feeding them pasta and cake. I don't really know you, but I truly think you're doing a bang-up job. Seriously.

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  2. OK I wrote this enormously long comment and then erased it because, hey, you don't need to see MY processing of these kinds of emotions (though I will say that we have made an unofficial promise to each other that the only way we'd ever add to our family is via adoption of an older child from Ethiopia if at all possible) but I think you just have to let all of these feelings flow over you and try to process them as best as you can. I know that when I think I'd even POSSIBLY want another I just re-read some of my early blog posts and realize that WOW, I was really overwhelmed back then (still am). And while I'd love a chance to re-do babydom and actually appreciate it more, I have a feeling I'd be so overwhelmed again I'd never really appreciate it, ha. OK there I went again, processing my own stuff in your comments section.
    Trust your heart, pray about it, and hopefully you'll feel some peace. And also know that you don't have to decide today, tomorrow, next month, next year or even in the next five years. You are a young one!

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  3. We're not done (I hope) building our family, so I can't speak to how you know when you're done, but I know how I think I'll know. When we first started going out, I was pushing for 4, he was pushing for 2. Then my sister had 4, and I realized, WOW that's really a lot. And then he was pushing for 0. That was a real struggle, and for a long while, we'd settled at 0 or 2, and 0 seemed the most likely. 0 is no longer an option, so I'm hoping in about 8 months we can start talking about #2, and unless something changes VERY drastically, I simply cannot imagine that we will have more than two.

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  4. I don't think any adoption is easy. I really don't. Having just come out on the other side of a special needs adoption, it's not something I would ever push on someone else; it worked out really well for us, but also could have been far more challenging (and has only been 8 weeks, so you know). You guys need to do what is right for you and your family, and not let others' voices determine what that is. And Earth-mother-shmearth-mother, as far as I'm concerned. :-)

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  5. I think for most people there's a great feeling of Finality when they're done. If you don't have that I don't think you're done...speaking as someone who does not have that feeling. I grew up with four kids in the family and and while I loved/hated it as a child I fully love it as an adult. As far as your kids sure they're maybe a bit possessive of you right now, but you don't have a baby right now. They'll get bigger and will be more easily able to handle some competition. You also need to lay off yourself about not having fingerpaint, not getting dressed before noon (I like to change from pajamas into pajamas) and what your kids do or don't eat. None of that stuff determines what kind of mother you are or qualifies/disqualifies you to have more kids. It's just fluff. Personally, I think if you WANT another baby, and if you're physically/financially/emotionally able to support that baby then you should go for it. Yes, a baby is more stress, more yelling, more crying, more chaos, but it's a season of life, a short season of life. There's not a bit of that that you wouldn't do again for your present children and when you're on the flip side looking back on Future Baby's babyhood you'll feel the same way. Hard for a time, the hardest damn thing you've ever done, but oh, so worth it.

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  6. I ask people this a lot (how do you know when you're done?). we have 5 kids and I still don't feel that necessarily. We are foster care parents with various kids in and out of the home. I'm not sure if that's why we don't feel done (because of fostering) or if that means it feels like we are missing another permanent person for the family.

    I try not to overthink it. :) (which never works)

    All this to say if we get to vote I think you should totally do it. :) Kids can physically easier over time. They are arguably more emotionally exhaustive but at least you have the physical capacity to carry yourself to bed or to yoga or to the liquor cabinet when they're older. I call parenting tinies "in the trenches". it feels very different with the older kids. and i must admit I love it.

    not sure what all that said for you but there you go. :)

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  7. I would say that if you are thinking healthy infant get in line now and work out the details later. That line up is like 3 years minimum and your odds and options go down now that you have two in the house already. May as well waffle while shortening your wait!
    I thought I would never be done. Then I got number two in my arms and by some miracle done just washed over me in the same instant. 9 months later and deep into the trenches of 2 toddlers and I am still done and happy. I have said I would not refuse an accidental adoption but that is about as likely as finding an elephant on your doorstep. It is commun for mothers of twins to feel like the got cheated out of a babyhood with all the extra demands one can feel as if it all just slipped away before you got to sit back and enjoy it. My friend of twins wished desperately to have a singleton that was how she described is rather than a desire for a 3rd. She longed for that experience of just one baby at a time.

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  8. We had two, a boy and a girl, just 19 months apart in age when we (I) knew we wanted a third. I looked at my two "big" kids (then 3.5 and 5)and knew that we could only get *better* with another child in the family. Now: having two toddlers at the same time was exhausting and I don't think I could have ever imagined a third child before the eldest was able to pour herself a bowl of cereal.But they *do* get easier, and there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing my eldest children welcome and wrestle with and comfort their littlest brother. Our adoption path was long and winding and ended in a place I never thought it would. I thought we were best suited to a healthy infant adoption and here we are parenting an almost three year old with life-long special needs. I'm glad we took the risk and I hope you find an answer that brings you peace.

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  9. I have a million responses to this post - which if I was allowed to give it a title I would call, "Setting Jesus Aside - Babies Are Cute"... But I am going to only comment on one. You are not giving yourself enough credit for the fact that your kids are TWINS. And that your first weeks with them in Ethiopia were insanely emotionally draining. You wrote this post as if a perfectly healthy singleton was dropped in your lap with no baggage and you can't believe how tired it made you. THEY ARE TWINS.

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  10. I agree with semiiferalmama, you need to give yourself a break, and more credit! Your post came at an interesting time for me,I've really been wrestling with more? question as well. Then I think of how expensive fulltime day care is and that pretty much settles it for me, at least for now.

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  11. For me, how I knew that I was done was this. For awhile I would see women out carrying a carseat with a little baby inside and I would think, "awwwwww, I want that!".

    Then my kids got a little older and I got a bit more freedom. Now they are in kindergarten. And when I see some woman out and about lugging around a giant carseat with a baby inside, I think, "oh my gosh, that poor soul. Better her than me!".

    And that's when I knew I was done :)

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  12. I don't think there's anything wrong with being attracted to velocity (at least I hope not because I sure am) - it's what motivates us to make change and grow. If you didn't want more children, your velocity wouldn't be heading in that direction and you'd be making changes somewhere else. That's not to say that every direction we head in is a good one, but it is at least a direction!

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  13. We are done. So I can tell you what that feels like. Until the little got home (8 months ago) there was this empty spot where a kid belonged. We (mostly I, but truly both of us) longed for a little. The onesies got me, I envisioned a precious little one in them. Now the onesies are cute, and they make me nostalgic for when the little was littler, but they do not make me want another.They don't pull on my need to parent heart strings. That's when you know you're done. When you're at peace with where you are every day. At least as much as anyone can. That's when you feel complete.

    Now for the special needs thing. I am truly thankful for those who set out to adopt a child specifically with certain challenges that make them harder to place. I am not that person. We all have our reasons why we do or do not feel called to that. But I can tell you that feeling like you SHOULD be open to special needs adoption because you were blessed with healthy kids this time around is not a reason. Having a strong pull (in my opinion from God) that there is X kid waiting for you with X need and you have to find that child, that's a reason. Feeling that you should? That's something that only we adoptive parents set ourselves up for. I can't begin to assess why. Probably because we're crazy grateful that we survived the process and now we think that we owe it to (fill in the blank). No birth parent prays for their unborn child to be born with a challenge.

    I truly want all kids to have a pair of arms to love them. Adoption forever changed us, and it will always be my mission. We will help others get their kids home for the rest of our lives. But wanting to find them parents and wanting to BE their parent is the difference. You'll know when you get there. I don't think you're there yet.

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  14. Oh boy. Oh boy. When I told my sister that we were thinking of adopting #3, she said 'Are you sure?' 'Are you really really sure?' She had twins first, then a 3rd, then a 4th. And still she flashed back to adding that 3rd. Your sister and my sister were right. Adding that 3rd pushes everything over the edge. I now drop balls all. the. time. Over two years in, and I still have tiny flashbacks of how easy life was with just two. Or one. Every time there's a new person or being (I count our cats bc their personalities demand it) entering the house, there's an exponential # more of relationships that are created. So while there's more laundry and more food and on and on, it's those multitude of relationships and the dynamics within that bring the overwhelmingness. Particularly when one or two of the members have attachment or anxious behaviors or....

    And now I'm so wrapped up in my own living hell that I can't even find something fun or encouraging to say...

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  15. Here's my thing: try to picture being told no, sorry, you can't adopt another kid, ever. If your reaction is a sort of relief and gratefulness that you have 2, then... you're probably done. For now, at least. There's nothing to say that you won't feel differently when the twins are, say, 10. :)

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    Replies
    1. That is a really great way to put it!

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  16. This post piqued my interest because I feel like I'm constantly asking the same question and constantly questioning my own sanity for wanting more when I struggle so hard some days with the two I've got. Then you brought up the attracted to velocity bit, and I exclaimed "oh shit, I've never thought about it like that." I definitely have a strong feeling of not being done, despite our wildly chaotic jump into parenthood with two "older" kids, one with some needs. But I'm also madly addicted to velocity.

    Thankfully, Melissa posted above. I agree with her. If you're addicted to velocity, you're addicted to velocity and you'll find it wherever. If you're not done, your velocity addiction might be directed toward another child, but if you're done it will find other outlets. Now that that's resolved (at least for me), if I can only convince my husband that we're not done and that two more might be just about right...

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  17. I knew I had to have #3 even though everyone with a mouth who was capable of making noise told me I was wrong to want this. (seriously) I persevered because when I thought about what my family should look like, there was something missing. We had a beautiful family but if did not feel complete. I didn't care if everyone else said I "should" feel complete, fact of the matter is, I felt someone missing from my family portrait. As soon as she was with us, the family felt right.

    I would have loved to adopt a sister for her but that would have been "for her" and not something I felt prepared to do for us.

    Good luck with your decision.

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  18. we have one child and are on a wait list to adopt #2, but recently realized that we actually didn't desire another. so we're on hold with no plans to ever go off hold. it took a while to realize (because you "can't" have just one - gasp!), but the thought of 2 stressed us out instead of got us excited. we actually feel complete with one. when we decided on just one, there was relief (and ours is actually an "easy" kid so it wasn't about that). we don't have the longing for another. so that's how we knew we were done. i would make sure you have the longing for raising another child all the way through, not just for a baby because that stage goes by fast :). i think what ultimatly decided for me was that in stressful moments i was thinking "no way, no more" but also in easy times i think "this is perfect, this is nice, this feels right". also, our change in the velocity was buying a new house and we are going through serious renovations now haha.

    good luck!

    (ps - i'm a random blog lurker, so you don't know me, but i enjoy your blog)

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  19. Someone I know once said, "Never have more children than the amount of windows you have available to look out of in the car."

    Seems like sensible advice to me. ;-)

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  20. We pro-actively avoided any issues going from 1, to 2, to 3 kids, and just adopted three all at once (ages 1, 2, 3 at the time). Ha ha ha. Interesting times. But I don't feel done yet, either. Even though my...uh...personal stability and well-being (which directly impacts my parenting and nurturing) feel, at best, precarious most of the time...I would dive on in again. I try to examine my motivations, hopes, higher callings, etc., and come up a little uncertain as to "why" exactly...but it has something to do with joining together with others in the journey of life, and being together.

    Older, younger, dunno. I, too, would love a little babe - we met our daughter at 12 months' old, and I loved that first year with her...and see how knowing her younger has made such a difference in my attachment to her, and my understanding of her needs and how to respond to her. And I would love to use cute baby clothes again, and use my Ergo & Beco carriers more (despite the sweaty discomfort at times). That said, adopting our boys has made me more comfortable with older child adoption...the mutual attachment process frightens me a bit, but I am also seeing how we are moving along in our journey with the kids we do have. So I also have hope and some optimism. Maybe there's a widely spaced sibling group out there, or on the way...

    Anyway, this post grabbed my attention because your experience with decision-making is so similar to mine. How do you know...what you most want...what is best...what is wisest & least selfish...??? I never know...I usually end up taking steps toward something toward which I am drawn, and see what happens. Usually something works out along the lines I was thinking, and sometimes (like with the home and acreage we conditionally bought this fall, which someone else firmly bought, which closes today...bye bye beautiful place) it doesn't.


    Oh, and totally relate to your photo caption...yep.

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  21. Love this post. I'm the oldest of 10, and loved having all those siblings -- they're my great gift in life. But, oh.my. How my mother did it, I will never know.

    As you know, we've now got twin 4 year olds who are basically going on 2 right now. Tough. I'd wanted at least one to be a baby to experience those baby stages and now find myself grateful that they're 4 and in two years will be 6 and so on:-) But at the same time, when I'm around a baby, I do get that tug . If I were younger, I'd plan on another adoption in a few years for sure. However, given my age (mid-40s) and the attention I need to give these two littles in my life, I think this will be it for us. I'll probably always have a little grief about the baby thing, but that's okay... like you say, this earthly life will never completely satisfy and the Lord can come into the empty places and do amazing things.

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  22. It's tough to decide, but I think that if you are thinking this much about a third baby, then chances are you actually do want a third baby. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, even if you are overwhelmed sometimes with your kids now, even if you have enough chaos already. If you go for it, you'll figure out how to make it work. You will.

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  23. I read your post, waited a few days, then came back to read it again. This question of "are we done?" is something I ponder on a near-daily basis, which makes me think we're (I'm) not done. I have a lot more trepidation about adding a second child than I did about adopting the first time. All things considered, our adoption of an "older" child (4 yo boy) has gone amazingly well. Part of me thinks that if God only gives you what you can handle, then He doesn't think I can handle much, haha. I would want to adopt another older child so they are close in age when the second child comes home (one or two years apart, ideally). What if the next one is significantly more difficult? How would I feel about the impact that would have on the child we already have, who is such an amazingly good kid? And then I think about the financial impact, and that's where my head really gets swimming.

    No answers for you, but I agree with all above who told you to give yourself more credit. From everything I've read here, you're a great mama to those twins.

    And regarding velocity? My feeling is that without it we'd be stalled. And nothing sounds worse to me than that.

    Good luck with your decision!

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  24. Before we had Baby Spouse, we thought the same as you: baby first, then maybe older child adoption. Now, having him, but also having a couple of very good bloggy and tweety friends who've had younger siblings of their older adopted children placed with them (and another mum who had a birth child after adoption), I am coming round to the idea that we need to try and do the same by any subsequent child. It seems to be even harder for a child to come to terms with the fact that they did not have a loving start in life with their beloved new parents, when they have a sibling who did get that.

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  25. These comments are so hugely interesting to me. Thank you so much- I am learning so much from all your wisdom. Thank you!!!

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  26. I have no idea if we'll have/adopt any more kids but I do know that while I was *in country* picking up our son I clicked on an email link to an older waiting child and then sent it to my husband back in the U.S. who promptly told me to snap out of it. I like your thoughts on addiction to velocity, but as other folks have said, it's my feeling that when it comes to kids you know on a gut level if you're done or not. That's not to say that in two months you might wake up and know you're done...Today, you don't know and that's okay. You're right in the middle of it - processing this decision - and bravo for identifying the decision itself holds so much appeal - so maybe remove any pressure to make a decision and just live with the questions/doubts/desires right now. As mytwolines said, take the time to just live in the not knowing. And man, I wish I discovered your blog years ago - I need to go back and read your posts on the crazy-making because I thought I was alone in it.

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  27. When one parent KNOWS he is done -- having had two bios with a previous wife -- and the other never had a baby and is longing for a baby, a simple, healthy, non-older, non-traumatized baby and cries when she takes her six year old to the firehouse to see Santa and he goes into a trauma-induced episode and there are a million, seriously, million babies under the age of six months being fawned over by everyone else in the place and she is seriously thinking of going out and buying everything she would have bought if she could have had a baby and setting up a nursery -- just to have that experience, then there is trouble. When you go to the RESOLVE website about infertility, there is a whole section on knowing when you're done. And I never got to that point even of feeling I'd tried everything possible. And I have NO peace about feeling done. I set aside my desires to adopt a baby for my husband's desire to NEVER have to go through the infant/toddler thing again. And I did the noble thing and adopted an older child. And it didn't even begin to satisfy MY NEED for a baby. And now to have a baby, when we're beginning to wind down day care costs and this one is becoming more self-sufficient and wants to do things that are more and more expensive ($800 for a hockey season, for example) and I KNOW his attachment issues will way ramp up again if we bring a baby into the house -- it's infinitely more difficult to convince even myself to continue to try to convince the husband. But I dream about it every night and cry every morning when I wake up. So, if you are not at peace, and your husband isn't fighting it -- don't shortchange yourself. I think the answer that you will have peace is true. Because I see that my husband is there. He is SO DONE. Meanwhile, I'm eyeing the onesies and the itty bitty shoes and longing for the feel of a tiny baby -- MY baby, not a niece, not a friend's baby, but MINE (adopted, yes, but MINE) -- in my arms.

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  28. All that to say, if you want an infant, older child adoption is not for you, no matter how noble sounding it is.

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  29. That advice about "never have more kids than windows to look out of the car" sounds so bizarre to me. Like, kids will be happier if they have their own window? Kids are happy when they are loved and productive and develop confidence and gratitude, none of which come from being able to claim a window or a room or a pony all to their own.

    I know the not done feeling. Insanely, I think it is still there, lurking in the corners of my mind. And I never had three, we went from two to four in a semi-traumatic fashion as you know, and the two babies are so fricking high needs even as they turn the corner on three. They tax us. They drive us cuh-ray-zee.

    BUT BUT BUT. We just added two more. (Raising hand to velocity addiction club) Six kids is easier than the four. Adopting the older kids, and having the ability to deal with their gunk is easier every day than the raging two toddlers and their destruction and poop. But you never know. You just never know how it's going to be. For us, six is way easier than four, hands down. Before, half the kids were a hot mess. Now, 2/3 of them are with it most times and only two of them require yelling. It's weird how even though there are more, it's easier. They play together, they all clean up messes. More is not always harder. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. And I am biased but I will say, we didn't want anyone younger than our youngest and adopting out of birth order was the best thing we ever did even though many social workers would hate me for saying it. I look forward to hearing more of your brain on this and joining you on this journey to maybe three.

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  30. I used to be able to find good advice from your content.
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  31. Oh, you do not know how often I have searched the internet for people contemplating this very same question. Yes, there are lots of articles and blog posts about whether or not to have a 3rd biological baby, but none (that I could find anyway) about whether to add a third adopted child (any age). And, I needed to know that there were others out there contemplating this very question. I don't have anything to add to the wisdom/advice/personal experience shared here, only thanks for articulating it in such an articulate way. Yes, velocity! Always, questions about capacity! Why do I keep thinking about child number three when we are way stretched with two? Please keep exploring this with us. It's an important (and obviously resonant) conversation to have.

    Amy

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  32. I have not ever felt the "done" feeling yet...will I? We have 5 kiddos and are asked frequently "If we're done?" and while asking it their tone sounds something like, "you're done now, right?! you guys are craaazy." It is a hard decision, one that I tend to think needs to be made more with the heart than the head. Love each of my kiddos.

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  33. Every child that needs to be adopted, needs to be adopted. I hear what you are saying about going with the higher needs adoption because those kids are harder to place. But don't confuse that factoid with some kind of requirement on you. The really question here is, what is the Holy Spirit asking of you? Maybe you ARE only equipped to handle a typical, healthy baby, because maybe that is all you are being called to do? I am not saying that is what I think, just that you should not heap guilt upon yourself.

    We have 1 bio kid, and 1 on the way. I used to think I wanted 5, 6 or 7 kids. But the first one has been SO HARD that I am honestly a little panicked about two. Nevertheless, I am strongly thinking that, God willing, we will have at least three. In no small part because I am righteously irritated with the cultural assumption (even in my own family) that more than two kids is somehow crazy or irresponsible. I want to be more life affirming than that. Even thought it scares the poo out of me!!!

    (Been reading your blog for a couple months now. Forget how I found you. Love it.)

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  34. I am going to hope that the answer to 'how many kids'? is going to be the same answer as 'how did you know he was the right one to marry'? I could list the many reasons but truthfully it is beyond explanation - I just knew. I will also second the suggestion that you need to acknowledge the insanity that is raising twins - tis twice as glamourous, right?! :)

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  35. I have a friend who has twins and a couple of singletons. She sees people with singletons and thinks "one baby, I laugh at your 'one baby'!". It is harder and it is altogether possible that YOUR experience of going from 2-3 will be very different to other people's. My personal transition from 2-3 was the easiest of all of them! (I have 6) However adding another to the mix will involve some changes to your family and sacrifices. Inevitably making a choice means you give up other choices. But neither of the choices you have in front of you are the wrong choice as far as I can see. They are different and involve different challenges - but essentially, it is up to you. But each choice is the start of a new narrative arc for you and your family. There are so many adventures ahead of you. As a pregnant baby addict mother of six who is planning to foster special needs baby when my own special need baby is older (raises hand as velocity addict) BABIES ARE NOT THE ONLY ADVENTURE. Essentially it is only you and your husband who will be able to make this decision, but the adventures ahead of you are great and amazing, no matter what choice you make.

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  36. For me and my wife, living with the indecision is working for us. When our daughter was a baby and toddler I despaired that I might not have any more kids. Our original plan had been for me to carry one baby, assuming I could conceive, and then adopt 2 from foster care. I was crippled with indecision, wanting both to adopt and to have another baby and feeling that 4 kids was just too many. Finally, I allowed myself to think we could have one more. Now we are doing the paper work to get licensed as foster parents and trying to conceive another child. We have both finally found peace with just seeing how it turns out and feeling confident that we can make it work and be happy whether we end up with 1 more, 3 more or no more. In letting go of the decision and have let go of the stress.

    I would say that is something that is hard about adopting is that you do a lot of work so you have to make a decision. It has been struggle for me that in adoption there is no simple stopping birth control and seeing what happens. Still, when I am met with indecision, assuming we will have another baby has helped remove the need for velocity.

    I wanted to add that I think for so many of us that have always wanted to be parents, it is always going to be hard to say this is the last time I will ever have a baby this small. Even my sister-in-law who had terribly difficult pregnancies and her children are difficult, especially as babies with terrible sleeping habits and super strong wills, and one with lots of sensory issues, she knows she does not want any more. Still, she hates that physically she can't have any more. No desire to ever have another infant or be pregnant again, yet still sad that those days are gone and will never be back. I think that again this is where living with the indecision, letting myself assume we would one day have more kids gave me freedom to enjoy the present.

    Oddly, now that we are actually actively trying both to conceive and to become foster parents I find myself feeling for the first time in my life that I'm really happy with my one child. I love the idea of letting yourself assume you will do one or the other and seeing how you feel. Like on Grey's Anatomy, one of the doctor's flips a coin to make major decisions. Not because the coin toss will determine the result for him, but in that second when he flips the coin, he has a gut feeling as to how he wants it fall. Although it is not fail proof. I find I still change my mind regularly and my feelings change from week to week and even from hour to hour. So, we are going for it all and feeling peaceful about all 3 possible outcomes.

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Over to you!