8 Traits of Families That “Successfully” Adopt More Than One at a Time

It’s not uncommon to see families adopting more than one child at a time. Mostly this occurs in foster care or international adoption and involves sibling groups. Sometimes, though, people are interested in adopting two unrelated kids at the same time.

In the past, adopting more than one child at a time wasn’t considered “best practice” unless it was for a sibling group. However, many social workers now will tell you that it is indeed possible to “successfully” adopt more than one child at a time (known as concurrent adoption), but that it takes careful preparation beforehand and lots of support and education after the adoption.

Adoption and foster care social workers also widely agree that not every family is up to the task. In fact, some perfectly wonderful families already know that they are great parents for multiple children. However, those same folks may not be the RIGHT family to tackle the adoption of more than one child at the same time.

On a radio show by our partners at Creating a Family, several social workers identified eight specific characteristics of families that seemed to do well when adopting more than one unrelated child at a time. We think many of these same traits are also necessary for families that are adopting a sibling group.

8 Traits of Families That “Successfully” Adopt More Than One at a Time

  1. Flexible Attitude – The ability to roll with the punches and shift your expectations is a must! We all come into adoption with expectations of what our new life will be like, what our new children will be like, and what we will be like as parents to these kids. The more children you adopt, the less likely that reality will match your expectations.
  2. Strong Marriage – The ability to share roles and support each other in healthy ways will see you through those tough first years.
  3. Lots of Support– The cliché is true: it takes a village and nowhere is this truer than when you adopt a sibling group or more than one child at a time. Families that thrive usually have a good support system of family and friends.
  4. Parenting Experience – It helps to have parented similar-aged kids before this adoption, so that you have realistic expectations about parenting in general.
  5. Accessible Medical and Counseling Resources – Many children adopted internationally or through the foster care system have some degree of special needs. The more children you adopt, the more appointments with professionals you will have to juggle. It helps to have these resources within easy driving distance.
  6. Experience with Past Hardship – Parents who have weathered hard times and come out the other side seem to do better with sibling adoption or concurrent adoptions. Adopting more than one child at a time, whether they are related or not, is hard work! The ability to see past the difficulties and “hang in there” is often a learned skill.
  7. Willingness to Ask for Help – The truth is that no family can adopt a set of kids at once and do it alone. You will need help. Period. The easier it is for you to admit that you need help and ask for it, the sooner you will get it.
  8. Ability to Create and Maintain a Structured, but Nurturing, Environment – Newly adopted children, especially those over the age of one, need a structured environment with lots of routines. The more kids you adopt at once, the more you will need that structure. Families that thrive usually are able to create such an environment and live comfortably within it.

Our partners at North American Council for Adoptable Children have great resources for parenting adopted children. This article on Playful Parenting, is excellent for helping you balance the necessary structure with connectedness in fun ways.