08 June 2017

A Dream

Ever since we had our 5 boys, when people ask if we want to have more kids, I've always said I'm done with the baby phase (I wouldn't mind having a few more kids around the same ages as my boys though).  I've had this dream of adopting a sibling group from foster care, and every few years it tugs at my heart again and I spend time looking at the pictures online of the children who need parents, especially the foster children who's parental rights have already been terminated and they are already "free" for adoption.  The idea of keeping a group of siblings together is really significant to me, and I lean toward groups of several siblings that might otherwise find a hard time all being able to go to the same adoptive home.  I'm not naive about this idea, I know it would be hard.  And our experience of raising 5 boys would only prepare us for a small part of what we would need to learn to parent children who had lived with the trauma that most foster children have been through.  And the whole process of adopting from foster care has been relatively painless for some families, but I've read that it can often be difficult, complicated, and drawn out (and that's if you are eventually able to adopt the children, instead of having them returned to their biological family or relatives after trying to start the adoption process).  It would also make a huge difference in our lives -- right now our oldest is 13 and our youngest is 8.  In 10 years it's totally possible that we could be empty nesters -- and who knows, maybe even grandparents??? (I know, that's totally crazy!)  And in the mean time: our family has always loved getting outdoors and enjoying fun and challenging adventures in nature together, and in recent years the boys have been able to do more hikes that are longer or more challenging.  Who knows what abilities, motivations, and desires could come along with new personalities added to the family (what if a new addition is accustomed to playing video games after school, or spending their evenings & weekends on the soccer field, or would rather just play with dolls than go on a hike?)  And if some of the siblings were younger, that would involve going back into those stages of life again -- car seats, diaper bags, play groups, nap schedules, etc.  But that wouldn't necessarily be a negative thing, just different for a few years.  The other thing is the idea that some of the siblings might be older kids -- I know already that I couldn't adopt a child older than my oldest son -- I feel like I at least need experience with raising children that age before raising an adopted child that age who will likely have more needs.  Then there's a lot of differing opinions out there about ages -- if it's bad to adopt child(ren) older than your biological children, or if it's totally fine (I know it has worked out great for many families, but others think it's not a smart idea at all).  Probably doesn't matter too much, though, because at this rate our kids would be a little older by the time we feel it's right to try out foster care, if we ever do get to that point.  That being said, I don't really love the idea of adopting a "second family" -- I'd much prefer to have my boys live with and know their adopted siblings, rather than wait until they all leave the house and then call them and say you have some new brothers/sisters.  But with Kolby graduating high school in 5 years, I don't know if that's even an option.  (Plus, I have heard that there are laws in California limiting how many children can be in the home when fostering children, so I don't know if it'd even be legally possible if we did want to go for it right now).  But very few years I think seriously about this whole idea again, and every few years (including now) I really want it, but I have the distinct impression that it's not the right time.  I mentioned it to my brother yesterday, and he asked me when the right time will be, and I said I don't know.  I just know it's not the right time for our family now.  And I don't know if that means it will be someday, or it won't ever be.  So it's kind of with a sad heart that I force myself to close the websites with the pictures of these siblings, even though I know it's what I should do for our family right now.  Maybe someday.

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