Should you mix adopted and bio kids?

This was a question on one of the adoption discussion groups I’m a part of. I started writing an answer, and then it turned into a pretty long answer, and I thought I would share it here.

Q: Should you adopt if you also have biological children?

My answer…

There is so much more I could say about this than could ever be said in a brief comment. It’s complex, and what happened happened and cannot be undone, so it’s a strange thought exercise to pretend it could.

I am the eldest child of my parents; they adopted me shortly after birth after ten years of infertility. They were living in my country of birth at the time and they realised that there were a lot of babies available for adoption – it was a pragmatic decision on their part rather than any sort of “White saviorism” that I’ve become aware of. They genuinely thought it made sense. I’m still loathe to say it didn’t. They adopted my sister (non bio, “like the washing powder”) a year later and thought their family was complete.

However, five years later, like the well known adoption cliché, my mother went to the doctor concerned she was putting on weight.

“You’re five months pregnant!,” he said.

My brother was born a few months later. The Golden Child (as he’s still known). And then – surprise again! – my youngest sibling was born another two years after that.

My feelings on whether people should adopt if they also have bio children are complex, because I love my siblings and I love my parents and on balance I have had a good life. My parents’ pragmatism and “colourblind” approach is clearly not de rigeur nowadays. We were treated pretty much the same as the bios, allowing for individual differences in personality and interests. And it’s hard to say you wish your siblings were never born. We had a childhood as a gang; moving around different countries for my dad’s job meant we always had friends in each other.

BUT – as I’ve grown up I’ve been very aware that the “natural order” was changed through our adoption. I’ve always been extremely emotionally needy and battled for attention (and got it, within the family) and played The Oldest to the best of my abilities (leader of the pack). I’m aware I stole the Golden Child’s birthright. In many ways he acts as an “oldest”. I clashed with him growing up. I was overwhelmingly jealous of him in the way I wasn’t of the youngest, who I doted on (and still do).

Realistically I love all my siblings but #3, the first bio, the miracle, the Golden Child, is the least close to me emotionally and character wise. He is the very epitome of white privilege, and I admit that I resent that everything comes so easy to him. He’s never had a day of difficulty in his life, and the slow realisation that he would have an easier time progressing even though he’s a mediocre student compared to my battling for acceptance as a straight A scholarship student was a tough lesson to learn. For me I guess he stands as a sort of emblem of white male privilege. The sad thing is, he’s a really nice guy and I don’t give him enough credit because I’m blinded by envy and the differences in our personalities. We have a healthy respect for each other but rarely seek out each other’s company. That said, I’m sure it’s the same for some bio siblings.

I’ve waxed and waned with my adopted sibling. In many ways we tried to plough our own furrows because the assumption was always that we were twins because we were roughly the same race (we don’t look remotely alike; it’s the racism of “they all look the same to me”) and we are extremely different personalities. I was a bullied geek turned fighter/leader. My sibling was always appeasing and popular and assimilated but maybe lost for a while in doing that. We were best buddies as young kids, separated at school and rebelled in our separate ways, and have gradually come back together. We are good friends now. For many years my sibling struggled and I’m sure adoption had a lot to do with it. I always thought I was the coper and my sibling was the screwed up one; lately I’m thinking maybe one of us just processed it first.

My youngest sibling is my favourite. Even though we are furthest in age we always got on best. I’m not sure why I’m not jealous of the youngest in the same way… I think it’s because of personality and also that my youngest sibling is gay. I feel that this means my sibling is much more empathetic than most people and knows what it’s like to be a minority. My sibling is also probably personality wise the kind of person I would like to be – doesn’t let bad stuff win and always perseveres to make dreams come true. And probably is the one who gets on the best with everyone. I guess this is often a factor of the youngest.

The complexity in mixed adoptive/bio families is that even if you resolve to treat them exactly the same, the outside world won’t. When people tell me that [my race] don’t get racism, I feel like I’m always the one rocking the boat or trying to forge a new path, acting differently from “normal [my race] females” (whoever they are – hardly any in the UK). For me our family is a perfect microcosm of a controlled experiment: white male privilege vs female of colour. And it hurts.

As an adult I don’t blame my mother for being overjoyed at having a biological child after 15 years of infertility. He WAS a miracle. But I was reminded for all of my childhood that I wasn’t, and I never felt good enough, despite her constant reassurances. He was a mini version of my dad. I didn’t resemble my parents and that hurts. Especially with my dad. Everyone thinks a mum with two little ethnic kids is cute; an adult male with a non-white female is seen as some sort of power play. It hurts like hell that the role of [my race] females is so tied up in sexuality that my relationship with my dad is seen as something else from the outside. If we go to dinner, it’s assumed I’m his girlfriend at best and a prostitute at worst.

The other thing I would say is that environment matters, and there may be compromises to be made that benefit the children differently. When we lived overseas we were in a diverse, multicultural and expatriate (mainly American) environment. Maybe it was privilege and/or youth but I never noticed racism until I moved back to the UK, and it took me a while to figure it out. Overseas all the kids were more or less treated the same (we were at least special and cool in a way, as adoptees, and we probably all were treated with privilege as expats) but back in the UK, it was a shock to be treated so differently from white family members. The move back to the UK disproportionately affected the adopted kids (racism) but I would temper that with getting a British education which has enabled us all to get “good” jobs and be self sufficient. I found British education miserable and racist but… it did prepare me for life and work as a British adult (less miserable but still a lot of racism).

One thing my parents did do with varying degrees of success was to try and make us all special and recognised in our own different ways. I was the smart one, one of my siblings was the musical one, the golden child was the sporty one and the little one was the politician (got on with everyone!). They really did make each of us feel that we were The Best at each of “our things”. (The problem comes when over analytical adoptee me would be thinking that society values sports more than academic prowess.) I do think it’s important to give each child something to be proud of and best at. Also, I always felt very wounded by the miracle of the golden child but my dad would try to make up for it by pretending I was his favourite. I do think that helped. I just think some children are more emotionally needy than others. I used to try and add up how much each parent loved each of us, which is stupid but shows how my mind worked. (Probably still does.)

The hardest thing I’ve dealt with as a grown up is that realisation that I may be a genetic island. As the oldest, I got married first and I should have had a family first, but – irony of ironies – I’m infertile. So I’ve struggled with that for years whilst the golden child did everything “right” – married his childhood sweetheart and had the perfect two naturally conceived children, one boy, one girl. To me that is the hardest thing to deal with right now and feels like one more thing that has been taken away from me. I always felt like there would be some healing in having my own family, a child who looked like me, and I can’t describe how painful it is to think that likely won’t happen – especially when everyone’s response to infertility is “Why don’t you just adopt?” Neither of us adoptees wants to adopt. I think that maybe says something.

We often vied for position in our family. We’d all defend each other to the end but the fact is, with four kids you have to fight for attention. From the outside we are all pretty pushy. I’ve had a lifelong battle to feel special and I’ve gotten into some bad relationships because of it. But is that adoption, or is than just me? I’ve always wanted to feel chosen and to be someone’s favourite. I think a large part of coming to terms with it was meeting my partner, who was also adopted as a baby (same race adoption). For the first time I had someone other than my adopted sibling who understood and was willing to talk about it. It’s helped me unpick a lot of my feelings because it’s almost like having a control group for race/adoption.

My partner was adopted as the younger of two (non bio) siblings and is extremely close to his sibling, even though on the surface they have very little in common. I think this is because (aside from the fact that he’s an amazing human who invests in others) they only had each other. I think that and the same race adoption cuts the complexity somewhat. They also had a much easier time searching for their bio parents which I think eases some of the questions that come up, whereas I feel that’s an almost insurmountable obstacle for us.

Honestly, I’ve always joked with my dad that they should have stopped with me. And whilst I would never get rid of my siblings – I do think it would have been easier if I had been an only child or if my adopted sibling and I had been the only kids. I think adopted children need to feel more than anything else that they’re not second best, or a backup, or a charity project – but the fact is, they are one or all of those. A fundamental fact that I’ve always lived with is that if my parents hadn’t suffered with infertility, I wouldn’t be here in this life. That’s a lot to grow up with.

Some things I think potential [transracial] adoptive parents should consider with mixed adopted/bio families:

  • Can you trust that you’ll be able to value each child as special and make them truly understand, to their core, that you love them equally?
  • Do you realise that might not mean demonstrating it in the same way to each child? Adopted children, especially transracial adoptees, are likely to need more support and grounding and help developing their identities than your bio children.
  • Many adoptees I’ve met have had “issues” with feeling like they belonged and are second best – how are you going to help deal with this?
  • Are you willing to advocate for your child? Second guess and elicit how they’re truly feeling, and get beyond their adoptee desire for acceptance and people pleasing? (Adopted children often demonstrate more people pleasing behaviours than others, because they are afraid of further rejection.)
  • How will you react when they’re Othered and how will you help them cope? What happens when it’s your biological child who’s othering them?
  • When it comes down to it, are you willing to have exactly the same loyalty to your adopted child as your biological child?

From my point of view, I’m not in the position to tell people what to do with regards to growing their family. If you are going to do it, you’re going to do it and some random person on a blog isn’t going to affect that. If you’re already in that position then I hope you are still considering these questions and understanding that adopted children and bio children do not feel the same and will not be dealing with the same sorts of identity issues – particularly if they are transracially adopted. That’s not to say all is hopeless, but it is complex. 

I am happy and generally okay but that’s in spite of the experiences I’ve had and not because of them. Growing up different is hard, no matter how much your parents love you (and mine do, a lot). Their love cannot protect you from the rest of the world and if you’re the different one, you have to learn to navigate the world and your difference within it on your own.

Another thing: adoptees are not static. They are not perpetual children. They grow up, they experience and learn and change just like other people. And so it’s important to understand that your child’s feelings about adoption won’t remain static throughout their lives. Their desires to connect with their birth culture may wax and wane too. One of my biggest regrets is that I resisted learning my birth language as a child – my parents encouraged me to, but I didn’t want to – I didn’t want another not-very-fun-sounding task to do. Now as an adult it is a big blocker to me revisiting my birth culture.

So what’s the answer? I have no answer. I only have my own lived experience. 

If you don’t have experience of adoption or race then I urge you to the very large number of adult transracially adopted voices and testimonies so that whatever you do, you go into it with your eyes open.


(Benetton ad from my childhood)

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35 comments

  1. MrsD

    Thank you for posting this. A lot of these issues have been in the back of my mind for a while, as my husband and I know that it is likely this will be our only biological child. We’re torn between having an only child (which comes with it’s own ups and downs) and adopting (maybe through the foster care system) at some point.

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    • Nara

      In my experience, most adoptees in mixed families who I have met, have expressed the view that they would have preferred not to be in mixed families.

      Most of the only children I know have very good relationships with their parents.

      If we ever manage to have a child, it will be our only child. I am fine with this.

      I do think I have had a good life, and I get on well with my family and siblings so I wouldn’t be rid of them now (so don’t get that idea!). However if you asked do I think my life would have been easier without biological siblings, I really think it would have. And I see with T that his (also adopted) sibling they are very close and he thinks it would have been different if their parents also had a bio child.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. waitingbetweenthelines

    My family is complex too. I am the eldest biological child and I have a younger sister (same parents). My parents divorced, dad remarried and at 50 had a son with my stepmother. My mom fell in love with a woman who is younger than her and who wanted a child. They adopted a black daughter (I am white). She is now 13, my half brother is 17, full blood sister is 34 and I am 37. My adopted sister was abandoned and we will never have access to her biological parents. I know she struggles… It’s very complex and hard for her, especially at 13, to deal with all the differences that she faces. We have always tries to celebrate her difference rather than ignore it and my mom and her partner try to support her black identity in terms of helping her learn the language, mixing with in diverse social circles etc. We also try to open up conversations with her and allow her to express any conflict she feels. I am a psychologist and so belive I am sensitive to her struggles BUT she won’t talk to any of us and refuses to go to a psychologist herself. From your experience, what would have helped you most at that time in your life?

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    • Nara

      Hi there. I think the main things that would have helped me or did help me were:

      – Constant reinforcement of unconditional love and particularly addressing the idea that as an adoptee I felt that I couldn’t possibly be loved as much as the bio. My parents did tell me all the time that this wasn’t the case, but I didn’t fully believe them. I mentioned my dad would try and make up for it by “pretending” I was his favourite – this did help. I think every kid wants to feel that they are someone’s first choice. Every human does.

      – Value the differences. It sounds like you are doing this. In terms of diversity also make sure that she’s not a minority within a minority if you get what I mean. Like it’s good to know people of your race but you might feel like a foreigner with them because you don’t have the culture etc. Any cultural / language activities should be additive and not an extra “othering” task that the adoptee has to do. (Like Saturday language school – why would you want to do that when bios don’t have to go to school on Saturday?) Link up with others in the same situation (transracial adoptees and families) so for some part of her life she isn’t a minority and can have a shared experience.

      – Older role models and mentors, racial mirrors. I think this is really important. In particular if there’s anything to do with older adoptees because they’ve been through it. Adoption communities. There are loads online depending on what race etc. She needs to understand that there are positives about her race and that’s difficult if she’s only taught it by white people. Although I strongly resisted learning the language I wish I had done so as then I would be able to connect with others in that culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      • waitingbetweenthelines

        Thanks so much for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully… Food for thought for myself and my family. Since we are also now exploring adoption (which in sa for a white couple will almost certainly be transracial), this has relevance as a sister and potential adoptive mother.

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      • Nara

        I do think it’s really dependent on the family. All I would say is that in this discussion, I was probably the least “anti” – many, many adoptees in the discussion said they would have preferred it not to have been that way. A few were like me (generally happy with how it turned out but still aware of the issues involved). I guess it depends on family dynamics.

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  3. sbach1222

    Thank you for writing this. I have wondered these questions myself and you brought up a lot of good things that I wouldn’t have thought of.

    We have an interesting family, I am the oldest and I have a biological sister (both born to our parents) and then another younger sister who is adopted (from within extended family, so same race) and then my parents got divorced and my Dad adopted my youngest sister’s biological sister on his own.

    I also have no opinions, only an experience, as you do. I am most jealous of my biological sister, and it didn’t start until I was older and seems to be getting worse. My dad and all of my family really favor her, though I did good in school and paid my way through college and got a career, and she did none of that. My dad buys her whatever material brand name thing she wants (I could never spend money on the things she has!) and when she asks for money for anything (even today and she is married) he sends it to her, but I asked for a little bit when I was in college to help buy books one year… NOPE! I’m not sure what it is, but apparently her personality requires a lot of attention and people give it to her. I get jealous of that even today.

    My biological sister was SUPER jealous when my parent’s adopted our 3rd sister when she was a baby, she has special needs and bio parents were both mentally handicapped, even though they are years apart but they get along better today and I don’t see the jealousy she had for a time when 3 was younger.

    My dad adopted 3’s biological sister, but not until she was like 8 or 9, and she had already learned some horrible things from her life prior to being places with my dad (was with her bio grandparents). Her and her bio sister are constantly fighting and super jealous of each other. At first I thought my dad was treating #4 differently than #3 and she even said to him once “Why does #3 get everything and I don’t?” and I got to listen to his response from the other end and I realized that they weren’t treated differently. She asked “Well 3 got an iPod” and he said “You have been given 3 iPods and you have thrown them and broken them all” and she said “Well 3 got a cell phone” “So did you until you started doing inappropriate things with it” “3 got a laptop” “You got mad and smashed yours…” and so on. 4 got the same things, but kept acting out and losing her privileges.

    So you are right, each one is unique and has different needs than each other. And the same can hold true for bio siblings.

    Each person will have things they struggle with and things they accelerate in.

    Again, it was very nice to hear the story from the adoptee in an interracial family situation and learn new things I wouldn’t have thought of.

    Thanks again for sharing.

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    • Nara

      No probs! I think you’re right; it’s very dependent on the family and that can happen whether it’s bio or not. However I do think that when you add in adoption there’s another layer of complexity. And race sort of adds another lens. But of course there are all sorts of families made up in lots of different ways!

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  4. thegreatpuddingclubhunt

    Thanks Nara for some thought provoking reading and thank you for sharing your feelings too, I appreciate your honesty! Particularly thinking about trans-racial adoption related issues too.

    Chris and I talk about adoption a lot, it’s a question we wonder about – families with mixed bio/adopted children…how do they work? It seems it is quite hard to separate out the typical “sibling rivalry and different personality” variables – but saying that, there must be some great research or books about it? Have you ever come across anything interesting?

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    • Nara

      Hey Dani! I think you’re right. I always ascribed the rivalry between me and my brother to boy/girl birth order stuff but now I am older and have spoken with a lot of adoptees, I think there is possibly more in there to do with being adopted than I first thought. You definitely always have a sort of feeling that you’re on the back foot, for example. I know my parents love me – they are really nuts about it, haha! But that doesn’t stop me feeling that inherently I’m not as good as a bio. It’s hard to explain. I don’t blame my parents for this at all. I think it’s a natural feeling you get if you were adopted.

      There is definitely a personality difference too and maybe that’s exacerbated by not sharing any genes! My brother is a lot like my dad. I’m not like anyone!

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    • Nara

      Oh and on the books there are lots on adoption I’ve read but they tend to be very polarised. They’re either what the adoption community calls “rainbows and unicorns” (positive stuff only) or the kind of adoption as trauma thing (The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier is the seminal work here). With transracial adoption there are other things to consider. And with siblings who are bio kids.

      Two other books I thought were really good on adoption and identity were:

      What are you? Voices of mixed race young people. Pearl Fuyo Gaskins
      – not strictly about adoption but covers a lot around transracial identity

      The perpetual child – anthology of adoptee voices. Diane René Christian
      – Written works by adult adoptees.

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      • circumstance227

        I’ve been thinking a lot about what I can say on this topic. My kids are my kids. As you read in my adoption stories, we never seriously considered IVF. Our journey down the medical route to becoming parents was VERY short – we realized quickly, before even really trying, that it was simply not our way. So, in a sense, we chose our daughters over (potential) biological ones.
        All of my experience with families that include both adopted and biological kids is secondhand. The one that comes to mind is a family that had two kids, then adopted a girl from India and then two more children from Ethiopia. The Indian child was immensely jealous of the two Ethiopian ones (and, to be honest, she had her reasons to be so), but not jealous of the biological siblings. It reaffirms my belief that every adoption situation is unique.
        All children come to a point in their lives where they ask the most fundamental of questions: “Who am I?”
        With adopted children, this question must be doubly hard.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The EcoFeminist

    Oh the word “mix” just drives me into a near rage when I hear it, as if somehow parenting kids from different backgrounds/origins somehow is a bad thing. It to me is a passive aggressive way of insulting adoption in general.

    As you know we are doing donor egg IVF while also adopting from Ethiopia, so you can guess my opinion on the original question. Like you said, we can use our own experience but we can’t tell others what to do. My mother was married four times. None of my siblings are “full” siblings – my dad and mom both had their “own” kids with other spouses before or after me and I was the only one from their pairing. I consider this exactly the same, to be honest. Just because I don’t share the same father as two of them or the same mother as three of them doesn’t have anything to do with is or isn’t right – it was all in how I was parented. If the parents referred to the child adopted as “our adopted kid” instead of “our kid” that would be messed up – I know this because in my dad’s family I was “Judy’s kid” and in my mom’s family I was “Tom’s kid” when they explained me to the world so I always felt outcast in both worlds. And now what about me, trying to have a baby with an embryo that doesn’t contain my genetic information? Am I suddenly part of that conversation ? Is our little girl that we bring home from Ethiopia somehow less deserving of being called our kid than the one that was made with the help of a donor egg? All kids are different and have their own ‘stuff’ they bring to the family dynamic, whether bio, egg/sperm donor, or adopted.

    The question reminds me of the excuses that people make to defend decisions to segregate and discriminate against others not fitting in with the majority class.

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  6. Courtney

    Wow. Amazing post, and one you probably knew I would thoroughly enjoy reading and thinking about.

    So here’s a question, what do you think of situations where a family has bio kids first, and then adopts later? I am seeing this more and more and I think it’s very different from what you experienced (miracle bio kid to the rescue!), but I’m curious what you think about it. I have so many friends who say, “we’d like to adopt a kid later,” as if they’re adopting a puppy from the pound, and I shake my head and wonder, “is that OK? I think it’s OK, but how would that kid feel?” And there are differences, right? If the family has one bio kid and can’t have another and choose to adopt, it appears as though they’re completing their family (adopted kid to the rescue!). But if they have 2+ bio kids and adopt, does it appear that they’re doing something charitable for that “poor child who needed a home?” That’s what get me is the people who say, “there are so many kids who need loving homes,” but they don’t want those kids – they want to add a 3rd or 4th kid to their family by adopting a baby from infancy. I’m rambling… you got me thinking.

    I hate that you feel that people view you as your dad’s girlfriend. That made me cringe for you, my friend. 😦

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    • Nara

      It’s strange. Honestly I’m not anti adoption. However I think there are lots of problems with the adoption industry (it is an industry) especially in America. The majority of the stuff I read comes from there and it is a lot different there as well as a lot more popular. For example my parents didn’t “buy” me. Hardly any money exchanged hands (small admin fee less than I spend in a week of work lunches). Whereas it is now supply and demand and extremely profitable. I can’t think that is right.

      I think if you read a lot of stuff online you realise there are big problems with the adoption industry. It has changed a lot from when we were adopted. Most adoptions are open now, as well, which adds complexity to a family. But equally, families have always been complex and I know plenty for whom it’s worked well and plenty not so much. It’s the human condition! I do think that often people don’t think about the kind of, for want of better words, psychic burden on adopted children. We are expected to be grateful and not to mourn our birth families. And honestly I don’t think about it that much (I think I am good at surpressing things!) but I know some adoptees do.

      I’m not anti adding further adopted kids to the family as long as people think it through really thoroughly and understand that the adopted kids will need a different kind of support / extra support than the bios.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mamajo23

    As always thought provoking and so honest. While I have very little personal experience with adoption- the few extended family who were adopted seem super happy and well adjusted but this gives me pause and awareness to consider their feelings and sentiments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Yes I think it’s true. If you looked at me and my sibling and my partner you would say that too. We are “the happy ones”, “the well adjusted ones”. But I think we all think about it to some degree. I really don’t think about it all the time, but there is definitely something there that I don’t think bio children have to deal with.

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  8. sewingbutterfly

    A lot of what you describe actually felt familiar in some ways, but also very different as I have little experience of adoption. My family has 10 children. I am the eldest of 5 and I have 5 step-siblings. There are those I get along with and those I don’t. When I was 13 my father passed away and I became more of a parent to my siblings than a sister. Then when my mother married my step-dad and we added 5 more, I still felt that as I was the eldest female. That feeling remains, although has diminished as we got older. People had their favourites. None of which was me, at least when I was a child. My father infinitely preferred my brother and my mother, though I don’t think she had any favourites, had less time for me as she was busy with the triplets. My step-dad is the one I truly believe has no favourites at all. I believe he loves us all the same, bio or step.

    I guess for people who are adopted, you add the normal problems people have with siblings, favouritism, differing personalities etc and add adoption into the mix. That must be really difficult. Then you add social issues like racism and discrimination on top too. I wonder if it is different if you have bio children mixed in a lot more or have bio children first and then adopt.

    Your posts are always so thought provoking! I haven’t considered adoption to expand our family but I have thought of fostering (not just babies but children as well) and if adoption happens out of that then I guess I will try my best.

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    • Nara

      Yes, I think there are lots of families who have something like this / complexities because they are built in different ways. We once knew kids who were in an extended family with 7 kids, which seemed nuts! And a friend of mine has recently got 4 step children to add to her only child, which I thought must be a massive shock to the only, but seems to be going well!

      I think that with adoption then there’s just an extra layer of complexity. It’s not insurmountable but it is a feeling (being adopted) that the non adopted people can’t understand (the parents and the bio children). Plus if you are a different race then that’s something else as well. I don’t think that all adoptees think about adoption all the time, by any means. But they do think about it. Even my same race adoptee partner.

      I think the main thing is the more kids you have, the harder it is to make sure that every child feels special… I’m sure you get that in large families as well like yours! But also you maybe have a great sibling bond. I don’t know. The four of us have a good sibling bond but it’s complicated by the fact we don’t live that close to each other.

      Also I can agree that I think some parents do love all their children equally. I’m sure my parents do and it’s more my sort of self-confidence or feeling about being adopted than anything else. But they are our greatest champions so it would be doing them a disservice to say they actively love me less. I am more trying to describe the feeling that I think most adoptees get where they think that parents are naturally going to love the bios more.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Paigeed

    Wow! What a powerful post, and a beautifully written story of your life. Thank you for opening up, I’m sure that wasn’t easy. If it is okay with you, I would like to pin this blog post and link it to some other places for friends. Your story is just that, your story. But I think I know a few people who may benefit from hearing it.

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  10. stealingnectar

    Thank you so much for writing this and giving your opinion and experiences so freely to us! I was wondering about your thoughts on this (in detail). I am seeing that it is complex from this and my other preparation. There is just one thing I don’t agree with: I truly am not adopting because of one of those three things you mentioned. I wanted to adopt before I knew if I really wanted bio kids (and before any fertility issues) and I never have wanted to do it because of some savior complex or charity project. I know this isn’t true for all parents, but I did want to say that some people truly want to adopt because it is their first choice of how to build a beautiful family life. I do understand this might not be how adoption feels to everyone involved, but it is important for me to drive this one home to our future adopted child. Adoption is not a second choice for us and the desire for us hasn’t been born out of any struggle. That doesn’t mean it’s not complex and there aren’t several issues we will have to address along the way. But I do want people who have been adopted to know there is a certain longing for them that goes beyond biological norms or striving for a pat on the back. I really appreciate your thoughts and I will continue to think about all the complexities we are inviting into our family. Thanks again for always sharing and being so open with your thoughts. You are such a resource for me! And a wonderful friend! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I know you get the complexities involved and I understand that people feel differently about adoption. I think the main thing is to have considered the possible ways that adopted children will feel (which change as they grow up) and make sure that parents are open to acknowledging and discussing those feelings.

      Plus I would reiterate that I love my family very much and even though I have been very open about my brother and how I feel in relation to that, I still love him more than the majority of people in the world!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Cath at https://smallsteps2015.wordpress.com/

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts. As someone who is in the early stages of the adoption process with a biological 4 year old daughter, we have been asked to think about if we would be happy to have an adopted child from another ethnic group. On paper I think yes why not, all children are children to me, but I’m realising it’s more complex than that and we have to consider how the child would best feel fully part of our family. I hope whatever ethnicity we would make them feel that, but realise too it may not be within our complete control. We are a long way from the end of this process, but it is all food for thought.
    I do know of several people who were adopted into families with bio children and it’s been hugely successful. I also know many siblings, adopted or not, that don’t get on or experiences jealousy and competitiveness. I guess my feeling is there is no blanket answer, every family and every child is different.

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    • Nara

      Hi there. I think it is not something I would close off, as it can work perfectly fine in families. However I would say that you should be aware of the added complexities that transracial adoption brings. I definitely notice that I was adopted a lot more than my (same race adoptee) partner does. Because if you are living in a mainly white world, you notice it every day. As time goes on, you might feel like there is more of a loss of culture than for same race adoptees. But honestly I’ve been quite ambivalent about it for most of my life. To all intents and purposes I’m British so I don’t really have much of a link back to my birth culture, apart from looks wise. Some people think that’s more of a loss than others.

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  12. EmilyMaine

    This was such a fascinating read. Thank you for sharing it. I am sure after being infertile for so long your mum really did see you as a little miracle too. Don’t ever forget that. As I was reading this I was trying to think of other mixed race adoptive families and the best I could come up with is Angelina and Brad…I wonder how their kids feel???? Would be interesting to see. I’m sure there will be some expose about it in 20 years time…

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    • Nara

      Yes that’s true! I found a photo that I sent to my mum for Mother’s Day (she’s on holiday so I sent it to her for international Mother’s Day – our Mother’s Day in the UK is in March) and it shows her staring into my face as a baby, and me staring back at her. It’s easy to forget I was her first! Even if I didn’t look like her!

      I do wonder how Angelina and Brad’s kids feel. It does seem a bit “white saviour” but equally they have the resources. And they’ve done a lot for the kids’ birth countries too. It must be really strange though given that their bio kids look so much like them. Also she adopted Maddox (the oldest) before she was with Brad. I think it would maybe be hardest for Zahara (I think she is Ethiopian) as there are no other black kids in the family. Although I suppose if you are Brad and Angelina’s child, it’s not like you’re going to get racism in the playground. However as they get older they’ll be in the public eye and that must be quite distressing.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Mrs T

    I deeply appreciate the insight you share when you write about adoption. I wonder if we’re in any of the same discussion groups as this came up in one I frequent as well? Before we knew we were infertile we always wanted to have a bio child and then adopt. (Naive feel-good view of adoption driving that desire.) Then when we had RPL, we decided to switch the order and adopt first, try again later. (Naivete? Check.) Once our daughter came to us, though, we never again considered having a bio child. Her feelings are too important to us. I remember so much insecurity in my childhood that my little sis was the favorite, and we were both bio. I would not want to add an extra layer of adoption-bio insecurity to my kid’s plate – she has enough on it already!

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    • Nara

      Yes I bet we are in some of the same groups! I hardly ever used to post in them and then I was working my notice and had more time to think… I’ve been burned a few times though as the ones I’m in can be pretty brutal. I think the smaller groups are a bit more supportive whereas the larger ones are more about educating WAPs (white adoptive parents) so can take a bit of getting used to (even if as adoptees we aren’t the target of the education as such!). I’ve done a lot more thinking about it recently and I still don’t entirely know how I feel on it!

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