#AdoptionTalk: Finding families for children

Welcome to the 3rd Installment of #AdoptionTalk: Adoption Ethics!

Adoption ethics - the emphasis should be on finding families for children, rather than finding a child to fit a familyIn this installment, I want to revisit a question that was asked the first week of the Linkup. A reader asked whether our agency gave us any problems about creating “artificial twins”.

They didn’t, but that got me thinking about all the things you’re “not supposed to do” when adopting: don’t adopt out of birth order, don’t create artificial twins, blah, blah, blah. 

All the don’ts basically boil down to: “Make sure you find a child that will fit your family.”

But, wait. Shouldn’t adoption be about finding families for children, rather than finding the perfect child for your family?

To paraphrase a cliche: What’s more important – the needs of a family or the needs of a child that needs a family?

Honestly, when we got the call for Squirm, we weren’t thinking about twins or birth order or any of that. In fact, I had already told my agency that I wouldn’t be taking any more boys. But he needed a bed. And we had one. He needed love and security and arms to rock him to sleep. And we had more than enough to go around.

And then when, we got the call about taking Squish back, SuperDad and I discussed how we’d have to juggle and what we’d have to adjust to manage three kids under 2 years old. After we had already said yes. That’s actually the one call I’ve ever said yes to without talking to SuperDad first. Because what else would we do? He needed a family. We were the one that he knew. Since he couldn’t remain with his birth family, the next best option – the ONLY option as far as we were concerned – was to return to the home and the family where he had some familiarity and some continuity.

And let’s look at the “rule” about adopting (or fostering) in birth order.

Adoption ethics: to paraphrase a cliche: What's more important - the needs of a family or the needs of a child that needs a family?Whenever a child joins your family, if you already have children, someone’s birth order is disrupted. Maybe you maintained the birth order of the existing children, but the 6-year-old you added went from being the oldest of 4 to the youngest of 3. Maybe an only child suddenly became one of 5.

If having birth order changed is supposed to be so traumatic for your forever kids, who already know unconditional love and stability, what effect do you suppose that change has on a foster or adopted child?

Yes, we’ll have to pay more attention to making sure the twins have opportunities to develop their individual personalities than we would if they weren’t “twiblings,” but that’s a just an inconvenience for the grown-ups.

The twins each needed a family – and we had one to give them.

#AdoptionTalk Link Up

Adoption Talk Linkup Hosts

This week’s topic: Adoption Ethics

Grab the #AdoptionTalk schedule here, so you’re ready for the whole year!

Next Link Up: March 5th
Next Topic: Anything Goes!

A few things to consider

1) Be respectful of others. Adoption can be a sensitive subject, and opinions may differ from your own. Please be respectful to everyone.
2) Everyone is welcome. Adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, experts, foster care givers, those currently in the process. Anyone with a connection is welcome.
3) Try to read and comment on at least one other post. The point of a link up is to mingle and meet other bloggers. Have fun and check out a few of your fellow blogger’s posts.
4) Feel free to link an old post. We know you may have already blogged about some of the topics on our schedule. If you would like to link something you have already written that is just fine.
5) We would love an adoptee host. If you or anyone you know might be interested PLEASE let us know.
6) Follow Your Hosts. No need to follow everyone on everything, but make sure you follow in enough places that you’ll be reminded to link up.

Erin @ No Bohns About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Jamie @ Starfish Confidential | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Jenni @ Joyful Journey Mom | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Jill @ Ripped Jeans & Bifocals | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Madeleine @ Our Journey to You Adoption Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

7) Grab a button for your post or blog to help us spread the word so that other adoption bloggers can join in the fun.

Starfish Confidential #AdoptionTalk

And that’s it! We’re so excited that you are joining us!


  1. madeleine melcher

    So glad you “had one (a family) to give them. That IS what adoption, at its core, is supposed to be.

  2. Alex

    The whole artificial twinning and birth-order debate is astounding to me. When our first son was three, we adopted his four and five-year-old brothers. It didn’t “disrupt birth-order” because we knew we had to parent each child at his emotional age. The youngest of the three still functions as the oldest, and yet, they all seem pretty healthy (considering). Sometimes I seriously think our culture puts too much emphasis on birth-order and too little emphasis on meeting our children where they are, individually.
    Alex recently posted…Adoption Ethics on Fundraising and the Golden RuleMy Profile

    1. Jamie Nestrick (Post author)

      I think you’re probably right. I think that any time you had a child to a family – in any manner – you’re going to have a period of adjustment and every instance is going to have different challenges.

  3. Lori Lavender Luz

    I like how you listened to your heart and proceeded mindfully.
    Lori Lavender Luz recently posted…The Badass InsideMy Profile

    1. Jamie Nestrick (Post author)

      Well, thank you. Although you make it sound more “together” than we actually were. 😉

  4. Erin

    Absolutely love this post! I think occasionally people forget that adoption is about finding families for children, not finding children for families.
    Erin recently posted…Adoption Talk Link Up: Adoption EthicsMy Profile

    1. Jamie Nestrick (Post author)

      Why, thank you, ma’am! And thanks for reading!

  5. Mama Bear

    Love that you didn’t think twice about taking Squish back because it was the best option for him. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jenni

    I agree with you that the rules don’t always consider what is best for the child. We also gained twins through adoption and that has been the least of our issues. Agencies that have these rules without any consideration to the child’s best interest baffle me.

    1. Jamie Nestrick (Post author)

      Did I know that you have twiblings, Jenni? I don’t think I knew that! How close in age are they?

  7. The Beautiful Opportunity

    Wow. Amazing to see my question on twiblings turn into a full-on post. I’m humbled. Thanks for explaining your thoughts on birth order and foster/adoption. We adopted out of order. My son was a middle child and foster/adoption turned him into the oldest in our family. My daughter, who was displaced from only child to younger child, has long talked about how she should have been the oldest. However, in the over all scheme of things, this has been a minor issue, especially compared to other adoption/trauma related issues.
    The Beautiful Opportunity recently posted…Foster Care = Ethical AdoptionMy Profile

    1. Jamie Nestrick (Post author)

      Thanks for giving me a great idea of something to talk about! And thanks for continuing to share your thoughts.

  8. tina

    I am new at researching foster care and adoption so this is the first article I have read about birth order. Honestly, its something I hadn’t really considered. I just figured if a child were to enter our home they would be younger than my oldest. But what if there was a child that was the same age or older that needed a home? Something to think about.


    1. Jamie Nestrick (Post author)

      It is definitely something that you need to think about. Most people will tell you not to foster kids older than your bio kids, and there are some safety considerations. But you’re right, older kids need homes, too. And if you feel like you can parent an older child, don’t dismiss them just because of birth order, YKWIM?


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