How many is enough?


We were asked recently if we wanted to adopt another child. The answer was “No.”

When we first started thinking about children, Xander only ever wanted one. I went back and forth between one and two. I didn’t want an only child to be lonely, I was worried about socialization, and I wasn’t sure I would be good enough, in some way, to provide everything to make sure an only child had a full and enriching life.

It’s not that my childhood with my siblings was wonderful. We fought a lot, in many creative ways, and I wasn’t really close with anyone except my youngest brother until I became an adult. Even now there is sometimes some discomfort when I say the wrong thing. It has gotten better, but I haven’t ever had the “My sibling is my best friend ever!” kind of relationship, and I am not sure I could raise two children differently enough from how my parents raised us to avoid that kind of rivalry. I’m not sure why I was considering more than one, but there were moments when I felt rather strongly about it.

Since Katja came home, though, I have been almost imperceptibly migrating towards Xander’s position. When the question came up again recently, my response was “No.” I was sure that was the right answer.

Katja has a habit of picking up a book, bringing it over to me or Xander, and holding it up. Whoever she hands it to takes the book, sits down, and reads it to her. While we’re at home, as long as we aren’t in the middle of cooking, we have worked our schedules out so we have time for each other. That matters to me. I like being able to sit down and read anytime she wants me to.  I couldn’t do that as easily with a second child in the house. This coming year would be much more challenging if we were to try to adopt again; the process is very time consuming, and I’d like to spend that time with the daughter we have, not chasing some idea that may or may not work out. I don’t want to have to focus as much on making sure another family is okay. I drove down to California at least a couple of times a month and sometimes more often than to visit, bring food, and provide transportation. It took a lot of energy. I want to be home with my family now.

Sometimes being a good parent means I have to be selfish. On an airplane, they always say “If you are traveling with a child and the oxygen masks drop, make sure your mask is secure before putting a mask on your child.” I have to take care of myself first to make sure that I can take care of Katja to the best of my ability. I’ve changed my exercise and eating habits since she was born. I’m running more and enjoying it. I’m not eating as much as I used to and we’re paying more attention to what we eat because we need to make sure she gets proper nutrition, too. I keep housework on a schedule so we don’t get behind, since there is less time to catch up on it.

I feel a little bit like not wanting another child is selfish. I don’t want to put forth the time, effort, and emotional energy required to make an adoption work. I don’t want to fill out all of the paperwork again. I don’t want months of home visits. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. We have a wonderful daughter and we are happy. Why mess with that? Maybe Katja would be better off with a sibling. I don’t know. She’s a remarkably outgoing little person, though. She gets lots of interaction with other people at her daycare and she clearly enjoys her time there. She enjoys her time at home, too, and likes being able to come over for a snuggle or a book whenever she feels like it.

I don’t want to change this. Life is good. We’re doing well. I’m being selfish, perhaps, but I can live with that. I like what we have and I love our little family.