One or Two?

As a teenager I thought little kids were just a pain in the butt – so I never thought I’d have a bunch of them,.  And then as a young teenager I got much younger step-siblings and I found myself babysitting them frequently and I found myself saying that I didn’t want children.  Heck, I think at one point I said I’m going to have a kid free wedding just so that my step-siblings wouldn’t be able to come (yes, at some point I grew up and they were at my wedding – I really do love my step-siblings just as I do my biological siblings).

Anyways, at some point I decided I wanted two, ideally one boy and one girl. When Mr. MPB came into my life I discovered he also wanted two.  We really were a match made in heaven.

Then we went down the unexpected path of recurrent pregnancy loss and lost five flickers of life.  The dream of two slowly turned to the dream of one, and then slowly started to vanish altogether.

At some point of conversations of when we have kids started to turn into if we have kids.

In many ways, we stopped believing it would happen.  For a while, we stopped even talking about when or if, we just ignored our possibly reality – we practiced the ostrich approach (i.e. head in the sand).  We almost had to, in many ways it was a matter of survival – preparing ourselves for the worst because we had come to only know the worst possible outcome of pregnancy.

Then one day, we jumped into international adoption.  We moved from baby loss to a new found hope that comes along with adoption.  Slowly, we started saying when again.

We both acknowledge ideally we’d still like two children – we want them to have each other, to share the same type of bonds we had with our siblings growing up.

Some days we’ve talked about two.  Most day’s we just stay focused on the goal of having one.

We talk about the benefits of two:

  • possibly friends for ever.
  • always having a playmate so they would never being lonely as a child.
  • caring for their old parents together is less of a burden.

We now also talk about the benefits of one:

  • We will be able to provide a really high quality of life for one child, and they would get to experience the world in a way that we probably couldn’t afford with two.
  • We can shower our one child with constant love and attention – we will not be splitting our time between children.
  • We have no way of knowing if two will be friends in adulthood, so we cannot assume that they will be.

We’ve realized lately that unless we win the lottery or miraculously get twins this time around, it is very unlikely that we can afford to adopt a second time.  So now I am trying to accept the fact that we will likely only have one child.  I know, never say never, but honestly with adoption it’s not like an accident can just happen when everything about adoption is highly calculated and planned.

I’m trying really hard to remember that right now we just have to focus on getting through our first adoption and having one baby.  I’m trying to remember that having one child will be pretty amazing considering everything we’ve been through, and if we only have one we will make it amazing.  Probably most importantly, right now I’m trying to remind myself that I cannot worry about something so far into the future.

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42 Comments on “One or Two?

  1. I was always having 2, ideally one of each, it was to be so perfect. And then infertility hit but once i got pg thatd be it, still could have 2 after all via ivf right? And then the losses happened. Now ive no idea if ill have my own children and honestly all i hope for is that we get to 24 weeks next time.
    What im trying to say is i understand how hard it is to change your dream future, how hard it is to accept that in reality life will not be what you thought. However, in that change, something amazing can happen. You will give a child a wonderful life, one that child may never have known if it werent for wonderful people like you.
    Much love my friend x

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    • You are so right, it’s hard to accept the reality of what you thought would happen wont, but at the same time if we keep going, and sometimes we may have to search for it, but something amazing can happen out of the unexpected life twists. Sending you love and wishing for your unexpected amazing!

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  2. I’ve always wanted three. I love having a house full of people that I love. We have had this conversation too- about how many kids we can afford to raise. And by raise I mean, pay for their post secondary, help them with a down payment on their first homes, etc. My parents certainly didn’t help me with those things, but we’d like to help Dumplin’ get ahead in life because we know how hard it is to get there on your own. DW wants two max, but there was talk of only having one because we’d be stretched so thin financially with two. With one, we can travel every summer and not worry about saving for four fares. With one, we can retire when we’re supposed to, whereas with two we’re both gonna have to work 5-10 years past our eligible retirement ages. You’re right- there’s no guarantee that they’ll get along either. DW and her brother are less than 2 years apart, and they are as close as distance acquaintances. They never played together past the age of preschool. I’ve tried dissecting why it is, but haven’t been able to figure out why they’re not as close as other siblings are. My sister and I are much closer, but we have very different personalities and interests and so would be unlikely friends otherwise, but we are still there for each other. There are only a handful of siblings that I know that are close like friends.

    You’re right though, and I should take your advice too- not to get too worried about things way in the future. Think about the baby that’s coming to you and how your life will be completely changed because of him/her.

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    • I think I have an idolized idea of siblings getting along because my sister and I were so close, and I like to think we still would be if she were still alive. Yet, as you point out with DW and her brother, my brother and I are not very close. I’ve said many times if we weren’t siblings we probably wouldn’t be friends – that said, in the last few years he’s been pretty awesome and I am really liking that he’s making an effort to call and visit the odd time too. So, I guess what I’m saying is that just because my sister and I were close as kids there is no guarantee we would be as adults, life changes and we have no ability to predict what that would look like.
      And, I have to agree with everything you say about providing for one versus 2 kids and advanced education – we also plan to provide our child with the ability to go to university debt free should they choose to. The reality of all our adoption bills is that we are paying for the equivalent of 2 university degrees this year (just like anyone paying for IVF, surrogacy, etc.), it’s not cheap and I just cannot see how we can do that again in the next few years and not compromise the life of our first child (or ourselves).
      Anyways, here’s to hoping we can both not get too worried about the future. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah it’s tough. So much in life is based on blind faith that things will just work out. I’m glad that your relationship with your brother has changed a little and that you’ve become a bit closer. I’m sorry that your relationship with your sister is stuck in time. As you know, we will likely be trying for number two this year with DW and our embryos. It’s kind of a long shot because we haven’t been able to figure out why she miscarried twice, but since we switched donors, I’m hoping that perhaps there’s a chance. In a way, I’m in a hurry to get out of this TTC phase of our lives and move on to parenting. I’m sure that you feel the same way- looking forward to your sweet baby filling the nursery that you’ve prepared for him/her and all of the adventures you’ll have together (rather than yucky doctors visits and dildo wands and blood draws).

        I am glad that you guys have financially made it work to pay these outrageous adoption fees. I know it wasn’t easy, but you two are smart with your money and I’m sure some sacrifices were made (eg Iceland and road trip). It’ll be worth it though, when you’ve got that baby at home, and you realize that they’re yours.

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      • I so hope your next try with DW works! Maybe all it will take is the new donor – if nothing else, at least we can hope! I totally agree with you about wanting to move out of the stage in life where we are trying to have kids – I am so excited for the day when I can look at our family and say this is perfect, we are done and simply look to the future together, not wanting something that is missing. I do hope we both reach that point sooner rather then later!

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  3. I think I’m in the minority in that I always wanted only one child. I thought into my 30s when it hadn’t happened yet, no biggie, I only want one, there’s time. I didn’t realize having just one would be so difficult. It’s definitely no small thing to adjust your vision of what your life would look like, with what it does look like. But I agree with the previous poster, that big, wonderful changes are coming your way and I’m very excited for you. xx

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  4. I’ve had this conversation with myself MANY times. I think you read my post about it not too long ago. I’ve settled on just having one, unless I meet someone and they have children, or some day I may foster to adopt. But for now, it’ll just be us two. It’s hard to admit some days…

    Who knows – maybe you and Mr. MPB will end up with twins! Even with “just” one, you’ll make awesome parents who give them an incredible childhood.

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    • I did read your post on the topic and what you showed me is that I can never say never, but I can say right now the answer is almost definitely that we will just have one.
      I would be over the moon happy if we got twins!! Although twins are not that common outside of the infertility world, and I suspect they are even more uncommon in the adoption world. Either way, I can hope and MR. MPB can be petrified as I don’t think he’s hoping for twins in the same way I am. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I kind of wasn’t two, despite not being close to my brother (not for a lack of trying). My wife is dead set on one.

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    • It’s interesting how we all have different ideas of how many children we want, even within the same parenting couple! I hope you two get whatever number you decide is best for your family! 🙂

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  6. I agree, it’s so hard that going through infertility takes away the choice so that it becomes a question of “if” not “when”, and “if we could only have one..” instead of being able to plan it all out like some people can.

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    • Thanks for reading and thanks for understanding what I’m talking about. I sure am envious of those who can just plan it out and have it all come together closely to their original plan.

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  7. Wow, I nearly wrote a post yesterday along these lines. One of the selling points of IVF is that we can try to have twins or do another transfer for a couple thousand dollars if we wanted to have a second child versus $40K to adopt and infant and then another $40K to adopt a second infant.
    I was an only child so I thought it would be cool to have two kids. My husband has a brother 2 years younger than him and they had some rough spots but for the most part they get along. I was pretty happy as an older child. My main issue is that I felt like I couldn’t connect or relate to a lot of kids since I was by myself and old for my age since I was mostly around adults.
    I want to start off with a baby, but a lot of people have admonished me for wanting a baby. There are a lot of older children out there. I see a lot of sibling pairs as well. I thought that maybe we could try to get a baby and then adopt an older kid. It seems really rough to have a 2 year old and a 4 year old when you aren’t used to having kids around.
    I think because of the amount of time and money it is taking for us to have a kid that we will probably stop at one child. That might change in the future, we will wait and see. Would an older child adoption be more affordable in Canada?

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    • Thank you so much for sharing all of this – I really do appreciate learning from your experience and your thoughts!
      An older child adoption would be more affordable in our part of Canada. Heck, even an infant open adoption would be more affordable here. But, we know we aren’t prepared to grow our family through either of these options. First, the older child adoptions are always children who have been removed from their parents forcefully and often are children who were exposed to drugs and alcohol – we know our limits and we know we aren’t meant for that situation. Also, the open adoption process locally takes a very, very long time.

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  8. This may be a stupid question…but is it possible that adoption is a bit cheaper the second time? I mean…if you go with the same companies, would that eliminate some of the paperwork and initial stuff? (Like home study and things like that.) Don’t count yourself out, you never know what could happen in the future.

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    • Nope, sadly it will not be. We have to re-do every single thing (i.e. home studies, police checks, medicals etc.) and in fact it could be more expensive because we will have to pay for medicals and such for our first child. The only thing we would have going for us is that we’d know the process (assuming that it hadn’t changed a lot between our first and our second, and that’ a pretty big assumption because adoption rules seem to daily sometimes).
      That said, the way for it to be cheaper would be to do a local adoption and wait 3 years for a placement to happen. It is drastically cheaper, but we would also take on a lot of other things that we just aren’t willing to do. Simply, we are pretty sure that we are not willing to compromise on so many things to do a more affordable local adoption to have a second kid.
      But I guess, who knows, maybe one day we will be willing to. I dunno, my crystal ball is clearly pretty badly broken. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You know, I hadn’t put a ton of stock in the thought that the twins will be friends and playmates. My brother is 3 years younger and we did lots together especially as young adults and we are great friends now but growing up, we could have killed each other…every day. I think it’s good and healthy to put that dream/ideal out there of the possibility of having two. The universe won’t know what you want if you don’t dream 😊

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    • What a beautiful perspective – “The universe won’t know what you want if you don’t dream”. If you don’t mind I suspect I will be using that sentence many more times in my life. It’s just a wonderful perspective!

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  10. What about sibling adoption? Or have you only put in for one? In the UK anyway it is much easier to adopt a sibling group, specifically because they’re less in demand. Someone I know adopted 2 siblings. I think it also means that you have “first refusal” (what a horrible thought) on future siblings.

    I’m one of four and I have always liked being part of a big busy / loud family. Although equally I sometimes used to wish I had more of my parents’ time and attention.

    All the onlies I know are super close to their parents and very well adjusted. I think you can provide more materially if you have one, and you obviously have more time and attention. Really it’s more to do with you as parents than any one solution being right.

    We are only planning to have one… I would be happy with twins but it’s unlikely as only one of our embryos got to transfer this time round. I would have pushed for two but I’m happy with only going through this once. Also I know I’m quite an obsessive type and I’m happy just to have one to concentrate all my love on. I only have one dog and I’m good with that! I like being focused on a smaller number of things!

    Ultimately you just have to not beat yourself up about it – concentrate on this process now. You’ll cross that bridge when you come to it. Maybe an opportunity will arise to adopt a second child, and maybe there won’t. Either way you will hopefully have the best experience you can have!

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    • Thank you so much for all your thoughts here. At this time, as we are doing open infant adoption we are only approved to adopt one infant or two infant twins. If the birth mother were to have a second child at some point and want to place it with us we would have to go through the whole process again. And, while i guess it could happen, it’s not something we thinking about at this point in time.
      Also, I really appreciate hearing your perspective on one vs. two. Both from your childhood, those you know and your plans now that you are starting your family.
      Ultimately I think you are right that I just need to not worry about it all right now. I really need to just focus on achieving one child, and deal with second sometime in the future. And you are also right, no matter what happens, we will make it a pretty awesome life. 🙂

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  11. I think about this all the time. Like you said above, there are many benefits to only having one (we could take awesome vacations every year!), and there’s no guarantee that the siblings would even be friends. I was a semi only child (all my sibs were nine plus years older than me) and I hated it. But I keep having to remind myself that that was MY experience, not Lettie’s. Her story will be different than mine no matter what happens. I think you are right to focus on having the one and see how you feel afterwards. Maybe at that time your heart will tell you that one is just perfect. Or maybe you’ll start longing for another, and if that’s the case, I believe you’ll find a way to make it happen.

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    • If we only have one, you are right we can take awesome vacations every year – heck I could go to Iceland really soon! 🙂
      You make such a wonderful point about our expeirences not being the same as our children’s, and while I remember my sister and i as being so close, it doesn’t mean our children would be. In fact, if I’m honest about it I could point to the relationship with my brother which has never been close to see what another version of the relationship could look like.
      And, I also think you are right about possibly longing for a second one at some point. If that happens, we probably will make it happen.

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  12. So you’re going to hate me for even saying this – but I know TWO people who had babies fall in their laps when they were NOT trying to adopt. One couple had given up and focused on traveling and enjoying a child free life when her brother (a doctor) called from the ER one night asking if they still wanted a baby because one had just been born to a gal who didn’t know she was pregnant, and she left. The gal cooperated with the process and that little girl is now 7. The other gal I know of is single and was looking at foster to adopt and wanted an older child, and someone knew a gal who was having a baby and had questions about the adoption process so she could place her child, and ended up placing her with the gal who was not looking for a newborn.

    So it happens.

    My dad is an attorney and his partner does private adoptions a lot. When we were looking at adopting, he told us that you need to tell EVERYONE you come into contact with that you’d love to adopt another baby – that your house is open to more kids and you’d love it. He says that most of the adoptions he handles are surprise adoptions with pregnant moms coming to him, or a doctor knowing someone needing to place a baby. So put the word out there!!!!!

    There are lots of benefits to both one or two. We got lucky in that our kids truly are best friends and get along 90% of the time and play together, but that’s just dumb luck. They could not get along and we’d think one would have been better (that happened to my cousin – her oldest rejected his brother entirely and laments the fact he’s not an only child. Snot.). You never know what is right until you have one or two kids, and then it’s all said and done. Life with one is way easier than with two, I know that much for sure!

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    • I love that you said this!! Honestly, I’ve never heard of an unplanned adoption before, so I think it’s great that this can happen!! I love hearing stories that are out of the norm (or at least out of the norm as I see it). Thank you so much for sharing and for encouraging. 🙂

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  13. I found this post from occasionally reading post tagged with ‘only child’, because it’s unlikely we’ll another more than, so I’ve been obsessed with what that experience is like. My husband and I met relatively late, and we were so over-joyed with having a miracle of one, we didn’t reckon with the feelings of having another since she was a miracle as it was. I’ve been reading posts from only children for about a year. What I’ve concluded is that they are as diverse a group as any other, and one of the biggest hurdles appears to be navigating the challenging stereotypes they’re lumbered with. That’s not to minimise the experiences of those who grieve the absence of siblings, or the intensity of their experiences; but for one of those I’ve read; I’ve encountered a different account. I never bothered with the sibling-as-adult friend theory. It makes sense in terms of sharing the responsibilities of aging parents and decision-making; but the notion of sustainable friendship is a bonus. I still pine for what wasn’t to be, and I doubt I’ll ever truly make peace with it. But I’ve come some way to accepting that our daughter’s experience of being a possible only child is not ours to pre-empt, or indeed our right or business to know – it’ll be hers to interpret and no doubt change her mind on as she moves through life. For that, we’re beginning to forgive ourselves. I wish you well on your journey to parenthood – it sounds like there’s a loving home waiting for those lucky to find it. Good luck.

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    • Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your experience and everything you’ve been learning! I think you make such a great point about not pre-empting a child’s experience as an only child – it’s not our story to write. Ultimately as you say, it will the be the child’s interpretation that will matter throughout life, and all we get to do is support them through it. Thank you so much for sharing this perspective, I think this will be an important reminder to myself whenever I find myself worrying a bit too much about it.

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  14. I often have the same thoughts. Not about adoption, but I always wanted two children. Now, I am struggling to have just one and it seems nearly impossible to me that I will ever have two. It’s very frustrating, but like you said, we shouldn’t worry so far in the future. I oftentimes find that when I am feeling most upset, the most anxiety, etc. is when I focus on the big vast future and not on the day to day. Sometimes we just have to get through today and not worry about years and decades from now (but I am a planner and all, so it’s hard!)

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    • It’s amazing how our dream family changes as we discover that it’s not as easy to have kids as we first thought. I do hope that we both learn to do a better job of staying focused in the present and not worrying about the future that we cannot control, but you are right, it’s hard to do when we love a good plan!

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  15. When I was much younger I always wanted to have 3 kids, but now after struggling naturally and finally falling pregnant through IVF, I would be happy with just 1.

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    • Our perspectives sure do change once we realize that getting pregnant and staying pregnant isn’t as easy as we were lead to believe in our younger years! I so hope you and I get our just 1!!

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  16. Going from the “how many to have?” convo to “hopefully 1” to “if any” is so painful. I’m SO glad to watch you move to the “when” and “how many” again! I know it’s just a matter of time for you. And yes, the preparing yourself for just one gets hard again, that’s where we have been. Except now the hope for a 2nd is skyway starting to creep in. Damn this whole process! Lol. Hugs, sweetie!

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    • I think moving through the when/if wording is an interesting simplification of our path through RPL. But you are right, it is nice to be back to the when and how many conversation! If I can just focus on one, then at least I’ll be focusing on how great one really is! 🙂

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  17. It is tough to keep adjusting your sails for a new destination… it seems infertility just keeps chipping away at your original vision of the future. I also wanted two children, but my husband is an only child himself and was okay with one. I am not thrilled at the prospect of having one, because like you it started seem like none was a distinct possibility. It hurts though, because it seems unfair that money should impact what your family looks like because we can’t go about things the free and enjoyable way. It will be wonderful to have a family and have one beautiful child — but it’s great that you’re thinking through and processing the feelings that come with whittling down the original dream. Bryce assures me that being an only child was just fine, so I have hopes that one will be just fine.

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    • You are right Jess, it is tough to be constantly adjusting our hopes and dreams for our family. It drives me mad that if we could just have children we could have them for free, but instead we have to pay so much to lawyers and agencies that are just making money hand over fist. It feels wrong and yet so sad at the same time.
      I’m glad to hear that Bryce, as an only child, is will be okay with having an only child. It makes me hopeful for our potential only child. 🙂

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  18. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. One vs. Two. I think I’m going to have to blog about it as it would be too long of a comment! There are many, many benefits to having one child.

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  19. Pingback: Rant: Adoption Waiting | My Perfect Breakdown

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