What Are My Chances for Adopting Twins?
In the United States, only 3.5-4% of births are twins. With the introduction of IVF, this rate has increased, though such twins are rarely placed for adoption since the parents were intentional and aware of the chances of having multiples when they began the physically and emotionally challenging journey—not to mention the expenses of IVF treatments as well. Whether you are working with an adoption lawyer or agency, you will be asked whether you are open to adopting multiple children, which more often refers to a sibling group rather than twins. Nonetheless, this inclusion criteria will be taken into consideration though if you are limiting yourself to twins only, you could be waiting an extremely long time and find it difficult to hire an agency or lawyer to work with you as such limited choices may not be worth these professionals’ time.
What Is the Process?
The process to adopt twins is similar to any other adoption times two. Aside from the wait time being much longer and cost potentially being higher, the common backbone of the adoption process will remain the same.
- Connect with an Adoption Agency: Once you decide on adopting, the first thing you must do is to find an adoption agency, lawyer, or facilitator to guide you through the process. This will be necessary whether you plan to adopt privately or go through the foster care system. During this first step, you will be asked about your preference for the type of child you are open to adopting such as age, gender, race, special needs, and sibling group. A sibling group more often refers to non-twin siblings, but you certainly can specify that you are willing and wanting to adopt twins. Be prepared to hear that the wait times and cost may be higher if you are limiting yourself to twins. Despite twins being genetically identical and from the same biological parents, they are two separate children, and for adoption purposes will be treated as such. This means all the paperwork you would need to fill out for one child must be completed for two children. Professionals who charge by the hour will end up doing nearly twice as much work, which will be reflected in your out-of-pocket expense. There are some lawyers and agencies that will have reduced rates meaning they will not double the rate for twins or sibling groups, but this is not guaranteed.
- Locating a Potential Birth Mother: Unless you know someone through your personal network, the adoption agency you are working with will be the one to locate a birth mother, and she will have the option to connect with you based on whether she believes you will be a good fit for her children after looking at your profile.
- Filling out the Paperwork: This portion of the process is where expenses can be higher when adopting twins rather than a singleton. While you will be responsible for gathering the appropriate documents about your medical, employment, family, relationship, and criminal history, a lawyer may have to review these, and if you are taking part in an international adoption, notarization of each document is likely.
- Proving Financial Stability: While there are certainly resources available to help offset adoption costs like adoption tax credits, employer-provided adoption benefits, and loans, you must still provide evidence that you are able to not only afford the adoption process but are fiscally able to afford raising twins.
- Completing a Home Study: No matter what type of adoption and number of children you hope to adopt, this is an essential and nonnegotiable part of the adoption process. A social worker or other licensed professional will come to your home to do a thorough investigation of all aspects of your life in order to determine whether your family and your home will be a good fit for the twins.
- Interviews with Birth Mother: Once your home study has been approved, and you have been given the green light to be matched, you most likely will have interviews with the birth mother in the cases of open adoption. This is nothing to fear. Instead, it should be viewed as an opportunity to learn about the children’s history and to build a relationship with a woman, who you most likely will have future interactions with through your own initiative, hers, or your children’s.
- Adoption and Parenting Training: This may be required to help you understand and cope with issues related to discipline, behavior, and general parenting. What’s great about this is that you will be introduced to a group of people that are going through a similar situation as you and will provide you with a support group.
Despite the rarity of adopting twins, success stories are out there, and Travis and Laurie Kimrey are a great example. They not only adopted micro-preemie twins through the foster care system in 2014, but they also adopted a second set of twins, siblings to their girls, Haylee and Baylee, in 2015. Of course, the road to adoption wasn’t easy, and part of the reason that each set of twins were placed was due to health challenges such as cerebral palsy and gastrointestinal complications that the biological parents didn’t feel like they were able to manage. Nonetheless, all four siblings are doing well growing up together in the same home and are watched over with love from a huge family.
Regina Edwards is another example of successfully adopting twins. After eight years of trying to conceive naturally along with a host of infertility testing, she and her husband were able to adopt a set of girls from Romania despite political tensions and only requesting one child. The experience was a whirlwind as the couple was given the option to adopt the fraternal twins over the phone, and four days later, they were meeting the birth mother at the orphanage. There were a few delays due to paperwork and working with multiple countries, but with the help of their adoption agency, everything was straightened out, and Regina and her husband were flying home as a family of four.
Things to Consider When Adopting Twins
Twins are unique and captivating for obvious reasons. But before adopting twins, one should consider all the implications adopting twins may have on your family.
Wait Time: As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges with adopting twins is the wait time if that is the only option a person is open to. Due to the rarity of twin births and the small percentage of those twin births, who are considered for adoption, it can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. Options may become even slimmer if the couple limits themselves to identical or fraternal twins or if they are unwilling to consider twins who have health complications—something that multiples have a higher risk of encountering compared to singletons.
Cost: Adoption is expensive to begin with, and adopting twins nearly doubles the cost. There are exceptions, but when adopting twins, you must remember that each child’s paperwork must be filed and paid for separately. Of course, if you know you will be adopting a total of two children at some point within a number of years in order to build your family, that expense will either be paid as one larger sum in one transaction, so to speak, or as smaller payments at two different times. Independent of what you choose to do, don’t think that twins will be a two-for-one deal. This reality also needs to stay present as you bring your children home. You will need two of everything from car seats to cribs to clothing and food.
Attention/Energy: Parenthood is a roller coaster filled with moments of joy and times of pure exhaustion. A benefit of being a first-time parent with twins is that you don’t know anything other than your current experience, which nearly every parent I know finds trying in the first few months. Of course, the reality is that, unless your twins sync their sleep and feeding cycles, which can happen, you may need more support than if you were caring for one child at a time. Then again, you will only have to go through the infant phase and terrible twos once.
Bond: One of the most gratifying reasons people speak so highly of twin adoptions is to see their children bond in a way that appears so natural and has literally begun at conception. Couples observe twin languages, comforting abilities, and intuitive understanding of each other. Twins are born with a best friend and partner in crime as some parents may see it. It is so strong and obvious to people today, that it’s mind-boggling to even consider separation. The bond between twins when disrupted through separation as documented in a 20/20 episode called “The Twinning Reaction,” is devastating to each child. The twin relationship is as unique as twins are themselves and should be cherished if you are so lucky to have them in your life.
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