Can I adopt if I already have a child or children?

9 months ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.
As an adoption consultant, I hear a lot of questions about the basics of the process of domestic infant adoption. In this series of articles, I will answer some of the most common ones. A frequent question I get is from families who already have a child or children, whether through birth or adoption. They wonder how that may impact their chances of successfully adopting without waiting for years.
It is true that it is a little more difficult to get selected when you have a child or children already because most potential birth moms do prefer childless families, but it is not as difficult as most people think. Maybe 60% or 65% of expectant moms feel strongly about this. The others don’t have a strong feeling either way or they love the idea of knowing that their child is going to have an older sibling or siblings. The fact of the matter is that many families who adopt can only afford to adopt once. So if a potential birth mom wants to know for sure that her child will have at least one sibling, then a family that already has a child is the better choice for her.
There is a little bit of a hierarchy when it comes to expectant moms selecting families with children already. If an expectant mom is open to a family that already has a child, she often has a preference that the child was adopted as opposed to being biological. Even though you know you are going to love that child the same, you can understand why the potential birth mom has some fear or concern about a potential discrepancy in how the children would be treated. Therefore, if you already have a child through adoption, usually that is not much of an issue. I’ve worked with many families in this situation who have adopted quite quickly. If you have a biological child, it can be a little bit more challenging. But again, there are plenty of potential birth moms who absolutely want to know that their child is going to grow up with a sibling and that’s more important than the way in which that sibling joined the family.
A caveat is that the larger your family is, the more difficult the adoption process can get. This is especially true once you already have three or more children. At that point, it can be difficult to get selected because potential birth moms often want to know that their child is going to get focused attention. The ages of the other children can come into play but, remember, your family structure is what it is and is going to attract the right match. I always remind my clients that they are not looking to get selected by any expectant mom, but are looking to get selected by the right expectant mom.
A great example that proves there are exceptions to every rule is a recent success story from  my clients, Rachelle and Jarman, from Utah. They already have four children and are now on track to become a family of seven! They signed up with their adoption agencies on February 17th and matched, less than two months later, on April 12th! The baby boy and future seventh family member is due in the summer. This success story shows that, no matter how many kids you have, the right expectant mom is going to be thrilled by your family structure and will want her child to experience being part of that.
Bio: Nicole Witt is the owner of The Adoption Consultancy (, an unbiased resource serving pre-adoptive families by providing them with the education, information and guidance they need to safely adopt a newborn, usually within three to 12 months.