I didn’t know this was a thing – artificial twinning. Sadly, it often results in the family releasing the child to a second chance adoption (meaning the first effort has now failed). “Second Chance”… does this imply that EVERY adoption is basically just temporary and the first one is just your first “chance” at your “forever” home ?
As a Gemini, the idea of twins always fascinated me. My sister who was 13 mos younger than me was dressed like me for much of our youngest years. Eventually, she shot up and surpassed me in height and that attempt on the part of mother and grandmother ended. When my husband and I were utilizing reproductive technology to create our family, our first effort that produced a son came after a “vanishing twin” at the time my dad’s adoptive father died and I was 6 weeks along. With our second son, we definitely did not want twins because we felt that would be harmful for our older son. As it was, he was jealous and difficult in their younger years, but now they are the best of friends – thankfully.
Artificial or Virtual Twinning (as it is sometimes also called) is not a practice recommended by social workers. The conventional belief is that kids need their own spot in the birth order. Artificial or Virtual Twinning is having two siblings, that are not biological, within 9 months of one another. There are very valid reasons not to artificially twin. Reasons like sharing the first-born-ness [or whatever the birth-order], attachment-process being interrupted, being compared to one another like twins without the “benefits” of being twins, among other things.
Sometimes artificial twinning is done by adopting a child that is close in age to the child a family already has. Sometimes it’s done by adopting 2 children that are close in age, at the same time. The controversy about whether or not artificial twinning is a good idea rages on. The best recommendation is that families do not adopt 2 children at the same time, unless they are biologically related (in which case, unless they are naturally twins, it would not be what this blog is about).
Parents need time and resources to learn about their new child, help them adjust, and this is most easily done one at a time. Inevitable comparisons, and all the pitfalls of that, are inherent with raising artificial twins. Adopting a child with the purpose of creating a playmate for your child is never a good idea.
Finally, letting an adult adoptee who experienced this speak –
All my brother and I had as young children was each other. At six years old, our adoptive parents divorced over dad’s alcoholism, which had resulted in domestic violence. By all appearances only being able to conceive one much older bio son and then to adopt two babies so close in age was a desperate attempt to fix an already broken marriage.
My adoptive brother and I were as different as night and day in every way possible. Being forced to tell anyone who asked that we were twins but had different birth dates caused a lot of unnecessary gossip and confusion as we got older. I still have friends from Junior High who ask me on Facebook if we were really twins. There is no simple explanation as to why I wouldn’t have been telling the truth. Our identities were so closely meshed together that our individuality often got lost.
Tragically, after our parents divorced, my brother struggled for years with some serious mental health issues. Even as youngsters, I could see that he wasn’t and couldn’t totally bond to anyone in our family. The brother I had once thought I was close to has caused me a lot of shame and embarrassment with his repetitive bizarre behavior. I have felt those forbidden feelings of abandonment from a not so perfectly ideal adoption, as well as not being able to grieve over an absent adoptive father.
My birth siblings say I am just like my late birth mother in her mannerisms – right down to her laugh. My adoptive family could have certainly been a textbook case where nurture verses nature proved to be a fantasy. From my perspective, you fail as adoptive parents – if you try to mold us into that child you couldn’t have or somebody we are not.