Note: This was written before we traveled to China. Read my post-China blog Taking Your Whole Big Family To China which has all the details on traveling with several children.
Almost from the moment we announced that we were adopting from China, people have asked if we are going to be taking our four children with us. We were evasive with the answer for a while because we just hadn’t decided yet. We discussed it with our agency and they were completely supportive, and said they have had many large families travel with no problems. In the end, we decided that will all travel to China as a family to adopt Leo. People either think that is really awesome, or really crazy. Here are some of the reasons we have decided to take them, in no particular order.
1. We’re adopting as a family.
Matt and I didn’t just decide to adopt and then the kids had to adjust. We have discussed it with them every step of the way, and they are very excited about having Leo join our family. In fact, when I asked them separately what they were most looking forward to about the trip to China, 3 out of 4 children said meeting Leo was what they were most excited about. The fourth is most looking forward to eating Chinese food, and if you know us in real life then you will immediately know which one that was!
2. It will help Leo adjust. He doesn’t know who Matt and I are, but he’s used to being around children, and when he sees that the other children are comfortable with us and trust us, then it will help put him at ease. Our agency and homestudy social worker both commented that it seems to help with the bonding process to have siblings on the adoption trip.
3. We love our family, we love spending time with the children, and we would really miss them if we went without them. When we had our 10th anniversary, we celebrated by taking a family trip instead of a cruise. It’s hard to imagine taking such an important trip without them!
4. We are really looking forward to spending time in Leo’s birth country and we want the children to experience the trip too. We love the idea that when Leo is older, he can hear stories about China from his older sister and brothers.
Before we decided to bring the kids, I spoke with several families who had taken similar amounts of children in a similar age range. Since our children are mostly older, this isn’t the same as taking three children under the age of five. Everyone is potty trained and no one needs a nap. All of the families we spoke with said they had no regrets, and they wouldn’t have done it any other way. One woman told me that nine months later, her children still talk about China every single day!
Yes, it will be expensive. But people spend money on things that are important to them all the time and no one gives it a second thought. When is the last time someone told you they were buying a big flatscreen TV or going on fancy vacation with their spouse and your response was “Man, that must cost a fortune!” We crunched the numbers, we covered the cost, and we’re going on the trip of a lifetime that we will always remember.